My New Year's Purge...of a Wedding Gown

The "New Year's Purge" post is one you can anticipate seeing from bloggers in many different niches. I've never been one to hoard stuff and our holiday decorations aren't over-the-top (though we do have two trees), so my New Year's purge is more of a purge of procrastination. I've been attacking the to-do list!

I did remove one major item from the house yesterday and I'm feeling pretty good about it. There's a bedroom in the house that I haven't really touched yet, except to remove the plaid wallpaper from its walls. We store boxes there until we move them up to the attic and it's also where my wedding gowns live.

It's totally absurd, especially since my gowns got all of a shelf in the condo, but this room has a blanket carefully laid out on the floor and my dresses have been on top of it since we moved here. Every now and then, I say I'm going to find them a new home, but I close the door and forget about them.

The dress room
One day last month, one of my wedding professional friends told me that the Bella Rosa bridal salon here in Charlottesville was going to start a consignment division. Bella Rosa is such a gorgeous environment in which to buy a dress and I think it's amazing that brides looking for a sample or preowned dress could have the same wonderful experience as those shopping for made-to-order dresses.

I emailed back and forth with Kesley Lessick, the Bella Rosa manager, back in December to discuss bring her my Amsale wedding gown, named Kennedy, but the holidays and work took me off track. Part of me wonders if there's a sentimental part of me that made me forget about Bella Rosa for a while. Yesterday, reason prevailed and I ran back upstairs just as I was leaving for the office to grab that beautiful gown.

The process at Bella Rosa was simple and fast. Kesley took measurements of my gown (my seamstress took it in at the bust, waist, and hips, and added ribbons to bustle it) and I signed a contract. While she took measurements, I wandered around the salon and realized that much of the inventory is now samples and pre-loved wedding gowns! The samples are dresses that are no longer being made by the designers carried in the Charlottesville and Richmond Bella Rosa locations and most of the consignment dresses are from Bella Rosa brides.

Kesley said they'll be adding more jewelry and veils to their selection (which is already great, in my opinion) soon. The store still has some special order gowns and attire for the entire wedding party.

As I drove away, I got excited about the idea of someone wearing Kennedy down the aisle! I never wanted this dress to go into a box that would be stuck in a back corner of a closet. It seemed wasteful to do that to something so beautiful.

What's more, I only wore Kennedy for my reception and a post-wedding shoot with Jen Fariello, whose images you see in this post, so the dress hasn't even seen an aisle yet!

Five seconds before I stepped on a wasp or hornet. He stung me in the foot and I kicked that shoe into the air!

If you know any brides in central Virginia who are looking to have an amazing dress-shopping experience, but who might be in the market for a sample gown or one that is looking for a second bride, tell them about Bella Rosa in Charlottesville!

2248 Ivy Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
(434) 284-9500

Oh, and since I commissioned a painting of both of my gowns, if I ever miss Kennedy, I'll have the little dress portraits in my home studio. I guess I should hang them at some point!


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