Adventures in Wedding Dress Shopping Part One: Narrowing Down the Competition

Before I arrive at the moment when I tell you about how I found ‘the dress ♥,’ I feel a little back story on my search for ‘the one’ is important. As some of you know, Mr. Knight and I have been engaged for about 1½ years. Throughout our long engagement,  I’ve scoured the Internet and bridal magazines for wedding dresses telling  myself I was not allowed to try on any dresses until we hit the 1-year mark (’till our wedding). I kept that promise to myself and went shopping the exact weekend of our 1 year countdown; and, just like that, I found the dress of my dreams—the dress that made my heart swoon! :-)

Here was the criteria when looking for the dress of my little Gator Bride dreams:

Sweetheart Neckline

And Mr. Knight’s Criteria? That he could be able to feel my butt through the dress. No poofy dresses. What can I say, Mr. Knight is a booty man!

The very first store I visited was the infamous (and sometimes scary) David’s Bridal. I have mixed emotions about David’s Bridal (the warehouse of all things fluffy and frilly). But I was on a mission to give the ol’ bird a chance. While there I tired on the two dresses below↓ (I apologize for no pictures, my camera battery died that day)

Davids Bridal

Galina Signature ST9637 at $800 and Oleg Classini CRL277 at $1050

Both dresses were a ‘no go’. The experience was also less than desirable. I was basically stuffed into a tiny dressing room, with no help from a consultant to help me change in-and-out of these dresses (which is not a one person job). I also was a little underwhelmed by the quality of the dresses. I expected a lot more for the price they were charging. So on to the next stop.

Next I went to The Bridal Shoppes at the Avenues (in Jacksonville, FL). After making the appointment I went online and came across several negative reviews about the store… I still decided to go and see for myself. They had a very wide selection of beautiful dresses (Watters, Mon Cheri, Casablanca etc.) and my consultant there was extremely helpful. Plus they were willing to negotiate on pricewhich is very rare in the wedding dress industry. Cameras were not allowed, so, below I have pictures of my top two choices ↓

Shoppes at Avenues copy

Watter Geneva at $1498 and Allure 8624 at $698

So from this point I knew I wanted something with lace and a little more form fitting then before (have to show off the figure!). The dresses were absolutely beautiful and meticulously crafted…just gorgeous…but still no sweetheart neckline.

The third store I visited was Love: a Bridal Boutique in Jacksonville Beach, FL. The store was beautiful and they allowed you to take pictures (score!). Plus if you buy your gown the day of your consultation they will take 12% off. What a good deal! They have Pronovias, Nicole Miller, Essence of Australia, and other brands. Here are some of the dresses. I only have a price for the dress which was my number 1 choice from this store. Check out below↓

essence of australia1Essence of Australia D940

unknown love bridal boutiqueunknown (I know..I’m a terrible bride for not knowing the designer!)

essence the oneEssence of Australia D959 at $1150

The last dress was the best I had encountered so far (as you can see from the big grin on this Gator Bride’s face). It was light, airy, soft, romantic… it just felt so right. Now here’s the problem with it: the whole time I had the dress on, I felt as though it would be more suitable for a church/chapel wedding and not for the outdoor garden-themed wedding Mr. Knight and I are having. It was just too elegant… which is a weird thing to say… I mean how can you ever be too elegant?

Needless to say I felt I needed to search further for ‘the dress’, which at the time, was haunting my little Gator Bride dreams…

Stay tuned for Part Two: Solutions Bridal to the Rescue!

11 Comment

  1. CTS861 says:

    Just stumbled on your blog and I love it! Your DIY is so creative and fun. I am also an architecture student at UF and how you find the time (school is tough!) to think up such cute ideas amazes me. Keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks! Yeah I have a light load for Summer A, so this has been my project. But Summer B I will have two classes and will be working part time at a firm so I will have to work harder at keeping up the blog entries. But it is easy doing something you love so much. :-)

  3. mrknight says:

    Dang… I can’t wait for our wedding. You look so beautiful in all the dresses you didn’t buy. I can’t imagine what you’ll look like in ‘the one’. Very proud to be your MrKnight.

  4. Lauren says:

    I absolutely love that lace back dress, designer unknown. But that last one does look gorgeous on you. Good luck dress shopping!

  5. marina says:

    Hey Kim,
    Beautiful dresses…my fav is the last one, the one with the low cut back. You look so gorgeous! So what if the wedding is outside…wear what you feel best in :-)

  6. […] carefully for everything I was looking for in a wedding dress. For those who didn’t read Adventures in Wedding Dress Shopping Part One, here’s a recap… the criteria for my dream dress […]

  7. Janine says:

    I just found your blog- as I was looking for the dress of my dreams- The Essesense dress #D940. It looked beautiful on you! I have yet to actually see the dress in person- my appontment is for this Friday. Do have any idea how those dresses run in price? My budget is a max of $2,000 I know nothing about that designer- but I am hoping that since the second dressyou found was under $2,000 that mine will be too.

  8. Chelsea says:


    I just googled “Essence of Australia, dress D959” and your blog popped up…I just had to tell you- when I saw the photo of the last dress you tried on I said ‘agghhh! that’s my dress!’ haha Looks gorgeous on you too, in case you pick it! We are getting married in an old amazing chapel, so it was perfect for me!
    Good luck!

  9. Corrie says:

    Well has anyone bought the D959? The stores dont carry it by me and I may just order it and hope for the best. I am sooooo I love with this dress. I know that is very dangerous to do but I have tried on over 20 dresses and I think I know/hope what I want. Thanks!

  10. Jenn says:

    I have ordered D959 for my wedding in June, Should be here my March. Hopefully I will still like it as much when I see it on again.

  11. Celine says:

    I have also ordered the dress for my wedding next year as it is now being discontinued and I love it!!!!

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