I Said Yes to the Dress

by on April 22, 2012

Yesterday I mentioned a little road trip that I was embarking on and now I can share the details. Well, some of them at least. :)

A few weeks ago my sister, mom and niece came to Richmond and we went to a couple shops here locally. The first place we went was Bridal Elegance. The staff was super helpful, not pushy at all and they had a good selection of dresses. I tried on 10-12 dresses and was able to figure out right away that my vision of a lace, form fitting dresses wasn’t going to work for me.

Here is one of the dresses that I loved online and tried in the store and didn’t like at all.

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Source

All the lace dresses looked like the dress was wearing me rather than me wearing the dress. I also thought I would like to have cute shoulder straps on the dress, but soon realized that a strapless, sweetheart neckline was my favorite style.

wedding dress shopping richmond va.JPG

(Not my dress)

One dress I tried on at Bridal Elegance was my absolute favorite and I just kept comparing every dress I tried on afterward to it. The price was a little over what I wanted to spend, but not by much so it was still doable. I left feeling super happy that I found at least one dress that I loved.

The second place we went that day was Tiffany’s Bridal. They also had a good selection of dresses and were friendly, but unfortunately the appointment started off on a bad note because they had somehow accidentally deleted my appointment and they didn’t have a sales consultant that could give me her full attention. They sent someone over to help out periodically but for the most part, my sister had to help me get in and out of the gowns. I tried on quite a few dresses at Tiffany’s and some were gorgeous, but none of them excited me as much as the one I had found earlier.

wedding dress shopping richmond va.JPG

(Not my dress)

So after two places and 4 hours of shopping, we called it quits for the day and I figured I would make more appointments at some other shops over the next few months, just to be sure there wasn’t something better out there for me.

So back to the road trip, Ellen (Isaac’s mom) and I drove to Lynchburg yesterday to a really unique bridal store I had heard about from a vendor when we were looking at venues.

The name of the shop is Church St. Bridal and they sell sample dresses that have been donated from different bridal stores. Most of their dresses come from Kleinfeld Bridal – the famous “Say Yes to the Dress” store. All the dresses are priced at an extremely discounted price and the proceeds from the dresses go to support YCWA of Central Virginia- a battered women’s shelter. Definitely a win-win situation!

It was completely worth the four-hour car drive there and back!

The store was really well organized and the staff was super knowledgable and helpful. The biggest perk is the prices! For $200-$900 you can purchase a bridal gown that retailed for $800-thousands. Sometimes the shop receives dresses with a retail value between $10,000-$20,000. These are priced higher in order to discourage speculating.

Since the dresses were samples, some had small make-up stains or were missing a few beads, but nothing that couldn’t easily be fixed. I tried on about eight dresses and ended up falling head over heels in love with the last one I tried on. It’s beautiful and fits like a glove! I think the top might need to be taken in a bit and sit a little lower on my chest, but otherwise I don’t think I’ll need much alterations done to the dress. I couldn’t stop smiling when I had it on and kind of wish I could be wearing it right now. It’s that lovely!

Isaac’s mom was a huge help the whole day and helped immensely in making the final decision. Although I definitely wish my bridesmaids and mom could have been with me, it would have been really hard to coordinate. I could have put the dress on hold and waited until I could bring more friends and family to see it, but I knew it was MY dress so that didn’t seem necessary. I sent them all photos and they’ll get to see me in it very soon, I’m sure.

So after only three stores and about 30 dresses, I said YES to the dress! Obviously I won’t be posting any photos of THE dress because I don’t want my fianc√© to sneak a peek before the big day. ;) Don’t worry though, I’ll have plenty of photos to share after the wedding.

Oh, and the best part about buying my dress at Church St. Bridal is that I already have it at my house so I can go put it on whenever I want. Maybe I’ll go do that now…

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel April 22, 2012 at 11:35 am

I bought my wedding gown from a sample sale & got an AMAZING deal! I definitely would not have been able to afford it otherwise. Having it at home is great because I can look at it whenever I want & it always makes me smile. The only problem is that it is very tempting to put it on. Gown shopping has been my favorite part of wedding planning so far!

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Eating Bird Food April 22, 2012 at 6:37 pm

I think gown shopping has been my favorite part of wedding planning as well. So fun! When is your wedding?

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Jane April 22, 2012 at 11:41 am

Yay! So exciting! Congrats, that has to feel like a huge accomplishment, at least that is how it felt for me!

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Eating Bird Food April 22, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Yes – definitely a big accomplishment!!! :)

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Danica @ It's Progression April 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm

How exciting! I was thrilled when I found “thee dress” this past fall, now I’m waiting for it to come in at the end of this month–that’s an awesome thing about your dress, you don’t have to wait around for months while YOUR dress comes into the store, you just have it!

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Nina @ Sweating It April 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Congrats on picking your dress! I just made my first appointment, and I’m a little wary that everything I’ve been dreaming of (lace, straps or cap sleeves) will turn out to be a disappointment like it was for you! Good to know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel :)

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Eating Bird Food April 22, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Thanks Nina! Congrats on your engagement and have fun gown shopping. It’s a blast!

When is your wedding?

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Nina @ Sweating It April 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm

We’re going through the excruciating venue search right now… shooting for June or July 2013, but I will be SO RELIEVED when we’ve got that nailed down!

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Eating Bird Food April 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm

We went through a long venue search as well!! Best of luck nailing it down. :)

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Lauren April 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Oh how exciting!!! I will never forget how I felt when I found “the one”. You just know it. :)

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Eating Bird Food April 22, 2012 at 6:44 pm

So true. I knew the moment I looked in the mirror with this one.

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Jess @JessCantCook April 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Yay!!!! I can’t wait to see pictures!! I’ll always remember when I found my dress too, you were the only witness to my wedding dress shopping experience and I totally wouldn’t have even looked at those dresses if you hadn’t been there! If it wasn’t back in VA I’d definitely put it on all the time just because :P

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Eating Bird Food April 22, 2012 at 6:36 pm

I still think it’s so cool that I was there when you purchased yours! :) I’ll send you some photos via email.

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Julianna @ Julianna Bananna April 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm

that’s so exciting! can’t wait to see what it looks like!!

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Sam @ Fit for My Fork April 22, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I’m so glad you found your dress. It sounds like it was a pretty pleasant and painless experience too. I can’t wait to see a picture! Congrats!

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Elle @ nutritionella April 22, 2012 at 5:25 pm

So exciting! I’ve been engaged since New Years and have been putting off dress shopping because the thought of just choosing one is overwhelming. I thought I would have been running to the nearest bridal shop though! Maybe once school is done for the summer I’ll be able to wrap my head around going shopping. :)

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Eating Bird Food April 22, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Ahh, congrats on your engagement Elle! Dress shopping is such a fun experience it – enjoy it!!

When is your wedding?

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Sue-Anne April 22, 2012 at 6:02 pm

How exciting to find the perfect dress and at a great discount, what could be better.?! Love the name of your blog, I have had many people tease me about eating bird seed as I eat my trail mix with pumpkin and sunflower seeds on a daily basis.

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Eating Bird Food April 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Thanks Sue-Anne. My love for trail mix is actually how the name came about. :)

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Danielle Capps April 22, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Thanks for the tip of Chruch Street Bridal, its a bit of a drive but a good excuse to visit wine country!

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Eating Bird Food April 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Definitely. I think we passed at least four or five different wineries as we were driving out there. I wish we could have stopped to celebrate the purchase. :)

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Molly April 22, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Wonderful news Brittany. Can’t wait to see pics. On May 11, 2013 when you put that dress on you’ll feel like a princess for sure!

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Baking Serendipity April 22, 2012 at 10:56 pm

I loved wedding dress shopping! Hooray for finding the perfect dress for you :) Can’t wait to see it!

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Malin April 22, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Wow, I thought the first one looked amazing! I guess they are never as pretty in real life…

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Lauren @ vegology April 22, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Congratulations Brittany! That is such exciting news! I have my dress at home too and while I haven’t put it on again since buying it, I have definitely thought about it. It’s right there just asking me to go twirl around the guest bedroom in it, right?

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Liz @ iheartvegetables April 22, 2012 at 11:38 pm

I’m sure you looked absolutely amazing in every dress, but I can’t WAIT to see the one you picked!!!! :) That’s awesome Isaac’s mom could be there!

It was fantastic seeing you today :) I can’t wait for our next run!

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Rebecca @ Miss Magnolia Munches & Moves April 23, 2012 at 9:50 am

Congrats! I can’t wait to see what you picked!!! I’m sure picking the dress was a huge relief and one less wedding “to do” to stress about.

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Katy @ HaveYouHurd April 23, 2012 at 10:30 am

CONGRATS on finding a winner! Isn’t it funny how the dress you imagine yourself in before you go shopping can be vastly different than the actual dress you buy? You really have to try on different styles to find out which one works best for you! I’m glad you got to try on a bunch though! I only went to two places and was short on time so had to choose quickly. I like my dress a lot but had a mini panic attack after I bought it and wondered if I had picked too quickly. Don’t worry, it all worked out and I was totally comfortable in my dress and was happy with my decision…but having plenty of time to pick one out would have been nicer! Can’t wait to see THE dress!

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Xiomara @ Parkesdale April 23, 2012 at 11:11 am

What an amazing find! You get the dress you love and help others at the same time. So excited for you. I had the opposite experience when I went shopping for my wedding dress. A dress that I had seen on magazines countless times never appealed to me at home. The store I went to had that specific dress and their salesperson insisted I try it on. Bingo! That was the one! Congratulations on “saying YES to the dress” and helping out your community!

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Jasper {crunchylittlebites} April 23, 2012 at 11:52 am

out of all of the ladies I’d like to see on an actual episode of “Say Yes to the Dress,” it’s probably be you, Brittany! So glad you found your dress!

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Whitney @ Whit Likes Fit April 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Congrats on the dress! Mine was a strapless sweetheart neckline as well. Best kind to have!

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Eating Bird Food April 23, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Agreed!!

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Melissa April 23, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I just want to say how awesome it is that you found a discounted dress & it goes to a good cause. I love weddings, but sometimes all the money just kind of makes me feel ick about it all. It is so amazing that your perfect dress symbolizes something even greater! Do you know if there are similar shops like this one elsewhere? (I’m in CA)

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Lauren @ Fun, Fit and Fabulous! April 23, 2012 at 11:57 pm

AAAHHHHHH that’s so exciting!! That store sounds so unique. What an amazing feeling to know that something you love so much is also helping out an amazing cause! I know you are going to be absolutely breathtaking in your dress! :)

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Kelly @ Foodie Fiasco April 24, 2012 at 12:26 am

Congragulations, Brittany! That is such an exciting milestone to finally get THE dress, and I am so happy for you! ;)

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Ashley @ Freckles & Spice April 24, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Ahhh I wish we could see it now! I’ve been leaning towards being wedding obsessed recently.

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Mallory April 25, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Woohoo! I live in Richmond and just got married on April 7th! If you need your dress altered, I highly recommend Fashion Design on Broad St. Oksana did an awesome job taking in my dress and adding a bustle. Good luck with the rest of the planning!

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Eating Bird Food April 25, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Congrats on getting married Mallory! Thank you for the Fashion Design recommendation. I definitely need to have the dress altered a little bit. :)

Where did you get married?

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Katie Martin April 26, 2012 at 12:59 pm

I love the show Say Yes to the Dress! They have so many amazing designs, so I can’t imagine how fun it was to try on their gorgeous dresses, even if they were in slightly less than pristine condition. I know I would go about things like you did and find very reasonably priced but still beautiful gowns, instead of spending thousands on a dress I will wear once. I’m so curious to see what you finally picked, although the pictures of the dresses you did not pick are also lovely, so I’m sure it’s a winner.

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Heather September 1, 2012 at 10:36 am

Yay! SO exciting. I want to see. :)

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