And then Melanie Cried: Bridal Gown and Bridesmaid Dress Shopping

So we joked when I was a bridesmaid in Melanie’s wedding that all of the childhood stories about Melanie and her younger sister Emily ended with “…and then Melanie cried”. Melanie cried because she got hurt, hurt someone else, her feelings were hurt or she hurt someone’s feelings. She was the cautious big sister and the sometimes indignant older child. I’ve been there, I too am the oldest sibling, it’s hard; but the younger siblings are always so fun–like my fiance Theo.

Anyways, this post is appropriately titled because as it so happened, I put on the gown (or the sample anyways) that I will get married in less than a year from now, and then Melanie cried. Good thing she cried too, because according to Theo it wasn’t “the one” unless someone cried.

Dorothy arrived to my house that morning and brought in the huge gold box holding my Mom’s wedding dress. I opened it up for the first time ever and got to see her gown. Admittedly, what I was truly looking for in there was a veil that maybe I could wear with my gown. Sadly, there was none in there and Dorothy said she had peeked into the box for the same reason. Soon after, Melanie and Abby arrived and we closed up the box and left it in the living room and we all left in Dorothy’s car to start our shopping trip.

We started the afternoon at Galleria Gowns in Willoughby and Melanie and Abby got to try on Alfred Sung bridesmaid dresses in some of the colors and styles I was most interested in from looking on their website.

These were the Dessy swatches I had ordered in advance that were different shades of hot pink in thicker, more-structured material.

In natural sunlight…

and inside the house.

Several were boatneck styles in satin or silk fabrics that had a very Kate Spade-y feel. In the end, we narrowed it down to two dresses we all really liked, with one being the clear front-runner. The blue dress, named “the Cinderella dress” by Abby and Melanie based on its color was the favorite with its fun diamond-shaped cutout in the back. From trying dresses in various styles, we also realized we loved the silk dupioni fabric in the color “sangria”; a beautiful deep magenta with red and fuchsia shimmer undertones. *I actually didn’t order a swatch of the sangria in advance because it looked too red on the website.

In the photos below, Abby is wearing what she and Melanie dubbed “the Cinderella dress” (for its color) which was the ultimate top choice. Melanie is wearing a similar style in ivory that wasn’t quite as interesting because it didn’t have the back cutout. Both dresses have pockets which we decided was a must-have feature. The dress they are holding in the middle is in the “sangria” dupioni silk color we loved.

This is an up close view of the sangria color with a necklace I chose for the bridesmaids a while ago. Since the top two dresses came in the silk dupioni fabric only, it was easy to narrow it down to which colors we were interested in. “Sangria” or “Watermelon”. Since there was no actual dress in the Watermelon color, at this point in time Sangria was our clear front-runner.

After narrowing down to our favorite options at Galleria Gowns, we zoomed over to Expressions Bridal so I could try on the gown I had loved since March for them.

We arrived at Expressions Bridal and after being greeted by Ti, [the same attendant who helped me find the dress back in March] she helped me into the dress again. She tied the belt on and she pinned a fingertip-length veil in my hair (exactly as I had pictured myself wearing). I stepped up onto the platform and that was it, then came the water works. Not only did Melanie cry as expected, but all four of us cried. This dress is definitely the one.

Since I don’t want to give it all away before the wedding, I thought these cropped photos from the shoulders up would show my expression as well as give you a little idea of what my dress looks like….

Okay, so I’ll give you a BIG hint about my dress. It’s the one I announced was the one before. The consultants at the bridal salon call it “the two-in-one dress”. It is nicknamed as such because it has a lace overlay that comes completely off to reveal the structured dress beneath it. For the ceremony, I will wear the lace and for the reception I will remove it to come out in a whole new look, with the same dress. In fact, when we texted photos to my bridesmaid Kaitlin, (with the lace and without) she said she loved both dresses, but which was the one I purchased? Even she was fooled!

While I was being sized, Melanie and Abby looked for bridesmaid dresses but we didn’t find anything that even remotely compared to “the Cinderella dress”. I don’t have any pictures, because as I said, nothing was really worth noting. The bridal salon has you hold up a cute sign after you “say yes to the dress” so here are the pictures from that as well and the picture of our whole crew!


We finished up early and since I was feeling warm (probably from wearing Spanx under my clothes all day), we stopped at a nearby smoothie spot called Pulp where I bought everyone a smoothie so we could keep our energy up and I could cool off.

Lastly, we drove to David’s Bridal to try on more bridesmaid dresses. When we arrived, the manager was sitting at the check in desk and asked if I had ever been there before to register with them. Dorothy and the girls started giggling behind me which made things a hair more awkward because I worked there for about 3 days in March* and had met this specific manager. (Oops!) Of course I said no, which was good because she couldn’t find me in their computer system anyways.

We had our appointment and I had Abby and Melanie try on lots of dresses. Essentially every A-line style with thicker fabric, short and long. When they were trying on the final options, I asked if there was any they wanted pictures of. Since they had shared a dressing room to help each other zip, Melanie let me know that still nothing compared to the Alfred Sung “Cinderella” dress so there was no need for pictures. I agreed, we found several that could definitely work but “the Cinderella dress” was so much more ideal.

After David’s Bridal, we went back to my house and Dorothy was surprised to see Theo. Now if you remember from the beginning, we left the box with my Mom’s dress just laying in the middle of the living room. Theo had found it and peeked inside, once he realized it was a white dress, he closed it up quickly thinking somehow I had brought my dress home already and he shouldn’t look at it. (Ha!) Once we told him I had just ordered mine today and it wouldn’t be in for months, I tried on Mom’s dress as Dorothy left for home. The dress smelled like vinegar and had a tea-colored stain on the front. I left my clothes on underneath because the fabric (especially the crinoline in the skirt) was so itchy but I modeled it for Theo, Abby and Melanie to see. Us girls spent the rest of the night eating, catching up and working on wedding crafts! I was so glad Abby, Melanie and Dorothy were able to see me in my wedding dress and loved it as much as I do!

P.S. Sorry there are no pictures of me in my Mom’s dress, Theo wanted it back in the box ASAP since it smelled so vinegary (and he hates vinegar).

*I quit at David’s Bridal by being a no-call-no-show, which is really not my style but I also really did not enjoy what I was doing there (even though I was pretty decent at it) so sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.

*My two-part wedding dress is Essense of Australia style DJ1367

*The “Cinderella Dress” was Alfred Sung style D679 and I believe Melanie is wearing the Alfred Sung style D448





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