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.
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.
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.
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?
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