BIG mistake... HUGE. | The Budget Savvy Bride
The Budget Savvy Bride

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So I committed the cardinal sin of budget savvy dress shopping… I tried on dresses that were out of my budget. EEK! Of course I went into the weekend thinking I needed to have the dress shopping “experience.” So we went to 2 stores that had a cute boutique style atmosphere, as well as a decent selection of dresses. None of the dresses I tried on were under $700! But it was fun and I definitely figured out which styles work best on me… I seriously never thought I could wear a strapless dress, but it turns out that anything with straps really makes my shoulders look wide. And I always LOVED the sweetheart neckline but thought it would only accentuate my large chest, which I thought would make me look indecent. Boy was I wrong! All the styles I liked best on myself were strapless, with a sweetheart neckline. It really accentuates my shoulders and arms, (which will be buff and lean by the time I finish the 100 pushups challenge!) But the dresses were way over my budget. The ones I liked best were 2 from Maggie Sottero, the Grace Lynette and the Gloria. The other that I liked was from Essence of Australia’s line. The Bride’s Story in Murfreesboro is the only store in the state of Tennessee who carries this Australian line. Unfortunately it was way out of my price range, like the others. However, I didn’t get the “This is it!” feeling from any of the gowns. I know people always say that they get the feeling when they try on ‘the dress’ but the cynic in me makes me not really believe that. But perhaps I just didn’t find the one this weekend. I don’t want to order my dress for another 3 months, and maybe as I shed some more weight I will feel more beautiful and more comfortable as I try on dresses. If so, I will be checking eBay and OnceWed for these styles, just in case. :)

You didn’t think I was going to leave you without photos did you? :) I aim to please… So without further ado, here are the dress styles that I tried on!
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This was the first dresses I tried on. The top 2 and bottom L are the same dress. I threw in the other pic on the bottom R because I was too lazy to make another collage. :) I wasn’t feeling either of these. I DON’T like asymmetrical lines. Never have, never will. I like the rouching, it flatters my waistline… but the straps make my shoulders look so broad!

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This is the Maggie Sottero Gloria. I tried this on at both stores I went to… I really love the neckline and the lace and beading. Wait, didn’t I say I wanted simple? haha. Oh PS- check out that battle scar on the top R photo- who knew trying on wedding gowns would be so painful?!

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This is the Maggie Sottero Grace Lynette. My mom really liked this one. It’s really similar to the Gloria, but it has a little peekaboo lace at the top and the sash that helps elongate my short waisted self. I really liked dresses that laced up for some reason! It goes with our historical wedding site in a way. I never thought I’d like something so ornate but these gowns were really beautiful!

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This is the last gown I tried on. It’s from Essence of Australia. It had gorgeous ruffles and details on the train, and looks so pretty when it’s bustled. Please excuse the bright blue bra- being the scatter brained girl I am, I forgot to bring a strapless or even nude colored bra. This gown’s back panels wouldn’t fit across so we had to leave them out to lace me up. I loved the taffeta the top of this dress was made of, and the rouching across my middle was flattering. I just kinda thought all the ruffles were over-the-top for me.

So there you have it. My first dress shopping experience is behind me. I am definitely still on the lookout, for a cheaper dress in the same style. Just wanted to say thanks to my BFF, S- (who was my personal photographer for the day) and my mom for coming with me and being patient with me. I had so much fun!!

Jessica is the creator of The Budget Savvy Bride; she launched the site in May of 2008, shortly after becoming engaged. Jessica has been recognized as a budget wedding expert by various media outlets and continues to share realistic inspiration and actionable tips to help brides save money on their weddings. Google

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  1. You look great! I like the second one the best. And cute little turquoise bra peeking out… :-)

  2. dress shopping is the best! However you are right in saying going to the nice boutiques first is bad for the heart! haha I will say that I did get the “this is the one” feeling with my dress (the lace one with the train!) but i think it is both because i loved it, and because it was in my price range! The designer ones were beautiful and fit perfectly, but at $3,000 you just can’t let yourself fall to in love!
    don’t count DB out yet! I was not looking forward to it at all, didn’t like the idea of it, hated them for their using my name and phone number to their advantage. But our consultant was the nicest person ever, and I found a dress that loved, in my price range! I wanted to check out a few more places just in case too, and didn’t plan on buying anything even if i loved it, because it is DB and you can always order it later. But mine was a trial and that was the only one of it’s kind, anywhere, in my size! And I love that it doesn’t LOOK like a DB dress :) Sad but true.
    Best of luck in your future shopping experiences!

  3. I love the MS Gloria on you! Very flattering.

    • Mrs. B.
    • August 5th, 2008

    Must be a mom thing — I like Grace Lynette, too! Makes your waist look great, and I like the lace.

  4. I too did not get the feeling that my dress was “the one”. I was pretty bummed at first with my choice and even bought a 2nd dress just in case. Luckily I was able to return it and I eventually fell in love with my original choice. It is simple and timeless and has really allowed me to be creative with my accessories. Good luck with your search.

    p.s. I love the Essence of Australia one on you.

  5. the last one is beautiful. I love the fit on you too.

  6. Ohhh I think the Maggie Soterro Grace Lynette is so beautiful on you! That sash and lace really do it :) I hope you can find it on Once Wed/Ebay…thats going to be my plan as well. Fingers crossed!

  7. I love both the Gloria and the Grace Lynette… both are beautiful and very flattering on you!! Just keep a watch on Ebay or OnceWed… or do a search of the online boutiques (like Pearl’s Place). You may be able to find one of them on there for a great price.
    Also, the great thing about the lace-up bodice is that it’s able to be “customized” to your shape as it can be let out a little there/tightened a little here…. they’re really nice. (although my dress doesn’t have one…)

    And don’t worry about the whole “this is it!!” dress experience. I didn’t have one. In fact, driving away from the shop after buying mine, all I could think is “Gee, I hope I made the right decision!” But after thinking on it, I really do like my dress and am very pleased with it and excited about it! I tried on probably about 10 dresses or so at about 4 different places… different styles, different days…. it gave me time to think about what looked good on me and what I wanted. Finally, when I found my dress, I did really like it, but more than anything i think I thought “Okay, I like this dress. Let’s get it so I don’t have to try any more on.” Seriously. I was thirsty and hot. But, like I said, I am really excited about my dress now. And I’m sure that you will also find a dress that you like! It may take a few more battle wounds, but you’ll get it.

    • Lauren
    • August 6th, 2008

    I love the MS Gloria. Classy AND fabulous. Coco Chanel would be so proud :D

    • Guilty Secret
    • August 7th, 2008

    Aw, glad you enjoyed it :)

    I actually really liked that first dress… and I love how you were sassing it up in the shop ;)

    • Jessica
    • August 28th, 2008

    My dress is a Maggie. :) Check out The White Room in Lebanon…I’ve found that their prices are lower than the other stores that sell Maggies (my dress was $989 compared to over $1200 everywhere else I checked). And I think Ashley has a coupon for $200 off there as well, if you email her.

  8. I actually stumbled upon this blog on searching for the Pretty Woman quote (Big Mistake. Huge)

    But I LOVE wedding stuff and I have to say, the dresses you chose ARE pretty.

    However. Style wise (I work in high fashion), I’d say the strapless thing is hard to get exactly right. Ofcourse, I dont know what it’s like in person but, what would look absolutely gorgeous on you is …ok I dont know how to describe it.
    http://www.nilacharal.com/enter/celeb/images/MarilynMonroe.jpg
    The upper part of this dress would do wonders on you. I think. It will elongate your neck and draw the eye so wonderfully.I saw the photo of the dress with the straps and I agree with you on how it’s unflattering. The straps-if you get them-should be like the marilyn ones with a plunging neckline. This will give you a gorgeous gentle hourglass shape. The dress you tried was drawing your eye across and not down and along.

    Ooh I wish you the best of luck wedding dress hunting. This must be so exciting for you. I know I’m a complete stranger, but if I see any dresses online in the style I’m thinking of, I’ll drop back here and leave you a link.

    • Ellie
    • September 18th, 2008

    I just started reading your blog and I wanted to tell you that you look amazing in the Maggie Sottero Gloria. You should so try and find it some where for a cheaper price or at a trunk show. Good Luck!

    • Sydney
    • December 16th, 2008

    I just got engaged about two months ago and have been trying on dresses myself. Right now I’m 99% sure that I’m getting Gloria. I looooooooove that dress. I’m not a fan of asymmetrical lines either, but for some reason they don’t bother me at all on this dress. You looked great in all three, though.

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