TWIRL BRIDE BLOGGER || ALLISON JOHNSON + DRESS SHOPPING 101

Hi there ladies, me again! Long time to no see!! Well I can definitely say I am in the thick of wedding planning these days, and I must tell you--I have loved it so far. I swear the hardest thing has been trying to plan a honeymoon, which sounds stupid right? HA! That is the only thing I have found stressful, stay tuned on that front. Actually does anyone just wanna plan it for me, that would be great.

I wanted to chat today about what I think is one of the most special things you will do while planning your wedding, and that is wedding dress shopping! I mean as girls we dream about this from the time we are little. Exhibit A: my first bridal experience. 

I mean, while this IS a good look, I am not sure it is the one I am going for precisely. 

I wanted to share with you other brides and brides-to-be some of the things I think are important to consider when shopping for your wedding dress.   

1. Choose a store that will make your experience unforgettable 

I have been part of many a wedding, I think one year I was in 8 weddings, but that is neither here nor there. The point is I have been with several friends to shop for their weddings dresses. Some experiences more pleasant than others. I knew I wanted a boutique environment, a more personal experience. I was anxious about trying on dresses anyway, so I knew I wanted to be calm, and laid back-I didn't want to be shuffled through a warehouse like a herd of cattle--been there done that and it is completely overwhelming, trust. So I chose the cutest little shop in Lexington, which is low and behold, Twirl! Who knew?! ;) 

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Now, elephant in the room, yes I know the Twirl girls, and love them dearly. But even if I didn't this still would have been my top choice. They truly rolled out the red carpet, and made the day so so special for me. They had snacks and champagne, and personalized everything. 

That's me! The future Mrs. Jenks!! (still can't believe it!! My 17 year old heart is just bursting that I get to marry Tim Jenks!)

My friend Claire also sent flowers to make me feel like a princess, which was the sweetest thing ever. I could have cried, why is everyone so nice?!

Being in a small, more intimate setting just made the whole experience much more meaningful, which is exactly what I wanted. Thank you Twirl for making this day so amazing, and being so welcoming to us! It was perfect, and I wanna do it again. HA!  

2. Take a small group

This was SO important to me. I am definitely an introvert at heart (albeit outgoing at times!) and I feel most comfortable in a small group of people. Especially when the focus is on me. I took my mom, my sisters, my cousin Lucy and my best friend Chrissy! It was perfect. I value their input, and it was a small enough group that I never felt overwhelmed. You know what you want, so trust yourself! If that is 12 people, then go for it! But I do think a smaller group is a little easier to handle, and keep it stress free. There are no rules here, you do NOT have to take your entire bridal party. This is your special day so do what you feel in your heart! Look at these beauties, aren't they something? I feel pretty blessed for their friendship, and I must say they may just be the prettiest bridal party yet. 

3. Have your hair and makeup fixed 

Now I don't mean professionally (but hey I would love to do it for you, ha) but common girls, you're definitely going to be able to envision the whole look better if you have your hair and makeup done. I do not suggest rolling out of bed in sweatpants and two day old hair in a ponytail. You're just going to feel like a mess and in turn not like anything you put on. I want to wear my hair up for the wedding, so I wore my hair up when I went to try on dresses so I could get a better visual of what it might look like all together. I also did my makeup, so I would feel pretty and put together. I think it really makes a difference in how you are able to see yourself as a BRIDE!! 

See, makeup. LOL

4. Keep an open mind

I definitely suggest looking at dresses in magazines or on Pinterest beforehand. It can help you begin to think about what you like, and what styles might look good on you. You know your body well enough to start thinking along those lines. However, I would suggest also keeping an open mind. I mean I don't know about you, but it is not usually every day that I am trying on beautiful wedding dresses, ha. You may find yourself surprised to find that a certain style that you never imagined looks kinda-super-awesome on you. Listen to your consultants when they bring you things to try, they know what they are doing and you just never know, you could love it! Or you could hate it...but that could only help solidify your decision to go another way.  

Now let me tell you, I went in with my heart pretty hard set on the dress of my dreams. It's a sweet story really, you wanna hear it? Great! So, last winter Twirl was having a Hayley Paige trunk show at their store. So that means they have a lot of dresses in store that they may not carry samples of usually. I was in the store doing a hair and makeup trial for one of my bridal clients, and this one dress caught my eye. I never look at dresses, which is ironic since I work around them, but this one was different. I had just started dating Tim, and was all heart eyed and seeing butterflies all the time, and I was just mesmerized with this dress! I told Liz and Ty, "now girls, I know this is crazy but I think that is my dress!" They were probably like, yeah OK Allison, you nut. HA! Well, let me tell you what these girls did. They made sure that dress was at my fitting, a year later! They called the designer and had her send a sample, and it arrived the MORNING of my appointment! I tried it on last because I was nervous about it, and I think we were all just quiet for a minute. I am not sure who spoke first, but it may have been Liz saying, "wow" but I can't remember. It was perfect. It was the one. I couldn't believe it. They said that never happens, and they didn't even expect it to work. But let me tell you, it was a total God thing, just as my whole romance with Tim has been. It was so perfect, and such a special moment! When I walked in the other room to my tiny entourage, everyone was just blown away with how gorgeous the dress was. It was such an easy decision for me, I think I only put on like 6 dresses maybe?? 

Another fun fact about my dress, I actually got to meet the designer Hayley, while I was in NYC for Bridal Fashion Week this past October-how cool is that?! We went to her show room, it was a total "how is this my life" moment. I also met my veil designer Sarah Gabriel! Fate, fate, fate I say! 

Allll the Hayley Paige. Incredible. (PS duh, my dress is not pictured, I checked. HA!) All the real pretty pics by the amazing The Malicotes

5. Have fun and enjoy it

For real though, have fun!! This should not be stressful, it should be one of the most fun days of all the planning you do. For me it was. I would do it over and over again! I feel super blessed that it was so seamless for me, I know it is not always like that for a lot of people, but hopefully some of my tips will help you to have an amazing wedding dress shopping experience also! 

I will leave you with this adorable video that my talented sissy made for me of our time at Twirl. Gosh I wanna do it again!! I just have all the feels, and love my bridesmaids, and my Twirl fam, and Hayley Paige...and oh yeah Tim. I love Tim. A lot. I can't wait for him to see my wedding dress!! EEK!

Until next month girls!!