How I Bought My Wedding Dress from a Stranger on Instagram

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I’m not saying this is the right way to buy a wedding dress.  I’m just telling you how I did it.  Long story short, I wired $1,300 to a person 3,590 miles away and didn’t end up regretting it.  Here’s the story of how I bought my wedding dress from a stranger on Instagram.

I honestly think that working for a wedding company has made me approach my own wedding completely differently than I would have if I didn’t spend hours each workday flipping through photos and articles of other weddings.  Maybe I’m overexposed?  Maybe I’m all too aware of just how expensive weddings can be?  Maybe I’m savvy to all of the cost cutting tricks and consider myself super resourceful (i.e. cheap)?  After I got engaged, I, like other excited brides-to-be, made appointments at bridal shops to try on beautiful wedding gowns.  Except I never had any intention of buying one from these shops.

My fiancé and I had a trip planned to Vietnam in February, two months after we got engaged.  My plan was to try on gowns here in Raleigh, see what I liked and what looked best on me, then take my inspiration to the amazing seamstresses in Vietnam and have one custom made on my trip.  Just my luck, the only dress that I loved is covered in one-of-a-kind lace that I knew I’d never be able to find (yes, I emailed the gown designer and no, they wouldn’t disclose the manufacturer) and that they’d never be able to recreate.  At a price tag of almost $3,000, I knew that I could do better.

Familiar with the cost-per-wear ratio to buying clothes?   It’s the total cost of the item/estimated number of days you’ll wear it.  Well, you wear a wedding dress for about 8 hours, if you’re lucky.  If you are willing to pay x amount for your dream dress, more power to you.  But I’m far too practical (i.e. cheap) for that. Here’s the thing about wedding dresses…  There are a million different beautiful options at a million difference price points.  If anyone is aware of how many beautiful options there are, it’s me (seriously… I look at HUNDREDS of weddings each week).  I saw every dollar spent on an exorbitantly priced gown as a dollar taken away from some other fun aspect of my wedding.  And god knows no one will forgive me if the booze runs out early.

So, I searched Ebay, Preowned Wedding Dresses, and Once Wed (great resources for sample & used gowns!) but came up empty handed.  That’s when I thought to use social media to my advantage.  Enter Instagram.  I searched the dress designer’s hashtag to find real brides who’d worn “my” dress and messaged a handful to see if they were interested in selling theirs.

A few brides were planning on saving their gown for their daughter to wear one day (which I get, but let’s be honest… we’ve all seen our mothers’ gowns – no way I’d walk down the aisle in that polyester nightmare.  Plus how do you even know that you’re going to have a daughter?!).  A few brides told me their dresses were past the point of repair.  A few never responded.  But one bride entertained the idea (bless you, Katherine in Ireland!).

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The dress was the size I needed, had undergone minimal alterations, and had already been dry cleaned.  The seller assured me that it was in excellent condition, save a small and unnoticeable tear in the train.  And she also seemed – based on her Insta profile – like a normal, well-adjusted woman who wasn’t out to scam me. We exchanged messages for about a month (she got a little sentimental and almost backed out once), and then prepared for payment and shipping.  I wired her $1,300 and she sent me a shipping confirmation.  Cue a week and a half of very nervous waiting, and one very happy bride-to-be when the dress came in perfectly as described and a nearly perfect fit!

I ended up saving over $1,500 on my dream (designer) dress, and couldn’t be happier.  I knew that purchasing a wedding dress this way was either going to be a very good idea or a VERY bad idea.  Brian only admitted afterwards how terrified he was that I would be disappointed with the gown.  And I do think that I was pretty lucky.  If you decide to go this route, I’d suggest a payment option like Paypal or Ebay that includes some protection for both parties.  I also wouldn’t consider purchasing a dress that had undergone extensive alterations, and definitely make sure to get measurements of the person as well as the gown.  There was also an additional $90 customs tax fee that I hadn’t anticipated since the package was being shipped from overseas, and I had to physically sign for the package (meaning I worked from home the day I knew it was going to be delivered… wasn’t taking any chances!).  But most importantly, if you think that your dream dress is out of your budget, you may be wrong!

My dress is currently at the tailor for some minor alterations before my wedding day in exactly one month.  I’m not going to spoil the surprise by sharing any photos of the dress just yet, but I can’t wait to share my wedding day with you all!  And if anyone is interested in purchasing my dress after October 28th, don’t be afraid to slide up in my DMs @xtinachild!

 

4 tips for planning a retro themed wedding

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A retro wedding theme is one of the most romantic and popular themes lately. The bygone era of the 1920s, 40s, and 60s has a whole lot of inspiration for couples wanting to make their wedding day even more special. From intricately designed tea cups to vintage, soft-lace bridal wear, each element of the timeless retro theme can add color, class, and appeal to your wedding day.  Here are 4 classic, retro wedding ideas that are apt for this wedding season!

1. Retro-Inspired Wedding Stationery
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The wedding stationery you use will be the first element that will inform your guests about your theme. Make sure your invitation card is retro-styled with old-fashioned fonts, design, and paper. Use vintage stamps on the envelopes to add an extra retro appeal.  In addition, ensure that your wedding escort cards, the guest book, and the thank you cards use matching fonts to further your theme.

2. Picking the Perfect Gown, Accessories, and Jewelrydress-white-decoration-silver
A variety of retro bridal dresses can be found at specialist vintage boutiques and online wedding sites. To get that romantic retro feel, a bride can try using accessories like a crown/tiara, retro-style shoes, and a softly hued bunch of fresh flowers for the bridal bouquet. For jewelry, look for artistic pieces of ornaments or intricately designed filigree rings, art deco bracelets and earrings, or mod styles. One can also try a retro hairdo (think fingerwave curls or hippie-chic braids) for the brides and the bridesmaids.

The groom has several retro options too! Long gone are the days when a morning suit or a tuxedo accessorized with cuff links were the only options to style a man the retro way. Besides a tuxedo, a groom can opt for a waistcoat or suspenders and use accessories like bow ties, cravats, hats, brogues, and a pocket watch. Using old-world fabrics like tweeds, houndstooth, and plaid can also give the groom a retro swagger. The above coupled with a partly gelled hairstyle is sure to raise countless eyebrows on this important day.

3. Your Wedding Transportation
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Move around in style by choosing a wedding car that comes with a retro appeal like a vintage Rolls Royce, Cabriolet, or Mustang. You can also use an old car or a scooter, or even a bicycle to pull out the romanticism of this dramatic era.

4. Hire a Retro Photo Booth
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There are lots of options for renting tintype photo booths, photo booths in VW buses, or old-timey photo strip photo booths for a fun, added bit of flair to your wedding!

Swara Segal is a freelance writer and blogger based in Mumbai, India. She is immersed in the fashion industry and is the go-to-person for trend tips. She has an excellent know-how of various fashion jewelry designs & patterns and the perfect gemstones to go with them. In her free time, she loves to cook for family & friends, and enjoys photographing nature.

10 Types of Wedding Photos That Make Great Canvas Prints

There’s no denying the lasting power of a good photo, especially on your monumental wedding day. Your wedding photographer will capture all the classic moments but candid photos capture all the emotions a staged photo might not and help you remember all the small details and memories from your big day long after it’s over.

And the best part is that your wedding guests can snap some of the most memorable photos of your wedding that you’ll want to enjoy as canvas prints at home or just scroll back through after the big day because the best photos aren’t always the ones taken by a photographer (even though those photos are pretty great). Whether you’re going to a wedding as a guest or getting married yourself, be sure to check out these 10 types of photos that make great canvas prints!

 1.  The silly wedding party
Is there anything better than a funny picture with the people you love most? Absolutely not.
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Photo Credit:  Micah Bowerbank Photography

 2. The wild cousins
Because you have to admit—they’re definitely the life of the party. And they’ll give you lots of chances to take a hilarious and candid photo as they show off all their moves on the dance floor.
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Photo Credit: Jason Hudson Photography

 3. The happy grandparents letting loose
Grandparents add a little flair everywhere they go. Make sure someone snaps a good pic of the most adorable guests while the night is young!
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Photo Credit: Jonathan David Photography

 4. The one with your pet
Let’s be honest–pets make everything better, even wedding photos.
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Photo Credit: Stacey Lee Photography

5. A photo of the beautiful flowers
Don’t forget to get a photo of the bride’s beautiful bouquet. They’re works of art worth remembering!
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Photo Credit: Rylee Hitchner

6. One with the playful backdrop
Your ceremony backdrop is the place where you became a spouse! The moment you got married is the perfect one to turn into a canvas print to hang up at home.
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Photo Credit: Erin Trimble

7. A cute pic of the tiniest wedding guests
File this photo in the “things that make you go ‘awwww’” category.
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Photo Credit: Dark Roux Photography

8. A sentimental photo with family
Do you really need an explanation for this? It’s one of those photos you’ll love to look at over and over again. And hint hint–it also makes an amazing canvas prints gift idea for family members!
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Photo Credit: Brandy Angel Photography

9. One with a chalkboard sign
Photos of you and your new spouse holding a chalkboard sign are trendy for a reason. They’re a great opportunity to get a jump start on your thank you notes or holiday cards, too!

10. The amazing getaway
Let’s not forget the moment they happy couple drives off into the sunset. It marks the end of the night but the beginning of a many more adventures together!
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Photo Credit: Onelove Photography

 

 

The Guest’s Guide to Modern Wedding Registry Gift Giving

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Blenders and china and towels, oh my! When it comes to wedding registries, couples don’t hold back. They’re ready to stock their house and and start showcasing their inner Chip & Joanna Gaines. We know building a registry is one of the best parts about getting married for a couple, but what about how easy it makes it for the guests to find great gifts? From contributing to the honeymoon to group-gifting, online wedding registries have taken gift giving to the next level! We’ve mapped out our go-to gifting hacks to make sure you can relax and enjoy celebrating with the newlyweds.


Live by the Registry
We know you love the couple and want to get them something unique, but if they didn’t register for it, DON’T BUY IT. That’s it. Hard and fast rule. If you just can’t control yourself and see something you know would be perfect, be sure to pair it with an item you purchased off the registry. This way, the couple can appreciate your thoughtfulness, while also knowing that you paid attention to their wishes. Hate everything on their registry? Don’t worry, it’s 2017, now you can register to contribute to someone’s honeymoon, new house, or even a romantic dinner!

Don’t be Scared of a Good Deal
See something on a couple’s registry for cheaper elsewhere? Awesome! Snag it up. The couple doesn’t mind where you purchase the item from, as long as it’s what they asked for. Don’t worry if the item is less than on the registry; your friends don’t care about how much you spend, just that you were thoughtful enough to give a gift in the first place. Be sure to head back to their online registry and mark the item as “purchased,” because nobody needs two KitchenAid mixers (unless you’re a pro baker, in which case, please invite us to your wedding).

Go Big with a Group Gift
Want to make a big impression without breaking the bank? Grab your friends and take out your credit cards! It’s the new-age of wedding registries, and that means that those super expensive gifts can now be covered by a group of friends. What better way to make a big impression than by giving a big group gift? The couple will love you and your friends will think you’re a rockstar for coming up with such a great gift idea!

Let your Postal Worker do the Work
So now that you’ve decided on what exactly to get the new couple, how is your gift going to get there? Between destination weddings and multi-location celebrations, the logistics of getting your gift to the couple can be a nightmare. Luckily, that’s where the glory of the registry steps in. Purchase the item from their online registry and have it shipped directly to their home! You don’t have to lug it around, they don’t have to worry about transporting it home, and best of all, no one has to lose a finger trying to wrap an awkwardly shaped box. While we’re all about the ease of this new-age gift giving, be sure to sprinkle a bit of tradition on the day and pick up a card for the big day!

There you have it, a great gift purchased and delivered without ever leaving your couch. Feeling relieved from the gift giving pressure? Great, now that you’re done stressing over the gift, you can worry about the fun stuff, like what you’re going to wear (and no, you still can’t wear white)!