The Love in Martin Luther King Jr's Legacy

All weekend we had brides, friends, and consultants of nearly every color smiling, laughing, and celebrating along side each other. I couldn't imagine a more appropriate way to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy and love.

Of course, we still have a ways to go. Women of color are clearly under-represented in most wedding publications. Even our Real Wedding Features pages clearly demonstrates this, which is a problem considering the number of women of color we serve every day. In fact, MunaLuchi Bridal Magazine is the only major wedding publication that featured one of our non-Caucasian couples due to their mission to help represent women of color and their beautiful weddings that are also a part of our wedding industry.

No matter the bride, we are thankful for you: black, white, hispanic, young, old, skinny, curvy, whatever -- please send us your wedding photos so we can help represent EVERY bride!
(NOTE: we are working on pages that feature all submitted weddings, not just ones featured in major bridal publications. In the meantime, you can see many of our lovely brides here)

Bridal Rush Hour: Buy Your Wedding Dress Before Your Gifts


Fact: Rush hour truly does exist – especially in DC. We all know the phenomenon: leave right now and get to work in 20 min vs leave in 20 min and get to work in 1.5 hours. Timing for ordering a bridal gown is kind of like rush hour, and January is the start of that rush hour.

The start of winter holidays marks the start of Engagement Season. And why wouldn't you want to get engaged at this time of year? There's a joyfulness in the streets, a happier energy in the air... at time, you can literally feel the love in the air. This kind of romance makes me weak in the knees!

Of course, once these brides get engaged, many of them will rush to get their dress in time for the summer wedding they always dreamed of. Consequently, the designers (and us) get SWAMPED.

So here's the secret: if you are already engaged, buy your dress now. It is much more likely to take 6 months or more for your wedding dress to arrive than if you order before the New Year. And trust us on this, the less time you have to wait for your wedding gown to arrive, the less stress you will feel before your own wedding.

As an additional bonus, you may find the shopping experience to be more relaxing instead of visiting a salon at the height of Bridal Rush Hour.

So give yourself a little extra holiday cheer by purchasing your wedding gown before the New Year. This will leave you with less stress all around, and crossing this item off your Wedding Checklist will give you even more to celebrate with your loved ones this holiday season.

Sample Sale Recap

We're all cleaned up from our pre-holiday SAMPLE SALE this past weekend and are now gearing up for all the families coming for Thanksgiving weekend!

CONGRATULATIONS to all the brides-to-be that found their beautiful gowns for such an unbeatable price. Here are some of the dresses our brides fell in love with over the weekend.

Welcome to the Ellie's Bridal Family. We are honored to be part of such a special part of your Wedding Day. Don't forget to send us wedding pics!!

If you missed out on our Sample Sale this past weekend, don't fret! We offer sample gowns year round for any bride on a tight budget or short timeline. Make an appointment and let us know that you are interested in purchasing a sample gown so we can work with you to make your dreams come true.

True Love Locked in a Closet

My grandpa passed away a few months ago. I visited his house today for the first time since and his wife has their wedding outfits hanging like this in their house.
— via Reddit

Click on the photo to see more pictures that will make you believe in true love. 


How to say "YES" to the Dress

The DC Ladies has quickly become one of my favorite local blogs for just about all things that involve women in DC. When they asked us to guest post for #TheDCLadiesWeddingWeek, I had to say yes! In case you missed our post over there last week, here it is again in its entirety:


So you’ve got a ring and now it’s time for the moment you’ve really been waiting for: finding that dream gown of yours!

Some of you may have already pulled out your notebook of wedding dresses you’ve been sketching since age 6, and others may be dreading the bridal salon experience the most of all. Big or small, tomboy or fashionista, you should expect to find a gown that you are comfortable in and have fun doing so! Here are some tips so you can make the most of your memories saying yes to the dress without all the stress.

1) Research before Budget Planning

Most bridal salons will ask you upfront what your budget is. If you have an answer, that’s great! But most brides forget to include all the “extras” in their bridal attire budget. How much will your jewelry, veil, undergarments, shoes, and alterations cost? When you talk about your bridal gown budget, have you considered how much all those necessary “extras” will cost? Without considering these elements and doing your research, you will likely underestimate realistic spending goals. Avoid the frustration of feeling you are over-budget down the line by planning appropriately now. Find out the price range of bridal salons before making your appointments and ask about undergarments, accessories, and alterations while you are standing in your favorite gowns to get the most accurate estimates.

2) Research Your Bridal Salons

This one is a bit tricky because it’s hard to do, and I only mention it to make a point. Choosing which bridal salon to visit is a lot like choosing a restaurant: while they are all carry wedding gowns, each salon offers a different atmosphere and ambience which will create completely different experiences for you. Do you prefer a more up-scale salon specializing in couture fashions or would you feel more comfortable in a more casual, down-to-earth environment? While this aspect of bridal gown shopping is worth considering, you likely will not find the answer until you physically visit each bridal shop. Bottom line: don’t let “bad” bridal experience keep you down for the rest of your adventure. There are plenty more salons out there to fit your attitude and style, so there is nothing to fear!

3) Know Your Timelines

We like to advise brides to plan 6 to 8 months for bridal gowns to arrive in our store after they have been ordered, if not more! The exact time frame may vary by designer, time of year your order is placed, and time of year of your wedding. You should also plan about 2 months for alterations after the dress has come in, ideally ordering your bridal gown at least 9 months prior to your wedding. Rush orders may be available for certain styles at an additional cost. The more time you allow yourself, the less stress you will feel; it always better to order sooner rather than later. But don’t let this time frame scare you! We know that not every bride is able to allot this much time; know that it is possible to complete the entire process much sooner. If time is really an issue for you, consider purchasing a sample gown off-the-rack, or calling local salons to ask your expert consultants what your options are.

4) More is Not Always Merrier

Many brides want to bring some family members and/or friends to the appointment. We encourage you to have no more than 2-4 guests, as it may become overwhelming. A larger crowd tends to bring a larger range of opinions. Remember, this is your dress for your day—don’t let anyone tell you differently. One to two highly trusted opinions is usually a nice accompaniment to the experience. If you really need “everyone” to be there, consider making a separate trip after you have chosen your gown and invite the rest of your loving entourage to the big reveal at a separate appointment or during your fittings (when the gown is brand new and in your size anyway).

5) Window Shop from Home

You’ve been eyeing wedding dresses online and in magazines since before you were even engaged. I know it, you know it, we all know it. That’s a good thing though! Feel free to collect photos of all your wedding inspiration in a bridal binder or on Pinterest to give your consultant a better sense of your taste and style. This is not necessary by any means, but certainly is a fun step that you’ve probably already started!

6) Have an Open Mind

After all that hard work putting all your ideas and inspirations together, you must have your wedding day look pretty narrowed down. Don’t be so sure about that! Gowns always look different in a magazine vs. on a hanger vs. on your body so you never know what you might end up loving. Trust your consultant if she wants you to try on something a little different than what you envisioned. What’s the worst that can happen? Either the gown immediately gets tossed to the veto pile, or you are pleasantly surprised when suddenly you find yourself saying yes to the dress!

7) Use Your Imagination

The whole point of trying on bridal gowns is so you know what you will look like on your wedding day, right? Unfortunately, it is typically not as simple as it sounds. Shopping for a wedding gown takes a lot of imagination. As beautiful as you will look in your gown while standing in the salon, just imagine how infinitely better the whole look will be when you place yourself with the appropriate hair and makeup, surrounded by beautiful flowers at your venue. Don’t forget to account for jewelry, veils, and other accessories that will have to compliment your gown as well. For example, if you know you want big, sparkly bling to accessorize with, you may not want to be so quick to dismiss that gown that feels “too plain” on its own. Many of our brides end up customizing many aspects of their gowns from the way it was originally designed. It may seem scary at first, but we promise you won’t regret using a bit of imagination once you see your dream truly come to life.

8) Beware of the Marathon run

Are you making appointments weeks in advance so you can perfectly schedule six different bridal appointments on a Saturday? If so, you are going to be absolutely exhausted. If you have yet to try on a bridal gown, I can almost guarantee that you are underestimating how physically exhausting getting in and out of wedding dresses non-stop for a full day will be. And as much as you would like to have a “moment” when you put on THE gown, unfortunately the enthusiasm wears off by the end of the day when the exhaustion sets in. Gowns and boutiques start to blur together, and while the day was tons of fun, experiencing it in this may will be overwhelming. Instead of finding the perfect gown, you will likely need a break to clear your head and revisit the favorites the following week. For the most effective and enjoyable experience, avoid going to more than three salons in a day. Better yet, avoid going to more than three total (unless you really have disastrous experiences–see #2).

9) Location, Location, Location

It really does break my heart a little to hear a bride say, “I love this gown but I’m getting married on a beach.” At the end of the day, it really is your decision so if that is how you feel then I can only be happy for the gown that you end up choosing. However, if I can put in my two cents… I think that’s nonsense. You are the bride. It is your wedding day.

Whether you are getting married on a beach, in a courthouse, or in your backyard, that should not exclude you from wearing the gown that makes your heart sing. The fact that you are a bride makes the event formal enough to wear a ball gown no matter where you are. That fact that you are getting married is all that anyone will think about, not that you are too dressed too for your wedding day.

10) Don’t make decisions from your photos.

Have you ever wondered why most bridal salons do not allow you to take photos? This is one of the reasons. If you do happen to sneak a few pics, just remember that the dresses look 1000 times better on you than on your phone/camera. Many salons have less than optimal lighting (to be honest, our boutique is one of worst for photos), which does nothing to flatter either you or the gown. We want you to remember the way you felt standing in the dress looking in the mirror, falling in love with all the details that your phone was not able to capture. Sometimes a bride will love a dress when she is standing in it but is less than impressed when she gets home. On the day of your wedding your dress will only be remembered by people seeing it in person or from the photos from the professional photographer that you hired. Trust your instincts when you are gown shopping. If you love the dress but can’t make a commitment that day, then take time to think it over for a few days and go back and try it on again. Seeing it in person once more versus seeing it on a phone is far more beneficial.

Most importantly, relax and have fun! Whether you are shopping alone or with your whole gang, don’t worry about others’ opinions. Your day. Your dress. You deserve to be happy in your gown; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Let us know what you think! Did doing any of these things help you during your wedding gown search? Do you have any additional advice for other brides-to-be beginning their search? Comment below or email us your thoughts!

For more from The DC Ladies, see some our favorite wedding features. You can also find them on facebook, twitter, and pinterest. They've got a lot of great information to offer: 

- Wedding Beauty Timeline 
- Finding a Venue: What to Know Before You Go 
- Finding a Venue: Questions to Ask at a Site Visit 
- Using Sparklers at your Next Event 
- Tips for DIY Flowers 
- Engagement Session Beauty


Jim Hjelm 2013 Trunk Show

Experience the Fall 2013 Jim Hjelm bridal collection at Ellie's Bridal Boutique October 4-6.

The Jim Hjelm Couture wedding dress collection, from JLM Couture’s upscale bridal gown division, includes modern yet classic bridal gowns that represent sophistication and confidence for the bride who has a flair for dramatic elegance. Silk Crepe, silk satin chiffon, tulle and lace are used in the Jim Hjelm Couture collection, creating a magnificent group of beautifully designed wedding dresses. Creative accents that make the gowns extra special include criss-cross back straps, halter necklines,elaborate embroidery, silk flowers and an illusion design element on several wedding dresses created with a very fine stretch fabric, of opaque colors with tiny crystals. And to top it off, these gowns are proudly designed by Francesca Pitera and made in the USA.

If you value modern, sophisticated elegance designed from high-quality fabrics (without having to spend $10,000 on a gown), this event is absolutely for you. Visit Ellie's Bridal Boutique to view Jim Hjelm's newest collection and enjoy 10% OFF the purchase of any Jim Hjelm gown during this exclusive in-house event.

Many of these gowns will featured in our boutique for one weekend only. Ellie's Bridal is the only bridal salon in Virginia carrying Jim Hjelm's 2013 collection so don't miss your chance to view these amazing designs and get the exclusive *trunk show only* price

Appointments are required to attend this event. Call us to book your appointment today.


*Note: These gowns typically retail for over $3,000 original price – that's hundreds of dollars of savings at a Trunk Show!*


Ellie's Bridal Boutique Receives 2013 Best of Alexandria Award

U.S. Commerce Association's Award Plaque Honors the Achievement


NEW YORK, NY, September 11, 2013 -- For the third consecutive year, Ellie's Bridal Boutique has been selected for the 2013 Best of Alexandria Award in the Wedding & Bridal Stores category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).

The USCA "Best of Local Business" Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Nationwide, only 1 in 120 (less than 1%) 2013 Award recipients qualified as Three-Time Award Winners. Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2013 USCA Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties.

About U.S. Commerce Association (USCA)

U.S. Commerce Association (USCA) is a New York City based organization funded by local businesses operating in towns, large and small, across America. The purpose of USCA is to promote local business through public relations, marketing and advertising.

The USCA was established to recognize the best of local businesses in their community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to be an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America.

SOURCE: U.S. Commerce Association

CONTACT: U.S. Commerce Association Email: URL:


Relaunching Ellie's Website & Blog

Today we are officially launching Ellie's Bridal newly re-designed website! With the website launched and the return of our permanent URL, we are back on the map & ready to blog.

Special thanks to Michelle, Ellie's bride & CEO of Mischa Communications, for all her kind words and assisstance. After her 10/13/12 wedding, Michelle still managed to keep her tabs on us while maintaining her growing business. Meanwhile, we found ourselves experiencing some difficulty with our web host, requiring a "temporary" website away from our permanent URL. Michelle took notice and quickly offered her time and company expertise We are honored to serve such generous and loving brides like Michelle. This is why we stay in this business!

Because of the transition to our new website, we've been slacking on our blog posts this summer. This is most unfortunate because we have so many great things to share with you! We'll just have to bring you up to speed in the coming weeks :)

This has been an exciting summer here at Ellie's as we transition to bring you bigger and better things. We can't wait to share all that we have to offer to you. As always, please send us your feedback and let us know how we can better your experience (because everything we do is for you).

Meet Our Staff: Silvia

When you look at Silvia's work you are often left in amazement. We, too, often wonder how she does it. Silvia is our magic maker, prized worker, and expert seamstress. We have many wonderful people here at Ellie's Bridal Boutique, but Silvia is our unsung hero. She's behind the scenes working hard to make sure the gowns are fit to the Bride just right. She's the one that works hard to ensure the gown looks flawless. She's the one that makes your concepts into reality. Between her and Crystal, their combined expertise can seemingly do anything with fabric. If you know anything about sewing, you'll be impressed to learn that Silvia doesn't need someone to give her a pattern for a dress -- she makes up her own in her head.

Silvia has been working at Ellie's Bridal Boutique since the beginning. In fact, she was the first seamstress that we ever hired. She is definitely a person you would call family (& we certainly do). So "Thank You" Silvia for being part of our family and for working your magic to make our brides look as stunning as possible.