Special Announcement: Bridal Sale- TODAY!

As you know, I LOVE online sales (see here, here, here) so I just have to share the deal that came in my inbox today.

These online bridal shops are great and can have super deals- in fact, at the last one I purchased five Priscilla of Boston gift certificates to use with bridesmaid dresses, saving me a total of $375- w00t!

Does anyone else know of any great deals going on now, or coming soon??

 

 

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Bridesmaid dress shopping: marathon sessions at Priscilla of Boston

After journeying to Minnesota and tentatively choosing a dress at Priscilla of Boston, I flew back to San Francisco and sent off emails to all my maids (five in total!) asking their opinions on the dress I had picked out. It was important to me that all the maids liked the dress (or at least could tolerate it) since they would be paying for it.

Unfortunately, that is where we ran into two slight problems. The first being that a few of my bridesmaids actually didn’t like the gown and the second being that after reviewing it for a while, hemming & hawing, I decided I had some concerns also! I was worried that it might look too “full” and create a “wall of fabric” when all my maids were lined up next to me.

OH NO! She haz changed her mindz...AGAIN! Photo credit to Hubpages.

Sooo…..what’s a gal to do? I really loved the styling of the dresses at PB and did *not* feel like looking anywhere else, so I simply went to PB and tried on every (Yes EVERY) dress in the store which I thought might work for the wedding. I also went one step further and asked my sister Caitlin to visit the PB near her in Ohio so that she could try on dresses and send me photos, AND I asked my bridesmaid Susan (the only one who loved in SF) to come with me to PB one afternoon to try on a few as well. I have to send a HUGE thank you to my sister Caitlin, because she really went above and beyond in helping me with this process- thank you, THANK YOU! 🙂

Now, without further ado, here are the dresses at Priscilla of Boston which, after many a marathon try-on session, ended up being the top contenders for the Andersoen Wedding:

This is STYLE PB321V2, which we affectionately named "the hot dress"- because when people tried it on, they felt hot! (Although I kinda look more like a "hot mess" here, right? lol) I am trying on the taffeta version here, but it does also come in satin.

This is STYLE PB431, or what we referred to as the "tie dress", because it had a tie in the front. It doesn't look especially flattering on me here, but it looked great on everyone else. It's one of my fav PB dresses.

This is STYLE PB418, or what we called "the flower dress" (for again, obvious reasons). This dress has a fuller front but a mermaid style back- interesting.

In the end I rejected the flower dress and put the final two options (the hot dress and the tie dress) up for a vote from the ‘maids. Can you guess which dress received the most votes and will be featured at the Andersoen wedding? 🙂

Was your bridesmaid dress search also plagued with crazy-indecision?

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White by Vera Wang (a bridesmaid’s dream come true?)

Hopefully you have all heard of the White by Vera Wang collection of wedding gowns at David’s Bridal. No? Check them out- now! 🙂

I love this dress from the "White by Vera Wang" Spring 2011 collection at David's Bridal; it's SO romantic. And what a steal, priced at $1000!!

And while you are at it (or, if you already have the wedding gown nailed down) check out the NEW Vera Wang bridesmaid dresses at David’s Bridal, part of the White by Vera Wang Fall 2011 Collection- arriving in stores June 22nd.

Exciting! Screenshot from DB website.

These dresses are BRAND NEW designs and, I’m sure, will be beautiful and affordable.

Another bridesmaid dress from the White by Vera Wang collection, coming soon!

Too bad I already decided on our bridesmaid gowns, or I would be heading over to DB myself!

Has anyone else seen any photos of the new Vera Wang bridesmaid collection for DB? What do you think of the two photos we have here- a bridesmaid’s dream come true, or more of the same?

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Bridesmaid Dress Shopping: Minneapolis Bound!

After my experience at Siri and my online research, I was armed to go shopping one last time (hopefully!!) and pick out dresses. My main targets were dresses with structured, shiny fabrics (like taffeta) that would compliment my bridesmaids and my dress.

Taffeta has a rep of being from the 80s, but I say it works! Although...maybe not really here. Photo credit Women's Day.

Luckily, I had a flight voucher so in April, over Easter Weekend, I flew home to the Midwest for a shopping excursion with my sister & maid of honor, Alyssa. I got into Minneapolis rather late in the evening and crashed at a local hotel, waking in the morning to Alyssa’s phone call alerting me that she and my mom were almost there. Once they got up to my room, my mother suddenly mentioned that she had to go run a quick errand and would be right back. Huh?

That quick errand was picking up my sister Caitlin (and other Maid of Honor) at the airport!! Caitlin flew in from Ohio as a surprise, specifically to help me with shopping. How great was that?!

SO- now with both MOH in tow, we were ready for some serious shopping. My mother had set up all the appointments (thanks mom!) and we quickly set off for the first one…

Rush’s Bridal, Downtown Minneapolis
This was a cute little wedding boutique with a MASSIVE selection. We took a quick perusal of the wedding dresses (they were begggging to be looked at) and the shop’s selection & prices seemed fantastic. I would highly recommend this store as a stop on the search for a wedding dress.
Once we started looking at bridesmaid dresses, we all became a bit overwhelmed with the selection. I kept telling my sisters “pick anything to try on, I want you to be happy with the dress!” and they kept telling me “tell us what you want us to try on, we’ll try on anything!” Sounds nice, everyone being so accommodating, but it’s actually a recipe for debilitating indecision.

Photo of Rush's Bridal, from store website. Even though we didn't find success here, I would HIGHLY recommend this store for other brides & bridesmaids. The selection and atmosphere were really fantastic.

We were able to pick a few dresses to try from the Dessy Group, but nothing really struck us and with everyone getting a bit cranky we left to journey forth to our next stop.

Our Shop, Stillwater Minnesota
Our Shop has a fairly large selection of wedding dresses & Mother of the Bride dresses (I have a suspicion we will be visiting this store in the near future to help my mother with her shopping…) but a rather small number of bridesmaid dresses. The store representative helping us explained that they found over the years that Besole & B2 bridesmaid dresses (from Jasmine Bridal) had the best dresses that flattered every figure.

Our Store only carries bridesmaid dresses from Besole & B2. Both of these lines are from Jasmine Bridal Designs. Photo is a screenshot from Jasmine Bridal, Besole style number L4056.

Unfortunately, we were just not into the more flowy styles offered by Besole & B2, so this was a rather short stop for us! Again, even though we didn’t find success here I would highly recommend this store if you were into the look of Besole & B2 and/or in the market for bridal gowns or mother of the bride dresses. On to our last stop of the day!

Priscilla of Boston, Edina Minnesota
During my internet search for the perfect bridesmaid dresses, I kept seeing PB dresses that were seriously drool-worthy. I loved how elegant and sharp they looked; they were reminiscent of the Siri dresses I loved, but with a slightly smaller pricetag. So I was seriously looking forward to visiting Priscilla of Boston in Edina.

One of the many inspirational photos I found of PB dresses.

And, I am happy to report, the store did not disappoint. The service was great, atmosphere super elegant; all in all, a fantastic visit. So fantastic in fact, that we found a dress which all three of us (MOHs & I) agreed on!

This dress is Vineyard Style 1422 on the PB website. Gorgeous!

On top of our mutual “like” for the dress, it was on sale- 20% off in celebration for the Royal Wedding. We all know how the Andersoens love a sale, so this HAD to be the dress we ended up buying, right? Right?!

Well, this wouldn’t be a tale from the Andersoen blog if it ended there. Although we had 99% decided on this dress, it ended up getting rejected in the end. For the story of how that happened and what we DID end up purchasing, stay tuned!

Did anyone else find particular stores or designers that they would recommend to others out there who are searching for the perfect bridesmaid gown?

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Bridesmaid dress shopping: The long and short of it.

There have been quite a few times when my ideas, which are slightly contemporary, have clashed with typical wedding traditions. It’s gotten to the point that when my mother talks about my wedding to her friends, she always adds in the qualifying statement “well, you know..they have a lot of different ideas since they live in San Francisco.*”

If you haven't seen this video of a "dancing wedding entrance" - you need to. Talk about nontraditional! And apparently this couple is from Minnesota 'ta boot'! 🙂

One of my “crazy, non-traditional, completely wacky” ideas was that we should consider short bridesmaid dresses. What?! I know- insane, right?

Although I thought short wedding dresses were the new normal, traditionally short dresses could be considered more “slightly informal and more common for summer weddings”. During my quest for the perfect bridesmaid dress I can’t tell you how many times I heard statements like:
– “Well, you could have short dresses if you really wanted them….but it is going to look silly. And how will people be able to tell the bridesmaids apart from the wedding guests?”
– “Short dresses? Your bridesmaids will freeze! It can get cold in September.”
– “Short dresses might show your bridesmaid’s knees- that is just not done. Maybe for a garden party wedding, but not at a church!!”

<sigh> With all this advice floating around, I honestly got to a point where I wasn’t even sure if I wanted short or long dresses. To help me clear my head and really hone in on what I envisioned for my wedding, I scoured the net for inspirational wedding party photos. Here are some of my favorite images:

I love the composition of this photo. Photo credit to Delightfully Engaged.

Super cute and sassy! These dresses look so elegant and clean. I think the similar styling that all the girls have really ties it together. Photo credit Style Me Pretty.

This was the photo that made me want to make all the girls get the same shoes. Adorable! Photo credit The Wedding Shoebox.

Love the shoes here; what a nice pop of red! This photo really drives home that you can have mismatched bridesmaids and still have it look really cohesive. Photo Credit Emily Schiesl Events.

Very elegant. All the girls look great and the sheen of the fabric really gives it a fancy flair. Photo Credit Luster Studios.

These BM dresses are from Priscilla of Boston and look f.a.n.t.a.s.t.i.c. One thing that I think really helps this photo work is that while the bridesmaids dresses are fuller, the bride's dress is more tailored. Love the styling too! Photo Credit Style Me Pretty.

Inspired? I was! My main takeaways from this research exercise were the following:
– In my opinion, long or short doesn’t seem to makes a big difference in terms of elegance or formality.
– Shiny fabrics (satin, taffeta) seem to give a really fancy flair that I love. Chiffon is great, but for me it does seem like more of a spring/summer fabric.
– Styling makes a HUGE difference! The main reason all these photos POP for me is because the styling is well done and the posing is natural, and yet artistic.
– I do like the more matchy-matchy looks better. I think mismatch is awesome, it’s just not my personal preference.

With all of this information, I was armed to go shopping..again! Did you find any particular inspiration which helped you decide bridesmaid dresses?

And, an even bigger question in my mind, did your wedding ideas conflict with any traditions that you were “supposed” to follow? 🙂

*Not that geography makes me any more “contemporary” than the Midwest, but it’s a great excuse for my craziness! lol

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Special Announcement! Etsy alchemy substitutes.

We interrupt the *bridesmaid blast* with a special announcement concerning the Etsy alchemy feature!

For those newbies out there, Etsy is a *wonderful* crafting/art community with the mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers. Perfect for locating that handmade wedding item you were searching for! One of the best features of Etsy, imho, was the alchemy section where one could easily request custom work. Now, unfortunately the alchemy feature has been on hiatis for 2011, as the Etsy team is working on revamping the feature. In the meantime, how is a gal (or guy!) supposed to request custom pieces, such as custom wedding invitation designs?

Hence this special announcement! My latest wedding project is working on the invitations (OMG- and I thought STDs were a lot of work!!!) and since the Andersoens like to be difficult and are not artistically inclined, we are (of course!) looking to get custom invitations created and during this process, I have discovered a few new “alchemy substitutes” that I would like to share with you.

1. Custom Order Corner- The New Etsy Alchemy: A few Etsy community members created the COC as a stop-gap until the “real” new alchemy feature is released. I have actually used the COC to request wedding invitation bids and it has worked out really well! I highly recommend this.

Screenshot from the Custom Order Corner

 

2. U Name it, I make it (UNIIMI): This is an entire website set up for finding “artists for hire”. I haven’t personally used UNIIMI, but it has been recommended. And, hey- it’s a SUPER catchy name- right?! Must be good. 🙂

Screenshot from UNIIMU {U Name it, I Make It}

 

3. Bespoke, by “Try Handmade” Community: Try Handmade is a blog & community set up for artists. There happens to be a lot of crossover between the artists here and the ones on Etsy, so when the Etsy alchemy feature was “turned off”, this group banded together and created “Bespoke”, or “Alchemy II”. This is another feature that I myself haven’t used yet, but I am looking forward to trying it out!

Screenshot from Bespoke @ Try Handmade Community

 

And that sums up the top three alchemy subs I have found, bringing a close to this *special announcement*! Has anyone else used any of these, or other sites, to request custom work? How has the process gone?

 

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Bridesmaid dress shopping: Siri in San Francisco

I don’t know about other brides out there, but for me- bridesmaid dress shopping was not f.u.n. Most of the dresses out there, for whatever reason, seem to be badly made, not flattering and expensive. Just what you are looking for in a dress you’re forcing others to buy, right??

There are a few designers who seem to buck this trend and actually produce high quality, beautiful dresses. One of which is Siri Designs. My sisters and I were lucky in that Siri Designs warehouse is in SF and we were able to schedule a viewing / try-on session with the designer herself assisting us!!

Here are our favorite dresses from that session:

Veronica Lake Gown; VERY pretty.

The back was super flattering.

This is the Evita Gown; my sister Caitlin (pictured here) and I loved it - Alyssa not so much. And it didn't really go with the style of my wedding.

Back of Kyoto- hot!

But the front was kinda plain.

Sorbonne Gown in taffeta; this was ultimately our favorite from this session.

Alyssa on the left is wearing Right Bank (which also comes in a longer version) and Caitlin is wearing the short version of the Sorbonne gown.

Our biggest takeaway from the Siri experience was that structured fabrics and styles flatter everyone and look a bit less “typical”. Previous to this we had been looking at drape-y gowns in chiffon- now we knew that taffeta was more our style. I would highly encourage anyone to check out Siri – beautiful designs AND the designer is super nice. 🙂

Did anyone else out there struggle with bridesmaid dress shopping? Any particular lessons-learned that made it easier?

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