Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Bride and Her Dress

Today, I'm showing you the photos of my beloved wedding dress!  First I'll show the detail photos of the dress, and then my bridal portraits.  

At the bottom of this post is a story about where I found my wedding dress, and the process of the alterations.


The Dress Details

My dress was built with two layers - a polyester lining in an ivory fabric, and a white lace overlay strung with beads and sequins.  The top half of the back was sheer lace. 

The wedding veil was handmade in a combined effort of me, my mom and my mother-in-law.
It has its own post and special story!  Click here to read it!

The Accessories

Gold brooch, used in veil and hair.  Had a matching brooch that my mom wore.
My 'Something Blue'
An old necklace that once belonged to my great great aunt.
Pearl Bracelet was a gift from my Mom.
My 1930s Art Deco Engagement Ring from Tyler.
Gold Jelly Pop heels with wide base on the heel since it was an outdoor wedding.
I'd originally planned to wear flats, but my dress was a couple inches too long, and was cheaper to by heels than to have the dress hemmed.

 The Bride

The Dress Story

Here is the story behind my wedding dress, for any ladies who are interested.

I didn't buy my wedding dress like most girls - by going in a shop, trying on several dresses until I found 'the one.'  No, it was actually quite different.  After not liking either the price or the look of every single dress I tried on in the bridal stores, I turned my gaze toward the internet.

I searched online boutiques first, like Etsy.  I researched having custom dresses made.  Then I stumbled on a website called Helene Bridal - it is a wedding dress company out of Suzhou, China.  There, I found the dress I would wear for my wedding - which had most of the features I was looking for in a wedding dress at a much cheaper price.

When I saw the dress, I knew I liked it.  But it was difficult to actually purchase a dress online when I knew I wouldn't be able to try it on, I wasn't really sure about the quality, and I hoped the shop was legit.  Having lived in China, I felt somewhat connected and wanted to chance it.  I had Tyler take my measurements, and I sent in my custom order (because I wanted a few changes made to the dress from the original design).

A month later, my dress came in.  I was in contact with the shipping man the entire day, and was anxiously awaiting his arrival - hoping he didn't come before I got off work, and hoping he got to my place before I had class.  I asked my roommate to stay at home as long as possible while I wasn't home - just NEEDING to make sure we got the dress THAT DAY.  I ended up having to miss class to get my dress that day, but it was so worth it.  Waiting one month to finally get to try on the wedding dress you'd already paid for was nerve racking!

When I tried it on, I was a little dissappointed.  It was much too big in the chest, shoulders, sleeves, and hip areas.  The only part that really wasn't too big was the waist.  When I bought it, I was certain I'd have to make some alterations, but figured it was fine since you have to do that with dresses you buy in bridal shops locally as well.  However, I didn't realize how extensive some of the alterations I would need were - and how many people either refused to do those alterations or wanted to charge me more than they should have.

After months of searching, and wondering if I would have to end up buying a completely different dress, or having a wedding dress I didn't like, I finally found Formal Fantasy in Stillwater, OK with prices that seemed reasonable.  I emailed their owner, Stacia, and she agreed that she could work with me on the alterations I needed.  Although the drive was pretty far from where I was, it was worth it.  

In the end, Stacia altered my sleeves, took up the shoulders, tightened the chest, added more boning, and took in the hips.  I think she did all the alterations with fantastic craftsmanship, and for a great price.  Anyone looking for alterations in Oklahoma should look no further.  

I was not as pleased with the bustle, which by the end of the first dance didn't look too great.  However, after the first dance the bustle wouldn't stay up anyway...which makes me glad because I'm pretty sure my pictures are much better without it.  Sometimes things just work out for the better!  If I would have done anything over with the dress, I would have had it bustled by a different woman who had shown me a bustle that I fell in love with prior to going to Formal Fantasy.  

In the end, my dress may have been a little more stressful than most girls, but even after $130 in alterations it was still cheaper than any of the other dresses I'd tried on in the stores.  I love how it turned out - just took a little TLC to get it there.  :)

All photos credited to Birds and Coffee Design.


  1. I love your dress. When I got engaged I bought my dress about two weeks later and two months before the wedding the shop owner called me up saying the company that made the dress had disappeared and I didn't have a dress! It was the most stressful time of our engagement. I had to go shopping for dresses again. Luckily I found one and I got it two days before the wedding! Thanks for being a new follower of my blog. -Alex

    1. Oh wow! That sounds stressful! I can't believe that your dress "disappeared!" I'm pretty sure there should be some sort of compensation for the amount of stress I bet you went through!

  2. Beautiful!!! The Photography is so romantic! and I totally love your something blue! Thank You for sharing your special memories at the Fluster Buster party! I'm co hosting today, Have a great week! Lizy

  3. That is quite a process!! I only picked my dress up as I was driving out of town to go to my home-town for the wedding - I was so stressed that it wouldn't fit because the night before it hadn't, and the alterations were done over night and I'd only try it again when I arrived at my parents house - I was SO relieved it fit! definitely a stressful part of wedding planning! Well done for keeping a level head about it and working it out :)

    1. Wow, that is super stressful! I can never imagine having to pick it up from alterations on the wedding day!! Glad that it ended up working out for you though, your dress was very beautiful!

  4. Oh wow--you had a gorgeous dress, but what a process you went through to get it that way!! That would definitely add a little stress during that time! I got my wedding dress in Malaysia--for the price and because I wanted it to be from my home...but it did have to be altered three times....and in all honesty, to this day it's a rather loose fit, but too loose is better than too tight!

    1. Neat to hear of someone else that bought their dress from another country! Sounds like we had to have a similar amount of alterations, but I'm not sure about yours but mine still turned out cheaper than comparable dresses I'd found in the States.

  5. Its gorgeous. Seriously.
    You don't see many dresses like it either.
    A unique and beautiful choice.

  6. That is such a gorgeous and classy wedding dress!

  7. Very pretty bride in a very pretty dress, congrats! Found your post via Show Stopper Saturday!

    We love new faces at our SUPER SUNDAY Link Party, we invite you to stop over!

    Who Needs A Cape?
    Not Your Average Super Moms!

  8. Wow, that was quite the adventure, but in the end your dress was just beautiful and perfectly made for you!


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