Wedding Dresses

Fit Bride, Cherie // Wedding Dress Shopping 101

CHERIE-3Hi guys! Thanks for the warm welcome! Did you have a chance to read my engagement story?

Well, you might be surprised to know I've already found my wedding dress! It might seem like a rush, but it couldn't have been any more perfect - timing wise. Ever since my first trip to beloved Charleston, South Carolina, I have been gawking over a wedding boutique called Modern Trousseau. The dresses in the window were always like brilliant works of white art calling my name. The "appointment only" sign on the door kept me from wandering in too soon. When I realized that all of "my women" (aka my mom, Da, and aunt) would be on vacation together, I hopped on the opportunity to make an appointment!


CheriesDaFun fact: The first time I saw Modern Trousseau was when my Da and I returned from a stroll down King Street. We found my Pa resting on a bench right outset the window! It was basically a sign that it was meant to be, am I right? :)

The two years of daydreaming about this place paid off! After a few moment of irritation at the beginning of the appointment - my appointment was misplaced! - I slipped into six or so beautiful gowns. Number seven was the winner; I even put it back on two more times before giving my yes!

Alright so now it's your turn: you found your man, you named your girls (I'm still working on this one), and you've started the process of marking off the days - now it's time to find your dress! With shows like Say Yes to the Dress and I Found My Gown, it's easy to see that the dress shopping process can either go two ways: 1. complete success with that one special gown or 2. a disaster, tears, and empty hands from indecisiveness or critics. For all of my fellow fiancees out there, here are my top tips for making your dress shopping experience one to remember (in a good way, of course).

Wedding Dress Shopping Keep an open mind!

I've been looking at pictures of wedding dresses for years. Coming down with the typical "wedding fever" symptom of pinning all of the dresses I think would fit me - well bad news y'all, having a set way of thinking only leads to disappointment. I started the dress search with a mindset of cotton lace, a-line fit, with pockets only. I'm not going to give away the details on my find, but I will say that what I chose was nothing like I expected. Go in with an open mind. However, I didn't say go in with a scattered brain. Have an idea of what things you absolutely don't like, but when someone says, "how about this one?" - respond with "why not?" It could be your gown!

Look in the mirror more than once.

At first, it might be overwhelming, so take a second look to really know if you like or dislike something.

Try on the accessories (except the veil)

Play around with sashes, covers, jewelry, etc. Sometimes it helps to visualize a little extra bling on the dress. It could possibly be the only thing missing! I suggest you don't add the veil until you know its the one. :)

Don't even think about sizes.

Most boutiques carry one size and one size only, which can be frustrating. But know this going in and don't get too caught up in the dress looking 'perfect.' It's ok if it's too big or too small! More than likely your consultant knows what she is doing and will do what she can to help you visualize what the dress would truly look like on you when it's your size!

Everyone has a "trouble zone," but there isn't a law that you have to talk/cry about it the whole time! 

Like any other girl, I, too, have a part of my body that I tend to stress over and dress to flatter. My lower tummy has always been a difficult place to tone since I hold a significant amount of skin there from previous weight loss. Rather than spend all of my time fretting about it, I try to pick things that show off other areas. I realize that you want to feel and look your best the day of dress shopping, but remember that once you find that special gown you're probably going to start sticking to good habits. In the mean time, try on a variety of things. If you find something that's unflattering, add a giggle and move on. Constantly criticizing yourself is more than likely to set the mood low and cloud your judgment on the remainder of the dresses.

If you think you've found the one, take a moment to think about it.

One of the most profound (or at least I like to think so) lessons I've learned from one of my besties is the rule: If you can't decide whether or not you should buy it, leave. If you're still thinking about it a few hours from now, go back and get it. I did this with my dress. I put the dress back on again, did a little dance, and walked out! What?! Yep, I told the consultant I needed to take a moment to see if it truly was my dress. We ended up getting lunch, clearing our minds, and even peaking in another boutique nearby. In the other boutique, every dress I saw just couldn't compare to that dress. I stopped my family and said, "What am I doing here? I already found my dress." It was a moment of total and complete confidence and we headed back to Modern Trousseau for me to slip the dress back on, add a veil, and give my "yes."

Well ladies, those are my top tips for your big search! I know it may seem like an overwhelming moment of opinions, decisions, and more. Just remember to stick to these tips and kiss indecisiveness goodbye.

Happy dress shopping!

Already found your gown? Have a tip of your own that isn't listed above?

Share in the comment box to help fellow readers with their big search!




Wedding Dresses: Lacey Lace

While we're on the subject of wedding gowns, I figured I'd share some favorites. Once again, there's not much I'd change about our day, but if I did it all over again, lace would definitely be in the running. Enjoy these pretties! Lace-Gowns-1

Lace-1 Lace-2




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Interview with Ruth, Owner of Curvy Girls Bridal

Earlier today I shared what to do if you don't fit in sample sizes, listing all sorts of ways to avoid embarrassment and stay carefree, but, there's an easier way for those of you in Northern Virginia- just go to Curvy Girls Bridal! Curvy Girls is a premier plus-size bridal boutique in the Washington, DC area, specializing in large-size bridal gowns and plus-size wedding gowns (sizes 12-32)!


Don't let the words "plus size" scare you away. Curvy Girls believes that regardless of size, brides should have access to the best gowns designers offer. They're a full-service bridal (and tuxedo!) shop  featuring gowns guaranteed to fit and flatter all sizes. They specialize in Curvy Couture, Pronovias, Manuel Mota, Allure, La Sposa, Anaïsi, Anjolique and Forever Yours.

I had the privilege of sitting down with Ruth, the owner and she told me the story behind this revolutionary shop.


How did you get into this business? 

About 20 years I was looking for something to do, the kids were little, and I wanted to get out of the house and do something different. I happened upon a bridal shop. I've always loved fashion and loved bridal. I handed in my application and started there- that was 20 years ago!

I worked there about 6-8 years but ultimately ended up working for Northrop Grumman for a long time.That's where we made money to be able to do this. I finally decided I didn't want that grind of that corporate world anymore and knew I'd always go back to bridal. I talked with my husband and said "What do you think?" He said, "if you have a passion for it and you think this is the time, then let's just do it."

I had always kept my hand in it. Every time I'd have a bad day at work, I'd come home and see who's bridal shop was for sale!

Why plus-size? 

I had kept my hand in it and looked to see what was happening- what really dismayed me was that David's Bridal mentality. I watched that gain momentum over the years, and I thought that's not a bridal experience! That's going and getting a gown and being done because you need something white to wear!

I asked myself, "What am I going to do that's different? Unique? Where's my place in the bridal industry? Ok, I know how hard is it to shop. Maybe what we need to do is look at the women that don't have a voice; women that have to settle; that are so used to settling.

We started calling around, "Do you have size 18 in stock? Size 20?" How many do you carry? What brands do you carry. The answer was no-no-no-no all the way around. I said that's it! This is where we need to be. We need to start here! That is basically why I opened it up- there was the need."

Curvy Girls Bridal
Curvy Girls Bridal

There's hardly any other shops like this in the world!

What kind of research did you do to prepare to open?  

We did the secret shopper thing as opposed to calling bridal shops and saying who we were. I had my niece play the part of the bride and we went into bridal shops to experience first-hand how we were treated, what they sold. We had to do it that way because otherwise we wouldn't get an honest feel for what was happening around us. I knew there was no other way to get an honest opinion- answers to my questions.

What makes the Curvy Girls Bridal experience unique? 

We are here to serve women that have not been catered too. As plus size women, we get the little corner in the top floor or basement. The buyers don't have a clue what to put on bigger women. We're really, really conscious of that.

Our girls our trained to dress the curves. You don't find that other places. In fact, we're all about the curves, and we warn women when they come in - don't think you're going to hide! We're going to show you what you actually can look like! And they're excited. When they come out, and they have that smile on their face-- that is why we're here.

Even a size 20 girl, we'll put her in a fit and flare and show off her hour-glass figure. She'll just stand and look in the mirror and say, "Oh my god!" Because most of the time, they come in in oversized shirts and baggy pants. They don't show their figures for the most part. There are some that embrace their curves. Others, not so much.

How do you chose the dresses you have in stock? 

Every dress we have is chosen by me. Just because it's on the best sellers list for our sales. I look very carefully at necklines- ruching and a-symmetrical lines. We have everything from sheer tops and ball gowns to the latest styles. We have every single silhouette and fabric you can think of. We do that for a reason... so that the girls have a chance to experience that would not otherwise get to!

Girls come in and the dresses zip; they close behind them. I have had so many girls in tears. They just step up on that pedestal and lose it completely. They don't want to get down, because they've never seen themselves look so beautiful.

My dress was ordered three times too big. How does sizing work?

Do you advise the bride on what size to order? 

Every manufacture has their own size chart; nothing is custom made. We take measurements and get as close to the chart size as possible. We try to keep our alterations to a minimum. Obviously, there are going to be little tweaks here in there (hem, bustle) but our seamstresses are independent contractors; we don't have any on staff. So we'll make a size recommendation and then it's up to the bride to decide what they're going to do.

Curvy Girls
Curvy Girls

One thing I loved about the store is the curvy detail in the architecture. Congratulations on the exceptional design award from Fairfax County! You literally curve around a corner when you walk in; was that purposeful? 

We have the dresses displayed the way we do because we want brides to touch and feel them. We want them to experience everything and we do that for the senses.

When we were designing this place, I wanted it to be modern, but I don't want it to be cold. I want it to be warm and not stuffy. I don't want to have the antiques and traditional furniture oriental rugs...

Tell me about the Curvy Girls philosophy; about your gowns and why you've chosen to spearhead this movement.

"We figure that it's always easier to pull in on a little girl and give her at least the look (an idea of what that gown is going to look like), but you can't do it the other way around. That is why our sample sizes start at a size 12 which is like street size 8-10. Also, what we carry here are the same manufacturers you see in the bridal magazines, but in sizes that fit! They all make them. It's just that nobody wants to carry them!

Curvy Girls
Curvy Girls

Are there certain dresses that work for certain body types?

I wrote an article for one of the bridal magazines about this- we're so used to being "typed by our body type" so if you look like an apple you you're supposed to wear this. It doesn't work that way! That is all such myth! Our bodies are so unique, they need to be dressed on an individual basis, not grouped into a well, you're close to looking like a this or that, so this is what I'm going to put on you! And of course the fallback for larger girls is a-line. Let's just throw an a-line on you because that hides everything!

I tell my brides all the time: you don't chose the dress, it choses you. You put that dress on and there's something that you feel as the bride, as you feel inside.

Tell me about one of your brides:

I had one girl in here that was a size 12-14. She had been to another bridal shop in the area, but she didn't tell us at the time, but you could tell she wasn't happy. We asked her, "So, what do you looking for? What's your style? What do you feel comfortable in when you dress up, that sort of thing." She said, "Well, I really thought that I wanted fit and flare, but you know... "

Now she's a little size 12-14 BRIDAL, which means she's tiny... So sure, we pulled out a bunch of dresses and brought her to a dressing room. The first one she came out in, she stood on the pedestal and started to cry! We were worried, wondering what we did?

She said, "No, you don't understand. I was just at a bridal shop, I told them what I wanted, much like I just told you, and the sales lady pointed her finger at my body and said "THAT doesn't belong in a fit and flare. That belongs in a ball gown or something that hides you! You don't want ot show that off." Are you kidding me? How sad! And this girl looked phenomenal!! Absolutely remarkable!

That's pretty upsetting, but I remember feeling similar in some shops. What else will you do to accommodate a bride's wishes? 

We've done some really unique things. We had one girl who really loved the top of one dress and the bottom of another dress, and we actually ended up putting them together and it turned out gorgeous! She was thrilled. We can do all those things- add sleeves, add straps, or do whatever.


How much time should brides allot for an appointment? Because I know, after reading this post, they'll be running to Curvy Girls! 

It's an hour and a half appointment. Obviously we want to know a couple of things: when are they getting married; what time of year? No satin ball gowns for the beach! How big is the wedding going to be? Outside? Inside?

We know it's a stressful time and we try to take some of the stress away.

Thank you so much, Ruth! I truly, truly enjoyed meeting you and I believe in your cause! I know there's a lot more about Curvy Girls that we didn't cover. For brides interested in learning more, check out Curvy Girls Bridal website: Give them a call: (703) 539-8777, or better yet, go shopping for your gown! They're located on Fair Ridge Drive in Fairfax, VA.

I'm going to leave you ladies with a snippet from the Curvy Girls website, which I think says it all: “We realize that over 60% of today’s brides are size 16 or larger, so it amazes us that bridal shops carry most of their try-on samples in sizes 10-12 (which translates to an 8-10 or smaller in street wear). While we carry smaller sizes as well, it is our goal for all brides to experience the same excitement and joy of shopping for their wedding gowns regardless of their size. We chose to carry the majority of our gowns in sizes 12-32 so we can better fit the majority of our brides who come to visit us.”

Where are you shopping for your wedding gown?

Are sample sizes a concern for you?