Wedding Dress Shopping 101

Wedding Dress Shopping 101 // Do's and Don'ts for Your First Time at the Bridal Salon

I’m nowhere near the point where I need to shop for my own wedding dress, but I’ve been lucky enough to help a few ladies in my life (including Jules) hunt for their dream gowns. When my sister came for a visit last month, wedding dress shopping was one of our top priorities. Since it was her first time trying on dresses, it was definitely a learning experience! Here are some helpful tips we came up with for any bride who’s just beginning her search.

Wedding Dress Shopping 101 // Tips For Your First Trip to the Bridal Salon

DO learn the lingo. If you’re not a die-hard fan of Say Yes to the Dress and terms like mermaid and trumpet mean nothing to you, spend some time studying a handy chart like this one to familiarize yourself with silhouettes, necklines, etc. It’s so much easier to explain what you like and don’t like when you know the proper terminology!

DO your hair and makeup before your appointment. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but if you look polished when you’re trying on dresses, it will help you visualize how the whole ensemble will look and feel on your wedding day.

Wedding Dress Shopping 101 - Tips for Your First Visit to the Bridal Salon

DON’T rush yourself. Shopping for a wedding dress can be an overwhelming process, especially if you don’t have a clear idea of what you want. Give yourself plenty of time, not just in terms of months before your wedding, but in between appointments, too. If you schedule multiple appointments in one weekend, for instance, space them out a bit so you have time to reflect in between.

DO take plenty of pictures (if it’s allowed)! It’s super helpful to have a visual record of what you’ve tried on, especially if several similar dresses are in the running. It doesn’t take long before everything starts to blur together in your memory into one fluffy pile of ivory tulle.

Wedding Dress Shopping 101 // Tips for Your First Trip to the Bridal Salon

DO be prepared for bridal sizing. Annoyingly, bridal sizes run smaller than street sizes – which means you’ll be offered dresses that are labelled 1-2 sizes larger than what you normally wear. A little bruising to the ego, sure, but everyone’s in the same boat.

DON’T be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Try on as many styles as you can when you’re just starting your search – you never know what you’ll end up loving! Include at least one super glamorous ball gown in the lineup, even if it’s not your jam. Hey, unless you’re marrying royalty, when else will you ever have the chance to wear one? Just try it!

Wedding Dress Shopping 101

DO select your entourage carefully. Whether you’re shopping with friends, family, or both, be sure to only invite people who you can count on to be both honest and supportive. Being in the spotlight during the highest-stakes shopping trip of your life puts you in a weirdly vulnerable position, and your crew needs to help you figure out what you want without being critical.

DO try on dresses outside of your budget…within reason. Obviously this is a big mistake if you have a very fixed budget, but if you have some flexibility, don’t restrict yourself too much. My sister’s budget was pretty arbitrary – she hated the idea of paying more than a few hundred dollars for any item of clothing, just on principle – but in her words, you might not know how much you want that gorgeous, more expensive gown until you try it on!

Wedding Dress Shopping 101

DO put on a veil. If you like a gown but you’re not sure you can necessarily see yourself walking down the aisle in it, try it with a veil. You will instantly feel like a bride, I promise. Also, this is the secret to making your friends and family cry (and isn’t that the goal?) This one delicate piece of fabric is all it takes for everything to come together.

Above all, just relax and have fun! Have you ever been wedding dress shopping? What do you wish you had known beforehand?

♥ Mil

Life Lately

Hi friends, it’s been awhile! I fully intended to get back to the ol’ blog on Monday, but I was stricken with a cold towards the end of my sister’s visit, so I made the tough decision to spend the last couple of days convalescing on the couch with Thai takeout, a giant box of Kleenex, and a DVR full of Fear the Walking Dead. But I’m on the mend now and ready to regale you with some highlights from my week off.

Our first order of business once my sister arrived? Wedding dress shopping! My friend Sarah joined us for the day and our little entourage visited several bridal salons around Seattle. It was SO much fun – and it was Kate’s first time trying on dresses, so there was a lot for her to absorb. (More to come later on the whole wedding dress shopping experience!)

Wedding dress shopping

Excited to start trying on dresses at Nordstrom!


Wedding dress shopping at BHLDN Seattle

Anthropologie, killing it as usual in the styling department


Wedding dress shopping

Isn’t she lovely? This dress wasn’t the one, but it twirled like whoa


Next up was our epic Mother’s Day surprise. First, some background: Kate lives in Taiwan and she hadn’t been home in about a year and a half. We had been planning this surprise for months and were a little worried my mom might suspect something, but she had NO idea, and the surprise went off without a hitch. There was a lot of crying and screaming (the happy kind!) which was extremely satisfying. I actually took a video of the whole thing, which turned out pretty great, but it’s in an “unsupported file format” so I can’t share it here. Trust me, it was awesome!

Mother's Day surprise

Here we are waiting for our mom to show up for Mother’s Day brunch so we can surprise her…of course she was half an hour late


Mother's Day surprise

Celebratory mimosas after the big reveal


We all had so much fun together over the next week – soaking up sunshine at the beach and the park, round two of wedding dress shopping, an afternoon baseball game, loads of wedding planning – but of course time passed way too quickly. By some miracle the weather was absolutely gorgeous the entire time, which made it even better! Now it’s back to the grind, but I’m wistfully looking through all the pictures on my phone in a fruitless attempt to drag my vacation out a little bit longer.

Life Lately // Lake Union

Strolling along Lake Union


Life Lately // Beach time

Sister time at the beach


Life Lately // Little Water Cantina

Victory margs and tacos after finding Kate’s dream wedding dress!


Life Lately // Little Water Cantina

As it happens, the menu at Little Water Cantina perfectly captures the essence of our blog


Life Lately // Mariners game

Taking in an afternoon baseball game


Life Lately // Mariners game

Bleacher seats are the best seats


Life Lately // Sister selfie

Takin’ selfies in the backyard


Life Lately // Newcastle Golf Club

Come back soon, Kate!


So that’s what’s been going on with me! What have you been up to lately? Any fun adventures to report? A cool vacation coming up? Has work/school/life been driving you crazy? Let’s hear all the juicy details!

♥ Mil

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

In case the ridiculous amount of commercials for Garry Marshall’s latest movie haven’t yet tipped you off, Mother’s Day is right around the corner! Time to come up with a game plan, people. Is anyone else’s mom really hard to shop for? Mine can be a challenge since she’s so unmaterialistic (it must skip a generation, because I’m basically a shopping addict). Fortunately, my shopping skills come in handy here. So if you don’t have any gift ideas yet, don’t worry – I’ve got you covered!

Mother's Day Gift Guide


1. Whether she’s a beauty junkie or not, your mom will appreciate a luxurious facial oil like this one from Drunk Elephant.

2. She already knows she’s the best, but a little reminder of that wouldn’t hurt.

3. Despite being a fairly traditional gift, this beautifully packaged bubble bath is anything but generic.

4. Give your mom the gift of quality time and take her to a concert! Bonus points if that concert is at a winery.

5. If she’s an iced tea lover, this sangria-inspired blend is destined to be her new favorite.

6. Engrave a necklace with her kids’ initials – or maybe the coordinates of the house where you grew up – for a gift that’s sweet and meaningful.

7. If she’s been very good this year (and you received a giant tax refund) consider the greatest gift of all: a fancy espresso machine!

8. These cute pineapple jars are perfect for storing anything from sweets to sentimental trinkets.

9. If you and your mom both like to cook, give her a book filled with fun recipes you can work your way through together.

10. Treat her to something she’d never indulge in herself, like silky soft pajamas in a stylish otomi print.

11. A beach vacation may be out of your budget, but this classic, fresh fragrance is a close second to the real thing.

My mom reads this blog, so none of the above will be her actual gift (hi, Mom!) but I’m planning some fun surprise activities for Mother’s Day weekend. What about you?

♥ Mil


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April Wish List

Who else is overjoyed that spring is finally here? We had temps in the 70s in Seattle this weekend, and for a hot minute it almost felt like summer. It was glorious. I’m so excited to dump my winter clothes into storage and start wearing lighter, brighter colors again. Dressing for warm weather is just so much more fun!

April Wish List


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I’ve been living in my lightweight army jacket lately, and the drapey version above offers a cool feminine twist on the classic. Other than that, I’m craving blush pink everything…I’m also a bit of a candle hoarder, so I’m looking forward to bringing out my springtime candles. Diptyque’s Figuier really embodies the freshness of the season. Sniff one and you’ll see!

What’s on your wish list these days?

♥ Mil


Image via With Love From Kat

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