Monday, October 22, 2012

How I "Said Yes to the Dress"

After watching a few episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, it got me reminiscing on my own experience as a bride.  
And because my dear friend from Centennial always says, "Kelly has the best stories!" I decided to share it here.

Chad and I got engaged after 5 years of on-and-off dating on December 24, 2005. I had just graduated from college a couple of weeks before. He had graduated in December 2003.
This is the beautiful ring he gave me. He picked it out on his own and I was totally shocked and impressed.....and in love.

I went out and bought a bridal magazine the next day, Christmas, and began planning my wedding. I wouldn't consider myself a girly-girl, but I do wear heels often, and fix my hair most days. But, I had really never thought about my wedding. What I would wear, where it would be, nor any other details of my "big day." Chad and I quickly decided we would get married in August, because that's when his apartment lease ran out :) Naturally.

I am very anal about a lot of things in my life. Even before I had children, I have always been extremely organized and extremely clean. So I even surprised myself at how little time I actually put into planning my one and only wedding. I think the main reason why I didn't put much time or energy into planning it was because I knew my parents were not able to help out much financially, and I certainly did not have any money for a wedding as a new college grad with an almost-equally-as-poor fiance'.  And I knew that as long as I had fabulous pictures, that's all I really needed. I wanted my wedding to be about Chad and I, and our simple (well, Chad's simple) personalities.

I saw a dress in the first wedding magazine that I bought. I didn't know where I could get it, but I knew I was going to have it. I knew simply from looking at an ad in a magazine that that was the dress! Crazy, huh?!
So I got on the phone on December 26 and began calling bridal shops to locate this dress. I found it at The Bride Room in Coolsprings (where it was at the time). I went with my best friend Meghan to try it on and was reaffirmed in my decision to "Say Yes to the Dress!"
I looked at the price and realized it was more than half of the wedding budget my parents had given me. Ouch! I had to figure this one out fast.

I had a friend who ordered her gown from a lady in NYC who specialized in making custom wedding gowns. A few emails and a week later, this lady agreed to make an exact replica of my dream wedding gown for a little more than half the price. I sent her my measurements, and 3 months later she sent me a muslin of my wedding dress. It was a total disaster!! It was way off in the style and fit. I even tried it on for Chad because I knew it looked nothing like it should. I called the dress maker in a panic and told her how awful it was. She gave me strict instructions on how to take pictures of myself in the gown and email them to her. I went to my friend Jodi's house and had her take pictures and we got them emailed back to the dress maker within 2 days.

I remained in contact with the dress maker for the next few months. I really don't recall being very nervous about this whole dress fiasco. I remember telling a friend, "Well, I could always just go buy a cheap dress of a rack somewhere."
In the meantime, I picked the venue, music, flowers, invites, and guest list...all within 6 weeks of getting engaged. I picked the first flowers and venue that I saw and loved.
I picked my photographer as soon as I picked the venue. We got married at Riverwood Mansion. It is such a beautiful, historic home and I wanted a photographer who was very comfortable shooting at that location.  We used Wharton Photography for our wedding.

Riverwood Mansion

I finally received my wedding dress 5 weeks before my wedding. I tried it on, and it fit perfectly! I couldn't believe it. I was pretty doubtful that I would be pleased with it considering how awful the muslin dress fit. But it couldn't have been more perfect. This dress maker was some kinda wonderful!
Here is the dress.

The front was a very subtle sweetheart neckline with a small amount of ruching at the waist. Very elegant and beautiful.
And Paul Wharton did an absolute, amazing job on my bridal portraits and our wedding pictures. For several years my bridal portrait hung inside War Memorial in Nashville and was on their ink pens and in their advertising fliers. That builds your confidence!
My wedding pictures are in storage or I would have uploaded some here. I may borrow my mother-in-laws pics and add them.

Our wedding went off without a hitch. I cried so much I could barely see at times. Chad cried a bit too. But don't tell him I told you;) It was perfect.

Our honeymoon, however, was a total disaster. That'll be my next blog topic.

How did you "Say Yes to the Dress"?

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