Wedding dresses are not a foreign attire for me. Yes, I have worn more than one wedding dress in my life. And I can honestly tell you that my actual wedding dress was just as special and beautiful as the wedding dress that my mom made for me as my Christmas present. Since that day, I had dreamed of what my wedding dress would look like, although my dreams were never a clear picture. I entered in the wedding dress search without a clear vision and I was ok with that. With the way our wedding design was going, the only thing I knew is that I wanted a classic style with some kind of twist or unique aspect. Ball gown, trumpet, mermaid, lace, tulle, chiffon? So many choices! Instead, I wanted to be open and let the dresses speak to me (silly, I know). People had told me that I would “just know” and that’s exactly what happened.
I couldn’t begin my wedding dress hunt until I had tried on my mother’s lovely 1980’s wedding dress complete with puffy sleeves and large bow!
I only shopped at two wedding dress boutiques. First, Traditions by Anna in Raleigh and second, (where I bought my dress) Nitsa’s in Winston-Salem. On my first trip, it was more of a “fun” appointment. My parents and grandparents joined me and I tried on a ton of different styles and fabrics, so I could start to get a feel for what my eyes were drawn to. Nothing I tried on seemed to be the right fit, but a couple weeks later, I went to Winston-Salem for the day with only my mom and it was at Nitsa’s where I found my Monique Lhuillier wedding dress and custom veil. (Funny side story, I photographed a styled shoot where our bride wore this dress and didn’t even realize it until my friend, Becca who styled the shoot reminded me!)
I walked around the store and gathered dresses that caught my eye. After a collection of about 10 dresses, I began trying on. About the fifth dress in, I tried on”my dress” and really loved the way that it looked, but continued trying other dresses on. As I put other dresses on and off, I kept thinking about that one dress and wanted to put it on again. Once I put it back on, I knew it was the one and didn’t want to take it off! I cried, my mom cried and she made me list all the reasons I loved this dress. Here are a couple:
– The romantic light-weight tulle
– The elegant and unique sweetheart neckline
– The lovely lace peplum detail
If you are a bride, looking for an unforgettable shopping experience, go to Nitsa’s. Their team is absolutely incredible to work with and they made me feel like a one of a kind bride. I got the chance to work with Chris, the owner. I am so thankful for her kind heart, honest feedback and genuine care about my wedding and soon-to-be marriage.
The best decision I could have made was the decision to honor my mother’s request and keep my dress a complete surprise. Yes, the only people who saw my dress before my wedding day were my mom, dad and brother. My mom told me, “you love this dress and that’s that. You don’t need anyone else’s opinion!” and it was so true. It was definitely hard to keep the secret because I loved my dress so much, but it was worth it to see the faces of my family, bridesmaids and wedding guests, as they saw it for the first time when I walked down the aisle. There was no worry of pictures of me in my dress floating around or anxiety about getting other’s opinions. It was just about me and my dress, the dress I chose to walk down the aisle to my groom in. And if you ask me, it was perfect.
I love these priceless moments of my bridesmaids seeing my wedding dress for the first time, moments before I put it on.
Images by Nancy Ray Photography