That was the sound of my monthly budget exploding from some rather significant expenses that all decided to hit within a few short weeks of each other. While we do have savings, apart from our wedding account, these were the sort of expenses that sent me into money panic and cost-cutting mode. I hate spending large quantities of money. I haaaaate seeing my bank account shrink. And it made me re-think some of the more expensive aspects of this wedding that I maybe don't want to shrink my bank account for. Like the dress.
So, this month is the month-of-exploring-cheapo-dress-options. Specifically, I saw a wedding dress I'd been half-eyeing from The Limited go on sale this past 4th of July weekend, and I figured "what the heck." For $200 ($100 off), it seems worth it to buy and try, since return shipping is only $6 if it doesn't work out. I'm going to make an appointment at the J Crew at the Grove (in LA, there's one J Crew where you can try on wedding dresses.) I'm going to order a few dresses from Nordstrom. And then, I'm going to compare them all to my two front-runner, sub-$1000 simple dresses from nearby salons and I'll see how I feel. Because if I can find a dress I love for about $300 instead of $800 (which is what my favorite salon dress is running, without tax or alterations) then I'll feel pretty darn awesome about my wedding attire, in more ways than one. At this point, my thrifty nature is in full gear singling LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU to all nagging thoughts of designer dress envy.
Remember, my event is early Spring, casual and outdoors. If this were a fancy-pants blog, my site might be described as "rustic-chic" and the theme as Modern So Cal Fiesta but, since this isn't a fancy-pants blog, let's just go with hilltop non-profit setting with papel picado and succulent decor. I need a dress that works within those design/atmosphere confines, that is comfortable enough to dance in all night, that doesn't have a train (since it's an outdoor site), that works with awesome accessories, and that has a flatters my slim-shoudered, pear shaped body. And yes, I definitely want a long dress. In general, I love short dresses. But for my wedding, I'm really feeling the elegance and longer lines of a long dress with my 5'9" height. Here are the current contenders.
This is currently my front-runner dress. I think it is simple-but-stylish, flattering, and classic all at once. Also, I could rock some personal accessories with an appropriate casual-but-awesome feel. However, it is $810. However, I also kinda love it. So all dresses are getting judged against this one and how fun it felt to twirl when I visited Bella Bridesmaid in Los Angeles (I highly recommend them!).
The model doesn't do this dress any favors, but it was entirely twirl-worthy and gorgeous in person. However, is was also $935, which is why it got slightly nudged down to second place after Saja. Also, I my shoulders and my waist are my best features, and I think the Saja dress does a slightly better job of emphasizing both.
This is the dress I ordered from the Limited. Normally $300, I caught it on a 4th of July sale for $200 and figured it was worth it to see if the ruffles make me happy in person or just in theory. Also, I bet I can eat and drink to my heart's content in this dress without worrying about unflattering later-night food-and-alcohol pooch. Not that I'll care, at that point in the evening, but the fewer photos I have to delete, the better.
It has the mermaid shape I like, a sweetheart neckline, ruffles, and a modern-casual flair. Also, it's $300. Survey says: definite possibility.
Flattering neckline (I like the harder-cut sweetheart-strapless options), drapey chiffon bits, and a $200 price tag. Yes, please.
This is obviously my out-of-left-field contender. But I like the mod ballgown thing here. And, if you visit the Nordstrom website, you'll see some really fun modern detailing on the bodice. It feels fun, playful, festive, and somehow still right. Don't ask me to explain. Also, it's $800, so I'd have to reaaaaaaally love it to keep it in contention.
And lastly, I tried this Sue Wong dress in-person at a local Bloomingdales and fell in love. Really, the flowy kick-out bit at the bottom and the sparkles did me in (yes, I was surprised by the sparkle-love too, but since I didn't feel like a chandelier had exploded all over the dress, I felt it was understated enough.) I fell in love enough to run home and gush with Jason about how I, the saleslady, and all the women in the dressing room were blown away. Alas, Jason was not. He got that wrinkly nose look that belied his "well, if you like it, you should get it" words. So, it is not meant to be mine, but I thought you should all know that it's currently on sale for $328 at Bloomingdales.
My thrifty soul has some hard decisions to make. Any additional recommendations to help me out?