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31

May

Wedding Dress Shopping, Round 1

She had already gone to Kleinfeld’s with her mom to try on some dresses.  I figured most brides do this right after the proposal, as in the following weekend, but in her case she went 2 months later…reaffirms how grounded she is, which I love! 

In her recap of that consultation to me, she didn’t hesitate at all raving about lace dresses, particularly Monique Lhuillier’s Scarlet dress.  Could it be?  Had she found “the one” on the first try?  I instantly began to google ‘Monique Lullier in NYC’ to see if there was a boutique store to visit.  It appeared as though one was slated to open on the UES in March, but had it?  The status was unclear.  I reached out.  Not open.  Turns out it’s been pushed back to October 2012.  Next stop, bridal trunk shows.  Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier was hosting one for Monique Lhuillier in early May.  She booked the appt and asked me to join her.  Of course I said yes and told work I had to take a 1/2 day sick leave (don’t ask).  We arrived and got Tammy as our bridal consultant.  She was great.  Listened to what my friend wanted and also brought out some different styles to try too.  I saw the Scarlet on her in person and saw exactly what she fell in love with.  Beautiful.  Next lace dress, Jim Hjelm.  Oh no!  Now there was more than just one dress we loved!  We knew no decisions would be made on the spot, although the trunk show discount seemed appealing, we had a full day of bridal gown shop hopping the following Saturday, sisters and mom included!

I came prepared.  Coffee in hand, camera fully charged, snacks and water to keep energized and hydrated.  This was no joke.  A total of 3 appts scheduled (down from 4 because we actually decided to take a lunch break) and starting at 9:45 at Kleinfeld’s.  It was my first time in the shop and maybe it’s because I myself am not yet engaged, I didn’t feel the excitement I thought I would.  We were taken to a small room which miraculously fit: bride-to-be, 4 guests + consultant and intern!  She tried on her favorite lace dresses and the consultant put her in some various styles as well but her heart was set on lace.  The theme of the dress?  Sweet but skanky.  Top it off with a Spanish veil, it was a picture perfect opportunity, only these shops don’t let you take photos!  That didn’t stop me.  I held my iphone in position and snapped away.  

At our next stop, Bridal Garden, I definitely did not feel a bridal gown vibe.  It had more of a disco prom shop feeling to it.  (They should rethink the dresses they display in the entrance, I’m just saying).  Although the decor was awful we got to see her in some different dresses, particularly a beaded top one her sister asked her to try on.  Damn this b*tch, she’ll make any dress look good!  The consultant was not as bubbly as the others and encouraged us to visit the Carle Place location for more dresses and styles, explaining to us that dresses get shipped back and forth between the locations…well that’s great…I’m here today.  Maybe you can invest in 2 dresses, 1 for each location?  We were headed out to lunch when we saw a tray with 6 champagne glasses filled.  Were they going to offer that to us?  Was that contingent upon purchasing a dress?  …I was told taking pictures was…

Lunch at Boqueria was nice.  The waiter suggested 2 tapas per person but we made out well with 5 for the table and 2 pitchers of sangria :).  We browsed through pictures of her in the dresses and talked wedding plans.  When one of her sisters asked who was in the bridal party, out of the corner of my eye I saw my friend hand gesture as in ‘everyone here.’  Wow!  I was surprised, I had no idea, I thought I was just along for the ride as a BFF, but this was great (and hence why I was so surprised the other day getting the invite in the mail to be MOH!).  

We moved on to Bridal Atelier, our last stop for the day.  Here we were asked to take our shoes off and put on paper slippers.  Okay, I’ll oblige.  They maximized the space of the shop by having dual levels of dresses.  A bit overwhelming but the consultant pulled the popular lace dresses and some new ones we hadn’t seen before, including an Alvina Valenta Spanish style tiered dress.  I came to find out later that like JH, AV is also under the JLM Couture brand.  This dress was of course on the pricier end.  It is hand laced as opposed to others which are done by machine.  It also requires an order be placed well in advance, at least 7 months, since lace cannot be hemmed the bride-to-be’s specific measurements are used to custom build the dress.

So, pros and cons of each dress were noted, some documented on camera, but the bride-to-be now had several things to consider if she was going with a lace dress: scallop/no-scallop hem, tiers/no-tiers, key-hole back/no-key hold back and see-through back or lined.

It seems there are parts of dresses she likes, so, now to explore the custom designed wedding dress options…

(Sources: www.projectwedding.com, www.jhlcouture.com and www.marthastewartweddings.com)

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