Next step: to a dress, say yes.

Hi friends!

I’m back!  And ready to chronicle more wedding-planning fun.

To recap: after getting engaged in November of 2008, the first step was to determine a date and a location, keeping in mind our budgetary parameters and sentimental preferences.  So after settling on a Kanuga wedding in January 2010, it was time to move on to the next step in budget-conscious wedding planning: THE DRESS.

The most important thing to do when planning a wedding on a budget is to prioritize: where are you willing to cut corners and on what elements are you not willing to compromise.  For us, those two elements were: my dress and photography.  I had many friends drive home the importance of good photography because, after the wedding, your pictures are what you have left.

Now don’t get me wrong: when I say that we were not going to compromise on these elements, I do not mean that we were going to break the bank on these two items.  What I mean is that these were the two elements that we were going to nail down first (of course keeping in mind our total budget) and make the rest of the wedding work around these two items.  Make sense?

So anywho, in December when I was home for Christmas break, we set aside a day to go wedding dress shopping!  First stop: Monica’s, the wonderful dress store in Chattanooga where I got 2 of 3 prom dresses.  They have wonderful service, a great, large selection of gowns and what has historically been my favorite brand of fancy dresses: Watters and Watters.  I was so excited and eager to look at dresses since I had a short window of opportunity before we headed to Kanuga for Winterlight.  So we hopped in the car and headed to Monica’s only to find… it was closed.  For the entire time that I would be home.

Two of my high school friends who had been married in the year before our wedding, though, had told us about a new dress store on the South side of Chattanooga where they had gotten their dresses.  So we decided to head down there even though I had my heart set on getting my dress at Monica’s.  We drove down there and… CLOSED!  Wedding dress fail.

Luckily, Boutique Couture was only closed for the day so we headed there the next day to start the wedding dress search.

I went in with one strict guideline on my dress: I thought I didn’t want any of what I call “doodads” on my dress.  By that I mean sequins, beading, etc, and I was pretty certain I wanted a lace dress.  But when I started trying them on, I didn’t like the way the heaviness of the lace dresses and didn’t feel like they flattered me in my areas that require flattering.  🙂  On the other hand, I LOVED two dresses by Anjolique.  They were made of my favorite fabric: dupioni silk, had lovely ruching and were SO COMFORTABLE.  BUT… they had doodads and I was feeling adamant about my disdain for them.  So we left the store that day without a dress.

In the next couple of weeks, I visited a store in Nashville (that will remain nameless) that was INSANELY expensive.  That was pure recreation–to try to see if there were any styles of dress that I preferred, knowing that I would never buy a dress there, even though they were laying it on pretty thick.

Eventually, I found my way back to Monica’s on a day when they were offering a pretty great discount if you bought your dress that day, on your first visit.  While my money-saving ears perked up at the thought of savings, I didn’t know if I wanted to make a snap decision.  At Monica’s, I found some beautiful options but my mind kept drifting back to two dresses I found at Boutique Couture (not the two with doodads) so after leaving Monica’s, we headed back.  One of the two dresses I was thinking about was discontinued, so that ruled it out.  And the second one wasn’t as great as I remembered.  On a whim, I decided to return to the doodadded dresses.  I had tried some on at Monica’s that had shifted my philosophy a bit and I was beginning to yield my staunch disdain for them.

When I put one of the dresses on, it was like a little lightbulb went off in my head: I LOVED it and the look of the doodads had grown on me and I loved EVERY other element about it, particularly the level of COMFORT.  And the added bonus was that if I bought the floor model (which was in perfect condition), I got 15% off!  Here were the factors that attracted me to this dress:

  • Comfort, comfort, comfort.  If I am going to be wearing a dress for upwards of 12 hours, it darn well better be comfortable.
  • The fabric of my choice.  Our wedding was going to be elegant but rustic and I feel like this is a good description of raw silk.
  • I wouldn’t have to buy any extra undergarments for this dress because EVERYTHING was built in, spelling more savings for me.
  • The price was right.

Ready to see the chosen dress?  I’ll show you some that DIDN’T make the cut first.  If you like those ones better than the one I opted for, please keep that information to yourself.  🙂

Drumroll please….

Third place:

Please look only at dress, not at my un-made-up face and scowl.


Things I liked about this dress:

  • Flattering A-line shape
  • Graceful back

Things it lacked:

  • Comfort level matching that of BC dresses
  • WOW factor.  This dress is lovely but it didn’t jump out at me as THE dress.

Second place:

Things I liked about this dress:

  • Again, lovely A-line shape that makes my waist look smaller than it is
  • I also loved the neckline on this dress.  Very delicate and graceful.
  • This dress DID have a definite wow factor for me BUT…

Things this dress lacked:

  • We felt like this dress would be a little out of place at Kanuga.  It felt a little too more tailored and formal for the setting but I really loved it.
  • The price was a little too high for me (yes I said I didn’t want to compromise on the dress but remember: that’s within reason).

And now for the winner…


Teehee.  This is a lovely dress but it is SO. NOT. ME.  Pink Mermaid shape?  No thank you.

Here’s the real winner:

I love it!  Can you tell?!

Here are some of my favorite pictures of the dress on wedding day.  Another shout out to Josh Malahy, our fearless photographer (who will be the subject of my NEXT blog) for capturing it so elegantly and beautifully.

My inner monologue here is "Thank God it still fits"


Another thing I loved about this dress: REAL buttons that did NOT go all the way to the ground. That's always seemed fake to me. Here my Ruch is buttoning me in.


SO COLD. But so happy. 🙂


Here it is hanging on one of Kanuga's cabins. I loooooove this picture.




And Trone liked it too. 🙂


So there you have it, my homage to my beautiful dress which was, for me, a priority.  Perhaps a vain one, but a priority for me all the same.

Next up: our 2nd main priority, the photographer!



3 responses to “Next step: to a dress, say yes.

  1. You are so beautimous!

  2. Love your info, Catherine! I think you made the right choice–beautiful!

  3. You look SOOOO BEAUTIFUL!!!! Perfect dress! You look wonderful! Thanks for posting!!

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