What do these five brides have in common? They all agree: It’s in the details. Whether with intricate sleeves, an illusion neckline, or tiered layers, nothing says “feminine” like a lacy dress on your special day. Here are our recent favorites.
Date of her wedding: May 26, 2012
Groom’s name: Nathan Ratledge
Where she got her dress: Elizabeth Fillmore’s studio in New York
Designer: Elizabeth Fillmore
Alterations (and cost of alterations): The designer made the dress for me, so no alterations were needed.
How many dresses she tried on: Probably 20 or so. I had in mind the whole time I was going to get the Elizabeth Fillmore dress, but I decided to try on a few others just to be sure.
Why she chose it: A friend suggested I look into this designer and when I saw a picture of the dress online, I knew immediately it was what I wanted. Totally separate from me, my Mom saw the dress online and also thought it would be perfect for me. We knew this must be a sign, and it turned out it was once we saw the real dress and fell completely in love with it.
Favorite detail about it: I loved the scallops of the neckline.
How it worked out: It wore beautifully and withheld through 80-plus-degree heat and hours of dancing. It was the greatest dress I will ever wear.
Layered and lovely
Date of her wedding: May 3, 2013
Groom’s name: Robinson Blake
Where she got her dress: Bella Rosa Bridal in Richmond
Designer: Tara Keely
Alterations (and cost of alterations): $635
How many dresses she tried on: Around 30. I probably tried on 15 dresses in New York City. I went to a designer’s flagship store and a boutique during a weekend getaway. I tried on a handful in town and around 10 in Richmond.
Why she chose it: I started dancing as soon as I put it on! And my mom started crying.
Favorite detail about it: The best detail is that all the details worked well together. Let’s be honest, there’s a lot going on with this dress—full skirt, tiered layers, low back, lace, and a tiny bow.
How it worked out: My dress required a ton of alterations, but it was worth it. I felt really pretty and so stinking happy!
Date of her wedding: July 6, 2012
Groom’s name: Eric Prum
Where she got her dress: Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City
Designer: Claire Pettibone’s “Sky Between Branches” dress
How many dresses she tried on: Perhaps 15 or 20? My first round of dress-shopping was during a fun, champagne-filled day with my girlfriends at Lovely bridal boutique in New York’s West Village, where I tried on about five dresses and promptly confused myself about what I wanted. I had a few appointments with my mother around the Washington, D.C. and New York areas, but we couldn’t find anything that spoke to us until she finally persuaded me to try Kleinfeld. This was the second dress I put on, and right away we knew the search was over then. (It helped that it was also the first dress we both agreed on!)
Why she chose it: I didn’t really have a dress in mind from the start. I just knew what I didn’t want: nothing strapless, and definitely no pouf! I immediately adored the romantic, vintage silhouette on this gown, which felt elegant and celebratory at the same time. Plus, I love an illusion neckline.
Favorite detail about it: The sheer lace back on this dress is what really convinced me. It’s so unusual, and rather sexy—but without being too much. And I thought Eric would love it.
How it worked out: Perfectly. I felt gorgeous on the day of (Eric, it turns out, thought so too!), and it was wonderfully comfortable. It’s certainly one of the most special gowns I’ve ever worn, and probably will ever wear again.
Date of her wedding: October 13, 2012
Groom’s name: Daniel Lipton
Where she got her dress: Garnish Boutique (outside of Baltimore)
Designer: J Hjelm
Alterations (and cost of alterations): $300; I had a new hem cut on the bottom and a bustle created.
How many dresses she tried on: About 20
Why she chose it: I loved the cotton lace look and feel and I also loved that it was made in America.
Favorite detail about it: Definitely the cotton lace. I also loved the cut-out back.
How it worked out: Great! I paired the dress with simple wedge heels and I was very comfortable all night.
A perfect fit
Date of her wedding: October 21, 2013
Groom’s name: Terrence (Terry) Mahoney
Where she got her dress: Neiman Marcus at Tyson’s Galleria in Northern Virginia. I got the dress off the rack in the formal/evening gown department.
Designer: Monique Lhuillier (evening gown, not bridal)
Cost: Approximately $800
Alterations: I had the dress taken up a bit in the front because it was too long and shortening the front created a slight “train” in the back of the dress. I also had the dress taken in at the torso, so it was more form-fitting.
Cost of alterations: Approximately $400
How many dresses she tried on: I tried on a total of three dresses. I had gone to the J.Crew outlet in Lynchburg just to see if they had any wedding dresses that could work. I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a dress! I tried on two dresses there, but they didn’t fit well and weren’t the style that I wanted. I happened to stop at the Tyson’s Neiman Marcus store on a whim, with a friend on the way back to Charlottesville from a trip to Baltimore. I just wanted to browse the evening gowns to see if any of the dresses appealed to me. As soon as I saw this dress, I made a beeline for it, and it happened to be in my size! I tried it on, and I knew it was perfect—“the one!”
Why she chose it: I loved the color, that it was not white, and that it was unique, not a typical wedding dress. The lace and detailing were gorgeous, and the shape, with the one-shoulder, was flattering. The dress had a classical feel, which I thought was elegant. Most of all, I felt beautiful in it!
Favorite detail about it: I love the scalloped lace detailing that was threaded with gold, particularly at the shoulder and neckline.
How it worked out: I think that the dress was gorgeous! It helped to create a classic style, which was complemented by my hair and makeup (by Virginia Glenn), as well as the earrings. I felt beautiful. The dress was comfortable and effortless, and I was able to enjoy our wedding and to dance the night away.