Saying Yes to the Dress: Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

patsys bridal boutique

bridal accessories

patsys bridal boutique bride

Hey everyone! I’ve been a little MIA recently but I just needed some time to relax and watch nonstop fall Hallmark movies with my dog and cat. But now I feel rested and ready to get back to blogging and sharing some fun wedding news! I SAID YES TO THE DRESS! Its all I can do not to share the actual dress with you but since David might see it, I definitely can’t. Plus, the surprise will be worth it!

I was definitely surprised by how different the experience was than I thought it would be. I haven’t been shy about sharing with you how my self-esteem isn’t always great and I genuinely worry about my weight. I really let it impact how I approached dress shopping, but honestly, once I was in a dress, my insecurities melted away. I felt so beautiful! So I’m sharing my dress shopping tips with you real quick!

Expect the Best Experience

I had read reviews of a few dress boutiques I was interested in going to and the bad reviews scared me off. A few brides said that the associate said they were too big for a certain dress and others said the seamstresses were rude. Having read all of that negativity, I was terrified to go to my dress appointments. I was already sensitive about my weight and knew if someone made even a small comment I would lose it. But I couldn’t have been more wrong! Everyone that helped me try on gowns was amazing and did their best to make me feel comfortable. So expect the best experience!

Try on Every Dress Style

I thought for sure I’d wear a high neck, low back ball gown. Nope!! The first wedding dress I tried on was one I had been dreaming of and met all my specifications. I HATED it. I came out of the dressing room and already knew this wasn’t going to work. So I decided to try on several other gowns and I ended up with a very different dress than I thought I would because it was simply more flattering and I felt amazing in it.

Dress Sizes are Strange

I’m a size 8 in dresses but I was a size 12 in wedding dresses. Ummm what? Wedding dress sizes are different from street sizes. Whatever size you are, expect to size up a bit. I was able to squeeze into all of their sample sizes but when they ordered a 12 for me I was a little depressed. Luckily, the girls at Patsy’s Bridal (where I bought my dress) were super sweet and explained that the sizing is always weird.

You’ll Be on the Fence About a Dress

I really thought I’d find the dress, cry, and buy it. Nope. I actually found my dress, tried it on, kept trying on dresses and comparing it to the original dress, and then put that back on. I stood there for a good 10 minutes totally unsure if it was “the one.” Finally, I asked the girls at Patsy’s if they’d get me a tulle petticoat to go under the skirt to make it more Cinderella. When that didn’t totally sell me, they brought a cathedral veil and blingy necklace. WOW. I knew it was the dress after they “jacked me up.” And I can’t wait to show it to you!

 

Wedding Planning: Casual Invitations or Black Tie?

 


Hello loves! I’ve been such a busy bee wedding planning lately and I’m so excited to share the progress I’ve made! I had no idea how much went into planning a wedding and I’m happy to say that David and I have finished a lot! Most recently, we’ve chosen our wedding invitations! I worked with Basic Invite to create gorgeous wedding invite samples for us to choose from and I’m so excited to share the process with you and a few perks of using Basic Invite!

Choosing the Look and Theme

We wanted something that would match the kind of wedding we were having. Basic Invite has more casual invitations as well as elegant black tie invitations. For our wedding, we knew we wanted something understated and elegant, so their black tie options were perfect!

However, several of the invites in their casual collection could be dressed up or down just with foil and font changes! They have over 900 wedding invitation sets to choose from that include save the dates, menus, programs etc. so you have a cohesive look! The invites I’m considering in the photo above can be totally customized to fit how casual your wedding is. Your invitations really need to give attendees a little peek into your wedding. It sets the scene so to speak!

Match Wedding Colors

Basic Invite has loads of colors to choose from for your invites. Our colors are simple- gold, navy, cream, and champagne. Naturally, I loved the gold foil you can add to the invites! You can even match envelopes to your colors which is really tempting. Whatever your chosen colors are, double check that your invites match up with them. Take advantage of being able to order custom samples of invites before putting in your final order!

Free Wedding Website to Match Invites

I haven’t started on our wedding website yet but Basic Invite offers totally customizable wedding websites that match your invitations. You can choose from 180 custom colors and upload all your wedding details along with photos and a map with directions for your guests. This weekend I’m going to get started on designing ours but I still need to firmly decide on the invitations we’re sending! I can’t decide they’re all so pretty!

Free Address Collection Service

I thought this was the coolest thing ever! You get a customized link to send to people that directs them to fill out their address and Basic Invite stores all of that info for you. When it comes time to send invites, they’ll print all the addresses on the envelopes for free! Boom! How easy is that?

They also offer Seal and Send casual invitations that include a tear off RSVP card attached to the wedding invite. All you have to do is choose your design, collect addresses, upload them onto your design, and then Basic Invite prints them and sends them to you to add postage.

Whatever invitations you decide you love for your wedding, I definitely recommend Basic Invite! I’m really excited to place my order and get this ball rolling. It’s starting to feel really real! Special thanks to Basic Invite for sponsoring this post!

-Liz

How to Choose a Wedding Venue

Hey loves! It’s been quite a few months since I wrote about wedding planning and figured I’d share a few details! I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for awhile but held off until David and I could make things official… but we chose our venue! We will be getting married next October at the Warwick Melrose Hotel in Dallas! I snapped a few photos of the ballroom, linens, and table set up to share with you guys! I’m completely in love!

Choosing the venue was the biggest relief for me and allowed everything else to fall into place. We saw so many venues and while we liked quite a few, the Warwick Melrose just stood out to us because of their customer service and how elegant it was. It suited our taste perfectly.

But right now, I wanted to share a few tips for choosing a venue with you!

Figure Out Your Theme

Someone asked me what my theme was for our wedding. I kind of laughed and said “the theme is wedding.” I knew right away that I wanted a traditional, formal wedding and needed to find a space that reflected that. The Warwick Melrose has a beautiful, elegant lobby that immediately sold me on the rest of the space. First impressions are everything! The theme of your wedding whether its going to be rustic, modern, minimalist, glamorous, or black tie will dictate the venue you end up choosing.

Make Sure You Have a Budget

This doesn’t even need to be said, but I’ll say it for the people in the back- have a budget!! We saw quite a few places that were over our budget and lots that were under as well. We ended up being the most interested in places that offered on-site catering and provided things like tables, chairs, linens, china etc. Those “little” things add up fast so when they’re included in the venue you choose, its great!

Calculate Taxes and Fees

Most of the time venues give you a total estimate that includes things like taxes, service fees, and gratuity. However, always double check to make sure its included so there aren’t any surprises later. We only encountered that happening once or twice but the few extra thousand dollars had us heading for the hills!

Watch for Red Flags (even small ones)

Not everything about a venue will be perfect but little warning signs should be considered. For example, David and I went to one venue and the event coordinator was 10 minutes late and seemed a bit, how do I put this delicately- high. I knew very quickly that she might not be reliable on our wedding day so we decided to move on.

Luckily, Abby at the Warwick Melrose was super helpful and easy to work with. She answered all my questions and was very reliable. She totally sold us on having our wedding there!

I hope this helps you when you go to choose your venue! Now that we’ve chosen ours we’ve been all about wedding colors (more to come on that!), invitations, and finally- dress shopping!

Favorite Spots in San Antonio (and one’s personal)

san antonio paramor bar

Hey everyone! I’ve been loving this rainy, breezy weather here lately. I spent all of last weekend in a sweater decorating our house for fall! Over Labor Day Weekend though, we went to San Antonio to see friends and family. Since we’re there so often and always have a great time when we go, I thought I’d put together a little blog on my favorite places in SA! Its funny how life takes you full circle- my dad spent quite a few years as a kid in San Antonio since his dad was stationed there. And now years later, I’m marrying a guy from there! Life has a way of surprising you with little nods to your past!

Ok back to my favorite spots!

jokesters 22 bar

Jokesters 22- Southtown Bar and Comedy Club

So I may be biased but if you’re looking for a place to watch a Spurs game or see a comedy show- Jokesters 22 is the perfect spot! David’s sister poured her heart and soul into this bar and it paid off! Its quickly becoming a popular spot to hang out on the weekends and week nights if you like the downtown San Antonio night life scene.

David and I visited a few weekends ago and oh my goodness I have a new love- corn in a cup! Apparently its a Mexican carnival food staple, but this Maryland girl had never had it before and I instantly fell in love with it. Is it healthy? Heck no. But who cares because its so good! Jokesters’ food is actually prepared in a food truck on site and its quite tasty! Definitely visit if you’re in town!

paramour bar

Paramour Bar and Coffee

I’m always looking for a great place to take an Instagram photo and Erica (one of my bridesmaids!) and I found Paramour Bar! They serve handcrafted cocktails and coffee in a super eclectic location. It’s at the top of an apartment building and has a fun outdoor patio and indoor seating with the chic-est couches you’ll ever see! We spent more time taking pictures than we did sipping our cocktails! (BTW- they can be a little pricy so budget ahead!)

paramour san antonio

Like I said, we spent a lot of time taking photos! It reminded me a little of a more upscale version of Central Perk in Friends! If I could have made off with one of their couches or rugs without them noticing I might have considered it! If you’re ever in San Antonio, check out these two spots for a good time! I have a million other places I could recommend but I don’t have cute pictures to go with them so you’re out of luck!

-Liz

Why Accepting Yourself can be Your Biggest Challenge

Hey everyone! I wanted to chat about some exciting things going on in my life and share how my mental and physical health journey is going. Some of you may know that I’ve had issues with anxiety and depression (which is why I like to blog about it!) as well as body image issues. All the fun stuff, right? HA! I’ve always tried to be open with others about these personal problems because I think they’re important to talk about. Sharing my journey is at a turning point though- I’ve realized that accepting myself opens a million doors!

The Comparison Game

I’ve spent years comparing myself to other women. I often wondered “why am I not as thin as she is?” or “why don’t I have the beautiful home she does?” All these questions left me drained and feeling unworthy. Let’s be real- how on Earth could asking these questions ever be fulfilling? They’re questions that are designed to tear down the person who is asking them. And I WILLINGLY asked myself these questions.

Comparing myself and my life’s journey to someone else’s is a recipe for depression. Clinical depression isn’t always caused by one particularly thing, sometimes its honestly just a chemical imbalance in your brain, however it can be exasperated and prolonged by upsetting situations or thoughts. I made my own depression much worse and last much longer by asking myself almost every waking moment of the day, why I wasn’t good enough. It literally made me sick.

Understanding My Relationship with Money

I had a revelation the other day thanks to something my counselor said. When I was complaining to her that I didn’t understand why I didn’t have the nice cars other women have, nice home, perfect body etc. she said to me “Your value systems are unique and aren’t the same as others.” My internal light bulb went on. She was so right.

I relish in the fact that I’ve padded my savings account enough that a car repair, an emergency trip home, or a surprise bill won’t make a dent in my budget. I do a happy dance whenever I get to deposit more money into my savings account because it means I’m meeting my financial goals!

Having it All

When I compare myself to other people that appear to “have it all,” I often forget that credit cards and loans are a thing and most American’s carry around a fair amount of debt. The other day I was walking out of Target (not surprising at all) and there was a girl about my age getting into a shiny new Mercedes. I thought to myself “how come I don’t have one too?” Then I thought, OH WAIT! I hate car payments! And if I bought a nice new car, then you better believe I’d have one! So I hopped into my 2007 Ford Edge (a hand-me-down from my future sister in law) and drove away!

My views on money management are simply different from other peoples’ and that’s totally fine. I buy most of my clothing on clearance. I only buy furniture on sale and have no problem doing a DIY if I need to. David and I’s rental home isn’t super fancy but only takes up 1/8th of our paycheck. That, in my opinion, is winning at life. My counselor also reminded me that millionaires can often be hard to spot because they live next door to you and drive old cars. MIND BLOWN. So moral of the story- material items don’t equal happiness, feeling secure and safe does.

Getting Comfortable in My Skin

“If you accept yourself the way you are now, all the things you want will fall into place” this is what my counselor said to me the other day at our appointment. I’ve struggled for the last few years with my body not cooperating with any of my weight loss tactics and it’s been so discouraging.

I didn’t have crazy expectations like having a six-pack of abs or a super lifted booty, but I wanted to see progress in my exercising and calorie-counting regiment. Surprise surprise- my body resists pretty much every attempt at losing weight because of my high stress levels and oddly enough, food intolerance.

Cortisol is the stress hormone and when your body makes too much of it, it can be harder to lose weight. I’m just about the most anxious person I know and something as simple as driving to a new place in Dallas can cause a wave of anxiety for me. Combine my anxiety to simple, everyday things with my anxiety over how my body looks and BOOM- cortisol levels are spiking all day, everyday! So the less I stress about how much weight I’ve lost and how I look, the more likely I am to lose weight. Accepting myself, being happy with the way I was built, and most importantly, being happy with my lifestyle, could actually lead to the results I’ve been pining for.

Surprising Food Allergies

Now let’s talk about that food allergy I mentioned earlier. For years I’ve dealt with constant bloating and stomach pain after eating just about anything. Looking in the mirror all I’d see is a girl with a big stomach in pain. Fun, let me tell ya! It killed myself esteem and made me even more anxious (and sometimes still does). I literally just went to the doctor and he told me I had a severe allergy to lactose. Yeah- my digestive system is afraid of cheese! Insert eye roll here. He told me to take lactose pills every morning and the bloating should subside. One day later, I feel way better!

Key Takeaways

Sorry, this is the longest post ever but I just have so much to say! Accepting myself, my lifestyle, and the way God made me is literally the key to finding happiness and self-worth. How crazy is that? Imagine if we all did that and how we’d feel and even treat others? The comparison game, depression, body image issues, and a million other problems we all have may literally just become things of the past. How great would that be? So I’m encouraging you to reflect internally on who you are, what makes you different, what your value systems are, and how you feel throughout the day. The answers may surprise you!