Wedding Day…and Dress Bliss!

“Goin’ to the chapel…”

Well, I didn’t go to a chapel, but I did go to Power Plant Productions on June 27th and married Eric Smith!

These last few months have been devoted to wedding planning, work as a social worker and working on my clinical social work license, but style was never far away. With a venue like Power Plant, we were able to bring in all of our own vendors and decorations, add our own personal touches and of course learned a lot with the whole process.

It has only been a week, but I could not resist sharing a sneak peak and some candids of our wedding day style. Once we receive the photos (Clever Girl Photo, who did our wonderful engagement photos, was amazing!) and go on our reshoot (it rained so hard all day!), I will definitely give you my style summary, how I saved, where I splurged, what went wrong that didn’t have to, which vendors saved the day (Diverse Catering for one) and which expenses I could have avoided.

Until then, a few shots of our awesome day and a few style tidbits! More to come!

Rings

Ivory & Tea Rose Lace Trumpet Wedding Dress  David Tutera for Mon Cheri

Swarovski Crystal Belt Fantastic Finds  ($380)

Wedding Bouquet of Peonies Kate Farley Design

Latvian Flats in Silver Glitter Steve Madden ($42)

By buying my dress outside of Philadelphia, back home in Lansing, Michigan at Fantastic Finds, I was able to get more for my money out of a wedding dress. Dresses in Lansing were more than half the cost of the ones I looked at a local boutiques. This was the first dressed I tried on, but I still tried on seven more dresses, purchases a different one only to return it thirty minutes later for my first one. I didn’t wear a veil, purchase jewerly or splurge on shoes and instead decided to accessorize my hair and dress. 

Clever Girl Photography

First Look 2

Leda Swarovski Crystal Headband Bride LeBoheme ($152)

Wedding Hair By Tamika  Sianni Salon ($125)

I am so happy I went with Sianni for wedding hair. They are a multi-cultural salon and did a great job on all of our hair types, including Tamika blowing out and styling my natural hair. They also provided a room for lunch and gave us a surprise treat. They even provided a chair for our make-up artist! I only had to place a small deposit down for my nine appointments. They were definitely a vendor hero! 

Wedding Make-Up  Raymond from M.A.C. (varies on party)

Raymond was another wedding vendor hero! He did custom blends for bridemaids and is one of the few make-up artists who I have seen with the ability to easily transition among women of color and get that perfect (read: not ashy) look. He did 11 faces in record time, did two make-up trials and kept in constant contact for my wedding. He placed everyone at ease and was everyone’s favorite. Raymond and I met when I begged him to squeeze me in for The Geek Awards last year when my make-up artist and stylist canceled last minute. Investing on everyone’s make-up as part of my bridal gift definitely was one thing I would invest in again.

First Dance

Nena and Dad

With Auggie

If you are having your furry family member in your wedding, than I really suggest you hire Mandy! She was so amazing with taking care of Auggie in all of the chaos and making sure he made it down the aisle as ring bearer! She dressed him, picked him up from home and even saved us by grabbing our marriage license all while having Auggie tucked in while we danced the night away! 

Photography by our Groomsmen

Taking A Chance On Facebook Ads: My Experience With Sammy Dress

I have been doing a lot of online shopping to prepare for my trip to St. Maarten (we are leaving on Friday!), but while online shopping and using Facebook at the same time, I ended up getting tons of focused advertisements I generally ignored. However, after visiting and liking ModCloth via Facebook, I decided to get sucked in and click on a few of the other advertisements.

The one I decided to actually shop from is Sammydress.com.  I am sure you all have seen the ads, ‘Cheap online dresses- $6!’ I wondered what the catch was and immediately it became clear- you are ordering direct from China. Sizing, quality and shipping time were all immediate concerns, but I decided to try it and see what happens.

black and white sheath dress

Abstract Letter Sheath Dress Sammy Dress ($13)

I started by ordering two dresses and a sweater. Sammy Dress gives you an option to upload pictures of you in the item, so I tried to purchase items where people uploaded their photo. I also made sure to read the ratings and look for the raters sized the closest to me, if there are too many, then I looked for 3 star ratings, since I felt like those gave the most objective view. They took the time to explain why it wasn’t five stars, but still higher than one.

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I found shipping to be pricey, sometimes even higher than the item being purchased, but it still makes the item a deal. So, if shipping is $9 on a $6 dress, then I won’t get too bent out of shape. Also, the shipping takes about three weeks. I received my first two dresses in three weeks, but my sweater was still on back order, so they gave me an option to wait for the sweater or receive a refund. I decided to wait for the sweater and am still waiting. Each of the items state the length of time to ship, but that is simply to ship the order, not for the item’s arrival. I don’t mind waiting for packages, but if you are in a hurry, then any international shipping is going to stress you out. The only time I had fast international shipping is ordering bathing suits on Amazon.

sheath dress

I love my dress! It is lined, light, but I will easily be able to wear it in the fall, early summer and spring. My wool dress I haven’t tried on yet. It came so wrinkled that I’m going to need to press it beforehand. It is definitely 100% wool. My iron is going to hate me.

earrings

Earrings Hello World (gift)

I absolutely love these earrings. They are bronze and match a lot of my handmade jewelry. 

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Box Braids J.P. Hair Perfection ($90 not including hair)

necklace

 Paper Bead Necklace Darwin, Australia ($20)

My Aunt Michale brought necklaces with her from the same artist who gifted me one in a previous entry. I adore my necklace, and you can find a similar one on Etsy, but it was decided that my Aunt’s friend would make more selling his jewelry in Australia than in the States. The necklace is made out of paper and is a long process. I am very fortunate I was able to buy two necklaces and a pair of earrings from him during her Stateside visit.

black and white dress

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 Beijo Brazil Necklace Tselaine ($44)

This necklace made by a local Philadelphia artist, caught my eye immediately. I love the design and the detail even in the chain. She has many more one of a kind pieces at Tselaine.

 

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shoes

 Steve Madden Black Schoolgrl Flats Amazon ($44)

These are actually the third pair of these flats I have ordered over the years. I love them so much and love the style. I wear them all the time! 

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I am going to order from Sammy Dress again, but only items I don’t depend on. I wouldn’t use them to order primary winter coat, for a wedding or an event dress, I also wouldn’t purchase anything over $20 since I don’t have the patience to deal with returns. Do you shop online? Sound off in the comments below!

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Photography by Eric S.

Adding Some Glitter With Gold

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day! I came back from Michigan and walked right into this heat! Even though it is hot, I still love everything about Philly. Especially now that I have more time to wear my summer dresses.

This week, I decided to accessorize with gold! I love how great jewelry can jazz up a colorless dress. I love white dresses, and gold seemed like the perfect addition to this one. How do you use bold accessories? Sound off in the comments below!

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 White Structured Cut Out Dress  Smak Parlour ($85)

I love the detail at the bottom of the sweetheart dress. It gives it that little extra push of coverage, with it not really being there. The top has boning and I am wearing a strapless bra with it.

white dress, gold necklace

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  Gold Bib Necklace   Wilbur’s Vintage  716 S. 4th st, Philadelphia ($40)

I adore this necklace! I feel like it gives a good optical illusion like I am actually filling this dress with cleavage. It fits perfectly between the detail and is surprisingly light. I decided not to wear earrings due to how bold the necklace is. My nails are gold glitter gel shellac, so they fit right into the shoot!

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I ended up doing two buns in my hair after I had a twist out go completely haywire the night before. I think next time I will use black clips and make the back into a French roll instead of a bun. I switch over to using Carol Daughter’s Hair Milk Styling Butter ($12) since I ran out of my Jane Carter Curl Defining Cream ($18) and I needed something to take in my carry-on that didn’t cost a lot in case it was confiscated (it wasn’t). I really like it!

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bracelet

Gold Tiger Eye Bracelet   Wilbur’s Vintage  716 S. 4th st, Philadelphia ($35)

I can never find a bracelet that fits me, but I actually found two this week! This vintage bracelet is light and I love the Tiger Eye detail. I can’t wait to find earrings so I can dress this down.

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SAYNT Open Toe Sandals  Nine West, Liberty Place, Philadelphia ($30)

I love these shoes, but they are definitely a half size too big (I bought a pair in black that are the right size)! I bought them on clearance for the Geek Awards and the wonderful team at Nine West added a few holes in the strap to make sure they were snug. With my evening gown, you couldn’t see how big they are, so I may save these shoes for when I am wearing something long again. Just found out if you buy online, the second pair is half off!

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dress

It was awesome checking out A & G Labs and learning more about MVSE, a new app to improve the dressing room experience. Read all about it on Geekadelphia!

 Photography by Eric S.