MOH Guest Post: Bridesmaid dress hunting

The wedding industry can suck it. Hard.

It's been nearly impossible to find anything remotely in local department stores that 1. isn't vomit-inducing hideous, 2. isn't marked up ridiculously high, and 3. flattering for different figures.

See Fig. 1. I am definitely of the "Triangle" persuasion, meaning I can probably shoot out a baby easier than, say, an "Inverted Triangle," but I also have membership in the "Itty Bitty Titty Committee." A dress that might look good on me will not necessarily look good on an "Hourglass."

And apparently, the bubble/sequines craze is apparently sweeping the under-18 crowd.

(Min made me try one on for shits and giggles so we might fool the other girls into believing that purple thing to the left is our bridesmaid dress. For the love of all that is good in the world, I couldn't do it. It was just too mean.)

After hours of searching for something remotely classy, we journeyed to the Macy's in Brea and picked out the best contenders (at the moment) for the "it" dress. The requirements were: affordable, possibly flattering on diverse shapes, classy, red. We failed on almost all counts.

Being the cheap bargain-hunters that we are, we couldn't commit to buying a $70+ dress this early in the game. Ordering dresses from special occasion dressmakers is ridiculous costly and timely, though the options are far prettier and better in quality than department store purchases. We also couldn't find anything RED. Um, wtf? Red is one of the primary colors, fer cryin' out loud. If that middle (black) dress was red, the search would likely be over by now, but nooo. It came in every hue BUT red. The only viable red dress we found was cute but was not comfortable in the least.

If I ruled the world, this J.Crew Silk tricotine Sophia short dress in Vintage Burgandy would cost 4 hugs, 7 kisses, and 1 rainbow.
But I don't rule the world, and the currency in America is not measured in love and affection. It's $150. One freakin' fifty.
For that price, J.Crew better be outsourcing its labor to blind Tibetian monks because this shit's bananas. I'm just sayin'.


Save This Date!

I told you that I had finished our STD cards, and since they are trickling into mailboxes all across Southern California and New York, I can finally reveal them to you. I must say that I am quite proud of this spectacular DIY accomplishment. A special thank you to Debbie, my MOH, who was willing to hand feed every card into our lousy printer in order to get the best results.

My first step was making STD stickers. I knew that I could not afford getting magnets made, so I figured that stickers were a more budget-friendly alternative. This way, guests can just take the sticker and place it directly on their calendars. For this project, I used:

-Love Birds stamp from Michael's ($1)
-Avery 8.5"x11" full sheet labels ($12.98)
-Chianti ink pad ($2.49)
-Leftover cardstock ($0)
-Glitter fabric paint from my grandmother's stash ($0)

I know that it seems costly, but I plan on using my round punch and full sheet labels for other wedding projects. Total cost for the project if I break it down to each label sheet I used and the stamp: $4.89

I made a template on Microsoft Word and then printed it out onto a full label sheet. I then punched them out and stamped them. I learned that I definitely have trouble centering things and I was too rushed. I even cut slits on all of the backings of the stickers for easing peeling. I also added some glitter to the hearts on the images. I made another template that said, "Mark your calendars. Just peel and stick." I printed this out onto some card stock and attached each sticker using double sided tape. I hope people realize that it is a sticker and make good use out of it.

A few days later, I finally tackled the actual STD card. As I mentioned before, I had purchased three boxes of Target invitation kits for a total of $20.10. I decided that I would print our STD cards on what will also be our RSVP cards since we had so many at our disposal. Easy enough, right? WRONG.

Debbie and I sat down in front of the computer and played around with numerous templates, fonts, colors, wording, and spacing. When we finally agreed upon the appearance of the card, we were faced with problems with our printer.

We had numerous mishaps where words would print out completely blurred and/or crooked. Some words were left out all together. Our printer also decided to eat a couple of pages or sometimes not pick anything up at all. It was a collaborative effort, but we managed to figure out the source of the problems and adjust accordingly.

The project turned into an assembly line. Debbie was in charge of making sure that everything printed out smoothly. I was to hand stamp each card with my "Save This Date" stamp from Michael's ($4.79) with gold ink ($3.59). In the end, we accumulated about twelve unusable cards. Not shabby for two girls using a temperamental printer and a stamp that was produced crooked.

These cards along with the stickers were enclosed in the envelopes that I had hand embossed earlier.

I volunteered Debbie to address the envelopes because her handwriting is much classier than my own.

Here is the final set that was mailed out to our guests:

Breakdown of costs if I do not include the cost of supplies I will use for later projects:

$4.89 for stickers + $4.79 for STD stamp + $6.7 for card stock and envelopes ($20.10/600 pieces x 100) + $17.30 for postage ($0.42 x 40 envelopes + $0.92 for special postage to France)=$32.14

Cost of each STD= $0.30 when not including postage

I've heard numerous positive comments about our STDs so now I am even more anxious to make our invitations. If Brandon lets me, I think I will print out our invitations on our own printer instead of sending it out to a professional for $60+.

I learned something about myself. I don't think I'm a Minzilla after all! I was not bothered by all of the flaws that I saw in the STDs and sent them out anyway. Debbie was incredibly worried that I was not as critical as she thought I should be. Perhaps my anal-retentiveness ways of the past have faded. Life has suddenly become easier.

I think the next post will be a guest post by Debbie on the hunt for the perfect bridesmaid dress...if there is such a thing.


Finding "The One"

Warning: Do not read further if you do not want to see me in a wedding dress. The following pictures are not of the dress, but of some dresses that I could never afford.

I've already found my Prince Charming. His name is Brandon, and he wears ACUs instead of shining armor. Now, I'm on my hunt for my Cinderella ball gown.
Yesterday, my mom, sister, Belinda, and I headed to Mary Me Bridal in Orange for a bridal appointment with a very tall woman named Sue. I was not impressed by the service at first because I felt rushed and even a bit lost. I lied saying that my budget was $2,000 so that they would be willing to show me something. From what I saw, nothing was under $800. A single simple veil was $200. Belinda and I were allowed to look through their many dresses on our own while Sue grabbed what she thought I would like into the dressing room. We concluded that many looked too much like prom dresses.

I had gone in thinking that I liked something more fitted like this Jim Hjelm dress, but as soon as I put it on I knew that it was all wrong. All of my magazine clippings and tearouts were based on the trumpet gown, and I was really surprised to find that my preparation was meaningless. The trumpet silhouette is definitely not forgiving on those with wide hips and love handles. Plus, I felt like I couldn't even move.
Belinda and I had found a ball gown that I had wanted to try on "just for fun" and I immediately swelled up with emotion since it was my first dress. I felt the tears sneaking up as soon as Sue zipped me up and fitted it with her massive industrial clips. Suddenly, I was a bride.

I went out to show my mini-entourage and I could see tears forming in their eyes too. I was in that dress for another five minutes or so and knew that I had to move on. It only got better from there.
I had asked Sue to take down a dress we saw on a form near the front entrance. This gorgeous gown by Alvina Valenta could very well have been "The One". Since I cannot describe such a beautiful speciman on my own without ruining the integrity of it, I will leave it to the website: "Rum pink silk duchess satin A-line ball gown with full double box pleated skirt. Winter white alencon lace adorns scalloped sweetheart torso and creates illusion of a dropped waist. A deep border of winter white alencon lace surrounds hem. Covered buttons and loops over zipper down center back, chapel train."

I was in love. My boobs looked great. My waist looked tiny. The dress had everything I wanted. Lace, beading, texture, sweetheart neckline, pleating. Too bad this baby was over $5,000!

Lesson to all: Yes, it may be fun to try on dresses that are way over your budget, but you will just end up dreaming about those dresses because nothing else will ever be able to top them.

Sorry for the awkwardness in this picture. I had read some reviews of Mary Me Bridal saying that pictures were not allowed in the store so I had Belinda/Debbie snap some whenever Sue was away.

I reluctantly took her off and tried on another beautiful gown. This dress was "only" $1600. She was beautiful too. There was so much detail in this dress. It didn't have that sweetheart neckline, but a "smile" neckline. However, Sue said that she would alter it herself for only $20 compared to the $75 that they normally charge. I could even order the gown in a petite size so that the hem would not need to be changed. Sue was making it work for me every which way. I felt so guilty because I knew that I would never be willing to pay so much for a single dress. I was leading poor Sue on.
I ended our appointment by telling her that I had to think about it and we left. Belinda needed to head to work, but the rest of us went to the David's Bridal in Costa Mesa.
Coming from such a high end store to one where I can actually afford created a different experience. They were definitely less personal at David's Bridal, but we didn't mind because all we wanted to do was try on a few gowns. Besides, we already knew what would and wouldn't work on my body. Yes to A-Line. No to trumpet/mermaid.
After a few hits and misses, we landed on what will most likely be the dress. My consultant, Barbara, pulled out a dress that was brand new and wasn't even featured in their catalogue yet. It had wonderful detail for a much lower price of $695. Plus, it is on sale at the moment for $75 off. However, the sale ends on Monday so I have to make a quick decision. I need to determine if I really like the dress because my family likes it or if I like it.
I'll let you know when it happens.
P.S. I have finished my Save the Date cards (finally). They look a lot better than I had imagined. I'll post on that after I send them out.