If I could replay one day other than the actual day of my wedding over and over again, it would be the day I went dress shopping with my mom, maid of honor, and mother-in-law. As someone who isn’t a natural at organizing events, planning a wedding was somewhat intimidating (as I described in part one of this series). However, choosing a dress, bridesmaid dresses, accessories, and all the fun fashion elements being a bride entails was right up my alley!
So, for this second part of my wedding series, I wanted to share what I and my bridesmaids wore, and some tips for bringing your bridal style together.
All photos, unless otherwise noted, were taken by Meg from Meg Johnson Images.
As one of the most expensive pieces of clothing you’ll ever buy–and one you’ll see yourself wearing in pictures for years to come–choosing the right dress is a big deal. It’s also fraught with the expectation of having that epiphanic moment we see brides-to-be experience in the movies. In reality, you don’t have to burst into happy tears to know that a dress is “the one.” You’ll know by the immediate feeling of confidence you get when wearing it.
That’s how I felt when wearing the first dress I tried on at Miss Ruby Bridal Boutique in Milwaukee’s historic Third Ward. It had everything I was looking for, which was a simple but classy A-line dress that is matte (i.e., non-satin and non-bling-y) and has lace (but not all over). Pretty specific, I know.
Although I was certain this dress was the one, I still tried on other styles just to be sure. In the end, I went with my gut, and said yes to that first dress. Miss Ruby’s made the experience as magical as can be, and I cannot recommend them enough for brides in the area. Jimmy, the stylist who assisted me, poured a round of champagne for my group to toast the moment: the perfect end to a perfect day.
Originally, I was dead set on not wearing a veil. I thought the look would be more modern without. Then, while trying on the dress-to-be, I was convinced by a combination of my entourage and Jimmy to try one on. So, he brought over a super long veil, stuck it in my crude half-ponytail, and I fell in love. Somehow, I went from wanting no veil at all to one that touched the floor!
Unfortunately, I don’t remember what brand this was, and it’s currently tucked away in my wedding dress preservation box. What I can say is, be open-minded when trying on both the dress and accessories. Although I still think a veil-less ensemble is absolutely gorgeous, I’m so glad I wore one. It’s one of my favorite things when I look at photos of the wedding day.
The Bridal Belt
This is another accessory I thought I would forgo. My dress originally came with a white ribbon around the waist that looked really pretty but was somewhat plain. When I tried on this belt, I felt it really pulled the whole look together and added a touch of glam. Plus, modifying a dress with a belt can really make it your own. Best thing is, this gorgeous belt is handmade locally in Milwaukee by Jaxie Bridal.
The chandelier earrings and bracelet I wore are by Nadri Jewerly. When choosing jewelry, the most important thing to keep in mind is balance. It can be really easy to over accessorize, and doing so can take away from the dress. That’s not to say you shouldn’t wear statement jewelry! Just be sure to balance a bold piece with subtler accessories elsewhere.
For example, I knew I wanted standout earrings, so I chose not to wear a necklace because I felt it might overwhelm the final look–especially since the bridal belt acted like a piece of jewelry itself. The bracelet then added just a touch of sparkle on the wrist, but was understated enough not to compete with the earrings and belt.
Strangely, I had the hardest time finding a good pair of light blue heels. You’d think this color would be easy to track down, what with having “something blue” and all. It’s not that I couldn’t find any blue heels…just not in the shade I wanted. Everything was either pale dusty blue, cobalt, or dark navy. I had my mind set on a light sky blue that went with the color scheme of my wedding and provided a (hidden) pop of color to my look.
As usual, Aldo came through for me, and the pair I found was on sale! These gorgeous, vinyl-like blue platforms were everything I wanted in a bridal heel. Although they are close to five inches high, my feet did not start to feel uncomfortable until the last hour or so of my reception, at which point I just took them off. Just make sure to purchase your shoes before getting your dress fitted, especially if you plan on wearing heels.
The Bridesmaid Dresses
How cute are these yellow gingham sun dresses? Instead of going the typical route of finding bridesmaid dresses at a boutique, my bridal party purchased these from an Etsy shop, Keeratika Handmade Boutique.
If you’re looking for unique bridesmaid dresses that are more affordable than what you’d typically find in a boutique, I’d highly recommend checking Etsy. This brand in particular has a gorgeous selection of styles, colors, and prints, and the owner will also customize the gowns by request. My bridesmaids each added a couple of inches to the length of their dresses so that it would come closer to the knees for an elegant, 1950’s-inspired look.
Also, for tips on looking your best as a bridesmaid–check out Carly’s post, here!
The Evening Clutch
For bridal party gifts, I treated each of my lovely bridesmaids (and myself!) to a nude, Italian leather evening clutch from yet another Etsy shop, Sister + Sister. The clutches come in a variety of colors and sizes, and you can choose to add a wrist strap or chain strap. I chose the nude leather clutches with silver hardware and wrist straps for easy handling. Not only did these look great with our fancy dresses, but they are also perfect for a casual night out.
Thanks for reading, and hope you enjoyed this post!
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