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

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! It’s been quite a week…now that it’s behind me, I definitely need a massage and a couple of stiff drinks. Not necessarily in that order. What are you up to for Memorial Day weekend? Is anyone going on a road trip? I really meant to plan a mini adventure/getaway this year, but sadly it just didn’t happen. I’ll have to make up for it this summer. Anyway, let’s kick off the weekend with a few fun links!

Friday Favorites: Me time, how to become a morning person (sort of), natural lipstick brands, colorful cocktails, and an interview with a wedding columnist

1. Everyone deserves a little “me time,” but all too often it falls by the wayside. Here are five nice things you can do for yourself next month. They’re easy, I promise! (The Golden Girl)

2. I’m pretty sure this guide to reaping the benefits of being a morning person without actually getting up early was written with yours truly in mind. (The Zoe Report)

3. Beauty junkies, you’ll love these natural lipstick brands. Bite Beauty is one of my all-time favorites. (A Beautiful Mess)

4. These gloriously colorful, whimsical cocktails will have you in the mood for summer entertaining. (Glitter Guide)

5. This interview with the wedding columnist for the New York Times is fascinating. Major job envy! (The Coveteur)

Have a wonderful long weekend!

♥ 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

Friday Favorites & Turning 30

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope the week has treated you well! What are you up to this weekend? My 30th birthday is on Sunday, and with that in mind I thought I’d mix things up a bit with this week’s roundup and share some of my favorite experiences from the last decade. (By the way, how crazy is it that I’m at the point where I’m measuring my life in decades? When everybody turned 30 on Friends, they seemed SO much older!) But I digress. Stroll down memory lane with me and relive a few of the highlights from my twenties!

Highlights from my twenties

1. My senior year of college, I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Rome as part of my Classics major. As insane as it sounds in retrospect, I wasn’t initially sure that I wanted to do it. I didn’t speak Italian, it was my last year of school and didn’t want to spend half of it away from my friends (yeah, I kind of want to go back in time and slap myself). But I was equally afraid I’d end up regretting it if I didn’t go. So I took the plunge, and guess what? It was amazing. Duh. Not only was living in Rome was one of the most exciting and enriching experiences I’ve ever had, but it really got me out of my comfort zone – something I need more of in my life. Plus, gelato! Need I say more?

2. My 21st birthday party will forever live in infamy as my favorite birthday party of all time. My roommate planned an incredibly elaborate spy-themed soirée: all the guests were assigned a mysterious alias and backstory. There were games (Mil-themed bingo!), prizes (booze, obviously), and of course, plenty of cocktails. To top it all off, my sister flew in to join the festivities. Best birthday party ever!

3. The year after graduating college, I spent months planning a trip to Mexico with a friend. But right before we were about to book it, I was laid off from my job (which happened to be my first job out of college, and my dream job to boot). I was depressed, totally broke, and in absolutely no position to spend big money on a vacation. You see where this is going, right? I went to Mexico anyway. Was it the financially responsible thing to do? Hell no. Would I do the same thing now? No way. But at the time, it was exactly what I needed. We spent ten days drinking margaritas on the beach, exploring Mayan ruins, and soaking up the sun. (And thankfully, by the time we went on the trip, I had found another job. Bullet dodged…)

4. Signing the lease on my first apartment is when I finally felt like an actual adult. No roommate, no family, just me, a legit grown-up. Nothing else before or since has given me the same sense of accomplishment and independence, probably because it was such a long time coming (I had moved back home after graduating college, and it was a few years before I was making enough money to live on my own). Leaving my childhood home behind, I found an apartment downtown, and I was so excited to be steps away from all the restaurants, cute shops, and countless happy hours. But perhaps best of all, I could finally decorate however I wanted. Sweet freedom!

5. I’m a pretty emotional person, but it takes a lot for me to cry in public. That went right out the window the day Jules got married. I can’t remember ever crying so many happy tears! My face literally hurt from smiling so much that day. I love the picture above because you can see how ridiculously happy I am to be standing up there with her. Love you, Jules!

Obviously I’m leaving a lot out, both good and bad, but I hope you enjoyed this brief (well, sort of) glimpse into my twenties. Here’s to the next decade!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

♥ Mil

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