Wedding Week Day 5: The Wedding Dress

It’s probably a no-brainer that I include at least one post about my wedding dress, so here you are! I absolutely adore my dress – honestly, I was so lucky to find it. Originally, my sister and I planned on re-doing my mom’s wedding dress and I was going to wear that down the aisle. However, last summer I went with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law (who was also married this past June to my hubby’s bro) to a local boutique for a $99 dress sale. Formal Affairs is known in Richmond for its designer gowns, so it was a wonder that they were having such an incredible blow-out special. I never expected to find my dress there, especially not the second one I tried on either, but I did, and it was magical!

For a long time, ever since the beginning of the wedding planning process – so forever basically – I decided my preferred style was v-neck, vintage and covered in lace. It was going to be a stretch to make my mom’s dress into my vision, but this $99 find took my breath away by matching all my criteria! The original size was rather large, but it was easily altered to fit perfectly.

Other Bride Essentials:

  • The veil: my mama’s since I didn’t wear her dress. It matched perfectly! Cost: FREE
  • The garter: 2-pack from Hobby Lobby – one to throw and one to keep. Ivory with lace. Cost: $12
  • The sash: I made with ribbon from Michaels and hairpin from Formal Affairs. Cost: $40
  • The shoes: flats from Payless – comfortable and didn’t make me look like an Amazon. Cost: $18
  • The accessories: gold hairpins, pearl necklace, earrings and bracelet polish it off. Cost: FREE

Through my wedding dress experience, I learned a few things:

  1. Determine your preferred style before shopping, or it could take ages to narrow down a favorite
  2. Don’t settle on a dress unless you’re 100% confident it’s the one – then “say yes to the dress”
  3. Be on the lookout for sales and specials going on at bridal boutiques in your local area
  4. End of summer is a good time to shop since it is the end of the busy bridal season
  5. Set a budget and don’t go over – it’s called a budget for a reason
  6. Don’t let size dissuade you, especially a bigger size – it can always be taken in to fit your body

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Day 4 of Wedding Week…and the quirky guest/gift table

The guest/gift table actually came together really nicely – perfectly welcoming guests to our reception. It all started out with wanting an atypical guest book – one that incorporates my love of photos and scrapbooking. This then evolved into creating a makeshift photo booth, explaining how to sign the book and finding other essential decorations to greet our friends and family upon entering the reception hall.

The Guest Book

I bought a small photo album from Michaels with lines underneath each photo slot for guests to write a note. The goal was to have each family write a note and take a few pictures at the photo booth area, then after the wedding I would print them off and add to the guest book. A lot of people caught on to this, but some of the older population may not have been so savvy. However, I framed instructions so everyone would know precisely what to do. I was quite giddy when I found this idea on Pinterest – I tweaked it somewhat though! [Note: I’ll go into further detail about the makeshift photo booth in a later post.]

The Gift Area

In addition to framing photo guest book instructions, I also had a gold picture frame to indicate where presents should go, with “Gifts” printed off in a cute design. However, the cards received special treatment – they were placed in an adorable old suitcase I borrowed from my sister. This is a family heirloom that she used at her wedding as well! To dress it up a little, I added a “cards” banner, crafted from scrapbooking  paper and markers. And then at the end of the night when hubby Aaron and I pranced through our sparkler-lit friends to bid farewell, I carried the card suitcase with me, symbolizing our honeymoon trip (and to be sure we gathered all the vaca moolah)!

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Whimsical Decorations

After the essentials, I included some other finishing touches. First, by repurposing a birdcage with flowers, lace, greenery and of course, adorable feathery birds. I also added flowers from Goodwill to an antique vase. And lastly, I made sure the table included one of my prized tea trays, mentioned in a previous post, complete with teacups and all!

This is just another small example of how to keep costs low and produce a fabulous, yet affordable wedding. It all comes down to the details – so start making a list and pinning all your fav ideas early! If you have any fun DIY guest book or gift table ideas, I’d love to see them in the comment section below.

A Glimpse Into My DIY, Vintage Wedding

Before diving into all the phenom aspects of my Big Day, and the hard work to make it happen, I thought I would show a brief overview of the vision and style. As is probably evident, I love all things DIY, so this was a major component, as well as, incorporating vintage-themed aspects. Our colors were fitting for the summer: orange, yellow and pink tones, with an emphasis on coral. But what can explain this all better than pictures – check out the gallery below!

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