A few weeks ago, we had the amazing opportunity to visit and photograph a wedding at Bluestone Vineyards in Bridgewater, Va. When Erin first contacted me about photographing their wedding, I felt honored to be trusted in capturing these once-in-a-lifetime memories for them. It was a no-brainer that I would accept this opportunity. The weekend of their wedding, we traveled the 4.5 hours to their destination wedding. They started the weekend off with a small wine tasting event for their immediate family that had made the journey. As the two families got to know one another, the laughs and love filled the room. The day of the wedding, Erin looked absolutely stunning, and her smile was infectious! Every single detail of their wedding was so personal and spoke to the love that this couple and family shared together. From their dog ring-bearer, to special heirlooms, to the personal vows they wrote for one another. Watching Eric watch Erin was beautiful. It was obvious how much he adores her. I feel so honored to have captured their love, and boy did their love show that day! I wish nothing but happiness and joy for the new Mr. and Mrs. Sowers!
He asked, and you said YES! You head is swirling around with all the things you want for your wedding. The venue, the flowers, the cake, the DRESS! I remember when my husband first proposed to me. My first thought, after all the excitement and realizing he was my forever, was the DRESS. I couldn't wait to go dress shopping! I knew exactly what I wanted, I had been dreaming of this day since I was a little girl (haven't we all?!). I made my appointment at Champagne Taste Bridal Boutique, gathered my closest friends and family, and headed to the shop. I told, Teri, my consultant exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to feel like a princess, I wanted a big ball gown, straps, and a long train. I didn't want a veil because I felt the were so dated! Teri took everything I said and started pulling dresses. With each dress I tried on, I got more and more discouraged. I liked the beading on this one, but not the tulle, I liked the idea of lace, but not how it actually looked. Teri could see my frustration and asked if she could pull a few that she thought I might like. She started pulling a few trumpet style gowns and I really liked where this was headed. I felt more bridal, but I still wasn't blown away. Then she brought in a mermaid style dress. It was form fitting, strapless, and was ruched. Exactly opposite of what I THOUGHT I wanted, but the minute I put it on I felt beautiful, sexy, and bridal. She added a long veil with it and that was it. I knew THIS was my wedding dress.
I took my experience, and the experiences of my brides and compiled a list of Do's and Don'ts for you wedding dress shopping experience.
1. DO shop around before ever making your appointment. Check out websites, reviews, talk to other brides. Finding a great shop is the first key to success in finding a great dress. You want to find a shop where the consultants are knowledgeable of their stock and what will look best on YOU, where they take their time with each client, and make your experience truly enjoyable. I can't say enough amazing things about the shop I chose to find my dress at, and I want the same experience for you.
2. DON'T assume you know exactly what you want and refuse to try other styles. Listen to your consultant, try on a variety of dresses. You can't possibly know how something will look on you until you try it on.
3. DO bring a few close friends and family. Bring people who mean the MOST to you. The ones who will be honest, but have your best interests at heart. Having a couple of close friends or family there to keep your spirits up will help to keep your head straight. If I had gone by myself, I would've ended up with a dress that I kinda liked, but didn't love. My friends and family helped encourage me that while it was a beautiful dress, it wasn't me. And they were so right!
4. DON'T feel like you have to bring an entire entourage. Having too many people there will bring along too many opinions and thoughts. If you have 10 people in one room, what is the chance that they are ALL going to agree on anything? This will only confuse you.
5. DO go lingerie shopping BEFORE you go dress shopping. What's under your dress is almost as important as the dress itself. You want to make sure that you have a comfortable, but attractive bra that will work with all different styles of dressing. Plus, the added bonus of seeing yourself in attractive lingerie in between gowns will only make you feel more attractive and help make your experience that much more positive.
6. DON'T forget that most wedding dress sales are usually final. I had a bride last year that ended up with THREE different wedding dresses because she kept buying ones she wasn't truly in LOVE with. Don't make any hasty decisions when choosing your perfect dress.
7. DO remember that wedding dress sizes run 2-3 times larger than your actual size. So, if you normally wear a size 7, don't be alarmed when the dresses you are trying on are sized 11-13.
8. DON'T stress. This one is easier said than done, I know. But you are BEAUTIFUL (yes, YOU, the one reading this.), and you will look beautiful on your wedding day. As you walk down that isle, your husband-to-be is going to be silently asking himself, 'how did I get so lucky?'. So, have fun, drink a glass (or two) of champagne, and enjoy the process!