Wedding Spectatular: A Guest Look & Wedding Pics

Weddings can be fun, but they can also lead to a lot of wardrobe stress - especially if you're the bride.
Dress:  Galina (Available here at David's Bridal)
My wedding dress was a source of soooo much stress.  It didn't start out that way - in fact, being a fashionista, wedding dress shopping was my favorite part of wedding planning, but then I ran into some unfortunate issues with fit.  Let me tell you the story.

Three years ago, the hubby and I planned a wedding.  After thinking I wanted a mermaid or fit and flare style and trying on several dresses in those shapes, I switched gears for something different.

What I thought I wanted
I fell in love with this dress - a fun and flirty retro-inspired hi-lo number from Oleg Cassini, strapless with a fitted corset-like top, poofy skirt, AND pockets!  I loved the idea of being able to show off my shoes and the dress had such an ease and comfort that I knew would be a lot better for dancing during the reception.
Before hemming
I bought a fascinator hat to wear with it and absolutely loved the look!
Source:  David's Bridal
Unfortunately, we had to cancel our wedding due to a family emergency, and it took us a while to get back to our wedding plans.  I had tried my dress on periodically throughout the three years and it had always fit.  Then, after almost seven years at a steady weight, I gained weight this year.  We planned our wedding in less than a month, so it was only two weeks before the wedding when I actually tried the dress back on.  While the dress zipped, I had MAJOR back cleavage, my breasts were pushed up to my neck, and I was physically uncomfortable in my dress.   

I was so anxious - how could I possibly lose enough weight before the wedding to make this dress work, and did I really love this dress as much as I once did?

I suddenly hated the fascinator with my glasses.  Knowing that I would be wearing glasses on my wedding day (see yesterday's post), I was feeling stressed about the veil too.  I ordered a chiffon bolero hoping to cover up the areas most affected by weight gain.  The bolero looked terrible though.  I was a most miserable bride-to-be and had a mini meltdown.

The hubby took one look at me, saw how miserable I was, and told me to go get a new dress. 
After showing pics of myself in the dress to a few honest friends and my mother (some of whom verbally gasped at the fit of the old dress), I was sure I just needed a new dress - one that was actually in my new size.  I felt guilty about spending more money on another dress, but I knew that there was absolutely no way I would be comfortable on my wedding day in the other dress.

I perused the choices on the David's Bridal web site and found two dresses in particular that I just loved.  One was a $1600 White by Vera Wang gown.  The other was a Galina dress on clearance for $250.  Since I was a bride on a budget, I was hopeful that the less expensive dress would work for me.  I made an appointment with my local store and picked out several dresses to try on.

The Vera Wang gown was not available in my size in the store and would have had to be ordered, putting it further out of the running.  I tried on several dresses, saving the Galina clearance dress for last. 

I found three that I thought looked good on me and that would require the simplest of alterations.  I would have loved to have shown you the two I didn't pick (link to one of them here), but for some reason, nobody thought to snap picks of those.
A hem and a few tweaks around the neckline were the only alterations needed
In the end, I chose the exact dress that I went to the store to buy - the clearance Galina dress! 
The empire shape had a bohemian flair which I really liked, and it was super comfortable!  The sweetheart neckline gave me the same effect as the original dress I had bought, while the illusion neckline helped provide coverage and comfort. The applique detail was special and added a little bling to the dress.  I'm not a big "bling" person, so this was just enough shine for me. 
The dress required fairly simple alterations, which was great since the alterations had to be rushed.  I wish I had chosen the option to bustle the dress for the reception, but overall, I was so happy with the dress!  It felt unique and special, and I loved the way it worked with my hair.
For my hair, I wanted to maintain the bohemian feel, so I added faux brush, baby's breath, and fresh flowers in my hair, along with a simple rhinestone edged veil.  I never thought I was the veil type, but I have to say, wearing it made me feel more like a bride. 
I wore the same heels I had purchased to wear with my original dress though I took them off at some point during the reception and just went barefoot.
Our wedding was a family affair, with our kids as our wedding party.  My son walked me most of the way to the would-be altar, while my mom walked me the rest of the way.
Our wedding ceremony was deeply spiritual with a mix of Native American (Cherokee and Apache) and Celtic prayers and traditions.  One of my favorite passages from Khalil Gibran's "The Prophet" was read, and we finished the ceremony with a handfasting that involved not just us as a couple, but also our five children.
The wedding ceremony and reception were held at the Wildey Theatre, which was a wonderful venue (honestly, they were AH-MA-ZING!) and also led to some fun photo ops with our names up on the theatre marquee.
In lieu of a DJ or a live band, we saved a ton of money on our wedding by saving our music playlist to our laptop and playing the music through the theatre's PA system.  I walked out to a cool mash-up we created of the traditional wedding march and the mash-up from Pitch Perfect (one of our favorite movies) of Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are" and Nelly's "Just A Dream."

I also made my own bouquets with fresh flowers I picked up from the supermarket using my favorite flowers - black, white, and Picasso calla lilies - mixed with a range of other fresh flowers and the faux brush used in my hair.

Marrying my best friend was amazing (six week anniversary today!), even if my wedding dress story was a little chaotic and slightly traumatic (just kidding...mostly).

Choosing what to wear to a friend's wedding yesterday was easy!

Dress:  Eloquii (Available here)
I had been eyeing this dress from Eloquii since it came out, but I had resisted the urge to buy it.  I caught it on a great sale recently, knowing that I could wear it to this upcoming wedding.  I just looove the tulle detail and the black and white color palette.
Shoes:  Prabal Gurung for Target
Necklace:  LOFT
I added my favorite heels and a lipstick clutch for a few fun and personal touches and opted for a red lip to play off the bag.
Bag:  Torrid (Sold out on-line; may be available in stores)
Earrings:  Torrid
The look was perfect for an evening wedding on the rooftop of the Moonrise Hotel in St. Louis!  Plus, it was so fun to get dressed up again with my husband!!
He's a jeans and t-shirt guy and is usually in those or scrubs, so I'm always excited when I get to see him in a suit!  :-D

Just like my wedding dress, this dress also required alterations.  I had the hem of the dress raised three inches, and the tulle underlay was also taken up three inches.  
I loved how the dress felt conservative but also super fun!  To stave off a little September chill, I grabbed a lace moto jacket for extra warmth.
Jacket:  Target Petites
Glasses:  Valentino
If you're married, do you have a wedding dress story?  What would you wear to a wedding at a trendy hotel?

For the moto jacket in other looks, see here, here, and here.

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