(Photos by Sweetmint Photography)
Today, in part four of this series of blog posts on tips for a beautiful wedding on a budget, let's talk about the apparel for the wedding, from the wedding dress to the attire for all of the members of the wedding party.
I began this series writing about the wedding budget. View that post here.
In part two of this series I wrote about choosing a venue. View that post here.
In part three I wrote about wedding decor and flowers. View that post here.
For our oldest daughter's wedding, she bought her wedding dress the traditional way, from a local bridal shop. There, she tried on various dresses until she found "the one", so the store ordered it in her size. When it came we paid for alterations to make sure it fit her perfectly. That's not the end of the story, however, because then we had to decide on her headpiece, her veil, and buy the appropriate undergarments and shoes to go with her dress. She also accessorized with some jewelry. You need to be aware that all of these extras add up, and can total as much as the cost of the wedding gown.
Our second born daughter found the dress she liked best at the same bridal shop, but then found it cheaper online. She ordered it in her size, then paid for alterations.
When our youngest daughter got engaged at Christmas time, our first decisions were when would the wedding be, where would it be, and what was the wedding going to be like, formal, semi-formal, or casual. All of those decisions helped to guide her as she selected her wedding gown. The wedding was scheduled for May 23rd, the venue was a lodge on a lake, and the wedding was dressy/informal.
Before we had the big day when the bridesmaids went with us to look at dresses, my daughter requested that the two of us go by ourselves to look so she had an idea of a basic style to focus on. We went to a national chain store bridal shop, and there she chose two favorite gowns, which were pretty much opposites in every way. One was a designer dress, very full and lacy, and quite pricey. The other was a strapless grecian style dress. Very simple and reasonably priced. The day we went wedding gown shopping with her bridal party, she tried on several other dresses, but kept coming back to those two. She loved the fancier dress for its princess like qualities, but loved the flowiness and comfort of the more simple grecian style gown and felt that it fit the setting of her wedding better. However, she felt it was a bit too plain, and preferred the illusion neckline of the fancier dress over the strapless grecian gown. About that time, the salesperson and the alterations person suggested she add a fancy sash to the more simple gown, and add some straps made out of the same chiffon as the dress. With those two simple additions, she fell in love with the dress and in love with the fact that this made an off the rack dress uniquely hers. She got a gown she loved for less than a third of the price of the designer gown.
She opted for a simple headpiece instead of a wedding veil. She was able to buy one she liked online for a much more reasonable price than in the bridal shop after a fail when we tried to make one ourselves. Oh well, it was a $20 loss, but we had fun in the trying! She also ordered her undergarments online, rather than pay the bridal shop prices. For her jewelry she wore a pearl pendant necklace and simple pearl earrings that were my mother's and a faux pearl bracelet.
(Carrying the hanky she embroidered when she was a little girl for her grandma, my mama.
It was her "something old" and her "something blue".)
When my oldest daughter got married, her wedding was more formal. I wore a fitted dress with a matching jacket that had some sparkle to it, (it was the nineties after all). It was the first dress I saw walking into the Nordstrom Rack, and I loved it.
For our youngest daughter's wedding, I was walking through JCPenney's and saw this dress on sale. It was taupe/beige with a cream colored lace overlay with an illusion neckline. I bought it, figuring that if I found something I liked better I wasn't out very much money. I found that it's difficult to find mother of the bride dresses that don't look like you are wearing one of the bridesmaid's dresses or a prom dress. On the other end of the spectrum were dresses that looked too matronly. I ended up wearing the dress from JCPenney's and I think it was perfect for the outdoor setting. I ended up paying more for the shoes, jewelry and undergarments to go with the dress than for the dress itself. (Two things to take note of, undergarments for under your wedding attire are not just your everyday of the week undergarments. I don't regularly wear a strapless corselet and spanks, but when you want a smooth look with no bulges showing, those things may be a necessary expense for the bride, bridesmaids and even the mother of the bride. I also realized, I'm not so great at choosing accessories. I ended up buying three different styles of necklace, earrings and bracelet and returning them all. I ended up with a rose gold choker, with a rose gold watch, earrings and bracelet.)
My daughter gave the bridesmaids a lot of leeway in choosing their own dresses, showing them styles and colors she liked. They chose coral colored dresses with a lace overlay. They ordered them from an online company, but were really disappointed in the quality when they arrived. The dresses didn't fit properly, either. They returned them and ended up ordering similar dresses from Nordstrom for not much more than the online company. The bonus was that Nordstrom does alterations for free. The flower girls' dresses were ordered online as well. They wore flower crowns made out of fresh baby's breath and put together by a friend of the bride.
For the groom and the fathers of the bride and groom, new suits were purchased instead of renting tuxes. It seemed to be a great time of year for suit purchasing. My husband found his new suit for 40% off, and the groom got a great deal on his as well.
The groomsmen bought matching gray slacks and navy blue cardigans. (The cardigans were an idea I saw on a blog friend's family wedding photos.) The groomsmen were all told to choose a bowtie, any bowtie, unique to them. (The groom's bowtie, seen in the photos above, had little airplanes and suitcases on it to go with the travel theme of the wedding.)
The junior groomsman, our oldest grandson, and the ring bearer, our youngest grandson, wore khakis, white shirts, suspenders, and caps. My oldest grandson chose a University of Washington Huskies bowtie, and our youngest grandson wore a Stewart tartan bowtie. My husband wore a regular tie that was passed down from his father, made of the Stewart tartan.
I hope you enjoyed hearing all the ins and outs of the attire for our youngest daughter's wedding. Here's a summary of some wedding attire budget tips.
Consider borrowing a gown or buying a used gown. In the case of our youngest daughter, neither of her sister's gowns worked for her. We did go to a charity bridal show featuring used and floor model gowns, and were disappointed that many of them were terribly soiled with broken zippers and other major flaws. I've heard of others who have found beautiful gowns at these events, but that wasn't the case for us.
Consider making an off the rack wedding gown uniquely yours, rather than buying a designer gown. My daughter was so pleased that her simple dress was dressed up and made to be a one of a kind with just a few simple alterations.
Consider borrowing the extras such as the veil, the slip for under your gown, or your accessories.
Consider the expenses of your bridal party when choosing their attire. Consider dresses that the ladies may be able to wear again, and suits, or slacks and cardigans for the fellows instead of rented tuxes.
Inexpensive online companies may sometimes have inferior goods. In the end, a higher end store with free alterations may be your best bet.
Consider the size of your wedding party. The more bridesmaids and groomsmen you have, the more expensive and complicated things get. Our oldest daughter and her groom had eight attendants each, not counting the ring bearer and flower girl. We ordered eight matching, full length, formal bridesmaids' dresses online. Some sizes were out of stock. We ended up having to order bigger sizes for those gals and having them altered down to their size. The more people, the more complicated things can get.
Well, it's almost Friday, friends!
Have a HAPPY, HAPPY Friday
a SAFE and BLESSED weekend!