People keep asking me how wedding planning is going and truthfully… it isn’t. Since booking the chapel and our reception venue, I’ve probably gone a full month without doing any more work on our wedding! It just doesn’t feel right to make any big decisions without my parents sitting in front of me and without going and visiting vendors on Nantucket in person, which will have to wait until the summer. That’s definitely a perk of a longer engagement (our wedding will be in September 2017) but I have a feeling with my family coming into town next weekend for our engagement party in Dallas, I’m going to snap back into the planning mindset really quick!

One of the things I’m most excited to do during their visit? Try on wedding dresses for the first time! While I have pretty concrete preferences for our venue and other details like flowers and food, I don’t think I’ll know what dress I want until I try a bunch of them on in front of my family. I know generally speaking what I like — simple, classic, no “bling,” fitted at the waist, with a fun detail like an open back or pockets — but it’s hard to narrow it down just staring at pictures in magazines or on Pinterest.

I’ll definitely share what my experience is like (without revealing the dress if I happen to find it) in the weeks to come but I’d love to hear any words of wisdom you have for trying on wedding dresses as well as — the fun part! — what your dream dress looks like. Long sleeves or mermaid silhouette or head-to-toe lace? Any particular designer? I’m dying to hear!

backless wedding dress

j.crew swiss dot wedding dress



*images one / two / three

P.S. There are so many ready-to-wear dresses that are wedding-worthy in my book. Obviously I’m excited to have a true bridal salon experience but I could happily wear something like this or this.



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  1. You will love dress shopping! That was the easiest part for me. It helps to browse dresses and at least eliminate what you know you don’t like and what won’t fit your venue and theme, though a few might be fun to try anyway, like a ball gown dress.

  2. Choosing your dress is such a fun process! My biggest tip is to go with your gut and be open to trying different things! I thought I knew exactly what I wanted (strapless with a sweetheart neckline, fitted waist, and all lace) but when I started to get frustrated when I couldn’t find anything that was “just right” I decided to go a different route.

    The girls at Kate McDonald/ Lula Kate were amazing to work with and I was able to completely customize my dress! |–TmRDv0t/

    Best wishes for your wedding dress hunt! Enjoy every step!

    xo Heather

  3. Dress shopping was SUCH a blast for me, have fun! I actually have a feeling my dress would be EXACTLY your style….look up Spose di Gio “Alana” on Pinterest. Only a few stores in the US carry the line, and I believe one is in Dallas!

  4. I’m so excited to go dress shopping next month!!! Our parents are coming to town to meet each other and I feel like everything will really start to solidify during that weekend.

    I loooooove dresses with applique (Christos dresses are amazing but out of budget and the BHLDN Ariane is a front runner). I envision a silhouette somewhere in the trumpet to smaller ballgown range and I’m open to most necklines aside from a halter. I’ve watched enough Say Yes to the Dress that I know to try on anything and everything and I think that is going to be the best part!

    I can totally see you in something with an a-line skirt, pockets and maybe a colorful lip and nails 🙂 Can’t wait to see what you decide!

  5. I wore a dress called The Farm from Lela Rose. Loved it, and she lines all of her dresses in silk charmeuse so it feels like satin pajamas on the inside – divine!

    The thing that I didn’t realize when I started shopping was that EVERYTHING is gorgeous. There are things that are not your taste, but so many of the dresses have pretty details and are exquisitely made. It’s not like regular shopping where you can eliminate really quickly. You know when a dress isn’t right, but some of them are so pretty that you think you COULD be happy wearing it.

    I was also worried that I was holding out for a dress that didn’t exist. I knew that I would find a dress, but it was difficult to know after the first appointment whether I was being too particular, because the dresses in question would have been beautiful, and I didn’t want to be difficult but it didn’t feel right. As cheesy as it is, you do know. You know that there’s no dress you’d like better.

  6. I love and her sister co.

    I wore a Kate McDonald for my little white dress with stripes and all of my bridesmaids wore Lula Kate dresses. I like that you can mix and match tops and bottoms, and she’s all about clean lines. And bridesmaid dresses can have both pockets and stripes! 🙂

  7. Dress shopping was a rocky process for me. I live in Seattle, 2,000 miles away from my family, and since we moved here recently I didn’t have friends with whom I felt comfortable going (too much pressure!). My mom flew out to Seattle so we could look together one weekend, but I didn’t end up finding what I was looking for at that time, which was disappointing. The day I found the dress, I was just with my stylist. I cried because I was so excited and happy, but also because it was hard not to share the moment with anyone. But after I got over that, I was able to focus on the positive. I’ve always been excited about the marriage, but having the right dress has made me excited about the wedding in a way that I wasn’t before.

    I initially loved Carolina Herrera and Amsale the most, but I ended up falling for a classic dress from a certain well-known Dominican designer’s fashion house that starts with O… But that’s all I’m saying for now! I know whatever you end up with will be stunning!

  8. congratulations on your engagement! i got engaged last february (with a 2016 october wedding) and found it less appealing to be in my apartment alone planning my wedding. i found it so much more enjoyable to make brunch dates with my sister when we were both home. i completely get your feelings and it all happens eventually. might as well love the whole process! when else do you get to plan a wedding? enjoy the journey 🙂

  9. I had my dress made for a fraction of the price off the rack. If you have a seamstress you trust, I would consider that option. Plus, you get to decide exactly what you want.

  10. Mackenzie, so excited to read as you go through this process! I got my wedding dress from Lihi Hod’s collection last year. Her dresses are timeless and elegant, always with a special detail to make them pop!

  11. I went to design school so I’ve always known I was going to design my dress. Not make it- just design it, and find someone in NYC to make it for me. However, I went dress shopping anyway to get ideas, and I stupidly told them I had no budget. The dress I absolutely fell in love with was $10K, and was beaded all over, in a beautiful geometric pattern, it had long sleeves and a plunging front and back neckline, and made me look like I was going to the Oscars. I was OBSESSED with it, but knew that designing a replica of this dress was never going to happen. So I went a completely different route and went simple and chic with a high neckline and a small amount of beading, with a removable sheer overskirt for drama. I loved it! I guess the point is that you will find so many dresses that you love, so don’t get fixated on THE ONE. Get fixated on how it makes you feel, how you can move, how your body looks, and don’t worry about whether its beaded or lace or blue or whatever. You will look gorgeous!

    post of my dress here:

  12. I can’t wait to see what you choose!!! I went with a mermaid (vera wang ethel), no frills either but I added a classic lace bolero for the cathedral. The for the reception I put on a bow belt from jcrew bridal.

  13. My wedding dress is by Heidi Elnora. She is an incredible designer out of Birmingham, Alabama. She can completely custom design the dress of your dreams. However, my dress is from her Hello Darling line. I’m on the same page that you are. No Bling and Classic! She also has a Build A Bride collection where you can pretty much build your own dress with fabulous prices from her collection! Take a look at her designs! I think you would really like her style!

  14. I’m so excited for you! I do have a few pieces of advice since you asked:
    1) Be open to trying different things. For example, I went in to my shopping experience thinking that I wanted one style and that style ONLY, but my dress consultant put me in a few and then said, “Well, based on what you like and your body, I think you would look good in a drop waist. Want to give it a try?” Wouldn’t you know that this was THE dress I picked!
    2) Please try all of the fabrics and cuts. It’s so fun! Why not, you know?
    3) Please try to not stress out about it. You will make the dresses look gorgeous, not the other way around, so enjoy it!
    4) Finally, if you have a budget in mind, also know that you will likely need alterations, so fit that in on top of the dress cost. I did not do that, and my $600 alterations bill was not a fun one to pay!

    Oh! My dress is a Demitrios and I love it! Highly recommend!
    Have a blast! Can’t wait to read all about it!

  15. Love the one in the middle – do you have a source? Congratulations and good luck – where are you looking in Dallas for dresses?

  16. You’re doing far better than we are! We got engaged Christmas Eve and haven’t decided a single thing…not even a date! Eek. I’ve always envisioned my wedding dress to have a deep cut back and a plenty of lace 🙂 But like you, I could completely change my mind once I try a few others on. I’m excited you’re doing this column and can’t wait to hear more details as they unfold.

  17. Wedding dress advice: Wear nude undergarments. Know your price point. The price point was hard for me because I didn’t know what prices would get what sort of styles but know where you are comfortable spending. Be open to trying things that don’t look great on the hanger. If you don’t love it even a little, don’t feel obligated to show your family. If everyone loves it and you don’t, you mind get swept up in the moment and it will be your moment so you should love it.

  18. First off – YAY, it’ll be so fun & exciting!!
    Choosing a wedding dress is such a personal experience. I believe your dress style really depends on how you want your wedding to feel and how you want to feel on your wedding day.
    I’m looking forward to seeing a picture post 🙂

  19. Ooo Where did you end up deciding on for your reception?!?! So many gorgeous spots on the island. I don’t know my dream dress either, but right now I’m loving V-necks with a full skirt, maybe in a floaty fabric with grosgrain detailing?