Am I the only one who plans the whole day out, well ahead of time only to end up running around the house like a chicken with my head cut off anyway? Well this day looked so relaxed and stress free in my imagination the night before when I was planning it out. I knew that I wanted to visit Classic Bride and Formals in Cornelius, NC because I had met them during the Charlotte Wedding Bridal Show. Just for a refresher, Kristy (with a “K’, not “Ch” – there is a “Christy” there too) was the second person I met at the Bridal Show and the first one to really engage with me in a genuine way. She didn’t pressure me at all to hurry up and pick a dress (some other places did) and was just a nice person in general.
So here’s what ran through my mind at 11PM the night before:
1. Ask my sister to be my Maid of Honor (MOH)
2. Crap, first, get a card asking her to be my MOH
3. Dangit, I need to find a poem that asks her to be my MOH
4. Okay, once I have the card and the poem, I’ll be good.
5. Maybe I need a gift? People give gifts to potential MOHs, right, like a mini-proposal? Get a gift.
6. Go pick my MOH up
7. Head to the place and try on dresses – I should be able to be there by 10AM, right?
Well, there I was at 12:38 PM wondering why I didn’t have ribbon to wrap the home-made map coasters I had made for Andreana (Sister/MOH). HOW COULD I NOT HAVE ANY RIBBON?! UGH. Needless to say, we got started late. BUT, she definitely said “yes” to being my Maid of Honor (even without the ribbon) – which is a blessing because I would be a mess without her!
About those tips…
Before we move on to the experience, I did want to quickly outline those tips that I found – they really came in handy for the trying on part, NOT so much for the “looking beautiful, self esteem part”. #Sacrifices
- Don’t wear make-up – it can easily smear on the dresses
- Don’t wear your granny panties – your consultant will undoubtedly see some of your underwear. I opted for a convertible bra that went from strapless to strapped in a snap!
- Don’t wear things that take too long to take off or put back on
- Don’t bring an entourage for your first time, choose one or two people who are supportive and won’t push their vision on you.
- Bring (but don’t wear) a pair of heels that are about the same height that you plan to wear on your wedding day
- Make an appointment or visit during the week. Saturdays are usually swamped with people and you may not get much attention.
- Be prepared to tell the consultant what your budget is , this way they aren’t pulling dresses that are WAY over budget.
- TRUST your consultant’s suggestions about what to try on after you tell them what you’re interested in. LOTS of dresses don’t look great on hangers but look amazing on. This is exactly what happened with my top choice!
- Start dress shopping early, but not too early. Did you know that you don’t just go in and buy a dress off of the rack? No, you order it after trying on a “sample” and then the dress has to be made and shipped to you. Rarely will boutiques let you buy the sample because everyone and their mother has tried it on.
Back to the shopping
So we arrived at Classic Bride and Formals at around 1:30. It is SUPER cute inside and Kristy was right there ready to help us!
Kristy recognized me right away and asked me how things had been since we met. She handed me a cute little felt bag that had pink clothes pins in them to mark which dresses I’d like to try. To be honest, I was so excited that I kept putting the pins on the hangers the wrong way and Andreana had to keep fixing them behind me. This is the advantage of having a Maid of Honor who loves you, brides! Kristy showed us the sale room – this sale was CRAZY – there were some REALLY beautiful dresses marked down from like $2,000 to $200 – including one that ended up being in my top 2. Once we were done pinning (and re-pinning) in the sale room, we went to the main room where all the dresses were organized by shape/style.
Once all of the dresses were pinned, we were led to our “Bride to Be” suite. It really was a suite! It was a whole room with a mini-changing room inside and comfy chairs, drinks, accessories etc.
In total, I think I tried on 10 dresses and we finished up at around 4:30. Kristy and Phaedra were really hands on in the process! They helped me to see the dress in different lighting, pointed out the features that I couldn’t see or didn’t notice, helped zip me up and moved the dresses around (make no mistake, those things get heavy!) They were really good at realizing which dresses I was really excited about versus those that were nice but just not “me”. Overall, I felt SO special and so NOT pressured. It was SO MUCH FUN! Just ask Ciara, I talked her ears off about it!
From the Maid of Honor:
“It was super fun to be with you and make such precious memories. Also, the place was extremely cozy and welcoming and the staff/ system they had set up made it really easy and removed the stress from a stressful experience. And they were genuinely excited too, which made a huge difference. I would definitely recommend using a small establishment that can focus on each bride and help make their experience more unforgettable over a chain store any day. “
So there you have it, my first wedding dress shopping experience! I’m 90% sure that I found the dress but I’m not sure if I should keep looking or not (I am closing in on the shipping timeline) – it was my first shopping trip after all and I have no idea what else could be out there. What do you all think?