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.

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


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.

From Fashion Week to Bridal Attire: 2013 Trends

We were completely honored when Chris Laich asked us to guest-write a post for his [awesome] blog. Chris Laich Music Services provides elegant DJ services and live musicians for weddings and corporate events in the Virginia, DC, and Maryland areas, and is Washington’s most critically acclaimed wedding DJ. He has even been listed as one of the hottest wedding DJs in the country by Modern Bride Magazine as well as the top wedding DJ in the area by Washingtonian magazine.

Chris Laich Music Services

Thanks again for inviting us on your blog, Chris! In case you missed it, here is our post again:

Bridal Attire Fashion and Advice from DC Area Experts – Part 3 with Ellie’s Bridal Boutique

We often find that fashion follows fashion, and that includes everything from Hollywood red carpet to ready-to-wear to bridal attire. We found some of the top trends for 2013 to show you how your favorite runway looks will translate to the pages of your favorite wedding magazine.


Blue by Enzoani DILLON – Ellie's Bridal Boutique (Alexandria, VA)
Blue by Enzoani DILLON – Ellie's Bridal Boutique (Alexandria, VA)

Without a doubt, floral prints were one of the top trends seen at New York’s Fashion Week earlier this year.This trend is fun and feminine in any fashion setting so it’s not a surprise to see florals emerging in everything bridal, giving a romantic, fairy-tale spin to a look that is still light enough for any spring garden.

For bridal gowns, bold floral patterns add an artful flare when used in place of traditional lace patterns. Proven popular with brides, Blue by Enzoani's Dillon gown (pictured right) is a perfect example of this. Looks like this trend is here to stay!

How Floral trends translate to Bridal Attire – via Ellie's Bridal Blog
How Floral trends translate to Bridal Attire – via Ellie's Bridal Blog

Far left:Elle Magazine features floral runway designs from New York’s Fashion Week Center left: Zara’s newest collection features a casual Piqué Floral BlazerCenter right: After Six bridesmaid style 6600 Far right: Dessy Collection bridesmaid style 2833

Pleated Waist

Who ever guessed that pleats would find its way back into our hearts? But one click onto Forever 21’s “New Arrivals” page shows us options to make pleated shirts and skirts cute and wearable again. Above we illustrate how this return styles easily translates into classic bridesmaid and bridal styles. Despite popular belief, these styles are incredibly flattering for most figure types.

How fashion trends translate to Bridal Attire #pleats #pleated waist skirt – via Ellie's Bridal Blog
How fashion trends translate to Bridal Attire #pleats #pleated waist skirt – via Ellie's Bridal Blog

Left:Forever 21 Sheer Pleated Waist Top Center: Alfred Sung bridesmaid style D524 Right: Justin Alexander Signature style 9688

Bold Ruffles

How fashion trends translate to Bridal Attire #ruffles – via Ellie's Bridal Blog
How fashion trends translate to Bridal Attire #ruffles – via Ellie's Bridal Blog

InStyle’s ruffles trend overview

We’ve seen ruffles before, but as Instyle notes, “these stiff, austere waves are more modern than the floppier furls of past seasons.” Ruffles of past seasons were soft and flowy, moving with every step and swing. The larger, bolder ruffles of 2013 are more carefully constructed and placed with the greatest attention. Gowns with this design in mind are intentionally chic and in vogue, perfect for the fashion-forward bride.

How fashion trends translate to Bridal Attire #ruffles – via Ellie's Bridal Blog
How fashion trends translate to Bridal Attire #ruffles – via Ellie's Bridal Blog

Left: Alfred Sung bridesmaid style D544 Center: Dessy Collection bridesmaid style 2867 Right: Allure Romance style 2605


Metallics are in for Spring 2013. Shiny textures & iridescent fabrics were seen all over Fashion Week’s runways earlier this year. To keep the elegance of bridal wear alive, the metallics of bridesmaids dresses are typically more subtle than on most runways. Iridescent and luminescent chiffons offer a soft metallic sparkle that radiates the most romantic aura and should be admired up close. He magical look and feel of these fabrics will be most appreciated as your bridal party graces down the aisle past the gazing eyes of your guests. Certain colors offered in Dupioni, Peau de soie, and Silky taffeta fabrics offer a more vibrant metallic shine that is more eye-catching and modern for bolder bridal parties.

How fashion trends translate to Bridal Attire #metallics – via Ellie's Bridal Blog
How fashion trends translate to Bridal Attire #metallics – via Ellie's Bridal Blog

Top left:Fashion Magazine features Metallics on 2013 runways Far right: Jim Hjelm Occasions bridemaids style 5151 in Dupioni Bottom row: Justin Alexander Spring 2013 Signature Collection

Knowing that today’s brides are looking to strike that perfect balance between modern trends, individuality, and timeless style, top bridal designers knew that incorporating the metallic trend into wedding gowns would be a bit more challenging. Stylish brides will love the use of neutral, non-traditional colors and both textured and crystal beaded embroidery used to achieve a glamorous bridal look that gives it nod to modern runway fashion.

Brides may also choose to use shiny shoes and accessories to complement a more traditional bridal gown and keep up with the metallic trend.


InStyle loves how adventurous the Peekaboo look is. The most daring of brides may want to stun their crowd with this provocative style, though most brides prefer to adhere to more understated appearances for their Big Day. Typically in bridal, you will find the peekaboo in a much more refined way that still shows off the thinly veiled “reveal-and-conceal” dramatic look the style was intended for. Keyhole and illusion detailing across the back is the most popular way this fashion trend finds its way into the elegant tastes of wedding attire.

How fashion trends translate to Bridal Attire #peekaboo – via Ellie's Bridal Blog
How fashion trends translate to Bridal Attire #peekaboo – via Ellie's Bridal Blog

Left: InStyle’s peekaboo overview Right: Fada from Blue by Enzoani

Lace, Lace, Lace

It’s all about lace! While never out of fashion, we have seen a sharp and steady increase in the popularity of lace since the timelessness and grace of Kate Middleton awed the world on her wedding day just two years ago. Lace gowns are being paired with nearly every other fashion trend out there (see above). With more lace options than ever, lace-loving brides every silhouette and neckline imaginable. Lace-loving brides, this is the ideal time to find your gown. We are also seeing lace displayed on a growing number of bridesmaid designs.

How fashion trends translate to Bridal Attire #lace – via Ellie's Bridal Blog
How fashion trends translate to Bridal Attire #lace – via Ellie's Bridal Blog

Far left: Taylor Swift at CMT’s Artist of the Year awards Center left: Allure Romance style 2604 Center right: Stacy Keibler at Screen Actors Guild Awards Far right: Allure Romance 2610

I really could go on forever with this post! It really was a restraint to keep from adding a dozen more photos to the above post... showing gowns with combinations of some of the above trend... highlighting more trends with more photos... You'll just have to make an appointment with us to come in and see the rest!

March 9-10 – Stella York Trunk Show!!


Visit Ellie's Bridal Boutique March 9-10, 2013 to view Stella York's newest bridal collection and enjoy 10% OFF the purchase of any Stella York gown for one weekend only! Be sure to click here to read about why we love Stella York so much.

Many of these gowns will be in our boutique for ONE WEEKEND ONLY so call to make your appointment now! You don't want to miss your chance to try on these fantabulous gowns and get the exclusive *trunk show only* price!!

Appointments are required to attend this event. Call 703-683-VOWS(8697) to book your appointment today.

Bridal Inspirations from the Oscars

Fashion certainly inspires fashion. So whether you are shopping ready-to-wear in the mall, awed by the Hollywood glamour, or flipping through your favorite wedding magazine, today's fashion trends are universal. We weren't surprised to see lace patterns, feather-like ruffles, and simple elegance grace the red carpets last night and be reminded of our very own bridal gowns. Which style would you have picked for your red carpet debut?

Update: Great minds think alike! Local Wedding Planner, Margo from Bright Occasions, elaborated more on this topic and these dresses here. Definitely check it out!

WIN your Dream Wedding Dress

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Ellie's Bridal Boutique is so excited that another one of our designers, Justin Alexander, is having a contest that will provide one lucky bride a FREE Wedding Gown!!

Can you believe it? We are so excited for all of our soon to be Brides out there and we had to share this opportunity! Make sure you visit Justin Alexander Dress Giveaway on Facebook to register and pick your gown today. We are unsure how long the contest will run for, so register today before it's too late!

P.S. If you are in love with Justin Alexander wedding gowns like we are, come book your appointment today at Ellie's Bridal Boutique in Alexandria, VA.

Why We Choose Stella York

Glamorous. Sexy. Extravagant. A Stella York wedding dress is more than just a designer label. It’s an indelible mind-set — with each creation a perfect complement to a bride’s attitude, style and spirit.

That's what Stella York is all about. Previously known as Ella Bridals, Stella York is an Australian-based company that never fails to bring in fresh designs that are not only merely beautiful but a statement of your spirit. Their light weight and comfort ensure that you will feel free enough to let your personality truly shine it's best on your wedding day. We also love Stella York because their mission fits our own: quality of fabric, fit, and finish at a competitive price. Here at Ellie's Bridal Boutique, we truly believe that it is possible to find a high quality gown for under $1500, and Stella York is proof of that.

Stella York is designed for the bride looking to find the magic that only she could create on her wedding day. She's a bride full of spirited dreams and an energy that radiates around her. See what we mean and view our gallery below to share the magic these three Ellie's brides experienced with their Stella York gowns this past year.

Needless to say, we are so excited to have Stella York Trunk Show at Ellie's Bridal Boutique! Make your appointment today for March 9-10, 2013 to view Stella York's newest bridal collection and enjoy 10% OFF* the purchase of any Stella York gown.

Many of the featured wedding gowns will be in out store for ONE WEEKEND ONLY !  Spaces are limited, so don't miss out by waiting to book your appointment for this exclusive event!

Appointments are required to attend this event. Call 703-683-VOWS(8697) to book your appointment today & RSVP on our Facebook Invitation.

*Purchases must be made March 9th or 10th to qualify for the discount.

Featured Weddings: Lisa's Destination wedding in Greece, Jenny's Old Amusement Park wedding, Jeorjina's Grand Caymen wedding