bridal salon visit #1

January 30, 2010

Destination: Glamour Closet, San Francisco (Yelp)

As previously mentioned, I’ve never gone wedding dress shopping for myself or with any of my friends. I started doing some casual Google-ing and Yelp-ing to try to get an idea for where I could go and how this whole Most-Important-Dress thing works.

I knew I wanted to check out the Koreatown rental places in Socal (like Bella and Shin Bu) but since I’ll have limited time in SoCal, I thought it would be a good idea to start checking out dresses in the Bay Area to get an idea of what I do and don’t like.

Good ol’ Yelp gave me plenty of places to ponder and not only was Glamour Closet was on the top of the list, but one of my previous brides had gotten her dress there and it was near my work. Score! We picked a day when we had coinciding free lunch breaks and walked/bussed our way over.

It’s a pretty space, with hardwood floors and about 10 or so racks of dresses. I don’t know why I expected it to be a lot bigger but it was actually pretty small and only had 2 changing/dressing areas in the back. Diane helped me and she had gave me a little bag of pink clips and told me to clip the styles I liked. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I had brought a few magazine tear-outs and a few printouts of styles I liked… but those stayed in the purse. We got there around 11:45 and that was bad timing because two other girls had come in at 11 and were there til about 12:30 or so.

Lesson learned #1: Make appointments ahead of time!

The racks were set up by style or flare, with the ballroom/big poofy dresses on one end, the mermaid/trumpet style in the middle, and then the more A-line and column dresses on the other end. I made a point to look through all of the racks, twice. The first time through, I clipped about 8 or 9 dresses and then the second time through, I took off a few of the clips and ended up with 5. After a scan of both the dresses and their prices, I knew I wasn’t going to find my “dream dress” here, so I made it a point to try on different types of dresses to get a feel for what kind of styles and materials I liked.

No pictures, for now, but conclusions and thoughts for the next salon:

  • No duchess silk satin (too heavy) and nothing too thin
  • Try regular silk satin
  • No column, mermaid, or trumpet styles
  • I liked A-line and modified A-lines- try more of these
  • Unlike this dress, most v-necks go way too low for my liking
  • Almost everything has a low, low back

I have not lost all hope! I’m going to visit Bay Area Bridal and Trudy’s this weekend… *crosses fingers*

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let the planning begin

January 29, 2010

So… I’m engaged!

Eeeeeeeeee I know, right?

The first night was a lot of happy tears, laughing, a LOT of text messages, a delicious dinner at Skates on the Bay, then hanging out with friends and telling the story.

Then… pretty much the next morning, planning mode kicked in.
Because boy-fiance is dental school bound (Fall 2010), we wanted to get married early enough that we’ll have time to honeymoon, move (potentially across the country/state/bay) and for him to start doing research this summer. Crazy, right? We then factored in the wedding dates of about five other friends in June, July, and August and consulted Ingrid (of Jerry Yoon photography fame) for their availability and that left us with a few dates to choose from.

April 24, May 22, and May 29… which are 83, 112, and 119 days away from today, respectively. And instead of talking about how crazy this is, I’m just going to start planning! I’ve been doing SoCal venue research since August or September and have a fabulous Google Doc with my list of possible venues. We’re going to down to SoCal the first two weekends of February to hopefully take care of 1) venue/date 2) parents-meeting-parents (x2 since my parents are divorced & remarried) and 3) my dress!

Stay tuned!

more white dress thoughts

January 16, 2010

Now, don’t hold me to this, but I think I’m going to opt for a non-strapless gown. I want to make some kind of hugely broad generalization and say that 90% of wedding dresses these days seem to be of the strapless variety, but for a lot of different reasons… I’m thinking of going for something a little different.

I did a wedding dress survey of on Amelia Lyon’s blog because I noticed she seems to shoot a lot of LDS weddings and apparently LDS weddings require covered shoulders or something like that. Anyway, it provided a lot of examples of what is possible outside the realm of plane jane strapless white dress. By the way, I really really like Amelia Lyon’s style and editing and everything… If something ever happened to Jerry & Ingrid, I’d probably try to make friends with her :)

Nancy’s dress:

Now, this dress is not an LDS dress by any means… but I think it’s the most beautiful dress I’ve ever seen. I can’t possibly imagine wearing one like it, but it really made me stop and admire it’s beauty. I mean, WOW right?!

Anyway, an easy solution to add sleeves is just to put on a shrug… and I’m thinking this can be done tastefully and in a way where the shrug and dress compliment each other, like Alicia’s dress:

I’m not a huge fan of the bodice with the lace or beading/embellishments, but the overall fit/style I like.

The next two dresses are interesting. I’m not sure how these dresses have sleeves, but it looks like they were originally strapless gowns and they had an alteration done where sleeves were added???

Kaitlyn’s:

Very simple with no lace/embellishments and just some wrapping action… right?

and Kelly’s:

I like the way her dress and her veil look together… (the/a veil is definitely a topic that will be further addressed at a later date)

I’m definitely curious to find out how much this costs and how easy it is to do… can it be done to any kind of fabric or are there a lot of specifics involved? This would potentially be a good solution because there are SO MANY STRAPLESS DRESSES… okay, I’m going to stop saying that (even though it’s true).

Then, there are dresses that are actually made with sleeves!

3/4 sleeves like Morgan’s:

If you click through, you can see the details of her dress. I don’t like the design on the bodice, but I really like what it looks like from this perspective.

or short sleeves like Jenn’s:

So cute! I’m actually surprised by how much I like this dress… so here are some more images:

I started this post thinking I didn’t like the whole drop-waist trumpet style… and I’m not sure if this is that, exactly… but I think I like how this dress fits! … doh. What am I saying? I have to try it on. Body shape plays such a big part in the fit! Well, just a thought.

I didn’t notice this feathery detail before, and I’m not sure I’m crazy about feathers, but I definitely see why there needs to be something special at the focal point since the lines of the dress point to that corner.

Another shot of how the dress fans out.

As I was scrolling through weddings, I came across this dress- Stephanie’s:

I’m not a fabric expert, but I’m guessing this dress has flow-y chiffon at the bottom, giving it a totally different look from the more structured silk(?) type materials. Pretty, no?

As I’ve been told, a preliminary visit to a bridal salon to try on dresses and get an idea about preferences is crucial… but just thought this would be a good way to think some things through and bookmark my favorites.

Despite planning and coordinating dozens of weddings over the past few years, I’ve never been involved in the whole dress decision for one reason or another. To be completely frank, I’ve grown rather bored of wedding dresses and have probably said that I don’t care about it… which is a lie. Of course I care! I just care a lot more about the photographer (love) and dessert and venue and paper and… you get my drift. I just don’t have as many preferences about the dress!

After a friend’s wedding, the boyfriend made an offhand remark about how everyone’s dress looks the same and proceeded to describe the “typical” dress (strapless, low back, lowered-waist, etc). I didn’t realize how right he was until I started to scroll through my Google Reader and grew even more bored with wedding dresses. Horrible, right? I feel like the dress is “supposed to be” the most glamorized, girly, exciting part of the wedding (a la “Say Yes to the Dress”)… but maybe just not for me?

I’m now torn between a few different dress philosophies:

1) I don’t care about the dress, so I won’t invest too much thought, money, or time in it. Go to David’s Bridal or some other XYZ Bridal Salon and find a non-designer dress, get it altered (inevitably), and be done with it.

Cost: probably less than $500 and 1 day of trying on, deciding, then getting alterations there or somewhere else

2) I don’t like most dresses and don’t want to spend a lot of money, but I’ll try really hard to do something different and go the resourceful-determined path of ebay/craigslist-ing and pre-owned wedding dresses to hopefully find something cheap(er) and unique that I love.

Cost: probably less than $500 but a lot more time spent researching/searching/trying on and then getting alterations done separately

3) I want to get married in less than 6 months and although I don’t care that much about the dress, I should! Find a free weekend to go to SoCal and visit the LA Koreatown bridal salons (like Glamour Closet or Bella Wedding) where you can rent a high-quality, designer dress (or even one custom-made).

Cost: probably closer to $1000 and hopefully 1 day of trying on dresses and it sounds like most of these places handle alterations in-house

Don’t get me wrong, I love dresses and dressing up! It’s just a lot of money for a dress that I’ll never want to or get to wear again. There’s also the issue of, who am I going to go shopping with?? My mom is not the biggest fan of shopping but if I shop in SoCal, all of my future-bridesmaids are either in NorCal or abroad.

More thoughts on the dress to come…

nom nom dessert nom nom

January 15, 2010

This is a BEAUTIFUL wedding shot by Jasmine Star and then published and lauded multiple times. I recently started looking at wedding planner blogs and landed at JL Designs… and look what I found, more beautiful wedding with benches! BENCHES! Okay sorry, this is about dessert.

Apparently this Carissa is self-proclaimed (or self-blogged) “die hard sweet-tooth” and she’s not kidding! Beautiful desserts from their wedding done by a combination of their caterer, Vanilla Bakeshop, and a central California bakery, The Dotted Apron.

Yum, yum, yum.

Mini peach pies- so beautifully and carefully made! Everything mini is.

Milk shooters with home-made chocolate chip cookies

Brownie pops

Cinnamon sugar donut holes

Baby banana splits!!! This is adorable.

I can’t imagine trying to eat all of this in one day, but I bet I could try…

more bouquet thoughts

January 14, 2010

Surprise surprise, there were more interesting bouquet images in my Google Reader. Yay!

Leila from Inspired By This (Be Inspired PR) did a post with some bouquets by La Partie Events… which of course sparked a lot of thoughts.

Another Stephanie Williams bouquet:

I must be biased toward yellow, but wanted to point out that this bouquet is also cute… yellow fabric/ribbon (whatever it is, it’s not shiny!) and pretty green stems. Lovely.

I liked these pictures by KLK Photography and thought about whether or not I’d want my stems not as tightly bound and more loose and free like this. I think these look really nice too, maybe also because this is a more casual-feeling portrait. If I was having a more casual, informal wedding, I think I’d consider the loose stems… but with somewhat more traditional future-in-laws… I have a feeling everything’s going to be more formal (which is not a bad thing! just a decision that won’t have to be made).

Here’s a bouquet I spotted on a wedding posted on The Bride’s Cafe. I thought the rope/twine/etc was a nice alternative to fabric and also keeps it neutral.

Another example of rope from EA Designs:

photo by Susan Stripling

I’m not sure why I’m on such a bouquet wrapping posting spree… I must be a little preoccupied, huh?

NAMW: thoughts on bouquets

January 13, 2010

Today I did a little survey of bouquets by looking through some of the most recent weddings on Stephanie Williams’ blog and made a couple of conclusions.

As previously mentioned, I’m not huge on flowers. I really can’t name names but I realized that I do have preferences about how the bouquet STEM looks. Small and insignificant right? Here goes anyway!

Here’s an example of something that definitely falls into the “Not At My Wedding” category:

Julie & Patrick’s wedding

It’s actually not the green succulents that I don’t like- those are interesting. What I really don’t like is the fully-covered stems! It looks so… weird and foreign.

Here’s another example of something I definitely DO NOT want at my wedding:

Alex & Josh’s wedding

A little too much shiny satin for me. I love the little bit of stems you can see… but too much satin. I don’t like the shiny! I feel like the shiny-ness of the satin takes away from the natural beauty of the flowers.

And last but not least, the bride’s bouquet from Jordan & Josh’s wedding.

As a young “tomboy” growing up, I abhorred lace. I’ve slowly grown out of that misplaced hatred, but I still don’t think that the lace in the picture above fits very well. I definitely don’t have anything against pretty fabric, though, as you’ll see below.

Now, here are some more examples of bouquets I like a little more:

from Roni & Peleg’s wedding

I think this is a GORGEOUS bouquet! The white flowers are classic and the little bits of green and blue make it really pretty–not to mention the very pretty, tight, clean, green stems that show through. This is something classic that I would consider giving to my florist as a reference.

If I were to get a little more crafty and colorful… here’s what I might draw inspiration from:

These are actually the bridesmaids bouquets from the same wedding as the lace bouquet above. However… I like these! I’m not sure I like the lopsided feeling I get from the roses in the actual bouquet, but I love the touch of fabric that adds a little flair. I’m not sure if I’d have the time or want to take the effort to go find coordinating ribbon, but something to keep in the blog files!

If you haven’t heard of or perused Etsy before… you should! It’s tagline is: “Your place to buy and sell all things handmade.” There are TONS and TONS of items on Etsy- it reminds me of eBay in the sense that you kind of have to search in order to find treasure.

Some of the most well known Etsy shops, at least in the wedding world:

Hairpieces (Twigs & Honey)

Ceramic ring bowls (Paloma’s Nest)

Wedding cake toppers (Lollipop Workshop and RedLightStudio)

Tons of people buy purses, custom-made dresses, scarves, plates, art, etc, etc, etc. A very cool resource!

Anyway, saw this pretty custom hanger on a wedding post over at Ashley Rose’s blog:


Custom hangers made by Lila Frances… a very cute personalized touch. Maybe as a gift, too!

Thankfully most of my friends and family are centrally located in SoCal or NorCal… but I know that’s not the case for most people these days. With tons of out-of-town guests, flights, hotel accommodations, and out-of-town guest welcome bags suddenly become top priority. Okay, maybe not the welcome bags, but can definitely be a fun project to work on! Not to mention, most of it can be done way in advance.

Ruffled posted a handy dandy list of what they consider to be top 10 items for an OOT bag:

1. A Thank You card.
2. A Welcome note.
3. Water bottle.
4. A map (they’re often free). Also, a card with directions from the hotel to the venue.
5. Mints, snacks and treats.
6. Decent coffee (or tea). The Starbucks Via coffee comes in small packets of 3 and there’s also a pack of 48 for $34.95 on their website.
7. Tickets to a museum, movie or play, and a subway pass is your wedding is in NY. You can also find tourist guides for free!
8. Sunscreen if you’re having a beach wedding.
9. A weekend timeline if OOT guests are invited to rehearsal dinner and other wedding events.
10. Advil or Tylenol.

I think for me the top items would just be a Hello/Thank You note, water bottle (so no one has have to pay the hotel $5 for water that is essentially free from the tap), snacks and treats (you know how much I love snacks and treats, don’t you?), and an itinerary/map for the festivities.

Here are a couple examples of what people have done with it… creative containers, packaging, colors, etc.

From Elizabeth Anne

Also from Elizabeth Anne (can you see her Laura Hooper handmade map?)

It’d probably be a lot of fun making it all cute and presentable for the guests, but I think even doing this is in the spirit of hospitality and going above and beyond for your guests. Happy wedding guests = happy wedding!

pictures in puddles

January 9, 2010

An engagement shoot was posted over at Brooklyn Bride a while back and I just noticed it now. She drew attention to this shot using a puddle to see a reflection of the couple:

Beautiful indeed! But you know what? This photo just reminded me of Jerry & Ingrid, whom I absolutely adore. Trust me, I’m looking forward to doing multiple blog posts talking about how awesome and talented and kind and funny and insightful they are… but I’m going to wait til I have more people to tell it to!

Jerry & Ingrid have, I think, mastered the beautiful-picture-in-the-puddle-reflection shot. Don’t believe me? See for yourself:

Gorgeous, right? Trust me, it gets better.

LOOK AT THAT COLOR!!!!!

and if you aren’t convinced by the serious beautiful-ness of that picture, here’s the holy grail:

I have no words.