"Remember brides... A wedding gown is worn once, but photographed forever!"
I had a chance encounter with Randy of Say Yes to the Dress fame a few years ago at Kleinfeld Bridal in Manhattan when my friend Angela was trying on wedding dresses. I wish I could tell Randy now that I said "Yes!"... but I haven't had time to order a dress yet. So it works out that for some reason I'm not itching to do so, even though I know it can take several months to arrive and then a couple more for the fittings. And as much as I agree with Randy and do covet a beautiful gown, I'm confident I'll be able to stay well within my budget because the thought of spending more on a big white dress that I will only wear for a few hours of my life does not sit well with me. As my friend says, "The wedding does not make the marriage," which I think is very important to remember since it's easy to lose perspective in wedding planning.
Right after getting engaged, I bought bridal magazines and clipped pictures of dresses that appealed to me; not necessarily a dress as a whole, but some aspect of it: the neckline, the back, the fit, etc. I pasted collages of photos onto plain white letter paper to serve as inspiration boards. But the truth is, I tried on 3 dresses this summer and I know which one I want. Shh. Hopefully I'll have time to seal the deal within the next couple of months. I don't want to try on more dresses, just like I didn't want to visit more venues. 4 venues -- done. 3 dresses -- will be done. Done and done.
As for bridesmaid dresses, I already tried on several and narrowed down the options on my own, and will allow Maureen, who is my sister and matron of honor, to make the final call. There will no coordinating busy schedules, no potential of having too many cooks in the kitchen, and certainly no attempting to sell the belief, "You could totally wear this again!" Regarding color and length, I knew exactly what I'd choose. Ideally I would love for my bridesmaids to wear the same color and length of dress in different styles to suit their shapes and personalities, but after doing my research I found that it will be more cost-effective to order the same style. The exception is if one of my ladies is expecting at the time of the wedding, which is very likely and would be wonderful!
I love flowers, and even named this site after a couple of my favorites! For the bridesmaid bouquets and reception centerpieces, I decided to go with what I'm calling my "mixed berries" palette: varying shades of rich pinks with accents of purple for a feminine yet nuanced look. Ceremony flowers will be simple and tasteful, in paler hues. Off the top of my head, my top wedding flower choices: peonies, ranunculus, orchids, lilies, gardenias, anemones, hydrangea, delphinium, freesia, dahlias, tulips, and of course roses.
After going through a few initial bridal magazines, I stopped buying more since they are all pretty much the same and have fulfilled their purpose for me. They are definitely helpful if you're looking for ideas and need a place to start, but if you have a fairly clear sense of what you like as I do, they are not really that useful; especially with the abundance of wedding blogs that update multiple times on a daily basis! (Many times I just click "Mark all as read" on my Google Reader because I can't keep up with all the wedding blogs, Perez Hilton, and TMZ.) But I do love Martha Stewart Weddings. My sister still has issues from when she was planning her wedding 9 years ago, and they remain very "good things."
Personally, the hardest part about wedding planning so far has been accepting the fact that as much as we would love to invite every special person in our lives to share in the day, it simply can't be. (Even Kim Kardashian couldn't include everyone she wanted to invite.) Another gentle reminder: "The wedding does not make the marriage." It's only 1 day. I never thought I could elope, but now the idea appeals to me sometimes and seems so utterly romantic. It would never happen though.
Long post... New York is starting to hole in, bracing for Hurricane Irene. I hope she won't be as mean as reports are forecasting.