So, confession. The part of wedding-planning I’ve been most looking forward to since, let’s face it– forever– has been DRESS SHOPPING! As a self-professed dress fanatic (you should see my closet… more dresses than pants, tops, jeans combined!), I have always felt that a girl’s wedding dress is the most important dress she’ll ever wear. (Look at my A Delightful Day bio and my “Favorite Wedding Detail” answer!)

When I read (with glee!) that The Bride Room was hosting their 3rd Annual Super Sample Sale, I immediately vocalized to Drew how extremely convenient and grateful I would be if he proposed in time for me to attend said sale. Not even kidding! Imagine my excitement when he proposed a perfect 10 days prior!!!!

The very very first bit of wedding-planning I did was scheduling my first appointment with The Bride Room. Mom and I came on a Wednesday around lunchtime and spent the afternoon ooohing and ahhing at the gorgeous gowns. I came in with no expectations or limitations on what I would try on or want… I wanted the full wedding-dress experience, and boy, did I get it!!!

The first dress I tried on was a beautiful Amsale crumb-catcher gown (ironic only because the one dress I’d seen pre-engagement that I was like, “MUST HAVE!” was Amsale’s Aspen). Then, a dress my mother had picked out (the “Lasara” by Watters) struck both of us… so lovely. The A-line skirt was so unlike what I thought I’d wanted, but the design was so whimsical and romantic and the structured bodice with sweetheart neckline made me swoon. ADORE! I tried on dress after dress, loving all of them.

And then Stephanie (my WONDERFUL and sweet helper throughout the process) showed me “Candy.” I tried Candy on “just for fun” and fell madly, crazily in love. Her soft pink hue, the delicate hand-sewn detailing, the soft A-line shape, the tulle, the tiny star-shaped sequins… I was smitten. Mom was smitten. I strongly considered tossing what ideas I had about a color scheme for the wedding and even told Stephanie, “I would elope for this dress.” Tragically her Fall 2012 Monique Lhuillier pricetag was a little too steep to justify, but lawdamercy, it was stunning.

I was certain nothing else could ever compare.

A couple days later, I took my best friend (Laken) and Mom to a local chain bridal store to try on their dresses. Laken, who’s getting married a month before I am, found her gown there in March. While I tried on almost every single dress they had (it seriously took us, like, three or four hours) and many were very pretty, nothing stood out as something I just HAD to get married in.

(me in the Allure dress below!)

(Beautiful dress, great deal… just not very “KELLY!”)

I decided late Saturday afternoon that I was going to brave the lines and weather at The Bride Room’s Sunday Sample Sale. While my best friend/MOH couldn’t make it, Mom was up for the adventure. Saturday night I felt like a little kid on Christmas Eve… I could barely sleep. I woke up at 5am thinking, “IS IT TIME?! HAVE I MISSED IT?!” Mom and I left our Chapmansboro house at 8:30 to get there early for the 11 o’clock sale start.

The whole event was planned meticulously… only 4 brides could come in at a time (first come, first served), so there was no chaos and gnashing/snarling over dresses. We arrived around 9:30 and I was Bride #3! (There was lots of jumping up and down and celebrating. :) I bought Mom a pumpkin spice latte in the meantime (no waiting out in the cold and rain! they thought so far ahead!!) and we came back for the countdown to 11 nervous and excited.

The four of us first brides lined up outside the door at ten to 11 with our little posses in tow. Far from the cutthroat brides you see on TV, everyone was genuinely excited and friendly. We all had different body types and were looking for different styles… such the perfect situation! Stephanie came out and debriefed us about the process. We were allowed 4 dresses at a time (which were swapped out for new ones once we gave the thumbs-down), we had to be decisive when it came down to the wire, and all dresses had to be paid for in full at the time of purchase.

I picked Lasara again, as well as a trumpet-skirt dress by Amsale, an A-line Amsale, and a pretty ethereal dress by Watters I’d seen on the Southern Weddings blog a few months ago that caught my eye. It was easy to narrow the four down to two. After re-trying on my top two favorites over and over (and hearing some insightful wisdom from Charlotte), I had a winner. To be honest, I really knew from the second I put it on I knew it was THE ONE. (Kind of how I knew Drew was, too! :) It was a little unexpected, but looking back, it’s not so surprising. It’s perfect, absolutely perfect, and we were able to complete the whole look by 11:45! Forty-five minutes after I walked in the door, I was walking out, having purchased the dress and accessories of my dreams!!!!!! (It made for a very happy Mother-of-the-Bride too!) Oh, and it totally made me forget about that heavenly pink dress. That’s when you know.

Thank you thank you thank you to Stephanie, Jessica, and Charlotte of The Bride Room for all their wonderful help and making this process the best it could possibly be!!! You ladies made my day (ok, my life!) and I cannot wait to walk down the aisle in my STUNNING Bride Room gown!!!!!!!!!!

~ Kelly