Well y’all, we’re married! The past month or so has been such a whirlwind and complete dream. Our wedding and honeymoon exceeded all of our expectations and I’m happy to share as many details or as little details as y’all would like me to regarding the planning, the day of, honeymoon, etc. I seemed to have great feedback from #TheWeddingEdit thus far and was going to continue if only for the reason to give my amazing team of vendors the credit they so deserve.
If there was one part of the process that I was so excited about, but was surprised how it all went down it was my dress. I had been in a few weddings prior to selecting my dress and witnessed brides going through the dress process so I thought I knew what to expect. I was never really the girl who envisioned her wedding from the time she was a little girl, but I had an idea in my mind of what I wanted. Growing up Catholic, many of visions I had of what I would be wearing included a train and long veil at the minimum, both of which I ended up with, but the path there was interesting.
My mom and I started dress shopping in September 2017, a few months after Kollin and I got engaged. We still hadn’t decided to get married in KY or Chicago yet, but since it was easier for us to travel to KY I started the process there. We went to a store on a Saturday morning and y’all - I hated white, I hated Ivory, I was not feeling the bridal fever. To be completely honest, it was discouraging to not like a lot of what I thought I would. What I learned was that just because it looks beautiful on Pinterest with mega editing and a gorgeous model doesn’t mean it will translate well to #RealLife. I initially envisioned myself in sleeves, lace and something with a touch of glam. As y’all now know, I didn’t go that route.
We ended up leaving that first appointment and I “liked” one of the dresses I tried on, but I also had the new found knowledge that I wasn’t loving bridal white. A few months passed and by that time we had decided that the wedding would be in Kentucky. I kept looking at KY bridal boutiques, but they weren’t carrying the designers I was hoping to try on. I also didn’t want to have a dress that so many other brides were getting (this became a thing when we were looking in Kentucky. Thankfully the sales women were very honest with me about that and let me know that some of the dresses I had on had been purchased 12 times that year already…). That’s when we decided to take the adventure to Chicago.
I made appointments at two bridal salons in Chicago the weekend of Kollin’s graduation from law school (eventful weekend lol) so that his mom and my mom could both attend. The first appointment we went to had some amazing dresses and both moms thought we found THE ONE. It was beautiful and pretty much everything I was looking for at that point, but for some reason I wasn’t as excited as they were. I thought maybe it was the nerves or the pressure of feeling like I needed to have their approval, but something was off. I didn’t feel like myself. I knew on your wedding day you looked probably the most “done up” you probably ever will, but the dress wasn’t making ME feel that way and if there was one thing I wanted to feel like on my wedding day, it’s myself. We headed to the next appointment at Bella Bianca Bridal Couture and started pulling dresses. We went through maybe 5-7 dresses, all couture and all gorgeous, but nothing was “the one.” My sales associate mentioned that the appointment was coming to a close and that we could book another appointment to keep looking another weekend. I felt pretty discouraged as we had made a whole weekend out of it and I didn’t find the one. As I was about to make my way back to the dressing room, another sales associate who had been working reception during my appointment (right next to where I was) and had overheard our conversations said, “I have your dress. I know exactly your dress.” So, obviously I said ok let’s try it on!
He said, “it arrived yesterday and hasn’t been tried on by anyone in Chicago yet.” My ears perked up and I couldn’t wait to see it. I went back to the dressing room and waited for them to bring the dress in. Still packed in it’s shipping garment bag, I was immediately intrigued. My sales associate pulled out the most gorgeous, iridescent, blush gown I have ever seen. Considered a ball gown, I was wondering how I would feel in it as I didn’t care for the other ball gowns I had tried on. I put it on, LOVED it, but no tears. This is the closest I felt to the one, but something was a little off. I walked out to the salon hoping my mom and Kollin’s would love it as much as I did. Their faces weren’t exactly faces of “omg that is your dress!” but they said they liked it. Tired from a long day, the price tag didn’t add to the excitement. In my mind, it was time to go home and call it a day.
My amazing sales associate could tell I loved the dress and was talking up all of the points I had mentioned in the dressing room (y’all she was amazing and so helpful). While we all came around to loving it, my mom had concerns about the U-shaped neckline. It was very unique, but didn’t fit my silhouette or style as much as we thought a V-neck would. With even more time running out of our appointment I said we could come back and try it on again another time. My sales associate wasn’t having it. She transitioned her next appointment to another sales girl and brought up alterations to discuss our options (see what I mean about her being awesome?)
After confirming we could change the neckline, I could tell my mom was coming around. My sales associate had one more trick up her sleeve to seal the deal and y’all it was the kicker. She said, “You have to see this dress in natural light and we have to add a veil.” We moved to the front of the store that had a bunch of windows and she put a veil on me. I definitely looked the part, but still no tears. Where are all these #YesToTheDress tear moments and why wasn’t I having one!? Maybe it wasn’t the one…
She slipped away for a minute and came back with a silk bouquet. I thought “wow such a small detail won’t matter.” Boy was I wrong. I took the bouquet and turned around to face the mirror and completely lost it. Like Kim K ugly cry lost it. It was the one. I envisioned myself marrying Kollin in that dress and then Kollin’s mom lost it when I said that so we all cried and knew we found it.
I ended up choosing a Lazaro gown in the color Sherbert. I went home to get ready for Kollin’s graduation party and wanted to show everyone, even Kollin but he wouldn’t let me of course. The more I looked at pictures and videos the more and more I loved the dress. Since Lazaro makes each dress to order, it would take 6-8 months for the dress to arrive in Chicago. With my neckline alterations, which still had to be approved by Lazaro himself (#NoPressure), it could take even longer. By that time we would only be 6 months prior to the wedding.
March 15th was the expected delivery and it came and went. April also came and went and we learned that the first time that the new bodice was completed Lazaro was unhappy with it so the entire thing had to be made again. Enter stress mode. My dress finally arrived from Italy in May and y’all it was a dream. Still too big and needing alterations, the bodice and my small chested frame weren’t getting a long. Everyone reassured me that it would be fine and that they have to order it larger to take it in and it would fit me perfectly after alterations. I wasn’t feeling super confident, but I put it out of my mind and waited until my alterations appointments in August.
If you are still here, bless you we are almost there!
August came and I could not wait to try my dress on again. I slipped it on and it fit much better, but it was still a lot of dress. We shortened it quite a bit, took the bodice in more, added cups and took the straps up again. At my second fitting, my mom tagged a long to see the major changes as she had only seen pictures at this point and the seamstress started pinning for bustling. With the dress still needing shortening and a lot of tulle to account for, the bustle looked kind of a mess to be totally honest. The seamstress reassured us that it was because the length and sizing were still not done and it would look completely different once finished. My mom wasn’t thrilled and realized that she wouldn’t see the dress again until the wedding. We went to dinner and she contemplated booking another flight up prior to the wedding to make sure it was perfect. I told her I could handle it and to just have faith that Bella Bianca would make it amazing. I came back for my final fitting and it was perfect. The bodice fit like a glove, the skirt was the perfect length and the bustle was significantly smaller than at the last appointment. All I needed to do was to have faith in the amazing dress and seamstresses that Bella Bianca provided and know it would work out.
With two weeks until wedding day, Kollin picked up the dress (LOL) - the Bella Bianca team FaceTimed me to show me the dress to ensure it was the same one and walk me through what they had done and then wrapped it so Kollin would have basically had to rip through the Fort Knox version of garment bags to see it. He didn’t even want to though! We left for Kentucky the following weekend and the dress took up basically the entire back of our car haha.
Once I put it all on again on wedding day everything came into place. I felt so much like myself, but the glittery, ball gown, bridal extravaganza version and am so thankful for the amazing experience I had with the Bella Bianca and Lazaro team. I’ll be sure to share more once our pictures come in, but wanted to share the BTS and process portion of finding the perfect dress!