Say Yes To The Dress

Thursday was the four month mark until our wedding. My to-do list is still a mile long and I’m starting to feel the pressure of working two jobs, taking classes, and planning a wedding. According to theknot.com, I still have 138 items on my checklist, and according to my planner, I still have 8 tests this semester, plus a pile of lab reports to complete. And in less than two months I will be a college graduate with no job, so let’s add that to the list of things to accomplish.

It may seem like I am complaining and wallowing in a pool of stress-induced self pity, but I am here today to give an update on my wedding plans thus far. I’m happy to say that I have booked a venue, spoke with our officiant of the ceremony, started the guest list, booked a photographer, booked the rehearsal site, asked my best friend, my future sister-in-law, and two cousins to be my bridesmaids, and……

I bought my wedding dress.

Of all the premature wedding planning I have done, wedding dress dreaming has not been one of them. When I began dress shopping I didn’t have much an idea of what I wanted. I knew that I’m not a fan of strapless. (I just don’t feel like I have very good looking shoulders, is that a weird insecurity?) I also knew that don’t want to look like a princess. (None of this poofy-froofy, tule-explosion of girlyness.) And lastly, I wanted white, because I deserve it. So I needed to find all of this for under the magic price of $300.

Let’s talk about my budget for a second. Did you know that the average price of a wedding in the United States is $25,631 these days? I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t have that kind of cash laying around. In fact, the majority of young couples in the midwest don’t, and I’ve found comfort in stressing about my strict budget with other frugal brides (“I’m worried we may have to go to Branson for our honeymoon.” “I never realized cake was so expensive!”). But don’t begin to feel too sorry for me, because I am extremely fortunate to have parents that have been saving for this for a few years. It’s no 25 grand, but it is a huge blessing.

I tip that I received early on was that when working with a small budget, decide what your priorities are. Do you want an amazing venue? Do you want a feast? Do you want to pay for all the bridesmaid dresses? Do you want an extravagant wedding gown? We evaluated all of these aspects and decided that the venue was the most important to us. Therefore, a large portion of our money went towards an amazing venue that we both love. But splurging on a venue means that we need to cut corners elsewhere. A wedding dress in the United States ranges between $875 and $1,458. I wouldn’t want to spend this much on a dress I’ll wear once even if I did have the resources to, so I decided my budget would be set at $300, preferably closer to $200.

I thought this was going to be a lot easier than it was. Some places scoffed at my small price range, some offered me bridesmaid dresses in white, and some only had a few to show me, mostly being strapless. After a couple days of looking I began to get very discouraged and wondered if I was being too picky or too unrealistic. Also, part of the stress of finding a dress was the fact that I had less than one week to find it. I was on spring break and due to my short engagement, I needed to find one right away in order for it to be altered by summer.

I made a long list of places to go on our third day of shopping. That morning I prayed that God would bring me a dress. I said, “I know this is really insignificant and probably very worldly, but it’s really important to me that I find a dress that I love and can afford, so if you could help me out with that today, that would be great.”

My mom, best friend, and I were geared up for a long day of wedding dress shopping. Our first stop was Wedding Expressions by Geri in Lees Summit. I had called Geri the previous day and was told that she had a handful of dresses on sale. When we arrived I told her that my budget was $300 and I wanted white. She brought me the three white dresses she had on sale and told me she would bring the price down further for me. One I didn’t even try on, the second was okay, but the third was perfect. It was exactly what I had been looking for. We looked at the price tag: $1050 on sale for $800. Ouch. I knew that even if she was willing to come down, it would be a stretch to make it under $300. As mom and I were discussing it, Geri came back into the room and told us that she would give us any of the three dresses for $200. We couldn’t believe it. Was this lady serious? What’s the catch? But there was no catch. So I walked out of there with with a dress for 80% off.

Moral of the story: it’s not silly to pray for your wedding dress, you can find your dream dress on a tight budget, and I definitely recommend Wedding Expressions by Geri.

Your probably wondering what this amazing dress looks like. Well you’ll just have to wait until July 29th to find out.

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