Monday, August 16, 2010

Vote Your Favorite Dress!

This is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

During my hiatus from work, I made it a point to go shopping for a wedding dress. I felt bad that I didn't go to Running of the Brides event at Filene's Basement in Washington, DC. My girls were gung-ho for the event and quite a few of them took off work too. My plan had been to fight the crowd and walk out with my dress, but the problem is that I have such a hard time making decisions. Any decisions. Let alone picking my wedding dress in such a rushed fashion.

I decided I wasn't cut out for the event and that the process of finding my dress would be just that - a process. I booked an appointment at Leesburg Bridal and Tuxedo instead and geared up for a week of wedding dress shopping.

Leesburg Bridal and Tuxedo

1. Loved the variety of dresses!
2. Loved the attentive staff (they even sent me a thank you note)!
3. Loved having the store to myself!

I liked this shop so much that I went twice. Once with my stepmom and then again with my BMs and my MOH. Even though the store is really, really small, they have a ton of dresses! They carry a wide variety of designers and the staff are super nice and attentive.

My girls and I had a fabulous time. We tried on a bunch of gowns! We had the entire store to ourselves, because apparently it's really slow during the week and that made it a lot of fun. We were there for 3 hours! That's a long time, but it was fun times! Nobody complained.

Jeanette's Bridal 'N Tux Boutique

1. Loved the store. It's big and beautiful!
2. Didn't love the limited number of dresses.
3. Didn't love the size of the samples.

I went shopping again with my stepmom the very next day (I told you I was determined) to Jeanette's Bridal 'N Tux Boutique, which is a top-rated seller in this area. My stepmom purchased her gown from Jeanette's and lots (I mean lots) of her friends, their daughters, even coworkers found their dress there as well.

I absolutely loved the store. If you want the real bridal experience (something kind of like Kleinfields), head to Jeanette's Bridal! Just the appearance of the store is enough to catch your attention. The staff were fabulous and they really go out of their way to make dress shopping a memorable experience. We worked with a woman named Maria and she was very funny and attentive. She was determined to "make us cry!" She said "that's when you know!"

Unfortunately, I didn't feel the dress selection was as wide as I would have liked. There were a lot of nice gowns, but Leesburg Bridal and Tuxedo had a much better selection. I also felt that most all of the dresses at Jeannette's were small. None of the samples were fitting and that was pretty discouraging. 

1. Loved the owner. She's very knowledgable and sweet.
2. Didn't love the pressure to purchase.
3. Hated that we couldn't take a pictures of the gowns.

Tuesday I went shopping again. This time with my mom in Harrisonburg, VA, which is about 2 hours from Northern VA. We visited Anna Joy's Bridal and Formalwear, a big store privately owned and operated. We had the privelage of working with the owner, Ann was very helpful in helping us pick a favorite gown. She pulled out the perfect jewelry and veil to compliment the look, and for a moment, I thought I had found the one! That is until Ann started pressuring us to buy. 

"Why are you agonizing over this? You need to pick something and be done with it," she said. While she's absolutely right - I am agonizing - I knew what she was hinting at. Not to be mean, but she came off a little desperate for the sale. Especially when she explained why my mom couldn't take pictures of me in the dress. "Oh I've been burned so many times."

I totally get her point. Brides find their dream dress at Anna Joy's and then buy it somewhere else, and that's not cool. But at the end of the day, no picture meant I couldn't commit to buy. It was a total upset. Looking back, I'd probably have a gown by now if I had been allowed to get pictures. So while my favorite gown is at Anna Joy's, I don't have a picture of myself in it to share with you all :(

1. Loved the selection process.
2. Loved my assistant, Brooke.
3. Loved the sample sizes!

We left Ann's and headed to Reflections. Yes, we hit two in one day! I wasn't sure I was up for another go around, but we were really glad we made it to this next shop. The store is gigantic and they have the most awesome system for picking out the dresses you'll try on! Every dress in the store pictured and numbered in a binder. Brides flip through the book and write down the numbers they'd like to give a try. Genius.

We worked with a young girl named Brooke and she was sooo good! Brooke took her time with us and that made such a difference. Brooke worked on the corset of Dress B until I had a body I didn't recognize!!

One of my other favorite things about Reflections were their sample sizes! All of the dresses were a size 12 instead of 8, and I was in heaven!! It's so much easier to pick a dress when the dresses you try on actually fit. I could never understand why "samples," ran so small, when most women are my size or larger. We even had to clip a few because they were too big!! What a treat!!

Here's What I Got For All My Hard Work:

My overall dress shopping experience(s) have been great. At every single shop, I worked with a great attendant and found a favorite dress. The only let downs were because the was a 1. limited selection 2. pressure to buy or 3. sizes too small. Stuff I'm sure every bride has encountered whether they visited 1 or 100 stores.

I know what you're thinking.

You want to see pictures, right?

Well, since we're not doing a first look, I'm definitely taking a risk posting these photos. I honestly cannot make the decision for myself though. I'm totally confused and REALLY need your feedback. Please tell me your favorite. Share how you picked your gown. Be honest, but be kind :)














Which is your favorite?

Did you shop at multiple places before picking a gown?

What made it a good or bad experience?

The staff? Pictures? A great assistant?


ruthy ann said...

its between the first and second look great in both!!

Faith said...

i love #2 and then #1

Ally said...

not that they all arent absolutely beautiful but i can not go passed dress A, its just stunning and compliments your figure so much.


Kristin said...

Wow! All of those dresses have different, beautiful points about them. Sounds like you had a bit of a journey!

Genevieve said...

Dress A is amazing! I love dress B too, but I'm crazy for tulle overlays!

Kalika Brooke said...

Dress A seems to suit your body and personality the most, also it looks totally gorgeous on you, buy it!!!!

Erin*Sparkle&Hay said...

they are all spectacular and you look fabulous in them all; but you are glowing in dress A & D (those smiles - how gorgeous!)

i found dress shopping to be absolutely exhausting (mentally & physically) especially when the person who's opinion mattered the most to me couldn't be there to help (we are not doing a first look either) i went to 3 places and tried on nearly 30 dresses but ended up picking the 2nd dress i ever tried on!

Truly Engaging said...

A. You look amazing in it! Exquisite!

Lauren said...

You look great in all of them, but my favorites are B and A

Lady Grey said...

You're going to look gorgeous, whichever gown you choose!
My fave is dress number 1.... but you have to go with whichever one makes you feel the best!


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