Like Mother like Daughter

As part of my dress hunting weekend, I had the chance to try on my mother’s wedding dress from her wedding (which took place in April of 1980).

It fit me almost as though it were made for me.


No need for a bustle when you can carry the train around all night. Look at the high neck on this one- she was really risqué huh?


The best (weirdest?) part of this dress is the back with the train that starts at the neck. You could so have doubled the train for a cape if you wanted.

Another view of the train/cape


front view

It’s just fabulous!

Something else my mother and I have in common is that we both bought relatively cheap dresses (comparatively speaking). Hers cost her about a month’s rent and mine similarly cost me about what I pay for our rent. Not to shabby.

Did you get a chance to try on your mother’s dress? Any similarities between her shopping experience and yours?

Searching for Say Yes to the Dress: Day 5

Day 5 had my mother and I heading to our sixth bridal shop in two weeks (is that crazy- yes, probably but I’m pretty intense when I get started with a project, and I like to cross things off my list). We may have gotten a little lost (and there might have been a tense moment or two worrying about gas and a cell phone which was dying- this was important because the cell phone was providing our directions/gps), but we got there a minute late for our appointment (good thing I didn’t call to say I would be late- a minute is probably not what they expect when you say you will be late). It was good we got there when we did (at 1:30) because I used the whole time until they closed (4:00) for my appointment (well, actually we made them stay open until 4:05, but I think they forgave us). We went to the somewhat unfortunately named House of Brides in Woonsocket, RI (my father said the name sounded like a horror film, my sister thought it sounded like something else a little less PG rated). They were having their annual sale so it was great:


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Well, it was close to this- the dates were actually for October 20-23- and they were open on Sunday

I was hopeful that I could find one of these “bargain” dresses since my momma didn’t raise no fool and I love me a bargain (too much? I’m going with it anyway).

We could look through and pull from the sale racks and there was an entire room of dresses in the back that the bridal consultant pulled from based on my answers to a few questions and feedback from some of the gowns I tried on. Each bride got their own dressing room and each dressing room had a few seats and that pedestal thing and a mirror so you could see if you thought it was “worthy” enough to make a trip to the big mirror in front of the salon (there was only one of these, so I did occasionally have to take turns with other brides- especially when one had her “moment” and was crying up there- that’s ok though, my momma also taught me how to share and be happy for other people- so I was thrilled that the girl got to have her moment). The décor was great- we were told most of it was original to when the store opened in 1954 and it looked very classy. The women who worked there were not super young (the store owner and youngest worker there was probably around my mother’s age) so I was a little hesitant about how this was going to go and if they would get my taste at all. I was especially worried when they got me into the dressing room and had me change into a strapless corset and a slip (where do they even find those?). At this point I was very concerned about what century they thought this was and how any of the dresses from this store were going to be.


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This is the corset they put you in! It was a very uncomfortable few minutes, esp with my mom in the room. Thank goodness they gave you the slip for modesty (kidding- sort of- I guess it helped but I wasn’t feeling all too modest in the strapless corset) It did slim me down though.

Fortunately their dresses, and selection, was much better than I thought it would be based on first impression (sorry, I just got weirded out by the corset thing- maybe that’s just a me thing). Though I didn’t like the sale samples I tried on, they did have the Cassablanca line, and since it was RI there was no sales tax, automatically saving $50+ dollars (there is a 6.25% sales tax on clothing over $175 in MA –which a bridal gown almost always is from a bridal store). Plus because of the big sale they might be more inclined to offer deals on some of the other gowns. It came down to two dresses, both by Cassablanca.

There was the 1992, my favorite from the day before:

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Sidenote: that choker is not a good look- who styles these people?

And the 1900:

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The dress I tried on was Champagne with a Champagne satin sash and Ivory lace details. The Champagne satin under the lace really allowed you to see the lace detailing and the swiss dots which I totally loved (not really visible in pictures). There was some beadwork on the bodice and the lace, which made the dress subtly sparkle. I thought it would be too much, but it was actually pretty subdued in “real life” and just added a nice touch.

There is an interesting (ok, somewhat interesting, at least to me) story of how this even got into the mix. The bridal consultant asked me what my favorite dress had been so far and I told her it was the Cassablanca 1992. She pulled the 1900 for some reason thinking that is what I had said (she actually told us it was the 1990 and it took some time for me to figure out what number it really was). I actually really didn’t like it on the hanger, but decided to try it on anyway just for fun. So it was sort of fate that I was even tying it on.

I went back and forth between the two dresses. The owner of the shop, who had remained quite on some of the other dresses I tried on in the “big mirror” in front of the store actually told me what a beautiful dress the 1900 was on me when I walked out. When she was told it was down to that and one other dress, she closed her eyes to be “surprised” by the reveal of the second dress (the 1992 from the previous day), and gave her honest opinion that the 1900 looked better on me. How do I know it was an honest opinion? Because I would think that the owner of the store would want to get the most money. The 1992 cost about $300 more than the 1900, so if she had just wanted to make a sale, she would have pushed the more expensive dress. This is not what she did though, and the opinion of her, and the other consultants, was great feedback and clearly was not “sale based,” though they of course wanted to get a sale. What really did it for me was the fact that they offered to sell me the sample, which was my correct size, at 17% off the original price, bringing the dress about $450 UNDER my budget (wahoo) and the fact that it was a “one time offer” and “some other bride could buy the dress.” I wouldn’t have done it had I not looked at so many others. I must have tried on over 50 dresses easily, and this one seemed the most “me.” I didn’t cry or have an emotional moment (and neither did my mother- guess we are those kinds of people), but I knew that this was the dress for me. When I pictured walking around the beautiful orchards of Brooksby Farms with this dress, it just felt right. They actually had you “say yes to the dress” which was a cute/cheesy touch and everyone cheered. It turns out that every bride who came in that Sunday bought a dress, how great is that?

I will not post pictures of me in the dress, as Mr. Fenway does read this blog from time to time. He has seen the dress on the model though (at his request-but he won’t see me in it until the wedding), though I maintain it looks different when it is actually on me and I have some changes I am going to have made to the dress to personalize it even more for my tastes. It definitely needs alterations (shortening and a bustle at the very least) and I might think about changing the neckline a bit and I am definitely making some small changes to the back, but overall it is just perfect. I love it and I am so glad to have such a major thing crossed off my list. Now it’s on to accessories!

Bonus: Mr. Fenway found out the appliqués were Chantilly lace and immediately pulled this up on You Tube:

(which of course I had never heard before)

Did you have a “this is the one” moment, or was your decision a little harder? Was six times the charm for you or did you look at more or less places? Did your dress remind your Significant Other of an old song?

Miss something?
See the back story on why I started my dress search so early
See how Day 1 of searching went
Weekend One of dress shopping continued in Day 2 of searching
I decided I needed an extra day and went for the trifecta on Day 3
Day 4 brought me very close to my “the one”

Searching for Say Yes to the Dress: Day 4

I was back the next weekend to look at more places. I hadn’t had the “this is the one” feeling yet, and while I liked many of the dresses, I hadn’t loved any of them so I was back to try out some more.

Saturday morning we started our search with Infinite Bridal Botique in Webster, MA. The women who owns the shop was super nice and very eager to please. She also did all the alterations herself so that was unique in the bridal search as most places had an outside consultant who would come in. This was another small shop and they only carried the Impression Bridal Collection which I had honestly never heard of before. I picked this place mainly because of its close proximity to my hometown making it an easy shop to get to early in the morning. One of my cousins joined us on this trip and it was fun to get another person’s ideas and input as well. This was surprisingly challenging for us to find (thank you iPhone for your helpful maps telling us we were a minute walk away that ultimately helped us find it- yes, we were in the gas station literally right next to the shop and hadn’t seen it. I never said I was the most observant of people). It was small and she had a limited amount of dresses to try on, but you could order from the books. The prices were very reasonable, however. You could pull all the dresses here, in fact I don’t know that the owner pulled any for me to try on- I think my mother and cousin pulled them all for me. We don’t have any pictures from here but I can remember some of the dresses I tried on from looking through the “gallery” on the site.

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This was my cousin’s favorite from that shop. I liked the interesting lines on the top and the sweetheart neckline, but the bottom of the dress didn’t do much for me. It also might have been to “formal” feeling for our more rustic elegant wedding.


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This one was a little too simple for me. I feel like you need a really luxe fabric for something this simple and this fabric, while nice, was certainly not luxe. It was very light though.

Those were the two I know I definitely tried on, but I tried on many others there too. None of them were really contenders for me. My mother said she would be worried if the shop would be there in six months when dresses come in, and I tend to agree. For example, one of the dresses I tried on was too small and instead of saying she would order it in a different (aka correct) size, she just talked about how she could probably alter the sample dress to fit me. That kind of sent up a read flag to me. Again, the women who ran the shop was super nice and I wish her all the best, but I wasn’t completely secure in buying anything from that shop.

That afternoon, we traveled to bridal shop number two of the day, Elegance by Carbonneau in Worcester. We were met with an incredibly helpful consultant. I feel like they had such an overwhelming selection of dresses that we barely tapped the surface. They also have an incredibly expansive website with all their prices listed, which I found very helpful. Two of my cousins joined my mother and me for this search. While we were allowed to take pictures, that is not their normal policy so I wouldn’t feel right posting (in fact I think it’s probably wicked wrong since they were nice enough to let us “break the rules” to take them in the first place). The pictures are very helpful for my reference, however. Here, I had a “top 3” that I was able to narrow down to a “top one”- yay me I’m finally getting better at this!

Here were the runners up:


Jasmine T292 front

Jasmine T292 back
(Source– for both above photos)

This one was very simple and very pretty- and I totally loved that it had pockets! The buttons in the back really got me too. The buttons went all the way down the train (hard to tell in the pic above) and I thought that was a super great detail. I loved that it had a little bit at the top, but not too much, and the material was really great. The train also wasn’t overwhelming so that was nice. What wasn’t great is that on me, the band hit at just the right place to make me look hippy. It poofed out and made me look even hippier (again, totally a word) than I am.

Cassablanca 1971 front


Cassablanca 1971 back
(Source – for both images)

This is what we referred to as the “first dress” since it was the first one I pulled and the first one I tried on. I liked it a lot more than the lukewarm reaction it got from the other members of my “search committee,” but I agreed with them that the “finalist” dress looked better. This had a lot going on at the top and I wasn’t sure that I wanted it (though looking back it looks strikingly similar to the dress I did go with, hmmm- Spoiler- I did decide on a dress- yay this saga has an end). My faces are all kind of “eh” in this one:


Cropped personal pic showing lovely facial expression. Also note that I must not do this chin to shoulder pose as it’s not really flattering.

Finalist:


Cassablanca 1992- front


Cassablanca 1992 back

(Source for both images)

This dress was the contender. I loved it more than the other dresses that day, and actually more than any other dress I had tried on up until this point. I loved the sweetheart neckline and the fact that it was simple at the top and that the middle was where all the drama was. Also, the different tone on the middle portion of the dress made me look thinner (never a bad thing) and the dress wasn’t all that heavy to wear either. A great detail (that you can’t see in pics above) was the crystal buttons that went from the waist until meeting with the top part of the lace design. I officially decided I really liked zip up dresses and buttons after looking at this dress.


Cropped personal pic- much happier face!

Note: This salon did not tell you the names/numbers of the dress you picked out. They wrote it on a card and kept it on file for you. I, however, am good at looking through their website and finding the dresses I tried on. All images are sourced through the Elegance by Carbonneau website to try to give as much credit to this great store as possible. Also, I feel compelled to mention that they have an amazing package deal if you decide on a dress on your first visit there (discounts of 15% on almost everything- and a $25 store credit) but I cannot make decisions like that. They also offer a similarly good deal (though slightly less impressive, 10% off almost everything and you lose the store credit) if you buy the dress on your second visit. There might be more, but that was what I can remember and they didn’t give a handout of what exactly the discounts were.

So after five different visits to various bridal salons, I had finally narrowed it down to a favorite. We had one more place scheduled for Sunday- House of Brides in Rhode Island which was having their “annual sale” (music to my ears) and carried the Cassablanca line so I was hopeful that I would be able to find a great deal (I love me a bargain- say sale and everything instantly looks better!). If not, I would probably be planning a return trip to Elegance by Carbonneau to try on (and maybe purchase) the dress.

Did you get better at narrowing down your choices after visiting a few places? Or were you always good at it?

Miss something?
See the back story on why I started my dress search so early
See how Day 1 of searching went
Weekend One of dress shopping continued in Day 2 of searching
I decided I needed an extra day and went for the trifecta on Day 3

Musical Mondays: First Dance Song?

We think we might have finally decided on a first dance song.  You may remember the Band of Horses Song No One’s Gonna Love You that I posted as a potential song awhile back.

For reference, watch the video below.

 

 

While listening to the Cee Lo Green CD with my sister and her boyfriend (while they were bringing me back to Boston after a weekend of dress shopping- thanks guys!) I heard that song again.

 

While I truly love the original, Cee Lo’s version is much more danceabale (Mr. Fenway and I even tried it out for a bit last night- and determined we might have to work on our dance moves a bit).  It also seems like a good fit for us because Mr. Fenway has been a Cee Lo fan for years (he prefers more of his earlier stuff, which I know nothing about).  It seems like a good way to get the song I liked in a version that he highly approves of.  As of right now, I think this is our front runner song.  I will keep you updated should we change our minds about this :-).

I know there is some controversy surrounding this version from many people who prefer the original version, but different tastes make the world go round and for us, this version makes more sense than the original.

How did you come up with your first dance song?   Did it involve elements that represented a mix of you and  your significant other?

Searching for Say Yes to the Dress: Day 3

I was having so much fun bridal shopping that I took a personal day on Monday to keep going. (In my defense, I have to use the hours by the end of the year or I lose them, but I really just wanted an excuse to keep on looking.)

Monday started out by a visit to my mother’s “club” for a morning of water aerobics and “land aerobics” classes. This served to show me even more how out of shape I am and how truly pathetic my upper body strength is. (Plus I learned I have very little “core” strength- I should probably try to remedy that in the near future, maybe with that new gym membership?).

After our morning of exercise, we devoted the afternoon to Pronuptia Bridals in Worcester. It was very easy to find, even for my mother and I who are not always good at (read terrible) at finding new places. The women there was also super nice and very helpful. It’s so great to be treated like someone special when you enter a shop. Here, you could pull dresses and they also pulled some for you. It wasn’t a huge shop, but they had a pretty good selection. There were 4 dressing rooms and only one “large mirror” with pedestal to look at so I imagine it could get busy on a weekend, but on a Monday afternoon only one other bride was there so it was not too bad (not too much time waiting to look in the mirror). They also allowed you to take pictures here which I liked. Again, please excuse the awkward head angles and facial expressions. Someone should teach me how to pose for better pictures before our wedding.

If you don’t want to see me in any wedding dresses

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Searching for Say Yes to the Dress: Day 2

Day 2 was an early day again, but this shop was much closer. We started the day by breakfast out at Bill’s Bread and Breakfast an awesome bakery/breakfast place (apparently they have lunch too, but I think of it for breakfast since that is always when I have gone- their muffins are so good btw- totally check it out if you are ever in Putnam, CT) with my Dad and my sister’s boyfriend joining us before we went our separate ways (since they had no interest in the dress shopping).

We went to the Trink-et Shoppe in Danielson CT, a store we have been frequenting on and off for years (some of those many prom dresses came from here) and they have recently (in the past 3 years I guess- that’s recent to me) started doing bridal along with the formal they had been doing.

The woman her was super nice and very helpful. Again, you got to go through and pull your own gowns to try on. She kind of let you do that more than some of the other places and she would help lace me in and zip me up which was nice. Again, you got a lot of personal attention here and she even opened up the store 2 hours early for my appointment (and I used all of those 2 hours- there are a lot of dresses!). This place let you take pictures. Please forgive my face/pose in most of these. I need some lessons on how not to pose in the most unattractive way ever before my wedding.

If you don’t want to see me in any wedding dresses:

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