Weddings

Bride on a Budget: The Dress, Part 2

Shopping around for a wedding dress proves to be worth it, for both fit and price

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! Stephanie will be married in this gorgeous San Patrick gown.

Finding a wedding dress involves a lot of hardships and obstacles. In my case, it included I-495, Spanx, I-95, corsets, Route 50, zippers, and HOV lanes. And I found out Columbia, Maryland, is a lot farther away than I thought. Despite these hurdles, I managed to have many wonderful experiences and find my perfect dress.

As I mentioned in my last post, I had picked out one dress that I had to try on—a gorgeous one-shoulder Allure gown. I tried to keep an open mind about other dresses, but I couldn’t rest until had I tried on that one. And guess what? It looked terrible on me. The cut was all wrong for me, and my curves became a liability, not an asset.

It was a little sad but also a blessing in disguise because I had to look at other styles. In the process, I learned it’s best to pick a dress that works for me now, not one I’ll have to work to look good in. And I realized that white won’t necessarily make me look like a marshmallow with a veil. I knew my mom and sister were coming in early September to help me choose my dress, so in late August I finally narrowed it down to three styles that I liked.

At Ellie’s in Old Town, the sales lady Toni helped me find a lovely Casablanca gown that was $1,200. I thought the layering of fabric on the dress made it elegant, and it looked fantastic on me.

Antoinette at I Do I Do pointed me toward a more traditional Alfred Angelo gown. I was surprised that I liked it so much, but it was a beautifully crafted dress with a great bodice and a dropped waist that was flattering. It was $899, although I later found out that the Alfred Angelo store in Springfield sells the dress for $849.

Distinctive Designs in Maryland had my favorite dress by far: A San Patrick gown that was very similar to what I had originally envisioned, and it looked nice on me. San Patrick is part of the Pronovias line—a Spanish design group that knows how to highlight the best parts of a woman.

When my mom and sister saw me in the San Patrick gown, they were surprised by my nontraditional choice, but they knew that this was the gown for me. And I lucked out on the price—Nataly at Distinctive Designs offered to sell us the sample gown at a discount.

I was happy I could finally say yes to my dress, and I got to share a wonderful experience with my mom and sister. Tune in next time when I share our engagement-photo-session experience.

Dress Shopping Tips from the Budget Bride :

• Think about how the dress will look after alterations. Generally, a dress can be taken in five dress sizes before it changes the shape. This is important if you buy a too-big sample gown like I did. Also, think about the hem line. If you’re short like me, hemming the dress can also change its look.

• Make a timeline. Before you sign a contract, know all the important dates—when to schedule alterations, how many you’ll need, and what day you can pickup your dress.

Subscribe to Washingtonian
Follow Washingtonian on Twitter
 

More>> Bridal Party Blog | Wedding Guide | Wedding Vendor Search

Are You Engaged? (Congratulations!) Get Our Wedding Inspo Newsletter

Advice, inspiration, and ideas for your Washington wedding.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
SIGN UP
We engage readers directly in their mailboxes with topics like Health, Things to Do, Best Brunches, Design & Shopping, and Real Estate. Get the latest from our editors today.
Get The Best Of Washingtonian In Your Inbox!