Thursday, September 18, 2008

I just bought my wedding dress!


My original budget for a wedding dress was $500. I knew it could be done, but that it would limit me to simpler silhouettes and lower-budget stores. I didn't think that would be a problem, and I felt it was a fun challenge to meet. After all, I knew I was never going to have a Vera Wang, and I refused on principle to have a dress that cost more than $1000, so it wasn't like I was compromising my goals tremendously with a budget of $500.

A year ago, when I found this dress, I knew it was going to be the one. It was anything but simple -- full of intricate embroidery, and my budget immediately went out the window. I started pricing it, and prices ranged from the $1050 the shop in Louisville wanted to about $700 or so from various online retailers., my standard for all things inexpensive in the wedding world, originally wanted $700, but now wants $750 (I guess due to the worsening economy). The challenge got harder, but I got more determined.

In my Googling, I came across some of the Chinese knock-off websites, like, that promised great things for less than $200. I considered it, de-considered it, re-considered it, and then began considering it seriously.

My reasoning was, "Even if it's not an EXACT replica, it will be pretty good, and that's good enough for me." And if it's really bad, I can afford to lose $200 -- the benefits are worth the risk.

Then I saw some pictures of actual knock-offs, and while they were pretty good, therefore meeting my standard, they weren't EXACT replicas, and a feeling of doubt started to grow in the pit of my stomach. I succumbed to the wedding industry, dammit.

So then I turned to pre-owned and sample sales. The problem with me buying pre-owned is that I'm very short, and I need to order the shortest version of this dress. Because of the design of the dress, there's no place to shorten the dress. There are no horizontal seams on the dress at which to pull up the skirt -- not at the hem, not at the waist. Multiple seamstresses have told me that it would be very difficult to shorten, so my best bet is to get the shorter version off the bat. So none of the pre-owned or sample dresses I found worked. Stupid tall people.

One particularly depressing day, I discussed it with Eric. I was no longer 100% comfortable with a knock-off, I couldn't find a used dress that would work, and I was unfortunately in love with a dress that was out of my budget and if I were going to order it new, it was getting close to the time I'd have to do it. We discussed it some more, and we decided that I would keep an eye out on the pre-owned market, but if I hadn't found one by the time my rotation in Philly ended at the end of August, I would start the process of buying new, and we would just have to adjust our budget. Did I mention I totally love this guy?

So last week I went through my old emails of price quotes, trying to figure out who would give me the best deal on the dress. I came across one from Pearl's Place, who told me a year ago that they couldn't give me a quote over email, but would be happy to help me out if I called. So, a year later, I called.

$525, plus $12 shipping.

SRSLY!?!?!!?!??! That's so close to my original budget, it's ridiculous! WHY didn't I call this place a year ago?

All that was left for me to do was to figure out my measurements and place my order! Unfortunately, I left my shoes back in Louisville, but my friend David was coming east for a rotation in DC, so I got him to stop in my apartment a few weeks ago to pick them up for me. This past weekend, I got them from him, and yesterday, I went to a store here at the shore that carried the designer's line and tried on some other styles in various sizes.

Since Pearl's Place doesn't do online orders, I sent them an email last night with all of my order information and shipping address, and asked them to call me today to get my credit card number. I wanted my order to be in writing, just in case anything happens in the future. So this morning, the wonderful salesperson from Pearl's Place called me and took my credit card number, and I placed my order!!!!!

It's a huge relief, and I'm so excited! Talk about a buzz kill, though -- now I have to wait 12-16 weeks for it to come in.

What? You want to see a picture?

Well... OK.

The model is wearing it in ivory with gold embroidery, but I'm going to get it with silver embroidery instead.

Like it? I do! And I'm so glad it all worked out.


Blablover5 said...

Wow, congrats on finding your dream dress for your budget.

It looks really intricate and ornate and like it cost a whole lot more than what you got it for.

Good job.

a_good_life said...

Hello! I just wanted to let you know that you must be my twin in another state! That is the same dress I had wanted for my own wedding this upcoming valentine's day. I tried it on a half dozen times at the Bridal Mall in Houston, TX where it was about $700. I even found it on and heavily considered it, but I think all of the beading would have far too difficult for them to replicate. I was in agony because that dress in a size 8 fit me to the T. I wouldn't need a single alteration!!!

After much sadness over the fact that I was the only person who *loved* the dress (I just love the train and how the lace is laid over the fabric and the pleating... oh the pleating...), I dragged myself home to PEARL'S PLACE (my parents are from New Orleans) only to find a DIFFERENT dress that I fell in love with (one that is also available on Well, long story short, I had to start a fight in that place, yelling at another bride in vietnamese because her fiance loved the dress I chose (and was still WEARING) and hated the dresses his own future wife chose. I was so annoyed because the viet community is so small... we all know each other and her wedding is only two weeks before mine! I didn't want us both to have the same dress!

So I went back to Houston and ended up spending over $3000 on a different dress, but I'm totally in love with it, too.

Sorry I am rambling on and on...You chose a beautiful dress!

hwong14 said...

Wow, that's so funny that we were looking at the same dress! Congrats on getting your dress, too! And here's another weird almost-twin factoid: your wedding date is my birthday! Growing up, when people would find out my birthday was Valentine's Day, they would say, "Oh, you should get married on Valentine's Day!" No, thank you -- I prefer multiple gift-giving holidays each year, and would NOT want them all jumbled into one! Two-in-one is OK, though -- you'll have a great anniversary!

a_good_life said...

OMG!! WE WERE ALMOST TWINS! My birthday is Feb 18th, but my mom started going into labor on the 14th (I'd be two weeks early), but they sent her home and I came sliding out on the 18th! This is insane!

BTW, I was looking through blogs and there is someone wearing the dress you bought! You can see how well it photographs:

Blablover5 said...

I tagged you!

Just go to my blog today to see what it's about.

Sarah said...

I would have given up and spent the extra $200. lol I have zero patience and when I find something I want I must have it.

hwong14 said...

The funniest part is, I was totally going to spend the extra $200. I only called Pearl's Place to see their price, and it just ended up working out perfectly!

Christy said...

LOVE your dress! Glad you were able to find it in your budget - that can be so hard to do!

jenifer said...

Outstanding wedding dress... I appreciate your awesome choice!! Macys too provides gorgeous wedding dresses!!

Megz911 said...

I stumbled across this blog while searching for the infamous Mori Lee #2147... MY wedding dress... for which I had been searching for a cheaper price ever since I first laid eyes on it in a local boutique ... and which I completely fell in love with... but it was waaaay over my budget... I also was not about to spend more than $500... and they wanted $1900 here!!! (ouch)
I too debated the replicas... and searched the 'used' dresses... until I reluctantly decided the dress was out of my league and bought something else.... but I couldn't stop thinking about the Mori Lee... So today... I went back to the boutique with my mom and aunt in tow... because I wanted their opinion... if I should just stick with the dress I have... or keep searching for some way to have my DREAM dress... and low and behold - when I get there... the dress is on sale... $1300 - still over my budget.... but as I'm trying it on again... and my heart is saying "just buy it... just BUY it" - the lady comes back and tells me the dress is 50% off the SALE price!
I bought it right then and there.. on the spot!!! It has to be altered because it is a size 10 and I need an 8... but I'VE GOT MY DRESS!!!!
I was only coming online to search for pictures so I could look at it again because I'm soooo happy that I got it (and now must sell the other dress I bought! oops!! lol)
So I found these posts and it sounded sooo similar to my dilemna the past few months I had to write... I also had to laugh and comment on this blog because MY BIRTHDAY is ALSO VALENTINE'S day... LOL

hwong14 said...

That's great! There must be something about Valentine babies being drawn to this dress :)

My dress was a size 10, actually... and I've thought about selling it. Just need to clean it again and actually go through with it. I'm so glad you also found it for a good price! Good luck with your planning!

Kelsey said...

I am actually looking to purchase this dress used. I could use size 10 or 12. If anyone has it and wants to sell please email me

zerry ht said...

So beautiful dress! Anyway I have already purchased my wedding gown. It is a peach colored designer dress which matches my wedding reception theme. Currently I have been finding suitable garden New York venues for our peach and blue themed ceremony. I hope I’ll find a right spot soon.