“If I know what love is, it is because of you.” –Hermann Hesse
In honor of our third wedding anniversary this week, I’m doing a special post for wedding season! I’m discussing style inspiration for engagement photos, bridal showers, wedding guests, and anniversaries.
For those of you in the Portland area, I’ll also be doing a brief recommendation of a few local businesses that we used for our own wedding day. But to start us off, I’m briefly sharing how my husband and I met.
I had just finished my freshman year at the University of Oregon, and I’d gotten a summer job at Abercrombie while I was back in my hometown. On my very first day at work, the manager was showing me around the store, and the first coworker she introduced me to was none other than Mark, my eventual husband.
My mom loves to tell the story of how I came home from my shift that evening and gushed that I’d met this cute guy at work, but that I didn’t think he’d noticed me. But then when I opened my laptop, turned out he’d already friend-requested me on Facebook (welcome to 2010 😉)! A couple weeks later he asked me out on our first date. Within a month, we were already talking about our future together.
We did the long distance thing until I graduated from college (he had already finished his bachelor’s degree when we met), and then we got engaged shortly after I started grad school. Now it’s almost been eight years since that fateful day in Abercrombie ❤️
From the engagement photos, to the bridal shower, to the wedding day, I’m sharing what I wore myself and great outfit options currently available for purchase online.
Black Dress: Cynthia Rowley (similar) Black Flats: Sam Edelman (similar) Men’s White Button-Up: J. Crew Men’s Jeans: Lucky Brand (similar)
Something I remember researching extensively when I was newly engaged was this: what should we wear for our engagement photos? I eventually came to two outfit options: one with a more classic appeal (above), the other with a colorful, summer vibe (below).
We took our photos in the Hayden Island area of Portland–a place with so many fun memories for us, where we love to go boating with family and friends.
Red Dress: Topshop (similar here, here, and here) Heels: Christian Louboutin (similar) Men’s Chambray Shirt: J. Crew
This red floral dress is from Topshop (Topshop and Zara always have such cute dresses–I linked some current red/pink options above!). The heels are Christian Louboutin, and I’ve had them for several years. My husband’s J. Crew chambray shirt is such a great staple; something I love about J. Crew is that their basics are so timeless and durable.
Something fun about being a bride is all the opportunities to wear white and ivory! I adored the Diane von Furstenberg style I wore for my shower (still available online in multiple colors). It’s a classic sheath dress, and the ivory lace is so elegant and bridal. It would also be perfect for wedding guest attire in another color, such as the midnight blue.
My mom’s dress was purchased from Nordstrom and shows how you can never go wrong with florals for a shower. I’ve linked some great styles (here, here, and here) at various price points.
Wedding Guest Attire
So you’ve been invited to another wedding… What to wear?
Dress code, venue, weather–all these factors will help inform your decision. If it’s in a backyard or on a beach during the daytime, a flowy, floral dress would likely be perfect. At a traditional church, I personally would opt for a more modest silhouette. In a ballroom in the evening, you might want to err on the side of formal (a long gown or a fancy cocktail dress).
I’m really loving the dresses in the Gal Meets Glam Collection (I’m not affiliated with the brand, I just honestly love their dresses!). The styles are classic yet modern and would be perfect for brides-to-be, shower attendees, and wedding guests. This navy blue option I purchased recently would be perfect for a formal wedding! The midi length and off-the-shoulder style is so chic and elegant, and it’s also available in a pale blush tone called “ballet” that would be lovely for events for brides-to-be.
We have a wedding to go to next month and I’m honestly torn between the navy Gal Meets Glam and this floral Eliza J (definitely will do a full post on which dress I decide at that time).
The ruffles and print of this yellow gown are so fun and charming. Eliza J has a ton of great formal, floral, and cocktail dresses (unfortunately this exact yellow dress is only still available in a few sizes, but here, here, and here are some beautiful styles in similar silhouettes from that brand).
I think yellow is super on trend right now–did you see all the famous guests at the Royal Wedding wearing various shades of yellow?
The Wedding Day
As far as the wedding itself goes, each couple has their own desires, budgets, and unique styles. I’m going to briefly discuss a handful of Portland-area businesses that we used. But first, my biggest advice would be to stay true to your vision (and your budget!) for your wedding–like I said, everyone has their own styles, and what’s right for someone else may not necessarily be right for you. It can get difficult with the opinions of friends and family coming at you from all directions, but try to remember that this is your big day.
Ever since I was a little girl I knew I wanted a Cinderella-style ballgown and a long, cathedral-length veil (the veil Julie Andrews wore in The Sound of Music was always my inspiration). My dress was purchased from Bridal Exclusives and is by Allure Bridals. After spending my childhood in sparkly skating dresses (see this post for old skating pics!), I honestly didn’t think I’d want much of that reflected in my wedding dress. But surprise, surprise: the second ballgown I tried on–with the glittery, embellished bodice–was the ultimate winner!
The venue we chose was befitting of the gown: Portland’s historic Melody Ballroom, built back in 1925. I fell in love with the chandeliers, the high ceilings, and the elegant, antique feel. I truly can’t say enough great things about the amazing staff at the Melody, and my husband and I are so happy we went with them for both our ceremony and reception.
We used Chad Dowling Productions for our DJ, and he was phenomenal: super professional, detail-oriented, and did a superb job of pacing the reception. At other weddings we’ve attended, some DJ’s get too chatty with the audience whereas others don’t communicate effectively (more than one wedding I’ve been to, various table numbers were completely forgotten by the DJ when announcing tables for buffet-style dinner service). Our DJ, however, moved everything along seamlessly and is highly rated for weddings in the Portland area.
Last, but certainly not least, another business that I definitely want to mention is Dream Cakes. Our 3-tier, square cake that they created was truly an absolute dream (pun intended!). The buttercream frosting is the best I’ve ever had, and the bakery’s co-owner, Johannah, brought my vision for the cake to life.
We just celebrated our third anniversary this week, and every year my sweet husband orders a mini cake from Dream Cakes. It’s a special tradition that we always look forward to!
Floral Slip Dress: Billabong (similar here and here) Leather Jacket: Rubbish (similar here and here) Gladiator Heels: Nine West (similar) Lip Color: Liar (Urban Decay’s Revolution High-Color Lipgloss)
I also want to share what I wore for our anniversary dinner this week! We had fondue at the Melting Pot in downtown Portland, and since the weather was a bit windy, I knew I’d need a dress that paired well with a jacket.
I enjoy mixing feminine pieces like a floral dress with edgier ones–in this case, a cropped leather jacket and gladiator heels. My Billabong slip dress was a Nordstrom Rack purchase from earlier this year. My leather jacket is by Rubbish, and my heels are Nine West. Comparable options are linked above!
From single to married (and anything in between!), I wish you all love and happiness, and best wishes for wedding season ❤️
I’d love to hear in the comments any special wedding memories or traditions you may have with your significant others, or if you’re in the midst of wedding planning, how things are going!
Have a great weekend, and thank you for stopping by!