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Dressing the Part: Prepping for those pre-wedding parties

You see, being a wedding planner who then has to plan her own wedding proved to be both a gift and a curse. A gift because I was able to learn from each of the beautiful brides that I had worked with before our wedding, learning and growing from both their positive and negative experiences. But a curse because unlike friends who may feel pressures to compare their weddings to 1 or 2 close friends, I had over 70 other weddings to compare ours to, without even considering the ones I had seen on social media and Pinterest!

With that in mind, selecting my pre wedding outfits became almost burdensome, rather than exciting. While I loved so many of the looks that the brides before me had worn, I didn’t want to do what everyone else had done. For example I love Lilly Pulitzer, but I knew that I didn’t want to wear Lilly to my rehearsal dinner. One of my dresses for the wedding weekend was going to be blush, so I knew that I wanted to wear blush at the rehearsal, but definitely wanted the traditional white at other showers and bachelorette festivities.

Although somewhat specific parameters, I by no means considered them to be outlandish— until we got engaged in November. Now I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to go shopping for beautiful, trendy, unique white dresses in December, but it’s no easy feat. Admittedly I considered going down to Florida to visit my grandma just so I could shop in a more tropical climate.

So what does one do when their family and friends want to start celebrating before your wardrobe allows? Well the first suggestion is seemingly obvious (although I refused to follow it at first), which is...

Wear something that you already have.

I know, I know. If you’re a shopping brat like me, the last thing you probably want to do at your first pre-wedding party is pull out a dress that you’ve worn a dozen times before. But if you’re also like me, you shop the sale racks at the end of the season, which means that you could very well have a handful of great white wardrobe pieces that still have the tags on.

Showcase a wedding color instead.

Despite my desire to wear white at every wedding function, sometimes you just can’t bare to wear the gorgeous strapless white sundress from last season in the middle 20 degree January weather— totally get it. Instead, why not show off the color pallate that you’ve probably already picked out and pinned an entire Pinterest board around? It’s going to be a lot easier to get your hands on an emerald green or dusty rose dress year round than a white one!

So… fast forward through the winter and finally you walk into Marshall’s and see the beautiful white dresses just waiting for you. Now what?

Pace Yourself.

Don’t just buy a new white article of clothing every time you walk into a store. If you find something that you absolutely love, great. But at the end of the day, if you’ll never wear it again after the shower, bridal luncheon, or other wedding festivity— it’s probably not worth it. I always like to take the cost of an item and divide it by the amount of times I think I’ll actually wear it. $70 cocktail dress that I wear once? Debatable. $70 white blazer that I can wear over any of my strapless dresses throughout the spring? Worth it.

Buy as you go.

Don’t feel like you have to go out and purchase every outfit in one day. As spring turns into summer, entire new inventories come in, and you don’t want to have buyers remorse for the pieces you thought were absolutely perfect just a few weeks before. While it can be frustrating to have things on your to do list that you can’t seem to complete, it’s better than having to cut portions of your budget elsewhere because you ended up spending so much money on pre-wedding party attire.

Shop sales whenever you can.

I love shopping, but not as much as I love a good sale. If you are getting married in the fall, you will have plenty of time to wait for after spring and summer sales to come through before spending an arm and a leg.

Recycle outfits for the Honeymoon.

While I wouldn’t recommend wearing only white during the honeymoon, there’s no reason why you can’t recycle some of the outfits you purchased for another wedding-related activity. It is still being utilized for a special event, and makes the purchase that much more worthwhile.

In summary, I would recommend developing parameters for the wedding looks that you know you want to replicate and start there. Don’t be afraid to wear something you already have, and don’t feel like you have to spend an arm and a leg on each outfit (I splurged on a skirt from Bliss Tulle that I absolutely adore, but then my shirt for our rehearsal dinner was $9 at Forever 21— balance).

And as always, remember to bring your patience. I probably went out shopping at least 10 times for wedding outfits and came home empty handed. But that’s because I knew exactly what I wanted, and I didn’t want to settle. Happy shopping ladies!

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