Hi everyone, I’m Peach and I was so pleased to be asked by Moxie Bride to guest post for her during her honeymoon! I met Mrs. Moxie at Camp Mighty 2012 and remember thinking that her blog name was perfect. She DOES have moxie. In spades.
So, why am I here? I’m getting married later this year and I’m currently neck-deep in Dress Shopping Mania Phase. I’m sure many of you out there can relate to the ups and downs of the experience, so Moxie Bride asked me to do a review of a popular Atlanta boutique, made famous by Say Yes to the Dress – Atlanta, Bridals by Lori.
Keep in mind as you read that all opinions within are my own and that I have not been compensated for this piece. Hope you find this boutique review enjoyable, or at least interesting!
Bridals by Lori, A Peachy Review.
Preface: When made my wedding dress shopping appointment months ago, Bridals by Lori asked my budget (under $2000.00 is my goal). On that first call, I was immediately and firmly told that “most of their dresses start at $2000.00 and up”. After thinking it over for a day, I phoned them back to cancel my appointment. I simply didn’t want to find a gown that was over my budget and be heartbroken when I couldn’t afford it. Well, at hearing that I wanted to cancel, their tune changed abruptly. I was assured that “there were plenty of options in the 1500-2000 range”. I was also told that they make the $2000+ statement to “deter brides with budgets in the 500.00 and below range”. While I understand that they need to control the masses in light of their TV fame, the whole interaction left a bad taste in my mouth. But I kept the appointment.
The Day Of: BBL wasn’t the first wedding gown boutique we visited that day. In fact, it was the third and the last appointment of my Dress Mania Weekend with Mom, my MaidTron of Honor and my Maid of Honor. It had been an amazing weekend so far, filled with laughter and fun and ridiculously awesome NO BUTT BOW t-shirts. And now, hello? We were walking into Bridals by Lori. So cool.
Pure joy and excitement shimmered out from us as we walked into the front door. We were feeling like seasoned professionals and ready to conquer this esteemed establishment in search of THE dress. What we got was a curt greeting with instructions to take the elevator up to the 3rd floor.
Hmm. Nice first impression.
Unphased, we oooohed briefly the gown sketches displayed in the waiting area before stepping into the elevator. As we rode up, we remarked on the huge “Say Yes to the Dress – Atlanta” posters and wondered if we’d see Lori and Monte themselves today! (We did not.)
On the 3rd floor, we were greeted by cheerful associates who gave us a brief rundown of the place. Along the walls that surrounded the wooden stage made famous by TLC, each dress designer had their own room filled with dresses hung in clear plastic garment bags, from which we were allowed to select according to our budget and dress design wishes. Being completely honest, I told the associate that my budget was under 2K and asked her to steer us in the right direction. Without batting an eye, she guided us to stay within two specific designer’s rooms and the “sample sale” room. This was a bit of a shock, as there were easily twenty rooms in the huge area. But we went with our three options, because hey, I’d been warned about their price point. They also kept reiterating that they give a 12.5% discount on purchase, so to keep that in mind when browsing.
So we plowed happily through the plastic-wrapped lace and tulle, laughing as my hair stood on end from all the static and joking about some horror-invoking styles, but we quickly sobered as we saw the price tags. Even in the budget-friendly rooms it was difficult to find a lot of options that fit my style and my wallet, but we finally managed to pull five dresses in similar but varying styles. Then I was introduced to my consultant – a very mild-mannered and calm soul who quickly assessed my needs and said she’d pull a few dresses that she thought would work as well.
We met her in the back dressing room area, which boasted many curtained rooms and seating areas with mirrors and a pedestal. It wasn’t private, by any means, but I didn’t mind another entourage seeing my choice. The more the merrier! As with the other boutiques, we had a brief powwow with the consultant about the venue, time of year, style I’m after, etc. and my Maid of Honor made mention of taking pictures. The consultant apologetically but firmly stated that no photography was allowed during the visit. Whaaat? I’d quickly learned that day that it’s one thing to try on a dress and look in the mirror, but totally another to see a picture of yourself in the dress. Plus, no other boutique had forbidden picture-taking! This was upsetting and our shock was clear, but we quickly moved to the trying on. (Unfortunately, not having pictures also makes giving a review difficult because I have little evidence to reference other than what lives in my feeble brain.)
I wish I could tell you that the dresses I tried on were stunning. I wish I could tell you that the quality was beyond compare. But I cannot do either.
The dresses I tried on were samples, which I understand. Sample sizes do not fit everyone and I get that. Sample dresses are tried on by hundreds of brides-to-be, if not thousands. It’s part of the deal.
However. Two of the dresses within my budget had very prominent and horrible rips in the fabric. Or lace appliques that were sadly torn almost clean off and left hanging miserably. There were even stains on them, most evident on the interior edge of the strapless gowns – the part that meets the skin above your tatas was discolored and far from ivory. (Um. Gross.) The dresses appeared to have never been steam cleaned, much less well-maintained.
We were stunned. Bridals by Lori was proving to be very proud of their name and not so much their quality of gowns.
To be completely fair, I will say that the remaining dresses I tried were not in such a state of disrepair. Unfortunately, those that were in better shape were all above $2,500.00 and didn’t, for lack of a better term, blow my skirt up. I just kept thinking that even with a 12.5% discount, I’d still be over budget and that didn’t include tax, alterations and any other fees they threw my way. The one dress that was a clear winner of the seven or eight I tried STILL didn’t evoke a visceral reaction… not even when the consultant put an amazingly gorgeous veil on me. I wonder if it was that I really didn’t love the dress or was it that the budget was stretched or if I was just really disliking the entire vibe of this visit? (And PS – that veil was $600.00.)
It just wasn’t working out with BBL. Not at all. So we called it.
The consultant was super sweet, totally understood and gave me her card in case I needed anything from her in the future. We took the ad-strewn elevator back down and perused the merchandise that ranged from touristy t-shirts to bags to shoes to accessories.
In all honesty, I don’t remember much else, other than being shell-shocked by the whole experience. At the end of my joyful day of gown shopping, I left BBL feeling dejected and slightly “less than” as a bride. Why? Because my takeaway from them was this: If you can’t afford a dress over 3.5 or 4K, you shouldn’t be here. And that shouldn’t be the case. Not for anyone. It is not as if I face difficulties with sizing or length or that I want some crazy design that no one carries… it just all came down to the (lack of) money. And in my humble opinion, no bride should be made to feel inferior because her budget cannot stretch to meet the price of fame.
So, I shall continue on in pursuit of my dream gown. One that makes me feel beautiful, elegant, fabulous AND one that I don’t have to pawn my ring to buy.
How about all of you? Do you have any surprising wedding dress stories to share, good or bad?
Peach is an Atlanta blogger, CrossFit addict, runner, yogi, dork-o-rama and Clean Eats foodie with a mean sweet tooth. She can be found egregiously overusing hashtags as 50Peach on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. She blogs at 50Peach.com and promises not to say “Bless your heart.” … unless you really deserve it.