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2017 has started wonderfully for me. I have spent a lot of time at Bliss Formals in the presence of some pretty spectacular wedding gowns. Bliss Formals had two designer trunk shows this month – Sophia Tolli & my all time favorite David Tutera – and I was so excited to be able to photograph some of the dresses. I took my time in Bliss’s beautiful bridal suite, touching each and every gown. It made me think of my wedding gown and the wedding world when I got married in 1981 and then again in 2004.

I started down memory lane by pulling out my own wedding dresses. I married my first husband in October, 1981 and then I married Timmy in June, 2004. (Just to clarify – there was a divorce in between – I’m not a polygamist!) There were no engagement photos then so didn’t get to have that experience. In fact, I didn’t even have engagement photos with Timmy either! I wish I could have had those photos! For my first wedding, I picked up my best friend Nita and she and I went to a local bridal store. How weird that I wouldn’t take my mother. Nita and I picked out a wedding dress and I remember it was on sale for around $120.00. My favorite part of the dress was the back – it had a satin ribbon bow that tied at the waist and the ribbon was long, it went down the train of the dress. In my mind I remember it as a a pretty plain dress but I pulled it out today and it is actually very pretty. A chiffon dress with long lace sleeves with some little pearls. I looked inside and no designer label. Just a tag saying dry clean only and MADE IN THE USA. How about that! Not made in China! I didn’t have it heir loomed so it is nice and yellow now. I am surprised how much I still like it!

In 2004 I married Timmy who is the love of my life. This was a 2nd wedding for us both and I didn’t think it was appropriate to do the whole wedding thing again for a 2nd marriage. I bought a pink suit with little silver threads running through it. The designer was Maggy London and guess what – it was made in the USA! Timmy and I were married in a small room in our church with an audience of 10. We did have a party afterwards and that was super fun.

I didn’t hire a professional photographer for either wedding. At my first wedding my cousin Michael took pictures and at my second wedding my sister-in-love Pat took our pictures. I did have bridals done by a professional photographer with my first wedding so at least I have those. They were done in studio, not like the gorgeous outdoor photos that are done now!

Although I love my simple wedding dress, it does not begin to compare with the beauty of gowns today. These dresses truly take your breath away. I felt like Cinderella just handling the dresses! I came home and told Timmy that I want us to renew our vows just so I could wear one of these beautiful gowns!!

So brides – I want you to know that I believe you are marrying in a wonderful era. Engagement pictures are so fun and you are young, beautiful and in love. How wonderful it will be for you to go back and see this moment in your life. And you get to go to a bridal suite and have selections of dresses that are breathtaking. You can have bridal portraits that are stunning. And weddings are such a beautiful event. I have photographed simple DIY weddings and extravagant high dollar weddings and what I see through my lens is happiness and love.

If I were a bride today – I would probably pick between one of these three dresses at Bliss. If I was a bride with lots of money, I would buy all three!! Pictures do not do these dresses justice!

My favorite gown from the David Tutera collection:

Me playing dress up with my favorite David Tutera gown:

I love Eve of Milady gowns. They are so dramatic and have soo many details!

Fell in love with this Allure gown. It has sparkle for days!!

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