After a week of rounds checking out gowns in Northern Virginia, I thought I would expand my search area. I had a week off of work and took a trip to Harrisonburg, Virginia to stay with my mom (she lives around there), and shop even more for the perfect dress!
The shops, dresses—everything was a lot different out there than around the city.
Anna Joy’s Bridal and Formalwear
Loved the owner. She’s very knowledgeable and sweet. Didn’t love the pressure to purchase. Hated that we couldn’t take a pictures of the gowns.
Our first stop in Harrisonburg was to Anna Joy’s Bridal and Formalwear, a big privately owned store. We had the privilege of working with the owner, Ann was very helpful in helping us pick a favorite gown. She pulled out the perfect jewelry and veil to complement the look, and for a moment, I thought I had found the one!
That is until Ann started pressuring us to buy.
“Why are you agonizing over this? You need to pick something and be done with it,” she said. While she’s absolutely right—I was agonizing—I knew what she was hinting at. Not to be mean, but she came off a little desperate for the sale. Especially when she explained why my mom couldn’t take pictures of me in the dress. “Oh I’ve been burned so many times,” she explained.
I totally get her point. I’m sure lots of brides find their dream dress at Anna Joy’s and then buy it somewhere else, and that’s not cool, but at the end of the day, no picture meant I couldn’t commit to buy. It was a total upset. Looking back, I’d probably have a gown by now if I had been allowed to get pictures. So while my favorite gown is at Anna Joy’s, I don’t have a picture of myself in it to share with you all.
The very same day we went to Anna’s we also went to Reflections. We literally went through the Taco Bell drive-through for lunch, ate in the car, and then drove to Reflections! We were on a mission!
Loved the selection process. Loved my assistant, Brooke. Loved the sample sizes!
We left Ann and headed to Reflections. Yes, we hit two in one day! I wasn’t sure I was up for another go around, but we were really glad we made it to this next shop. The store is gigantic and they have the most awesome system for picking out the dresses you’ll try on!
Every dress in the store pictured and numbered in a binder. Brides flip through the book and write down the numbers they’d like to give a try. Genius.
We worked with a young girl named Brooke and she was so, so good! Brooke took her time with us and that made such a difference. Meaning, she worked the corset of the second dress shown below until I had a body I didn’t recognize!
One of my other favorite things about Reflections were their sample sizes! All of the dresses were a size 12 instead of 8, and I was in heaven!! It’s so much easier to pick a dress when the dresses you try on actually fit. I could never understand why “samples” ran so small, when most women are my size or larger. We even had to clip a few because they were too big!! What a treat!!
Here are pictures of my two favorites:
Those were the only two we visited in Harrisonburg, but I didn’t stop there! When I got back home, I continued my search,申博网址多少 就算白了，还是要说，横山 菲律宾申博主页, realizing that I probably had acquired a bit of a phobia about picking just one! At this point, people already didn’t believe me when I said I might have found the one, and in all honesty, I didn’t believe me. I just kept finding something about each dress that would make me completely rule it out in my mind, once we left the store.
Nevertheless, I held onto hope the real “one” was still out there. Here were a few other shops I hit that I haven’t described yet.
Ellie’s Bridal Boutique
Very small Did not feel the staff was helpful in trying on or picking out gowns Didn’t love the location
I stopped by Ellie’s on a whim and to be perfectly honest, I pretty much walked in and walked right out. It might have been the fact that I didn’t make the appointment a day or weeks before, but I didn’t find the staff very helpful at all. There was one other bride there and she was getting ALL the attention. It may have been because she had friends with her, and I was alone, but I didn’t feel like the staff even believed I was really looking for a dress.
They asked me to walk around and pull dresses off the shelves, but nobody walked around with me or asked me any questions about what I had in mind. I tried on two, didn’t like them, and you know what? They didn’t suggest any others. I just left.
Large selection (especially of Maggie Sottero gowns) Very helpful staff No pictures allowed
The owner of Bobbie’s was awesome. She was very organized and that was awesome because she had A LOT of dresses in her store; they are organized by style, which makes looking through the racks a lot less stressful and more manageable. She suggested a few dresses, but was happy to let me walk around and grab whatever I liked as well.
I enjoyed how laid back Bobbie was, because there was absolutely no pressure to buy. She would have been happy to put me in a dozen dresses, and send me on my merry way with nothing. And it wasn’t that she didn’t want me to find the perfect dress there, but it was as if she knew there was a lot to this decision and I may not be making it that day.
I went to Bobbie’s alone, too, and she was definitely very supportive. She stayed by the dressing room while I tried on each gown and was able to voice an opinion, which helped, since I was alone. Ultimately, none of the dresses there struck my fancy, but I was happy I ruled that place out.
Actually, I had pretty much ruled out every bridal salon in Northern Virginia at this point. It was time to move onto Maryland! Since my FSIL lives in Maryland, I recruited her for this trip and we went to P Lawrence, a place I heard about through one of my coworkers.
Fabulous setup Wonderful (amazing, awesome, superb, outstanding!) staff Beautiful gowns
I loved this store!
The bridesmaid dresses were on the first floor and the upstairs was the bridal suite—and it was sweeeeet! I loved the way the store was set up. It was so cute and the staff was so energetic and just fabulous!
The associate was excited for us. She was excited we were there. She was excited to work with us. She totally got us excited! She also really took her time with me by lacing up every corset to the very best of her ability. That was really nice, and always makes a huge difference for me. She also encouraged us to pull as many dresses as we wanted, even though the store was closing within the hour.
I can’t say enough good things about this place. If I lived closer, I would totally be ordering my dress from them! Our associate, again, really proved her expertise when she started matching my favorite gowns with the perfect veil. And there was one dress in particular, that when she finished the look with the veil, almost brought tears to my eyes.
Remember my DREAM dress? The Dress to Diet for?
They had it.
I was finally about to try on the Maggie Sottero Reese. A gown I have lusted over for MORE THAN A YEAR! I was elated, seriously, and our sales associate was too! When I put it on, I seriously didn’t want to take it off and once I changed, I wanted to put it back on!
Here she is (I’ll talk a lot more about my love affair with this dress in a later post):
The Bridal Closet
Very small selection Quality dresses Personalized attention
While the selection at The Bridal Closet was super small (like less than 30 dresses), the first one the associate pulled off the shelf hit me like a ton of bricks! It was the perfect expression of everything I had described that I wanted: sweetheart neck, taffeta, modified a-line.
This sales associate knew what she was doing! She was very attentive too, explaining all the details of each gown I tried on and even offering to take pictures! Yay! I love when we can take pictures.
I felt really confident leaving there, even if I had only tried on 3 dresses.
They definitely had good quality, even if not a lot in quantity.
Here is that first one, which I loved:
Yes, there are more, believe it or not!
White Swan Bridal
Big store Nice dresses A BUG IN THE DRESSING ROOM!
At White Swan, I had a pretty good experience. None of the dresses really jumped out at me,菲律宾申博网站多少 大申博太阳城官方下载同小学举行第十八届校游泳比赛, but the process of trying them on was pretty fun. I had the sales associate’s full attention and she was very helpful lacing up each dress.
I got totally turned off, though, when while taking one of the dresses off, I saw a bug!!! I have no idea if it crawled out of the dress (OMG! Gross!) or whether it may have been in the dressing room. I was in the upstairs part of the store, which was obviously older and a little more run down the first floor, but I was like,太阳城游戏网址 DIY 申博赢钱 Wedding Veil Handkerchiefs for the Mother(s) of the Bride, “OK! Gross! Time to go!”
I will say the gowns here were little more upscale and there were a large selection. The staff were very attentive and helpful. I left with one favorite, but I went alone and didn’t have a camera—so I have no pictures. It really wasn’t that memorable, anyway.
Small store Small sizes The most annoying parking lot, ever!
Katherine’s was super small and so were their sizes! I had a really hard time fitting in the gowns, and I didn’t like sharing the small mirror and pedestal with the another bride there. My mom and maid of honor felt cramped and so did I. After just 3 dresses, I was ready to jet and did. It was a nice store and the staff were fine, but it definitely didn’t leave much of an impression.
Now… with all of that being said, please take note that I am a VERY indecisive bride and by no means am I the authority on bridal salons in Northern Virginia. The statements here represent my personal opinion and my account of true events, so please do not feel offended if you loved one of these stores; bought your dress from one of them; or own or work at one of them. My overall shopping experience has been amazing, hence the trouble selecting just one gown and one store.
Up next: Part 4 – The Last Stop Shop & Vote Your Favorite!
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