Stick to the List!

I recently went to a bridal shower and it got me thinking about giving. We’re getting close now- the holiday season will be among us soon- so even if you’re not involved in bridal showers, we will all be giving something in some way, soon.

A couple of things I noted…

Did they give you a list? Is there a registry? If so, stick to it!

Every person has different taste. I’m not even fond of buying my closest friends and family household decor or clothing because I get nervous in the last second that they won’t like one small detail about the item I bought, and then what are they to do? Some may say gift registries are tacky, but really, what better way to get the best bang for your buck?

I have heard about some couples feeling awkward registering for gifts. Is this you?

Yes, it sure does cut to the point… Yes, you might feel weird sending an “I want this, I want that” kind of message out to friends and family, but can you imagine having ten different styles of dinner plates in your cupboard? Friends and family are going to buy you something anyway. A wedding is a point in life that signifies a new beginning. Those who love and support you want to help you out. They want to send you in to marriage happy. So let them.

 And if you don’t register, or give any indication to what your style is, you are left accommodating everyone else’s taste in your own house. Good luck with that.

The only exception I will give on this subject is, if you have a family heirloom you want to pass down to the bride-to-be. That, my friends, is a different story because in this situation, we are talking about a sentimental gift. Okay, sentimental gifts in general are the only exception.

 Here’s a few links to helpful registry websites:


That Feeling You Get When You See the Dress


Thursday, October 18th, 6:35 p.m.

I step from the cool dark sidewalk of central London and enter the warmly lit boutique. While walking to the store I see new wedding dresses fill the display windows and can’t help but think “did I choose the right one? Should I have waited longer to decide?”

The consultant greets my two girlfriends and I with all of the excitement one should have doing the job she does- helping brides-to-be find the dress they will wear on their wedding day. We make small talk and she informs me my dress is waiting in a dressing room at the back of the store.

As I round the corner I see the dress hanging- she prepared and had it waiting for me upon my arrival. And as soon as I see it, I am flooded with emotions and many thoughts- excitement, nervousness… Will it fit? Will it look as good as I remember it did? Did I make that image up in my head over the last eight months? Do I need to lose weight? Did I pick the right veil to go with the dress?

I enter the dressing room, remove my work clothes and step in to the dress. I (almost) want to cry. But I don’t let these kinds of things get to me like that.. I am more excited than ever and want to jump up and down…. Not exactly sure why- is it because I get to wear this when I marry him? Do I just like pretending putting the dress on because it makes me feel special?!

Well, I got to pick up my wedding dress last week (yay!), but the process of finding it happened months and months ago… And of course, I learned a few things on the way.

  • Every store is different. Take it all in and enjoy the ride.
    • I went to a few stores. Some big, some small. I came to the conclusion that not all operate the same. Some store owners concentrate on the wedding gown purchase as a real experience and pay close attention to every detail.
    • In these boutiques, I discussed the vision of the wedding, the bridal party, the venue, etc. with the consultant. She then pulled the gowns for me to try on.
    • I went to another store where I was greeted in a very friendly manner. She asked who I brought with me and a couple of quick questions about what I was looking for. I then had the opportunity to pull dresses by myself, and the girls who came with me pulled dresses. The consultant also pulled dresses.

So what? These two experiences were very different. In one case, I felt like I was in complete control. The other, I had to put my trust in the hands of the consultant, ensuring myself she was pulling all the right dresses and I wasn’t missing something.

  • Go to the appointment with something in mind.  Look at the boutique’s website to see what’s out there. Or, use Google!
    • I found this helped with the selection process. The entire experience can be overwhelming. So, if you go to the store with your personal style in mind as well as that dress I’m sure you’ve been envisioning since you were a little girl, you will be well on your way to finding the perfect one. Which leads me to #3,
  • Keep an open mind.
    • You might be surprised that you like something you never even considered. This is your chance to try everything and anything. If you have never considered yourself to be a ball-gown type, go for it! You will either reassure yourself, or find out that you make damn good looking fancy bride. Experiment with different materials too!

So what?  I was so close to choosing a dress with straps, and I had never envisioned myself in one like it. I ended up buying a dress made of a material I never envisioned myself in as well

  • Stick to your budget. It will help you in the long run
    • Every consultant I saw asked me my price point, which is also a great place to start. You don’t want to fall in love with something you can’t afford.
  • The type of wedding you’re having really affects the dress you choose.
    •    I never considered this would be a factor in my decision making. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I would envision the wedding day… Walking down the aisle and standing in front of all the guests. The environment and the back drop. This played a major role in my ultimate decision. If you’re having a simple wedding, it might not look “right” if your dress is over the top and very fancy and vice versa.
    • This also helps in targeting the type of bridesmaid dresses you want.

Where does it all come from?

In the past two years, I have been to approximately fifteen weddings. It wasn’t until last summer that I figured out what an impact they (and everything related to them) have slowly but surely come front and centre in my social outings.

I love weddings- I really do. What could be better than watching two people you know and love dearly stand in front of friends and family and promise to commit themselves to each other for life? There is nothing so romantic. (And of course, the best part is watching the groom see the bride for the first time that day and realizing how lucky he is to marry the most beautiful woman- well, he probably already knows it but still… Best. Moment. Ever.)

However, with all this socializing and enjoyment of the special day between two people you know, comes the expense of it. No, I am not complaining, I am simply reinforcing a point. Having experienced this now for a couple of years, I think I would advise most 20-something year olds to start up a savings account for the monster expense we call “wedding”.

Let’s start basic… If you’re invited to a wedding, you are obviously going to buy a gift. In this day and age, in my demographic, you can expect that to be between $150 and $200 per couple. I know some other cities and cultures where this would sound cheap, but I am speaking from personal experience.

Okay, gift is covered. Now, how close are you to the bride and groom? You can also expect to be invited to a bridal shower ($50), so while you’re shopping for that gift you might as well buy the wedding gift and save yourself some time.

Are you in the wedding? That opens a new can of worms.
Hair ($50)

Makeup ($25)

Nails ($30)

Outfit (anywhere from $100 – $300)

Shoes ($70)


Bachelor/bachelorette parties- is it a one-night thing or a weekend away? This could range between $100 – $1500

…and depending where the wedding is, you might have to pay for accommodations ($200) or gas to drive there and back.

This is all in consideration of one wedding. And it all happens within approximately six months of each other.

Also, where I come from, there’s these things called Buck n’ Does or Stag n’ Does, Jack n’ Jills, etc. etc. Yep, where I come from, we find weddings to be a community thing- everyone would like to help out the bride and groom and send them in to marriage smiling. Buck n Doe season usually starts in the spring and goes in to May or June, and can expect one every weekend. So, that’s paying $10 for admission, and maybe six drink tickets for $20 (thank goodness I’m a girl- my fiancé’s expenses are much higher). Every. Single. Weekend.

 All I am saying is, when you look at your bank account and wonder where all of your money has gone, think back to May- when that Buck n’ Doe season started and count your way up to October. When you look at it in lump sum, as I just did, you might be astonished. I think it’s better to be ignorant in this area.

And then one day, you decide to get married and begin a whole new savings account… Where am I supposed to be finding this money?! 

Yep, us in our 20s, we sure love to celebrate marriage!