Posted on April 17 2016
Hey y'al! Spring at SJ has been fast and furious. We launched a new website, have a new set of brand models, so many great new lines and products for sale as well! But amongst all the business craziness, this is also the year leading up to my wedding year!
For those of you who don't already know, Grant proposed to be last December in from the the Bellagio Water Show in Las Vegas. For the entire proposal blog post, click here.
Anyways, with wedding planning came along my favorite part - dress shopping! And I had so many wonderful opportunities that came my way during this process.
I wanted to blog together my favorite current dress designers as well as the bridal boutiques that I visited in hopes that it might help somebody else looking for the perfect wedding dress!
It all started with my wedding photographers Luke and Cat who recommended my wedding planners Two to Wed to me! This past January, Two Be Wed and Now and Forever Bridal Boutique in Houston hosted an event with Hayley Paige called Turn the Paige. I am a total fan of Hayley's, both as a bridal dress designer and young female entrepreneur. I was so excited to be invited to attend their fashion show where I got to sit front row and see all of the newest styles. Better yet!? I GOT TO MEET HAYLEY! I know I sound like a total fan girl, but I was. And I'm proud I was. Because Hayley is a hard working, super talented chick that I respect so much! I got to tell her my favorite love story of all time and even take some pics with her. Look how absolutely precious she is!?
Anyways, the next day I got to go to the Hayley Paige trunk show at Now and Forever Bridal Boutique in Houston and the boutique owner helped work with me! I absolutely recommend this place! I loved 3 of the Hayley Paige dresses so much, but I wasn't ready to commit with it being my first shopping experience. But I did get pictures and I will share them after my big day!
After all of the Hayley Paige fun, it was the next week that I had to travel to Dallas Market. Since one of my best friends Emily Huskinson is also getting married soon, I decided we should go bridal dress shopping together. We went one evening to the to the Lewisville Bridal Boutique. Emily knew the owner and it was close to her high school. This is where I learned how important having an appointment was as well as one consultant not being able to work with two people. We talked our way through into one appointment together, but I recommend if you're shopping with a friend, schedule a back to back appointment.
The next morning we went and visited Warren Barron Bridal in Dallas, which was referred to us through internet research by Cat Neumayr of Luke and Cat. They carry some amazing designers! My appointment was an hour and a half before Emily's as we had now learned our lesson to allow individual time. Much to our surprise there was an Inbol Dror trunk show that would be starting the next day, however they received and unpacked the featured dresses a day early. So we got to shop the newest and most beautiful dresses all alone in the salon before the trunk show craziness. The staff was super helpful, very knowledgable and this is where Emily purchased her dress! This is also when I learned the benefit of a trunk show. You can see the entire collection of a designer and sometimes special trunk show discounts are offered. However, it is still crucial to allow at least 6-8 months for your dress to come in, especially if it's a designer that is overseas like Inbol Dror. So if there's a designer you love, research to see if there will be a trunk show near you!
After this point I decided to give my bridal dress shopping a little break. I needed to do a little more research on salons I wanted to visit and designers whose work I wanted to see in person.
One of my other dear friends, Cat Beville, got engaged the second weekend of March. She was flying into Houston and was going dress shopping and invited me to come. Unfortunately I couldn't get away from work, but she ended up getting to work with Joan Pillow, the owner of Joan Pillow Bridal, personally. Cat and my friend Amber knew of this dress that I had loved and they found it at Joan's Salon. They even went on to tell Joan all about me and Joan asked for me to personally come work with her in the next month of two. I was soooooo excited for this opportunity!
But that weekend I went to meet those 2 girls in Austin to wedding venue hunt for Cat's wedding. While I was there, I wanted to check out a salon there that I had researched - that being Serendipity Bridal. I invited my friend Amy Dieta to come along who lives there as well. The manager Katie worked with me and she was truly incredible. She is from New York, but is a bridal dress consultant gem here in Texas. I found one I really liked, but again, at this point I was focused on going to Houston to meet with Mrs. Pillow.
A few weeks later I was able to get away from the store and I invited my friends James Dunlin and Katie Ruffino as well as my mom to come because I was hoping that this would be the day I bought my dress. And reverting back to my beginning experience at Now and Forever Bridal Boutique, I knew how important it was to bring a friend. Because this whole process can be overwhelming, exciting, emotional and even hard to commit. But with that, I also recommend keeping your group smaller rather than larger. Too many people can mean too many opinions or distractions!
Meeting Joan was a wonderful thing for me. On top of mine and Grant's love story, I told her about my retail business from the ground up. And she shared hers with me as well, where she began as a stock girl at Neiman Marcus and now has almost 30 years store front experience in Atlanta and over 10 in Houston. Her and her husband had flown in the day before from her main store in Atlanta and had brought 2 dresses from that location with them for me. I can honestly say she hands down in my opinion had the best assortment of dresses and designers of any salon I went to. She didn't have a ton of inventory, but the best of the best. I only tried on 4 dresses there, and 2 of them were the same dress, just in different colors. Each dress was so beautiful, that I needed to take the night to sleep on it, and look at pictures again before I truly committed and paid my deposit. And it was the dress that I knew was my dress. I swear it was made for me. As well as mine and Grant's wedding, where the theme is Classic Fairytale meets Victorian Valentine. Proud to say I have said YES to the Dress at Joan Pillow Bridal!
I loved wedding dress shopping so much that I kind of didn't want it to be over because I enjoyed trying on dresses so much. But I'm going back next month to work with Joan on styling my hair, veil and accessories to make the PERFECT look on my big day.
I cannot wait to show you all the dress that I chose. Mainly because when I am able to do that, I will officially be married to the man of my dreams!
Until then, I will leave you all with some of my favorite bridal dress designers. One of which is the designer of MY dress! And New York Bridal fashion week was just this weekend, so now is a great time to look up each of these brands online and on social media to see their newest collections and work.