La Bella Bridal, Occoquan, Bridal Salon
After visiting three other bridal salons, we found La Bella Bridal Boutique in Occoquan, VA. Even though we live in Maryland, it was definitely worth the trip! When we made our appointment, Ellalyne asked us about our preferences and sizes, so she could have some items picked out for us before we even arrived. Our requirements were tough. I'm a plus size. I was 56 on our wedding day, and NotFroofy was 41, so dresses designed for people in their 20s don't work for us. Because there were two brides, we needed outfits that would complement each other. NotFroofy is 5'1", and I'm 5'9", so identical gowns were not going to happen for us. Our budget was low: no more than $500 per dress.
When we arrived, we were the only people in the store, and Ellalyne gave us her full attention. She listened carefully to our preferences, and had an eye for what would look good on us, so we weren't trying on a bunch of impossible gowns. LaBella has consignment gowns as well as new ones, which helped keep the price down. (And she didn't try to push us toward more expensive ones than we could afford.) Throughout the visit, she was warm and gracious. While it was clear that working with a lesbian couple was a new experience for her, she was clearly accepting of us. And unlike some salons, she worked to find something that would look good with our figures, instead of suggesting that we were the "wrong" size or shape.
Both of us found "the dress" there. In each case, it was a dress that we never would have given a second glance to on the rack. However, Ellalyne picked it out, and it turned out to be perfect, with clean, elegant lines that covered our problem figure areas and enhanced our good areas.
This was my dress. I loved the embroidery on the bodice, the bottom front, and the train.
NotFroofy wanted to avoid a strapless dress. She is more well endowed than I, and was afraid of having to hitch the dress up if she wore a strapless. This dress was very figure-flattering, but had sturdy straps.
Estee Livioco, Alterations
Estee did the alterations on both of our dresses. She got both dresses to fit perfectly, attached both of our headbands to our veils so the veils wouldn't slip around, made a blusher veil for me, bustled both dresses, and steamed and pressed both dresses, all for $257. She was available when she said she would be, and always had things ready when she said she would. She is also just incredibly sweet and warm.