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Confessions of a Former Bride: Part Six

Did you think this series was gone? IT’S BAAAACK! You can blame my busy schedule and writer’s block for it’s brief absence 

Like with many wedding related things, I found that shopping for a wedding gown could be somewhat of a roller coaster ride. At least for me. So, I thought I would share a few tips on getting the most out of the experience! Feel free to share yours in the comments!

Before you go, do your research!
Before you head out to dress stores, look online and become familiar with wedding dress designers and silhouettes. Think about what styles suit the type of wedding you are having. If you’re having a rustic wedding, a gorgeous lace gown might work, but that same gown might look completely out of place at a super glam ballroom wedding. I personally would advise that you don’t shop for your gown before you have at least settled on your venue!! I know gown shopping is super fun, but you might be doing yourself a disservice if you shop before you at least know the overall theme of your day. I actually bought a super traditional white satin a-line gown with a beaded bodice before we decided we wanted our wedding to be a soft, romantic garden wedding. The dress I bought didn’t suit our day so I ended up consigning it and buying a second dress.

Have an open mind
So I know I JUST got finished saying you should get familiar with designers and silhouettes and to think about what you like. Okay. But you should definitely keep an open mind, because you just might find that what you’re looking for is something you thought you didn’t like at all! I thought I hated lace and embellishments, but once I got into a lace gown, I LOVED it. Once i had on a lace gown it was no longer a grandma fabric that I hated, it became a soft, romantic fabric that I desired! So I definitely advocate keeping an open mind and being willing to try something outside of your comfort zone. Trying doesn’t hurt anyone!

Know your budget
Wedding gowns are not cheap. And honestly, when you really start thinking about how practical it is to drop a lot of $$$ on a gown you only wear once (yowo?? ha!) it can get stressful coming up with a budget. No matter what your budget is, please come up with at least a range before dress shopping and then DO NOT  try on gowns that are over that budget unless you are really okay with paying the difference if you try it on and love it. Because you will probably love it. That’s just how life works:(  If you are trying to save money or stretch your dress budget, I would suggest checking out other alternatives…there are lots of great used wedding gowns for sale online at sites like Once Wed. Let’s say you tried on an incredible J Crew gown but it’s just too much out of your budget…google the style number and see if someone is selling theirs! Also, there may be a bridal consignment store in your area! I actually bought (and then sold) that first gown I chose at Blush Bridal Consignment here in Newport News. I always recommend them to my friends who are engaged because they have such a great selection (tons of stuff by designers!!) and really good deals!

Don’t bring everyone you know
When you’ve finally scheduled your appointments to try on wedding gowns it’s time to start thinking about who you want to take with you. I personally would advise against a huge entourage at least at your first appointment. Dress shopping is stressful enough without including the opinions of a big group of people. I know it’s hard because everyone wants to go with you, but really consider whose opinions you trust the most when deciding who to bring! This is not necessarily the time to invite the most opinionated people you know…but if you feel bad about leaving certain people out, there will always be fittings later on you can invite them to!

Be Prepared!
Make sure you take with you to your appointment: a hair tie so you can see how you’d look with an updo (this CAN make a difference!!), a good strapless bra, and pictures of any styles you know you are interested in. Also, I definitely recommend you think about your choice of underwear before your appointment…I had no idea that I would need a friend or a stylist to help me into the dresses, so if you are modest like me, I would definitely suggest you do NOT wear a thong or the comfy underwear you love with two kissing schnauzers right over the butt. *cough*

Enjoy Yourself!
Although wedding dress shopping can be stressful at times, it can also be very fun, kind of like playing dress up when you were a kid (but on steroids!). This is the one time in your life when you will get to have this experience, so you should make the most of it! Make a couple appointments and make a day out of it! Go for pedicures first, do some dress shopping, and then enjoy lunch somewhere with real cloth napkins. Have fun!! And text your wedding photographer a picture of your gown! If she is me, she will LOOOVE to see.

To conclude this post I decided to share some outtakes from when I went dress shopping back in 2010 (seems like SO LONG AGO!). Excuse my unexcited faces…that’s just how my face looks.

 

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umm… those all look fabulous on you 🙂

Fun post – SMILE!

Krystal

Aw this makes me go back! It does seem like forever ago!!

Katie, which of these did you end up going with for your wedding (if any)? they all look fantastic on you!

Katie Hill-Nesbitt

I went with the one on the bottom left!! I really liked the top left dress a lot, but it was 300 over what I wanted to spend lol.

Lesli

Wow! Every single one of these dresses look amazing on you!!

Just for fun I’m going back through these old posts, and I totally tried on the bottom right one! My mom was convinced that it was “the one” but I was disappointed that all of the “pretty stuff” was on the back.

The Katelyn James Workshop Experience

If you read my blog every once in a while (Thank you!!) you might have seen a post a while back where I explained how I got started and what photography means to me. Well, that post was actually my entry into a contest to win a seat at the Katelyn James Workshop Experience!! I hate entering contests because I’m always so afraid to lose, but when Katelyn announced she was hosting (is that the right term?) a contest for a seat at her workshop, I decided to enter anyway. I knew that even if I didn’t win, challenging myself to enter the contest and open myself up would be a good, positive thing to do. Well…to my surprise, I ended up winning third place and being able to afford to attend!!  I was SO pumped when I found out I was a winner! I was having a terrible week (you know, the kind that make you question your whole life) and winning a prize definitely helped lift my spirits!

Last Friday I drove out to Richmond to attend the workshop not really knowing what to expect. I’d never been to a workshop before and was pretty nervous! What if my questions were stupid or too obvious?? Honestly, even if my questions were the worst questions in the history of questions, I would have never known! Katelyn was super sweet and patient and answered every question we could come up with.

I have been following Katelyn’s blog for a while now and I will just say that I really liked her from reading her posts, but I LOVE her as a person in real life (you know, not on the internet…ha). She is incredibly genuine and has such a good heart. You can tell that she really cares about people and you can’t help but love her for that. Not only did she share tons of her secrets with us, she was also incredibly encouraging. I really appreciated that!! I tend to be pretty hard on myself.

The day started in the classroom, where we learned about posing and light. After that we got to observe Katelyn in action and then had the chance to shoot a sweet mardi gras themed wedding put together by Dana FitzGerald! YES, I said mardi gras! The couple that modeled got married a year ago in New Orleans so the theme was in their honor!

LOOOOVED the florals, especially the bouquets by Janie Medley of The Bride’s Cafe. I’m obsessed with those purple ranunculus!!

Bridal Gown and Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Joanna August available at Bella Bridesmaid Richmond Mini Birdcage VeilTigerlilly Jewelry Jewelry: Simply Vera Vera Wang  Wedding Cake: Kristine Bender of K Rose Cakes Chairs, linens, and tables: Perfect Party Creative Director and Stylist: Dana FitzGerald Floral DesignJanie Medley of The Bride’s Cafe  Makeup Artist and Hair Design: Emily Hudspeth Calligraphy: Moya Minns of MM Ink  Model: Emily Hudspeth (Bride) Location: Virginia Center for Architecture

 

*Special thank you to: Ruby Press and Janie Medley of The Bride’s Cafe

 

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Love it katie!!!!!! Your images are BEAUTIFUL and I’m so happy you took that chance and entered the contest!!! 🙂

Katie your images are fabulous!!! I’m so glad that you entered the contest and I’m even more glad that we got to meet and share this experience together!!

Annamarie

AMAZING! love all of them:)…sooo soo happy that you were able to go:).

Of course I remember because that’s how I found your blog :_) and of course, I still believe you needed to win!

So glad this was a wonderful experience for you – looking forward to following your journey!

Awesome work!

LOVE these!! so so gorgeous! and i adore your blog… you’re adorable! so excited for you! xoxo

Kelly Hudspeth

Fun Pictures!

For photographers – Va business one stop

This post is more for Virginia photographers (or business owners) than people in other states. It also mostly applies to newer folks who are working on getting established than to those who have been around a while. When I started my business last year (while trying to plan my WEDDING haha) I was quickly overwhelmed trying to figure out what I needed to do and what forms I needed to complete to make everything official.  Well, somehow I stumbled upon the VA Business One Stop, an application created by the the state to help small businesses. VA Business One Stop is actually pretty easy to use…you pay twenty dollars to use the service to create a business (and there may be more fees involved depending on how you decide to classify yourself) and it walks you through all of the required steps and then populates the forms you need to file. If the city or county you live in allows online filing, it will file them for you. Unfortunately, good ole Newport News doesn’t allow online filing so I had to make a visit to the clerk’s office. To me, 20 dollars to make life simpler is pretty much a no brainer!

VA Business One Stop also has some pretty great resources for current small business owners, such as one on one business counseling and tax information, but I haven’t really used any of those features so I can’t really say much about them, but if they are anything like the service for new business holders, I’m sure they are great!

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Featured!

I’m honored and excited to share that Jasmine and Fabio’s wedding has been featured on the blog The East Coast Bride!! The East Coast Bride is such a great blog full of tons of ideas and inspiration. Go on over and check out all of Jasmine and Fabio’s hard work (and leave them comments too!). You can see their blog post here.

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woo hoo! congrats!

Congratulations, girl! SO exciting!!

Victoria

Congrats!!! Love it! Can’t wait for you to shoot my wedding 🙂

Annamarie | Washington DC portrait photography

Annamarie and I met on Facebook and became friends pretty quickly through talking about photography and weddings…we were excited to find out that both our weddings were featured in the same issue of the Knot magazine! How many friends can say they are both in the same magazine???  I really enjoy having Anna as one of my friends because she is one of the most encouraging and kind people I know. I feel like I attract lots of negative “frenemies” who really only exist to stress me out and bring me down, but Anna is so different and such a positive and uplifting person you can’t help but love her!

We went together last week to Jasmine Star’s “Fix” and after stuffing our faces with cupcakes, took some shots of each other around Georgetown. Here are some of my favorites!!

 

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Aww…ignore those frenemies!! Glad we were able to connect online!

Annamarie is adorable! Great shots Katie. Hope you make me look that good ; )

Jenna

Not that I expect any less, but these pictures are gorgeous! Love the lighting. And your friend is beautiful. I think you should find someone to take pictures of you two together!

She’s SO PRETTY!! And you did a spectacular job of capturing what a sweetheart she is :).

Katie Hill-Nesbitt

Of course!!! It doesn’t take much to make any of my friends look amazing! You all are already so gorgeous!

Katie Hill-Nesbitt

Me too!!

Katie Hill-Nesbitt

You are so sweet! Love you, girl!

I think her “j. crew look” is way better than mine, hahaha. Love these : )