Certified Coordinated Bride Ebony
Journal Entry #2

In a world full of beautiful blushing brides to be…. there is me.

Ideally, or from what rom-coms and perfectly scripted depictions of the childhood fantasy are, most girls can only dream of their perfect wedding day. They pick out their venue, the theme, colors – everything by the time they are 11 years old. The only thing they are missing is their groom. Is he going to be the Ryan Gosling type of man? Alternatively, is he going to be Vin Diesel type of a fella? They grow up get a little older, experience love, their first kiss, the first break up and their first taste of what their ideal man is going to be. Then one day, that little 11-year-old girl is a woman. Wedding bells start to appear in casual conversations, dating becomes a little bit more serious and the whole idea becomes so real you can actually taste it. Here is my theory, those girls have had a long line of practice and have finally gotten their whole wedding dream down to a science. When the man of their dreams comes along, the puzzle pieces start shifting and falling into place. Moreover, then there is me.

I am Ebony, and I have no clue what the heck I am doing.  It is okay I have to admit it at least once before I rabbit hole into this journey of my wedding. I have got my groom, who by all accounts is the perfect combination of what anyone could ask for in his or her best friend. I have got my wedding date, which took me some back and forth to decide. Moreover, I have my destination, don’t even get me started on how this one came along. Let’s just say it was not easy.  What else is there for me to do? Oh yeah, I need a dress. Logistically I have everything together. I would like to thank the years of planning family vacations for this. Negotiating contracts and dwindling down vendors was honestly the most natural part of this wedding. Side note: getting married in a destination is like a load off your back, most resorts or venues handle all this nitty gritty stuff for you.

The one thing I have felt truly alone in doing was buying a wedding dress. Let me tell you why. Everyone loves to ask about the dress, he or she have questions and ideas and opinions, and then there is me – the girl who just about 6 months ago never even thought about wedding stuff let alone what kind of dress I would be wearing when I walk down the aisle in front of all my family and friends and my fiance’s family and friends. Let me explain something, and I come from a very long line of elopements. From my parents, my grandparents my aunts, uncles, godparents, all of them got married at courthouses or had  little Vegas chapel weddings. Take a lunch break to get married type of weddings. All of them, even on my fiance’s side, now what are the odds of that?  Being the baby of the family means I have to get married the more “traditional way” isn’t the long line of eloping considered traditional at this point? I digress.

I found myself binging on ‘Say Yes To the Dress’ episodes, just to put a few feelers out there. There are so many types of brides out there that you cannot even imagine. Moreover, with that, there are equally so many types of dresses out there. I was overwhelmed, and I had not even started. Travis and I went to a local bridal show, just to get the idea of where in Atlanta could we find our wedding attire. With my inability to say no, I somehow signed up for a bridal appointment. Weeks passed, and eventually, I forgot about it. To be fair, I only signed up for the appointment to get the free stuff at the bridal show. Hey, there was a free bottle of champagne involved. The night before my appointment I got the reminder call. Again, with my inability to say no and waste peoples’ time I confirmed the appointment even though my mother was halfway across the country, my bridesmaids were extremely busy and my sisters were nowhere to be found. I went anyway. I went with the intention of just looking.  I also wanted to get some style ideas, get a price point in my head, and just to have a minute alone with my thoughts in a salon.

Needless to say when I arrived, late and alone, I was in way more over my head than I ever imagined. The salon was huge and there where brides and dresses everywhere. The brides were being poked and prodded. Long veils,  short veils, bridesmaid dresses, even a few tuxedos. Big groups of women and small groups of women, even a few dads were in there. All so happy to be there together.  It was a nightmare. However, I had made an appointment, someone was expecting me, I was taking up a spot for another bride, and so I stayed – still with the intention of not purchasing. I was just there to get the general idea of things. Besides my wedding was 11 months away at this point. I did not need to purchases a dress I had only been engaged for about two months.

As I walked into Anya’s Bridal, they handed me a clipboard asking me the basics: Name, phone number, wedding date, grooms name, wedding dress inspiration, and model number of any dress on the floor that “caught my eye.” I hated everything on every mannequin. So I eventually left this part blank. So far so good, if I do not like anything I definitely won’t buy anything.  With the busy confusion, I waited about 20 minutes before I was greeted by my consultant. She was lovely, sweet actually, but with no squad, no moral support, and no cheerleader to help me go into this milestone I felt anti-climatic. My family lives in California, and I Atlanta, when the decision was made that I was to have an actual wedding ceremony we had planned to go dress shopping as a family. Seeing all those women so excited about this experience laughing and smiling, I felt like I was robbing myself of that bridal moment you are supposed to have. Even window shopping, and I am a firm believer of window shopping before making any decision. The last time I bought a dress for any event was my senior prom, and it took me four months to decide on one.

My consultant asked me the same question I am positive she had asked every bride before me, “Was there any dresses that you have seen that you liked? Maybe on Pinterest? Alternatively, on a bridal magazine? I responded simply, “Well I do not know what I like, I mean, dresses look great on the people they put them on. However, I am not sure if they will look right on me.” Which is a fair statement, you can get a designer dress for the name, and it looks horrible on you. However, here’s Anya’s charm, they get you a cheering squad, put you on a pedestal and make you feel like every single dress you put on looks like a diamond in a rough on you. The other thing they do is ask you your budget and flatter you and your wallet by being way under your budget. Moreover, then the unspeakable happened. I bought a dress. I got this $897 ball gown that was tulle and lace. I called my mom, so excited that I found a very inexpensive wedding dress. It was not that I loved the dress. It was that I loved the price because let’s face it my wedding budget does not entail me to buy a dress more than a thousand dollars.

Let me fill you in on some key details of my wedding. When I sat down with a family friend who I am lucky enough to have as my wedding photographer we talked about what I wanted my wedding vision to be. I “thought” I wanted simple, ya know a laid back low effort beach wedding with a guest list about 15 people. I said I wanted to do a boho elegant beach wedding at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, so I thought I wanted a dress that was light and airy with a KILLER slit. I wanted the dress to be white, lace and off the shoulder and show-stoppingly sexy. It is supposed to be my one showstopping day why not have a sexy wedding dress. What I paid a deposit for, was an ivory and lace ball gown with tiered tulle layers, sequin straps, and a sweetheart neckline.

Sidenote: Before the proposal, I would not have known what I just said so let’s just put this on my list of my acquired wedding knowledge tally.

The dress was NOTHING I wanted. Nothing! The only reason I bought it was because A) it was light enough to walk on the beach with and B) it was $800. I put down my 50% deposit and left. I called my best friend and told her about this great find I discovered all juiced, and her response was not what I was expecting. She was livid. Beyond words, my mother was even more furious.  When I called her at the salon. She could not believe I went to one bridal salon and found a dress on my own without anyone going with me. To be honest, I really hurt my mom’s feelings. Not only am I the baby of the family, but this is also probably the only time my mom will ever get to go dress shopping with her daughter. I did not just do it without her I robbed her of sharing that special moment with me. There are three important dates in a mother looks forward to. The day you are born, the day you get married, and the day you have your first child. Everything else in between is just another day for her to be proud. With a wedding comes all the bells and glory that comes with it. Dress shopping is definitely included.

Fast forward a few weeks. I completely hated the dress, and it had not even arrived yet. I made the biggest mistake of my life. How could I jump into buying a dress without any hesitation? No thoughts to the next ten months of my life. No thoughts on what I want on a wedding day. No thoughts to anyone of my friends or more importantly my family

After the discount dress high and the regretting low. I made the executive decision to go shopping again, this time, I had to swear I was not allowed to go alone. I wanted to have that bridal moment; I hear everyone talk about. I wanted to have the laughs, the cries, that warm moment you feel when you try on the dress and the whole world stops and the only thing you can see is walking to the man of your dreams in that dress.

Truth, getting married is as terrifying as it is exciting. You are making this proclamation to the world that you love someone and are willing to spend the rest of your life with them. Your mind has hundreds of thought and ideas. And a vision that only you can see and attempt to live up to. And all in all all you really want to do is just wake up with your best friend every day for the rest of your life. Nothing about that should be half-hearted. So I did what any woman in my shoes would do. I scoured the city and mapped out a detailed, Saturday consuming attack on finding the perfect dress. I started with a clean slate. This time letting my dress decide the whole theme of the wedding.

By Black Friday, I had narrowed down my favorite salons. Moms, my maid of honor and my sister, were determined to find my dress. I had to act fast because I was getting relatively close to the cut off date to order my dress in time. Once inside Bridals by Lori, I let my mom, sister and maid of honor pick out their choice of dresses. Well, that was fun, discovering that neither my mom nor my sister have any idea what kind of style or bride I am. My mom had high necks and sleeves, and my sister did cap sleeves and a plunging neckline both with many poofs. All were very heavy. Kudos to my maid of honor who kept a very detailed list of everything I said or even mentioned I wanted in a wedding gown. I am crediting her for redirecting the appointment back to my wishlist.

When I stepped in with my bridal knowledge, I like to assume I have because at this point let’s be honest I have tried on many dresses. I finally found my dress. The dress that gave me chills. The dress I wanted to twirl back and forth in like a little girl. The dress that made me feel sexy and bridal. The dress that felt like butter on my skin and wrapped around me like a warm blanket. The dress that when I turned around in the mirror, I saw Travis staring back at me. I saw the sunset of the island kissing our skins as we say our “I dos” In front of all of our friends and family. I didn’t even want to take it off. It was like an extension of the joy I felt the day Travis proposed. Those butterflies jumping around in my gut and the tears forming at the brim of my lids. It was beautiful. I felt beautiful! Moreover, I knew Travis wouldn’t be able to contain himself when I walk down the aisle. But you will, just like my fiance, will just have to see at the big reveal.

June 1st the day I get to join my best friend in paradise. Walk into infinity with the man that makes me feel like time has stopped. Travis is the moon with my stars never leaving my side. He is the soil to my fingertips. Our love ever growing like vines is the rhythm of my nights. Each day with him is like another dream I never want to wake up from. To leave our footprints in the sand forever and leave traces of our love in the grains.

Only 130 days to go!

Until we meet again,

P.S Here are a few of the dresses that didn’t make the cut during my dress search! Happy Shopping Ladies!

Oh, and to my fellow brides out there who still haven’t found their dress yet. I have come up with some beneficial types that might help take some of the pressure off the shopping. Especially the first time.

#1 Bridal gowns take 12-18 weeks to be ordered unless you buy off the rack. For those of you who are like me, this means dresses that are final sale and can’t be ordered. You buy the dress as is and you walk out of the bridal salon that day with “your” dress.

#2 Wedding dresses, designer or not, run small. So if you go in thinking you are one size, be prepared to have your life altered because you are probably not the size you have shopped for.

#3 If you are trying to have a shotgun wedding and need a dress in a hurry, You better hope that the “off the rack” dress you purchased fits your body like a glove because alterations take about 6-8 weeks.

#4 Wedding gowns are made in almost every fabric imaginable. So if you are a silk satin or a chiffon or taffeta girl you are in luck.

#5 Wedding dresses range from anywhere from about $800 to $80,000 so just be sure to know your budget before you go. There are also white dresses at Lulu’s going for a sweet $89 if you are into that sort of thing.

#6 It is totally normal to go to 80 different bridal shops trying on and hating probably everything at each one before you find the right dress. Also, it is entirely acceptable to hate what your consultant picks out for you. Don’t worry they did not make the dress they will not be offended.

#7 And this one is a big one. Never go to a bridal appointment by yourself; especially when you have no idea what you are doing or where to begin.

#8 Always get a second opinion. Even if you are sure you know what you want. You will not be standing in front of the mirror all night, but you will be the center of attention.

Vendor Collaboration
Photography: Elle Allgood (@elleallgood)