Friday, February 26, 2010

Losing it… All over Bridesmaid Dresses

“There will always be one thing you will drive yourself crazy over… mine was invitations. Apparently, yours is bridesmaid dresses.” Ginger, one of my matrons of honor said this to me just a few weeks ago, and I totally believe it. For some reason, since Tres and I got engaged I have been obsessed with finding the perfect bridesmaids dresses for my girls. I know for a FACT I have looked at more pictures of bridesmaid dresses then I ever looked at of wedding gowns. Not to mention, I have already dragged Ginger bridesmaids dress shopping once, and I plan on doing it again this weekend!

I have been to every bridesmaids dress site that I know about, stared at hundreds of pictures online and in magazines, and even looked at some in person. Conclusion? I HATE THEM ALL! There is no nice way to put this, but bridesmaid dresses are just ugly. I don’t know if they intentionally make them that way to make the bride look good or what, but it’s disturbing to me. I am grateful to have a pretty group of girls who will stand at the altar with me, and I intend for them to all look STUNNING!


The dress (above) was the dress that I thought was "the one"... until my girls tried it on.
I really still like it a lot because it's so "vintage Jackie-O," which is what I was going for with my maids.
I think I can figure out a way to make the long ones vintage and classy too though!

This dress (above) is just sassy and fun, so I had to throw it in!

So the conclusion to that is… I have completely driven myself crazy – all over bridesmaid dresses. Ultimately, my idea was to go short and untraditional – even if I had to settle on a semi-formal wedding as opposed to a formal one – I was DETERMINED to have short, untraditional dresses. Why? Because in case I failed to mention it, I hate bridesmaid dresses and the long ones usually make me cringe. I was totally willing to turn my planned formal wedding upside down – all over bridesmaid dresses!
When I first started looking, I refused to look at any actual bridesmaid dress websites. I went straight to Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Sacs Fifth Avenue, and Macy’s hoping to be the one and only bride EVER to find a dress my girls would actually wear again. I discovered this is a total joke… you just can’t do it! 1) If you are set on a particular color and it’s not black – good luck finding a basic, classy, plain dress in the color you’re aiming for and 2) even if you do find a dress your girls could actually wear again, if they are all friends, then none of them will actually do it! I mean, who wants to show up at the next cocktail party in Suzie-Q’s bridesmaids dress?! … I didn’t think so.

I like this one (above) the best so far - based on a picture.
I think it's very untraditional for a bridesmaid dress.

This one (above) is timeless and classic and the fabric is gorgeous!
These two I like because they are sooooo different, yet they still have that vintage, old vibe!
So after thinking I found the perfect one (short and untraditional... first picture on this post) and having two of my girls try it on, I was completely let down. I learned to never take a five foot tall friend to try on a dress you saw a 6’2 model in a magazine ad wear. Now while Melissa and Ginger are way prettier than that model ever thought of being, they just aren’t the same height, and it just didn’t look the same. So after about 8 more short dresses, Ginger timidly suggested she try on some long ones. I agreed… at this point I would have let her try on a pants suit if she thought that may look better – I was completely over the short dress look! Once she started trying on long ones, I got kind of hooked on them. I found more than one I liked, and it put a smile on my face because now we can go Black Tie Optional for our wedding, which in my opinion we couldn’t do with short dresses :) Now while it’s exciting that long dresses don’t make me cringe anymore, I still haven’t the “perfect” bridesmaid dress. This could be an on-going struggle, but one thing I have learned: NEVER SAY NEVER! Almost everything I said I would “never do” in this wedding I have done so far, so…… I think I’m done with that word! I like the long ones I have posted above. Please give me your opinions!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hesitant about the Honeymoon

At this point in my life, the thought of getting on a plane and going somewhere NOT for work sounds beyond fabulous! Tres and I have both been traveling every single weekend for work. Neither of us has had a weekend in Memphis since the new year started! I honestly have not unpacked my suitcase (except to wash the dirty clothes out of it) in A MONTH! And this will continue for us both until sometime in April! I believe we have two weekends off from travel in the next two months… whew! I think that’s why this blog needs to be written… because I need to imagine myself somewhere that doesn’t involve my job! :)

With that said, you can imagine how much wedding planning has been done... ZILCH would be a good word! We’ve had Save the Dates sitting at the house ready to send for a month now (to die for cute by the way). When are we going to send them? Who knows?! We don’t even have time to think about it! When we get time back, our next move will be deciding on the honeymoon. This has been a conversation we’ve been having for several months now but can’t decide on where to go! So far, the only thing we have made a certain decision on is not going anywhere with a long flight. Since we are already having a destination wedding, we decided we don’t want a long flight that will exhaust us even more than we will already be. We also don’t want to be “tourists” on our honeymoon. So… all signs have pointed to the Caribbean. The big question now is WHERE in the Caribbean?!
We think we have it narrowed down to St. Barts or Turks and Caicos. We like different, trendy places and after much research on every single island in the Caribbean, these two seem to be right up our ally! We just can’t decide on which one!!! We have been back and forth about this 100 times, so we need HELP! We have GOT to get this thing booked! Has anyone been to either of these places or know anyone who has? Where would you go… Turks or St. Barts?!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Touches of the South – Vintage Style

Over the years of throwing friends bridal showers, birthday parties, and most recently, baby showers, I have made party planning a hobby of mine – it’s truly become one of my favorite pastimes. Therefore, getting to plan a wedding that is all my own has been the ultimate project for me! One thing I have learned in my party planning days… every event must have a THEME. In my opinion, no party or event can even be organized without one, especially a wedding!

When considering our wedding theme, I took into consideration our personalities and background. Who were we? Where did we come from? With me being a true and proud Mississippi gal and Tres being born in Charleston, South Carolina and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, I think of us as sweet southerners. When I told Tres I wanted to have a “southern kind of wedding,” his response was not what I had hoped. “Southern? Like redneck, country music, and bare feet?” I laughed (we don’t even like country music) but was slightly bothered by what seemed to be his immediate view of the south. I explained to him that my view of the south is “Pretty, classy ladies in big hats (with big hair under them) sitting up perfectly straight in chairs under a magnolia tree sipping tea with their southern gentlemen inside the white plantation home, dressed professionally, bourbon in hand talking about their work day.” THAT is my view of “southern,” and I resent any northerners, westerners, or easterners who think otherwise! :)

Needless to say, Tres said I could theme our wedding however I wanted, and soon after, I found myself falling in love with a “vintage” look, deciding we should tie retro into our theme. The outcome: “a southern kind of vintage wedding.” Here are a few touches we will be adding to bring out this theme perfectly!

A Plantation Home – Our location really set the tone for a southern wedding. Southern Oaks is an absolutely beautiful plantation home in New Orleans. It call it “very Gone with the Wind,” having everything from big white columns and fanciful shutters to a faultless landscaped lawn and winding aisle.

Magnolias – I have never really been a flower person, so when I began thinking about bouquets, I was a little discouraged. I didn’t want my girls carrying the typical bundle of flowers – I wanted something unique. The magnolia is by far my favorite flower, having a bloom that looks like no other – large, fresh, perfect, and most importantly… southern! The flower is actually Mississippi and Louisiana’s state flower, and with me being a huge ambassador of my home state, MS, and us getting married in LA, I knew it was meant to be. The magnolia will actually be the “signature” image of our wedding. My girls will all carry a single magnolia bloom down the aisle, and it will also be found on our invitations/stationary and possibly our cake!

Cotton Blooms – Nothing says south like the “flower” that comes straight from a cotton field. When thinking about my bridesmaids carrying magnolias, I knew the large flower would be too large as a boutonniere, so I put my mind to work and got creative. I couldn’t think of another signature southern flower, but one day out of nowhere, a cotton blossom came to mind. I never realized how perfectly beautiful this bloom was, and I decided it had to be the groomsmen’s boutonnieres. I asked Tres his thoughts, and he gave me his approval!

Horse and Carriage – Oh so southern! My dad and I will be riding to the end of the aisle on a horse and carriage before I walk down the aisle. After the ceremony, Tres and I will ride away in it.

The Food – We will have everything from gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp creole, shrimp kabobs, seafood pastas, oysters and shrimp, lobster tails, crawfish apps, crab apps, muffalettas, beignets, and the list goes on – very New Orleans southern style food and over 70 different choices!

The vintage touches will be subtle but will also be found throughout the wedding! Everything from the Jackie – O bridesmaids dresses and pearl broached necklaces to my veil will be vintagy. More to come on that!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Dress (It’s Barbie… not Cinderella!)

After less shopping than I predicted (under 3 hours to be exact), I finally have what most brides think of as the pride and joy of their wedding – A WEDDING DRESS! I have to admit that on my list of priorities for this wedding, a wedding gown was the least of my worries. Not that I’m not fashionable or I don’t like to dress up (I like both of those things), I just think there are better things to blow money on. To be honest, I can hardly remember one bride’s wedding dress from any of the weddings I have been to (and even the ones I have been in), but I always remember the small details of the actual wedding and of course, the PARTY! So, to sum it up, I wanted a dress that was unique (we all know I insist on not doing things like everyone else), a dress that flattered my figure (duh!), a dress that made me happy, and a dress that Tres would like! Well, I have to say, I scored big time in Atlanta. I got a dress that was all of these things and more. Not to mention, it put a new light on wedding dresses for me – they do matter, and when you find one you love, all the other plans begin to fall in place.
Our first stop was Brides Against Breast Cancer where I tried on some beautiful dresses, but none of them were it. I hated that I wasn’t going to be a “bride against breast cancer” like I had hoped, but I bought a t-shirt with proceeds going to breast cancer and told them I would donate mine when I found it! At this point, it was 10 a.m. and I didn’t have another appointment until 2, so luckily on our way out the door, the ladies recommended a gown shop to visit in between our appointments. I called the place to make an appointment, and I was told on the other end of the phone that I was in luck – someone had just canceled for the timeslot I wanted. I turned to mom and told her that was a sign, and as it turns out, IT WAS!

The first dress I put on at this place, my mom started crying and loved it. I looked in the mirror and hated it but kept thinking, “Crap! The one mom cries about is supposed to be ‘the one,’ but I don’t like this dress.” So I tried on a few more until I really did put on “the one.” I had a hard time with “the one” at first because while I wasn’t too picky with the dress hunting, there were three things I knew for sure I didn’t want in a wedding dress: 1) taffeta (I have never been a fan of this fabric) 2) ivory (I was set on stark white) and 3) a train (I am not very traditional gal and for me, a train screams traditional). Well, guess what?! This dress had ALL THREE, and I was still pretty sure it was the one. I say pretty sure because I am crazy. No matter what, I have it in my head that there is always something better out there, and though I thought this dress was perfect, that thought kept going through my head. As they say, once you find YOUR dress, you don’t even want to try any more on, but my curiosity pushed me to do it. I tried 2 more on but didn’t even zip them all the way up before looking in the mirror and saying, “Ick, I don’t like this.” One was a ball gown. My reaction? “This is Cinderella. I am NOT Cinderella. I like Barbie so much better!” Mom’s response? “The other dress was definitely Barbie!”

So as every bride’s story goes, I put MY dress back on – several more times. My family took loads of pictures while I pictured myself walking down the isle of Southern Oaks Plantation on October 17, 2010 in what I currently saw as my reflection in the mirror that day. I had never seen a dress like it, and I knew it was the one. At one point, I got dizzy and I started feeling like I was going to pass out. I knew right then it was because I realized the reality of it all (and because I had squeezed in size 0 because the size 2 was too big in the butt). But it was more my heart than my large ribcage causing those feelings - I thought… I AM GETTING MARRIED! And this was a thought I never really had. Getting married was never a priority of mine, not a goal, not a wish or dream – it was something I would do IF I ever found someone who complimented me perfectly, which was something I believed was impossible. But here I was on this day with a perfect dress and an even more perfect man.

After much contemplation of still going to the 2:00 appointment (just in case I found something even more perfect than my already perfect gown), we took the dress! I walked out of that shop feeling the same way I felt walking away from the Golden Gate Bridge the day Tres proposed - knowing there was no looking back. I had found my one and only – DRESS AND MAN!

See a picture of me in my dress below.......

Haha... gotcha! It's a SECRET until October 17! But I really do have it on here at my parent's house!

An extra story to the trip…
The day I found my dress, I noticed Tres became very interested in where my family and I would be going to dinner. He kept asking, but I didn’t really think much about it. I kept telling him I didn’t know because I didn’t. Well, the next day came and I told him we were going to brunch and he asked the name of the restaurant. When we got to the brunch place, Murphy’s, we had a wait so I ordered a mimosa while sitting at the bar. The girl was a total wanch, and said since my license was expired, I couldn’t order one. I was shocked – I had gotten through airport security at least 6 times with this expired license, and she wasn’t going to let me order a drink!? So, my mom ordered one for me, but the girl wouldn’t even let my own mother order me a champagne drink! I was like, “so… you’re telling me I’m with my mom, and my license says I’m 26, and you STILL won’t let me have a mimosa?!” The wanch said, “It’s against the law, sorry.” I found out later, it’s actually NOT against the law, she was just a complete WITCH! Anyway, I was so mad at this point that I started texting Tres telling him this woman had ruined my day. He acted really worried about it, and I wondered why.

Once we got to our table, we kept seeing waitresses and hostesses walk by our table but didn’t think too much about it then. UNTIL – our waitress brought us a bottle of champagne, and said “This is from your fiancĂ©, Tres!” I was so confused, but then I realized then why he kept trying to figure out where we were eating – he wanted to deliver congratulatory champagne to our table because I had found my wedding dress! And the waitresses and hostesses were trying to get it delivered to the right table! When I realized what he had done, I couldn’t believe it… what a surprise! I couldn’t believe he thought to do that and it reminded me once again how truly blessed I am to have someone so caring and thoughtful! I cried it made me so happy, and my family joined in on the tears. Here we were in the middle of brunch crying tears of joy because we all knew I had one of the best guys in the world!

I called Tres ecstatic, telling him how excited I was! He told me he had called to have the champagne delivered to our table before I got told I couldn’t drink, so he had to call AGAIN and talk to the manager! What a job… haha! I didn’t do it, but what I wanted to do when I walked out of that place was bring the empty bottle of champagne to the bar where the wanch was and say TA-DA… look what I had!!!!! :)