Several years ago, I'd decided that I wanted my dress to have some blue in it. I found a picture in a magazine of a dress that I loved before I'd even met my hubby (yes, I know I'm one of *those* girls!), and I had even seen it in a store while looking for dresses with my sis-in-law, Lindsey. But that was a few years back, and it was on a discontinued rack, so I figured I'd be starting all over again.
My mom was on the hunt for the perfect dress for me not long after I got engaged and had me draw a sketch to get a better idea of what I wanted. She mentioned that visiting a nearby consignment store in Hermitage might be a good idea- just to look. I kind of brushed off the idea thinking I'd never get my dress there, but thought it couldn't hurt to send her to look. She went off to that store, and my bridesmaid Kelley and I set off to visit several of the "elite" boutiques around the Nashville area, where we ended up having no luck! I was never helped by anyone, never able to try on a dress, and once we were even run out of a store for taking pictures (apparently it was posted that you couldn't take pictures, we honestly never saw it, even after being told it was there!).
Dissapointed and getting nowhere, we heard from my mom that the consignment store had found my "perfect" dress. Still not believing it, I decided to go anyways, because if someone there had already picked out a dress for me, it had to be better than what I'd already experienced!
So we headed for Hermitage and Memories Consignment store.
The store, owned by Diane Allmon, has been around for a long time. In fact, I remember visiting it in highschool looking for prom dresses, which was well over 10 years ago now! Some of my friends even sold their old dresses there later on. I never bought anything there, and my own memories of it were that, although there were some nice things, most of it was a bit older and outdated. Last May, due to arson, the entire shop burnt to the ground leaving only the few dresses that Diane had in her car at the time. The man who set the shop on fire was eventually caught, but nothing survived the fire and Diane had to start it all over again. And she has with great success!!
Former site of Memories. The foundation and sign are still there, although the store itself moved a block or so down the road!
The store is FILLED with wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, mother's dresses, and flower dresses. Even if you don't BUY your dress here, it's a great place to make some money SELLING it, and a great way to help a fantastic woman rebuild her store.
During busy times, any store gets a little chaotic, but things were still lookin good the day I returned to take photos, despite what Diane said about it being a mess!!
Working hard to provide for her children and grandchildren, Diane has done a great job rebuilding her store and making it a success! From the moment you walk in the door, you feel right at home and welcomed in by her southern charm. And when she says she has just the dress for you- believe it! She really just might! She is an amazing, encouraging, and down to earth woman. The kind of person that you can tell is willing to do whatever she can to help you. She doesn't advertise, so she relies heavily on word-of-mouth to get her business out there!
As soon as I walked in that first time, I told her who I was, and she immediately went and pulled out the dress she had been holding just for me. I thought it looked nice, but still wasn't convinced. So I looked through all the dresses she had, picked out a few more, and headed in the back to try on a few dresses with Kelley's help. I tried on her suggestion first- and loved it! But still thought I should try on a few more. Who buys the first wedding dress they've ever tried on??!
But, the first one, was THE one! I was sooooo thrilled to have something HUGE already taken care of, after only weeks of being engaged! Diane even showed me some veils and tiaras, and even her selection of tuxs that she rents! She just about has it all!
Although Diane offers alterations at a GREAT price- I got mine for free through a family friend (and mom of the cute jr. bm below!) who was also making some dresses and altering my bridesmaid's dresses. If I didn't have her, I probably would've gone with their alteration service.
Here is my dress....it is a David's Bridal dress, but I never had to set a foot in David's to get it (haha!!)
With my lovely Jr. BM, Olivia- modeling our dresses together! (I made it big so you can see details!)
Want to guess how much my dress cost?? Just take a guess!! Unfortunately, the dress was only available for rent, since it's hard for Diane to keep dresses without trains on hand (I had never wanted a train on my dress), and they are often used for homecoming and occasions other than weddings. But really....will any of my future daughters want to wear my dress?? Probably not! Plus, I could do literally anything I wanted to it! Shorten, add straps, add embelishments, whatever! Did you take a guess yet?? Was your guess under $100?? :o) Who gets a wedding dress for $90?? Me! Who thought I would? Not me!!
I love being frugal and saving money wherever I can, and this was a GREAT place to do it! I got the dress of my dreams, and didn't have to fork over half my wedding budget to do so! That really helped us have a much more elaborate reception that we originally thought we could have! If I'd kept the dress, it would've gone straight to a box to be preserved after being drycleaned (which probably would've cost close to or more than what the dress cost me!), to be taken out someday by my daughter, only to have her say "Ehhh....not really my style..." (I did this with my mom's!!), and then go back to the box unused and taking up space!
I loved that the dress was strapless, and thought it looked good- when I was standing still! (in the above picture its still too loose so it's not up where it should be and you can kinda tell it doesn't fit quite right!!) But I knew that I would be pulling at it all day, and be self consious if I ever bent over! So I had straps made from material where the hem was taken up, had it taken in several inches (it was a big size-which was good for my chest area!!Hehe!), and had blue tulle added to where it V-ed in the front and already had white tulle.
In between alterations...it was done just enough to take it to the beach for "bridal portraits!" It was still a tad too big and the tulle blew away with the wind!
So after I got back from the beach, we took it in more and sewed the tulle down better for perfect results! Here are a few final pics the day of! I surprisingly couldn't find a photo of just me in the dress, head on! But I'm not very much a "take a picture of just me"- type person!
Love how you can see the blue in this one!
And I was thrilled with the results!! I was adamant about a dress with no train, because I didn't want to be the bride who you have to back off from to be careful not to step on my dress! I wanted to be able to move around freely, dance freely, hug freely, and not have to worry about carrying it! Adding the straps to it definitely helped too!
I also rented a tiara from Diane, as I couldn't find any in other stores that I liked for a decent price. They either looked too cheap, too elaborate or too expensive! It cost me around $10 to rent the tiara, which I loved a whole lot more than any other's I'd seen, even in bridal boutiques!
And to complete the outfit...here are my shoes (and my toes with little flowers!) They are from New York & Company, one of my favorite stores! I also had a bright aqua blue pair I changed into for the reception! My feet didn't hurt all day long!!
I couldn't have done it without the help of Diane and Memories! If you are on the search for your perfect dress. Definitely check her store out! And if you've already found yours, keep it in mind for selling your dress after the big day! If you do go, tell her that Stacey sent you! See if she ever remembered to look for this entry I told her I'd be writing! :o)
Memories Consignment Shop
4983 Lebanon Pike
Old Hickory, TN 37138
(all photos from my personal collection or Bledsoe Photography)