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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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The Dress - Round Two

The following weekend, I was all set for round two. I hauled my cookies out to The Bridal Warehouse, somewhere on the outskirts of Nashville. Please note to brides over 30 - make sure you DO NOT visit this shop (or any other, for that matter) during PROM season. I felt like a wrinkled up prune in a bowl full of grapes.
This Allure gown was all bling and lace and I was loving it. The price was right too!

Allure style #8488, photo courtesy bestbridalprices.com
I also loved these Casablanca gowns. These too were in this Thirty-Something Bride's price range!
Casablanca style #1785, photo courtesy bestbridalprices.com
Casablanca style #1859, photo courtesy bestbridalprices.com

However, none of these came to fruition. The more I thought about them, the less I liked them. Onward, ho.

Three weeks in and nothing to show but a frustrated bride. I needed reinforcements. Since I am not from Nashville originally, my family is not here to go shopping with me. The girlfriends I trust the most to give me sound fashion advice are also scattered far and wide. It was a tough call, but my young-ish, hip, excitable and fun-loving friend Alecia was up to the task. We headed out to The White Room in Lebanon, TN. Kirsten-Michelle, our northern-but-taking-a-southern-break-saleswoman was just who I needed: a tad brash, no-nonsense and smart as a whip. I choose something like 25 dresses to try on. She looked at me hopelessly and informed me she had only scheduled an hour for our appointment. I told her to stand close with clips ready, that I wasn't messing around. I think she enjoyed the process as much as I did. I tried on the most gorgeous St. Pucchi gown! Sadly, it too was out of my price range.

Sposa by St. Puchhi style #Z195, photo courtesy of brides. com

These were the final contenders when I left that day:

Maggie Sottero Jasmina, photo courtesy jaysbridal.net
Maggie Sottero Harlow, photo courtesy brides.com
Mori Lee style #2215, photo courtesy brides.com
Do you see any relationship whatsoever between any of these dresses? Other than a lace overlay theme, I didn't either. I was loving the tulle pleats at the bottom of the Mori Lee. I loved the slightly vintage look the lace gave the dress. Alecia loved the Mori Lee too, but nothing was just fabulous about any of them. Desperation was settling in for a long winter's nap.....


The Dress - Round One

So, my original dress budget was $850. Go ahead, laugh. I know. For those of you thumbing through all the bridal magazines, dreaming of your gown in all it's glory....don't get too worked up. ALL those gowns are mind-boggling expensive. I know because I've tried them ALL on. I swear, every single last one of them. At least it feels that way. Now, I have to give props to some incredibly patient and thorough saleswomen who did their best to find "the one." First, The Bride Room in Green Hills was my first foray into gown selection. I fell in love with this Reem Acra gown.
Photo courtesy props: Dan Lecca, Brides.com

I did not fall in love with the $$$$ price tag. I tried on about 15 dresses and none truly suited me or had me gasping at my bustled image. One the way out, they offered me a wonderful cupcake from B. Jackson's Bakery. I swear, it was one of the best cupcakes I've ever had. Since we are still in search of a wedding cake, this is still an option. Stay tuned....


The Ring

Doe anyone care about the ring? The bling?

As a neurotic control freak, I do not particularly care for surprises so The Candyman and I had several discussions regarding our upcoming betrothal. While The Candyman is an attorney, he has many, many, many thousands of dollars in student loans to re-pay. A veritable crisis for a woman with her heart set on something. We first visited The Shane Company. While the staff and service are always impeccable (I get my jewelry repaired there regularly), I started feeling woozy soon after entering the store. Diamonds, apparently, aren't my thang.
The following weekend we tried a different tactic and visited the lovely Walton's Antique & Estate Jewelry in Franklin, TN. Again, nausea. What was this? Cold feet? Was my body channeling Carrie Bradshaw's wedding-dress-hives-fiasco? Whatever it was, it just wasn't working, so we went for ice cream.
I shared these experiences with my mom one night, who out of nowhere, offers up her ring as my engagement ring! Since the ring came from my father's mother, she had to check with him first. A few months later during Thanksgiving The Candyman and I met my parents in Asheville, NC, for the long holiday weekend. After touring The Biltmore the evening before, we settled in at a quaint Italian restaurant. My mom pulled her ring out of her purse and presented it to The Candyman for future use. We had it reset to it's present glory.

The wonderfulness of this ring is that it belong to my great-grandmother, grandmother and mother. I am the fourth generation to wear it!


From the Beginning.....

I seriously had no idea where to start planning my wedding. Since The Candyman and I are paying for this on our own, I need to keep budget at the forefront of my mind at all times.

Let me back up just a bit. The Candyman and I were off for the Christmas holidays in December 2008. We were doing a giant loop from Nashville to his hometown, around to my parents place and then back around to Nashville. The Candyman proposed while we were in his hometown on December 22, 2o08. Hilarity and mayhem ensured shortly thereafter both at his house and then mine. We returned home to "ring" in the new year in the comfort of our own home. We were driving somewhere and The Candman saw a billboard for a Bridal Show occurring the very next day. "We should go," says The Candyman. "Good idea!" says I. Yeah....right.

Bridal Shows are a necessary evil. Do not go in blind like I did. Know that you are entering hell and plan for it. DO NOT register with David's Bridal (I was smart enough to avoid that one). You could be like the hyper-freakish brides who had mailing labels pre-printed, ready to slap onto registration cards at every booth. G'head. I'm just not that kind of bride.

At any rate, I did hook up with some cool folks who were amazing, helpful, informative and incredibly expensive. Sad, but true. While I might not have chosen certain vendors due to budget restrictions, I'll for sure mention some if they come to mind or if I think people can benefit from them.

What The Candyman and I decided to do first and foremost was to secure a venue. Since neither of us is native to Nashville, we don't have a particular church or location that's special to us. However, being that we are both Southern in our roots, we felt that aspect should play a part.

After several extremely depressing visits to antebellum mansions, botanical gardens and restaurants, I happened upon the back page of an insert of The Nashville Scene bridal issues. We quickly made an appointment with Carlin McQuiddy at Mere Bulles in Brentwood.

Here are some of the major upsides to Mere Bulles:

  • Sunday receptions are HALF PRICE!
  • You can bring in your own wine and pay a $15 cork fee ($30 for Magnums) versus buying their in-house wines (I believe the cheapest bottle starts at $31).
  • Carlin rocks.
  • The food is awesome.
  • The set-up (antebellum house) allows for all different sorts of styles.
  • The decor is amazing and beautiful (except for maybe the chairs, but I can live with them).
  • No deposit required, just a credit card to secure the date. You need to sign a contract too, but that isn't a huge deal. I haven't even signed mine yet.
  • FREE tastings!
  • LOTS of hotels in the area for out-of-town guests.
  • Ample parking.
A word about Sunday receptions - DISCOUNTS! Ask and ye shall receive. Popular vendors have more openings and it's just easier all around. I highly recommend them!

In discussing the options at Mere Bulles, we asked Carlin if she could suggest a nearby chapel. Next thing you know, we're booking our amazing little chapel, Owen Chapel. The website does not do it's cuteness factor any good whatsoever. It's small, sweet and exactly what we wanted. The chapel manager, Margaret Reed is a doll. Plan to have her chat you up at length. The greatest thing is that this beautiful chapel, built in 1867, has a the giant price tag of $250! We couldn't' be happier!


The First

As a first time bride and blogger, my hope is that you will forgive my antics as I struggle my way through this process.

I was introduced to The Addiction of Bridal Blogs (TABB, I'm starting a group soon) through a post-bride-current-wife acquaintance I know from my YMCA. She turned me on to her favorites and I was hooked. I debated quite a bit whether or not to do this, but I have found a few helpful tips along the way that others might benefit from.

I will try to be as anonymous as possible, but will surely let things slip through the cracks as I become a Braver Blogger.

A few thoughts about being a 30+ Bride in a 20-Something World:

  • Botox - get some now.
  • Budget - Pappa ain't paying.
  • Business - Weddings are huge monetary rackets that had me majorly bummed out for a while.
I'll have to admit, for the first three months of my engagement, I was a wreck. The planning, the budget, the stress. I didn't think I could do it and not kill myself or my fiance (hereforthtobeknown as The Candyman). However, I've got what my friend Abby calls "The Big Five" (photographer, ceremony, reception, dress, music) down, I can relax and have a little fun. My hope is that whomever reads this muddles their way through the muss of planning and gets to the fun sooner rather than later!

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