04 July 2011

Bellisima Bridal Boutique

My wedding day is quickly approaching. Last Saturday my mom, Matt's mom and I went to Bellisima Bridal Boutique in Albion, MI to find a wedding gown.

I originally intended to get my dress at David's Bridal or Fantastic Finds because the shops are located near my job. Anyone who knows me knows this was a compromise; I prefer to be different. But with my September 24th wedding date looming, I needed a dress soon.

A couple of weeks ago I found a dress at David's Bridal, but it was twice as much I had vowed to spend. In order to cut costs I browsed dresses on secondhand bridal sites Recycled Brides and Once Wed. I did not like the idea of buying a dress without trying it on first, but I did not want to go over my budget. So when a search for bridal gowns brought up husband and wife-owned Bellisima, I decided to check it out before I made a decision.

Bellisima Bridal has been in business since 2005. The boutique is located in Albion's old Masonic Temple; the building's original woodwork is breathtaking. The shop is centrally located for the Mid-Michigan bride; it is only 35 miles from Jackson, 20 miles from Marshall, and 50 miles from Lansing. They even offer a $20 gas credit for brides who travel over 40 miles.

Bellisima boasts of over 1200 gowns, including a private couture line, priced from $69-$1900. Besides bridal gowns, they also carries dresses for mother-of-the-bride; bridesmaid; flower girl as well as prom dresses; tuxedos; shoes; accessories; and reception essentials.

We first explored the upstairs; the entire floor is devoted to one-of-a-kind clearance dresses priced $69-$500. The staff took my picks to the dressing rooms, but they did not hover or pressure.

After we perused the clearance dresses I tried on between 10 and 15 dresses. The owner of the shop took her time to help me in and out of dresses; she made suggestions based on my personality and body type. She also recommended local seamstresses and tailors for the possible alterations.

My appointment lasted longer than I expected, but I did not hear any complaints. In fact, the owner left the dressing room twice to look for dresses she thought I would look good in. I had a hard time deciding between two dresses (mostly because one of the dresses was a bargain at $99), but in the end I choose a bridesmaid dress (in ivory) that I am going to have altered to fit my vision of an elegant gown.

I highly recommend Bellisima; I am happy I supported a local shop. Not only is my wedding gown under $300 (my original goal), it is going to be unique and elegant.

Now I need to choose dresses for my bridesmaids.

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