Dress Shopping & My Talented Mom

One thing that I had secretly been scoping out for quite a while before I was actually engaged was wedding dresses and I have to admit something…I was looking at wedding dresses while in Barcelona with my friend Alexis before I even was dating my now fiance! She wasn’t engaged either at the time, but her now husband did end up flying over to Amsterdam to meet her and proposed on that trip! Wedding dresses have to be one of the funnest things about planning a wedding. For me, it was something I dreamt about since I was a little girl…no joke, I have the drawings somewhere to prove it. About two years before Mike had proposed (we were dating for about six months), I found a dress that I was in love with. I can’t remember how I ‘stumbled’ on it, but I just knew one day I had to have something like it. The dress on the right is the first one I fell in love with and the dress on the left is another one I fell in love with.

{Images via Valentino for Pronovias}

After getting engaged, my mom pulled out her wedding gown that she made herself 30 years ago. Of course, I had to try it on and to my amazement, it fit perfectly! (Mike looks thrilled in the background, ha!) I can’t believe how amazing this dress is. She bought a small piece of lace and cut out all the pieces of lace to make a pattern on the sheer overlay. Although this dress does have trends from the late 70s/early 80s (what is that hat/veil thing?!), I really think my mom made a beautiful and somewhat timeless dress for herself. She is a very talented seamstress, just like her mother, but we decided that I would not be wearing her dress and we didn’t want to attempt to make my dress.


When we were ready to start the dress search, I started looking around to find out who in Arizona sells the Valentino Pronovias dresses. No one. I was sad, but I had a feeling they would be out of my price range, so it was probably for the better. From the beginning I knew I had to look at the bridal boutique Mariee in Scottsdale. My sister-in-law (and MOH) got her dress there a few years ago and spoke so highly of the owner and the beautiful dresses they had. I made an appointment with them during a Watters trunk show, but my mom and I decided to go to a few other shops before Mariee just to prep us for the big dress shopping event. We went to two other stores, one in Gilbert and the other in south Scottsdale. At both shops I found dresses I liked, but still wondered what Mariee had to offer.


The dress on the left is a Maggie Sottero gown that I didn’t think I’d like until I put it on. It was the first dress that really made me feel like a bride and I really thought it might have been “the one”. The next shop we went to had tons of mermaid and trumpet gowns with jewels and rhinestones. I didn’t think I was into that, but I tried them on just to be sure. As much as my mom and MOH told me how good I looked, I felt so uncomfortable in a mermaid gown. I am a pear, no question about it and pears are not meant to be in a mermaid gown. Then, I made it to the Pronovias dresses at this shop…and I fell in love. This gown actually had a halter top on it, but we tucked it in and it became a whole new dress. After it would be altered, there would have been scalloped lace on the top, a look that I loved. I also tried on dresses with straps like the Valentino Pronovias dresses, but it did not flatter me very well and I didn’t feel like a bride.

These gowns were great, but I just had a feeling I would find something else at Mariee. When we went to that appointment, so many people were there including my mom, moh, future sister-in-law, future mother-in-law, niece/junior bridesmaid, brother, dad and nephew/ring bearer. I tried on so many dresses that day, especially from the trunk show that was in town, but I ended up falling in love with a dress not in the trunk show. I knew right away I would love it and I had actually printed it off and put it in my binder a few weeks prior. I glanced at the price and almost shed a tear seeing how far out of budget it was. The owner of the store was so kind though and since it was an “older” dress, she would sell me the sample at a discounted rate if I liked it. Apparently only one other person had tried it on, so it was in perfect condition! When I put it on and came out of the room, I KNEW it was the one. It was like nothing I had seen and the details were so unique. We ended up buying that dress and took it home that day! Unfortunately for you, you will have to wait until the wedding like everyone else to see it. The dress is top secret and Mike does not want to know about it or see it until that day.

He has seen the veil though, so I can share that. My mom just finished making it last week and I love it!


I loved the look of a lace veil, but I didn’t want the lace to be too thick or go all the way around. I was watching a travel channel show and saw a wedding in Greece and the bride had the most beautiful and delicate veil I had ever seen. It was very simple with a thin piece of lace just on the bottom. My mom and I ended up buying a thick piece of lace (for 25 cents a yard) and she cut just the scalloped part out of the lace. The tulle was about $2 per yard and the comb was about $3. Sure beats spending a few hundred dollars on a veil! Not to mention I couldn’t find a veil like this anywhere. It looks absolutely amazing with the dress, I can’t wait for everyone to see the whole look together!

What was your dress shopping experience like? How many dresses did you try on before finding the one?