Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Wedding Wednesday: Dress Shopping in Charlotte, North Carolina

hayden olivia bridal dress shop in charlotte north carolina
About a month ago, I visited my sister in Charlotte, North Carolina! I went with my parents and my aunt and uncle (who live in Georgia). Callie moved to North Carolina 2 years ago and she loves it there. I miss her so much and wish she lived in Pittsburgh but I'm glad to see her happy and thriving. Plus, it's so much fun to visit her! Charlotte is such a nice city and Callie always knows all of the best spots to show us.

Because Callie doesn't live in the same city as the rest of us, I wanted to make sure I was able to try on wedding dresses with my mom, sister, and dad all together at least once. I knew it would be great to go dress shopping in Charlotte because it has some great bridal boutiques and my aunt who lives in Georgia would also be able to join us, too. 

hayden olivia bridal dress shop in charlotte north carolina
Because I don't live in Charlotte and because Callie has only lived there for two years, neither of us knew where to go for wedding dress shopping! I asked all of you on instagram, but the format where you can recommend places only lets you use a few characters, so all I got were names. But, that was a very helpful place to start!

The top recommended places were:

Since this was my first dress experience, I wanted a place that carried a bunch of different brands including some of the brands I thought I might be interested in (Rosa Clara and Ann Barge to name a couple). So I turned to WeddingWire, which had many reviews for each dress shop. 

If you are not familiar with WeddingWire, it's a website that is SO helpful for any bride-to-be. They have reviews for all sorts of things like venues, florists, bands, etc. and you can sort everything by location, budget, etc. This has been a lifesaver to me in so many ways. I also set up a wedding website using WeddingWire. The templates for wedding websites are free and really easy to set up. I have mine set up private so my guests can enter with a password I have shared with them but you can make yours public, too! 
hayden olivia bridal dress shop in charlotte north carolina
The reviews on WeddingWire were so insanely helpful because I was able to see what would be the best fit for me. We only had time to visit one place in the morning so that was also a factor. How cute is my mom? My dad took my phone during the appointment and snapped all of the photos, including this one of my sweet mom! 
hayden olivia bridal dress shop in charlotte north carolina
We decided that Hayden Olivia would be our choice and I am SO glad. The reviews were all spot on- it was gorgeous, featured many different brands, and our sales associate was so sweet, helpful, and knowledgeable. Plus, they were having a trunk show of another brand I was super interested in: Sareh Nouri.

One thing that is great about reading reviews- especially for bridal boutiques is that some places let you choose the dresses you try on and others choose for you so it's nice to be able to find out this information using the reviews! 

For this appointment, I wanted to try on one of everything. Meaning that even though I thought I knew exactly the type and brand of dress, I wanted to be totally open-minded and try things on that I wouldn't necessarily pull for myself.

There are so many times I have tried things on and have been shocked by how much I love them. And same goes for the many times I have tried things on that look great online or on a model and then they just look awful on me. So, I tried on something with sparkles, something fitted, something with lace, something in a color other than white, a ballgown, etc. If you know my style, you can just tell which dresses are just totally not me- but it was still really fun to try everything on! Obviously, I'm not sharing the styles I loved the most! 

It was kind of a crazy feeling trying on the dresses. It didn't feel 'real'- kind of like I was playing dress up! Eventually, we landed on two dresses. One was exactly what I thought I wanted and the other was very much what I had in mind with a bit of a twist that I wouldn't have chosen for myself. The one with the 'twist' made my aunt and mom cry!!! I loved it, too, but I also loved the first one that I tried on, which was the other contender. 
It started to feel real when the veil was placed on my head. I really felt like a bride then and it brought tears to my eyes (and I'm not a crier at all). 

I'm not one to make a quick snap decision. I am always very careful with my decisions and usually, I am pretty decisive- I know what I want. So, I felt like I needed to think about things because I felt like if I couldn't easily decide between two dresses then maybe neither of them were my dress! I was also worried that if I decided on a dress well over a year out, I might get bored of it by the time my wedding actually comes around! 

So, I left thinking about it and then after a few weeks of sitting on it, I have decided to look further! I will say, though, after trying on what seems like one of every style, what I thought I wanted is exactly what I loved and felt best in. I'm still going to be open to trying things that aren't exactly what I am looking for but I have a much better idea now! I can't wait to try some more wedding dresses later this spring!! Thank you to WeddingWire for sponsoring this post! 


Kelly Crusenberry said...

So exciting! The dresses you've showed look gorgeous but I'm excited to see what you'll land on. :)

Annaliese Lemieux-Kaplan said...

Wow you look gorgeous! What beautiful options. <3 I went to college in Charlotte and lived there for a year after so I'm so happy you got to visit one of my favorite places!

xoxo A

Kelly said...

Every single one of these gowns is SO gorgeous!!! Those sparkly straps... I die over them. I went for ultra classic/timeless/elegant for our wedding back in 2012. I occasionally think about it and wonder if I went "too" plain (duchesse satin a-line, straight-across strapless but with a gorgeous architectural asymmetric bow on the back) but when I look at pictures I am reminded of how perfect it was! I also fell in love with a blush pink Monique Lhuillier gown that had all the sparkles and stunning detail work (a stark contrast to my real gown!) and I still think if I had the budget for it, I would've been very happy wearing a pink gown too! Wedding dress shopping can be stressful but it's truly one of the most magical parts of planning a wedding!!


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