Third Time's a Charm?

I've often had a bit of a reputation as a bargain hunter. In fact, I come from a long line of bargain hunters. So much so that my reflexive response to compliments on outfits and the like has generally been, "Oh, thank you. I got it on sale for $__!" The first time I ever paid regular price for a pair of shoes and was complimented on them, I responded, "Well, they better be because I paid 80 bucks for 'em!" I've since learned to practice a bit more discretion, but I still love a good deal.

Well, my love of and ability to track down a bargain has now saddled me with not one, not even two, but THREE wedding dresses! Yeah, you read that right. Three!

Now, I shall regale you with the tale of my three dresses.

Dress #1: I'm not even sure dress #1 deserves it's own storyline, but it is a white dress that was purchased under the guise of a wedding gown and now occupies space in my parents' home. Back in college, my mom and I stumbled upon a white, princess-style evening gown on extreme sale ($10!) in the wake of prom season. Lipscomb (my alma mater) had conditioned me to believe that I would be getting married upon matriculation (to whom, I knew not), so we nabbed it right up with intentions of one day adding some accouterments that would bring it a bit more in line with the traditional notion of a wedding dress (i.e. a train). It no longer remotely reflects my style, so it is unlikely that dress #1 will ever see the light of day.

Dress #2: I will confess that dress #2 was purchased before I was engaged but under the confident notion that I would be walking down the aisle to marry one Michael Pellegrin (thank goodness that panned out!). Last October, my friend and I went outlet shopping. Since we'd already decided to have a pretty low key backyard wedding (despite my lingering status as unbetrothed), I had mentally thrown around the idea of nixing the traditional wedding gown for a simple evening gown in the white color family.

With this thought quietly residing in the back of my mind, the BCBG outlet store provided me with the innocent opportunity to try on a cream-colored gown just to see if I looked/felt like a bride. I slipped it on, and uh oh, all the ladies in the dressing area went nuts over it. It had been marked down to a ridiculously reasonable $80, so I sheepishly jumped on it. I rushed home and shipped it off to my mom before Michael caught on to (and freaked out about) my only slightly premature purchase.

I love dress #2, and I was completely committed to it. In fact, I never even considered going wedding dress shopping, and this last Saturday, I wore dress #2 for a bridal shoot with my photographer Betsy Limbaugh.

Sneak Peek
Dress #3: Dress #3 is where it get complicated. I spent the weekend at home in Tennessee.  On Sunday, before my parents took me to the airport last weekend, we were looking to kill like 20 minutes. Even though I don't really like this store (despite my love of a bargain), I suggested that we stop in Essex Retail Outlet. Have you heard of this store? If you have then it's utterly fair to be completely surprised that this place would even come up in a story about wedding dresses. It's Nashville-based and sort of like a stripped-down T.J. Maxx but less apparel-oriented and significantly more industrial.  Here's how they describe themselves: "We've got overstocks, refurbs, scratch and dents and demos ranging from televisions, car audio, large appliances, home theater systems to computers, tools, housewares, clothing and more." See.  Not exactly Kleinfeld's


So, I'm browsing, and there's this rack of Alfred Angelo sample gowns for like, no joke, $79.99.  None of them are remotely my size or my style, but then, there's one--in this sea of non-starters--that I really like and it looks very close to my size. So, here I am in this warehouse-like store--already the owner of 2 wedding dresses--trying on yet another contender...and wouldn't you know, it fits and I loved it! I'm not sure I would have bought it had I not had the tear-filled eyes of both of my parents looking back at me (which made me realize that, although they loved dress #2, it had never truly evoked in them the emotion that a legit wedding dress clearly had the ability to do).

And that, my friends, is how a girl ends up with three wedding dresses for under $200.

You must be asking, of course, what in the world I'll do with dresses #1 and #2. Dress #1 is admittedly a complete loss, but I'm comfortable with that. As for dress #2, it's decidedly less formal and more 'wearable' than dress #3. As such, my plan of action is a costume change for the reception. Now, I get it both ways!


  1. i.love.this.story.

    and i cannot believe you got your dress at essexx! we totally have one and Justin loves that place, but I have never even gone over to look at the clothing area. i just figured it was all sweats and sports jerseys.

  2. You MUST send me a pic of #3! I need to know what I'm going to be photographed next to.

  3. I wanna see dress number 3 too!! LOVE IT you crazy lady!

  4. you might as well just email this dress to all your ladies, cuz i'm dying over here.

  5. awesome story! I'm in total amazement that you found a WEDDING dress at Essex's. I too love bargains but don't like that store. Can't wait to see #2 and #3.


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