Archive of ‘Vendors’ category

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
Flow-ey
Romantic
Soft

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!

From the Baughman Center With Love ♥

Ahh the beautiful Baughman Center. For Gainesville Brides (and Gator Brides) this is ‘the place’ to get married. It is located on the UF campus and has been the center of many absolutely beautiful weddings. As I said in my previous post about the UF campus, there is no bad place to take a picture here. The area is full of fabulous spots…a photographer’s (and bride’s!) dream.

The interior of the Baughman Center. Absolutely stunning!

The interior of the Baughman Center. Absolutely stunning!
Source: Pure Photography

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You have to just love door photos…so incredibly sweet♥
Source: Pure Photography

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How beautiful at night!
Source: Jimmy Ho Photography

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Source: Shaun Saxon Photography

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Source: Shaun Saxon Photography

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Source: SixGunPhoto

As for Mr. Knight and I, we will not be having our ceremony here (yes..how upsetting!). But by golly I am still a Gator Bride, darn it! Even though my little heels will not be gracing this beautiful building they will, however, be gracing a certain Country Club in Ormond Beach. Ohhh I feel another wonderful post on it’s way :-)

A Very GATOR Engagement Shoot

When trying to come up with the perfect place to have our long awaited* engagement shoot (*more on the “long awaited-ness” later), my fiance and I racked our brains for a location that would be meaningful for both of us. We figured we could always do the ‘typical’ engagement shoot…you know…shoots involving train tracks, beaches, or downtown buildings. Then we thought…hey why not the University of Florida Campus!?

Both of our father’s are alumni (and so am I!) of the University of Florida. So Mr. Gator (well I should call him Mr. Knight given his alma mater) and I practically grew up around the Florida Gators. What a perfect place. I mean…it is the decade of the Gator, am I right?

So on we searched for the perfect photographers. After searching for months we found the very talented Ben and Amy Starks of Starks Photography. They were seriously awesome to work with and did an awesome job (if I do say so myself). But better to show you then to just talk about how awesome they are…

One of my favorites. The stadium was just about empty (thanks to me scheduling the shoot over Spring Break)

This one is my top fav from the whole shoot ♥. The picture was taken on top of one of the concrete tables in Turlington Plaza (for those who know the area).

Both of the pictures below were taken over by the Baughman Center on Campus. A beautiful place to get married. I’ll save that for another post! :-)

Like I said…awesome photographers or what! I truly think the campus was a beautiful and sentimental backdrop for our engagement photos. We are planning on incorporating these pictures into our wedding day next May. I have already started work on our huge DIY wedding. Am I going too far with all my little projects? Probably…but I’m loving every minute of it!

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