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Monday, June 7, 2010

Southern Sweethearts: The eBay Dress

Soooo, I guess I have some explainin' to do, huh? Yeah, this post has definitely been over a year in the making...

I know I left a lot of you ladies hanging, but I made sure to respond to any PM's I got regarding the topic of my eBay wedding dress. So hopefully you don't all hate me for making you wait a year? *makessadpuppyeyesatyou*

The thing is, I wasn't planning for it go this far.

I wrote the original post about my dream dress that cost a fortune and my plans to find an "knock-off", but then I didn't revisit the dress scene for quite some time after that. In fact, I actually had quite the journey in the dress department without ever setting out to do so.

To be quite honest, the dress was not that high on my wedding priority list. Much like flowers, I didn't really know what was what in the wedding dress arena until I became engaged. I knew what kind of silhouette I wanted and I knew I wanted lace, but I had no idea about designers and price or anything else after that.

Then suddenly, I came across a photo of her. THE dream dress.


I knew right then and there that she was the one. I was looking at a photo online and didn't need to be convinced any further. Yet I still went to David's Bridal and one other boutique shop with my girlfriends (mainly for the "dress shopping experience"), participated in the Running of the Brides (hoping to find her to no avail), and even went to another boutique after the ROTBs to try her on again (yes, she was the one-knew it all along).

But alas! With my tight budget, a $4,000 gown was just NOT going to happen. I'd never heard of Jim Hjelm before my wedding planning. The only wedding designer name I could tell you off the top of my head back then was the great Vera Wang. But I knew she was expensive, so I stayed away from the get-go.

What I'm trying to get at is I'm not one of those snotty brides who HAD to have a designer label on the inside of my dress. But I fell in love with a dress made by a heavy hitter in the wedding designer dress world.

Luckily for me, no copyright exists on clothing designs, and I was able to find an inspired by Jim Hjelm dress quite easily.

Now, I know this will probably spark a debate, so I want to make three things clear before continuing:

Number 1: I was never able to afford the real Jim Hjelm in the first place, so the company was not losing any money by me buying inspired/knockoff/whatever you want to call it. Either I was buying a "fake" if it existed or a different dress altogether if it didn't. I fell in love with the dress, not the name on the dress.

Number 2: Knowing no copyright laws exist regarding clothing designs, I never felt morally/legally obligated to not purchase an inspired by design.

Number 3: I never once tried to pass it off as the real deal. There are no labels saying it is a Jim Hjelm which ties back into #2, because that would be illegal if it did have one.

Anyhoo, back to the dress journey. I sold my ROTB dress (which I had won and cost me nothing), and made about $250 profit. The first Jim Hjelm knockoff I found was $699. But my mom called me to say she found another one for just $129 shipped! I got greedy and started thinking about all the money I could save and put towards my beloved Louboutins. So I went with that seller without doing my research or asking for sample work and got this:

FSIL modeling the $129 shipped knockoff.

I was so excited to receive it! Until I opened the box. It really wasn't a bad dress per se, but it didn't fit me (hence SIL modeling it) and the lace wasn't at all what I expected. This bump in the road is one of the reasons why I never got around to blogging about my eBay dress experience. Because as it stood at that point, I had no idea how the dress thing was going to work out.

I ended up going back to the original eBay seller I had found for $699. I had already contacted her and gotten photos of her past work and talked to some of the people who left feedback for her. Everything checked out, so I begged and pleaded with her to make me a dress and make it quick (this was literally less than 3 months out from my wedding). She responded and was actually having a sale, so I got the order in for $450 shipped and she guaranteed it would make it in time for any additional alterations. And she was right! It came in 3 weeks before the wedding and I rushed it in for an additional $200 worth of alterations and this is what I got:

Knockoff on left: Real deal on right

I have absolutely no idea what would have happened if this dress didn't work out. Actually, I do know. I would have had to suck it up and deal with it. It came in at the 3 week point of no return. Thankfully, lady luck was on my side.

I held onto my first knockoff dress just in case the second happened to turn out worse. When it didn't, I sold it, breaking even on its cost. Don't worry, I gave full disclosure on the dress when I listed it for sale.

So the moral of the story is all's well that ends well. I took the plunge with a knockoff dress and ended up loving my decision. But it could have all gone sour if the second dress ended up being a dud with no time to spare. So if you are thinking of going "inspired by", make sure to give yourself plenty of time to fix a dress gone bad or be prepared to live with the consequences.

Okay, back to the wedding day, shall we?

Nakey time! MOH Amanda makes sure my Nu bra bubbies are in place. And yes, I wore spanx. No way my hips and thighs were squeezing into that dress otherwise.

My mom ties me up.

MOH puts on my UGA garter, a surprise to Mr. Lab for later that night. :)

How's about a closer look at that? Goooo Dawgs! (Is it fall yet?)

Wedding look complete! Now I just need a groom!

BM Ashley had to cut my ribbons because I had the train shortened and the ribbons went on for days.

One last check of the bubbies...

...and I was off to go take some bridal portraits and see my groom for the first time that day!

Are you considering an inspired by/knockoff dress for your wedding?

*All professional photos by Lindsi Jones Photography unless otherwise noted. Some images have been slightly altered by moi.

Previously on Southern Sweethearts:

Next Up: The Boys Get Ready and We Exchange Gifts!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Southern Sweethearts: Becoming a Blushing Bride

The day had finally arrived!

I awoke sleep-deprived and very confused because there were some weird noises coming from the bathroom. The other girls woke up to the same noise and we realized my MOH was taking a bath in the enormous tub. We had a good laugh and joked about her sounding like a trapped dolphin splashing around.

Soon after that, my FSIL called to tell us she was on the way to take me to my hair appointment. She had opted to stay at her house the night before and was bringing my dress and shoes when she came to pick me up. But she couldn't find the shoes (which were supposed to be with the dress) and so began the Great Missing Louboutins Saga! And just to start the day off with a little more drama, the only place FSIL could find to do my hair was across town, costing us precious hours off my wedding day timeline. But at least the salon did a fabulous job on my hair!

When we got back to the hotel, I opened the door to chaos.

The room was FULL of people bustling around. The photographers and videographers were there, all the maids, my mom, FMIL, and makeup artist. Thirteen people crammed into the room, eight of whom were trying to get ready for a wedding. It was a bit overwhelming, but so exciting at the same time.

Because the hair salon was so far away, we got a bit of a late start with makeup and photos. I had hoped to be able to use the getting ready time as a chance to relax and take in the day, but all I could do was think about all the things that still needed to be done and the stuff I knew wasn't going to get done. I also wanted to eat lunch and drink my Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs wine I purchased for the gals while getting ready. No such luck. :(

I didn't get to eat (other than two glazed donuts on the ride to the hair salon) and didn't want to drink on an empty tummy before the wedding. Ladies, no matter what, find time to eat!

We had a hard time with one of the false lashes. It took what seemed like forever to make it stick!

Finally! Makeup was done! And Jules did a fabulous good job as well! I was officially a "blushing bride". :D

I also got a chance to take a few quick sips from my Sofia mini (because I didn't spend $4 a pop on them NOT to get at least a sip!). AND because I'm the Bride, that's WHY! :P

As soon as I was done in the bathroom, the other gals took over and sped to get ready.

One of the few times MOH Amanda sat down during the day. But notice, she has phone in hand, probably getting ready to touch base with the DOC again. She was my lifesaver!

I can't remember much from the getting ready, but the one thing I DO remember is being on the phone with the boys A LOT. I called from all the girls' phones trying to catch the boys off guard and get in contact with my soon-to-be-hubby. But they had a similar "no-phone" policy for Mr. Lab, and I kept getting groomsmen. I tried my best to see how far along they were in getting ready so we could start photos, but I kept getting the run-around.

Turns out, they didn't realize I was being serious about the formal photos because they thought one of our photographers was going to be showing up to take photos of them getting ready first. But that never happened, so they kept putting off getting ready not realizing no one was coming. They didn't finally get dressed until they found out we were on our way to take photos in a nearby park. Ah, drama drama drama. :)

I helped the other girls into their dresses while eying my own. I put on my accessories while the girls made finishing touches to their outfits.

And then it was time to add the ultimate finishing touch to my wedding day attire. The dress:

But you'll have to wait until next time to see me in it. ;)

Okay okay! I won't leaving you hanging completely:

*All photos by Lindsi Jones Photography. Some images have been slightly altered by moi.

Previously on Southern Sweethearts:
Southern Belles Do Tea
A Rude Vendor Interrupts Our Rehearsal
We Have Dinner on the Savannah River
A Spooky Ghost Tour and My Last Fling
Our Wedding Trailer
Next Up: I Shimmy Into My eBay Dress!