Thursday, July 12, 2012

Finding "The One"

Alrighty gals, this one's for you. Sorry men, come back later. I'll have another post for you soon :)

My first friends got married when I was 22, and it seems ages and ages ago. Since then, dozens and dozens and dozens of friends have gotten married. Did I ever ask who their photographer was? Nope. What about their DJ? Nope. Flowers? Ha.

I am was a wedding planner loser. Unlike most girls, I was not planning my wedding since I was ten years old. I had a strict "no-plan" rule until I actually got engaged. Sure, I thought about things, and noticed things I did and did not like (Bouquet toss? Nay. Open bar? Def!), but I never made notes, compared notes or talked about notes with anyone (other than Mom) until it came time to plan my own big day. Something about doing those things made me feel like I was cheating myself of the truly happy time that comes with planning your own wedding. So I made some mental notes and went about my way.

As a result, I never even knew about most wedding dress boutiques until I became engaged and started to clue in to what had been going on all around me. Many times a bridesmaid, I actually had never tagged along to dress fittings for all of those brides, so I was seriously clueless when it came to picking out my own gown. I knew what I did not like (See: Say Yes to a Different Dress), but otherwise was open to lots of different styles. I also knew that I didn't want any 10-person posse going with me to the salon like so many TV shows feature. I just needed my Mom and maybe a select other person, and we needed to hit as many places as it took to find "the one" -- the dress! 

My mom and I are both super-decisive, and so in three weekends, we visited a few select local boutiques trying on option after option. The salons and their associates were all super helpful, bringing out all of their finest. However, nothing really clicked. At one uber-cute local place, there was one dress that was a "maybe," but that wasn't good enough for me to commit on the spot.

Since I was riding the line, Mom and I decided to hit up one last spot before heading back to try on the "maybe" again. The last place we wanted to go, known for it's amazing pricing, was right up my budget-friendly alley. And gals? I am so glad we stopped in, because I totally found my dress!!!

New Natalie's is known as "one of the largest full-service salons" around, and they are not joking. This pink-colored (love!) building on Chattahoochee Avenue in West Midtown has been around for decades and have some of the best-priced design gowns you can find in town. Period. They are a no-frills salon that features rows and rows and rows of budget-friendly designer gowns that fit sizes 2 to size 30.

Fact: New Natalie's is one of the few salons in the Southeast that feature sample gowns for plus sizes - a huge win for any bride when she is hoping to try on a gown and see what it will really look like on her figure! 

What immediately struck us when we arrived for our first-of-the-day appointment (always a good spot to grab at any salon, if you can -- you get extra personalized attention!) was that the ladies were 100% there for us. Once we got the run-down of how the store was organized (by size, and by room - ask about the room with the last-chance sale items!), our lovely associate left us to browse the racks (our choice - they also will help you select gowns, if you desire). As soon as we found dresses that we liked, though, she reappeared instantly to take them off of our hands. As soon as we had collected a number of them, off I went to try them on.

Here are some of the things that New Natalie's features:
  • New wedding gowns that start under $500 (yes, you read that right!)
  • 800 wedding gowns from size 2 to size 30.
  • 1,000+ bridesmaid samples to order from (we are checking these out tomorrow!)
  • 300 headpieces, tiaras, and veils (check!)
  • 12 fitting rooms and bridal consultants to assist you
You all know me. I like a good bargain, but I like it even more when you can't tell it was a good bargain. New Natalie's is like an H&M -- one of my favorite stores EVER -- in that if you are willing to look around the racks for something that catches your eye, you are going to find a winner. Your friends will be asking you which high-end boutique you found that amazing dress from, totally oblivious to how much (or how little!) you actually paid. Buckhead Betty on a Budget? You bet! The store is run by a woman from NYC, too, which only added to our comfort level there -- it just felt right for us NJ gals!

While I am keeping my dress (!!!) itself a secret (including from my bridesmaids - they hate me right now, ha!), I can tell you that it is totally what I was looking for in a dress. It's traditional meets modern, with a little bling mixed in for good measure. Designer? Yep! Amazing price? Let's just say that now I have the money to splurge on the designer pair of shoes, too ;)

So, brides-to-be, check out New Natalie's online and consider them in your hunt for your own gown. From one budget-fashionista to another, you do not, repeat, DO NOT have to spend thousands on your dress. Pick out one that suits you, and enjoy the day for every moment that it is!

Disclosure: I found my dress at New Natalie's and received some perks for writing this post, but trust me, I would have written it anyways! :)


Amber said...
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