Planning my bridesmaids ‘proposal’ has been one of the most exciting things I have ever done! It was one of the only things wedding related I could plan while still in school (I wanted to focus on school until after graduation).

Everyone’s gift came in a photo box adorned with their first initial and a silver sage ribbon. They each got this adorable card, a coffee and raspberry macaroon from Edgar’s Bakery (a Tuscaloosa bakery), and a unique gift. I wanted their gifts to be practical, personal, and something they could keep forever. I put a lot of thought into each gift, and it paid off – they each said yes!

Amanda was the first I got to ask! I was just lucky enough that I was able to stop and see her while driving through on my way to Fayetteville to train for my new job. Amanda has been my best friend (more like a sister) since sixth grade. We were inseparable throughout high school and still are the best of friends while hundreds of miles apart. I couldn’t imagine my day without her!

Amanda’s gift was a ‘scribble’ of her handsome dog Chief that I got made by Sav who I met at Riffraff this summer. She takes any photo, scribbles over it on her iPad, and calls her little creations ‘Scribbles by Sav.’ (Go check out her work here!)

Jordan also got a ‘Scribbles by Sav‘ of her sweet golden retriever, Alex. I asked Jordan to be a bridesmaid while on a dinner date at Taco Mama (one of the best places I could think to do this other than Gallette’s). Jordan and I met in Zeta, and have become the best of friends. She is on of the most kind, supportive, and encouraging friends I have ever had and I know she will make a wonderful bridesmaid.

Danielle and I met in class at UA, and worked on a group project together. We immediately clicked and became great friends. We share a love for fashion, tea, and weddings. She is such a sweet girl and took a wedding planning class with me the past semester. We talked so much about my future wedding (at this time it was still imaginary) and I knew she would make a fabulous bridesmaid and forever friend.

Oh, Shelby! Shelby and I both rushed Zeta and met on the retreat. We found out that we lived on the same floor in Tut, and that made it easy for us to walk together to the house daily. So, we quickly became friends. The next year we lived together and have lived together since then. Now we are engaged AT THE SAME TIME. So I got her this adorable ring dish from Riffraff Fayetteville to put her beautiful heirloom engagement ring in.

My Matron of Honor is my beautiful sister, Mindy. Mindy earns this honor easily. She is the best sister a girl could ever ask for. Mindy supports me in everything that I do (she even funds Doodle + Denim), she gives the best advice, and she loves me unconditionally. My sister and I love to spend way too much on scratch off lottery tickets any time we are together. So, I found this fake lottery ticket and this custom stamped penny keychain that is stamped with the words “sis since” on a 1996 penny. The ticket is rigged to win, and the prize box says, “Will you be my Maton of Honor?” How perfect was that?!

I am beyond lucky to have these girls as friends and as a part of my bridal party! I can’t wait for the wedding planning process to begin!

Photo boxes + ‘D’ mug| Hobby Lobby

Card printable | Something Turquoise

Macaroons | Edgar’s Bakery

Dog ‘scribbles’ | Scribbles by Sav

‘OMG’ ring dish | Riffraff Fayetteville

‘Will you be my Matron of Honor?’ lottery ticket | Etsy, My Scratch Offs

‘Sis Since’ penny keychain | Etsy, Rustic Midwest Charm

February 26, 2018

When I woke up on Monday, February 26th I had no idea what was in store.

Ben and I started dating when I was only 14 and Ben was 17. We were high school sweethearts! After dating for four years, I decided to go to the University of Alabama, and together we decided to take on the challenge of a 300+ mile-long distance relationship. It wasn’t always easy, but with graduation less than 2 months away I think it is safe to say we’ve made it.

On Sunday, I got a text from a friend, Julia, that said she got an internship for this summer and asked if Ben and I wanted to go get drinks to celebrate Monday at 4:45. I knew that I got off work at 4:00, and I wasn’t sure if Ben would even be interested in going. So, I didn’t respond for about 5 hours. (During these 5 hours, my friends and Ben were freaking out that I would ruin their plan). Anyway, I eventually agreed to the celebration.

When I got off work Monday, I came home and rushed to freshen up and change for drinks. I had on one of my favorite sweaters, but I decided to change last minute because I remembered the last time Julia and I took a picture together I was wearing the exact sweater. (Obviously, this is only a problem we would have in the 21st century with Instagram and all).

Anyway, Ben offered to drive and I thought it was just because he could tell I was flustered. He even asked for directions (even though he obviously knew where to go). At this point, I started asking my friend Jordan if she was there yet and where the best place to park was. I still had no idea what was about to happen.

Once we were near the bar, I told Ben where to pull in. He faked missing the turn very well. He said he would just make a loop and turn around. However, he parked in a spot the next block over, and this is when I started to get curious. He told me to get out and we would just walk there, but instead of walking towards the bar, we began walking towards Capitol Park (which I never even knew existed).

As we were walking he began talking to me about how long we have been together, the ups and downs, and how much he loves me. I began freaking out internally because I just knew this was about the be the moment I have been dreaming of for 7 years! As we walked onto the ruins of the old Alabama Capitol building, Ben got on one knee and said, “Kali Schmalzried, will you  marry me?”

Of course I said YES! He slid the most perfect ring on my finger, and I suddenly became the happiest woman in the world and a fiancé!

After wallowing in the excitement of being an engaged couple, I realized that we weren’t actually getting drinks and I became concerned that we were also not going to get the pizza I had been looking forward to all weekend. If you know Ben and I at all, you know we love pizza and we had planned on getting pizza for dinner Monday night. So, when Jordan asked what our plans were after leaving Captiol Park, I looked at Ben and really hoped that he said we could still get pizza. We did.

I posted this photo on my Instagram story. No one knew I was referring to the fact that I was engaged, not the pizza.

It was really the best day ever, and I can not wait to take on this adventure with my fiancé!

I want to give the biggest thank you to my friend Jordan who helped Ben plan the proposal, captured it all on camera, and gave me such a sweet engagement gift. You rock.

Thing’s Your Bridal Stylists Wishes You Knew

It’s now what we call Bridal Christmas at David’s Bridal. After my Facebook news feed was full of pictures of sparkling diamonds, kissing couples, and engagement announcements over winter break, I was ready to work with all these brides-to-be to help them find their dream dress. If you are one of those brides-to-be, read this and know that these are the things your stylist wishes you knew.

Make getting your gown a priority

You need to give yourself time to shop. Most women come in without a clue that the dresses take time to come in (sometimes up to a year depending on the designer and the materials used). Make sure you have dress shopping on the top of your to-do list so you are sure to get it done in time to get the dress in and have alterations done on it.

Come prepared to see yourself looking like a bride

No dress is going to give you that wow factor if you came in after packing up all your holiday decor with a messy bun and no makeup. Do you hair and put on some makeup (but keep it natural and neutral). Doing this will really help you look good in the gown and be able to picture yourself on your wedding day.

More isn’t really merrier

I am a terrible decision maker and always call my mom and Ben before making nearly every decision. So, I totally understand the need for a second or third opinion, but when it comes to your entourage more isn’t merrier. Once you get more than a few people there are too many conflicting opinions and the bride’s seems gets overshadowed.

Don’t put pressure on the experience 

And when I say that, you don’t need to expect tears in “the one.” It is okay not to cry. Honestly, it rarely happens (and when it does it is usually on the TV shows).

Realize your budget

Sit down with your fiancé before you begin wedding planning to set a budget. The average gown costs about $1,000 without accessories and alterations. Expect to pay at least $100 more for accessories and alterations (aka plan that in your budget too). With that being said. . .

Don’t try on a dress outside your budget

Please don’t break your own heart by doing this. When you try on a dress outside of your budget, it will be the perfect gown. A more expensive dress is made with better material, it is made more comfortable with a perfect fit, and it is embellished with more beautiful appliqué and beading. You will love it more and you won’t find anything that you love more.

Bring your heirlooms and accessories

If you want to wear your mom’s veil or your grandma’s pearl necklace – bring it. If not, how will you know that the dress will look good with these important pieces. However,  please don’t search for a dress solely based on it matching because you can always incorporate the pieces in another way if they don’t fit with your dream gown.

Bring the funds to purchase the dress 

With that being said, why waste time leaving the shop and having to come back to order later. This allows time to second guess yourself (a big no-no) and pushes back your dresses delivery date. This also is one of a stylists’ worst nightmares!

Branch out

Just about every girl dreams of her wedding gown from day one – GUILTY – and she thinks she knows the exact dress that she wants to walk down the isle in. The problem is: most of the time these dresses don’t exist. Be willing to branch out from what you think you want. If the dresses you’ve tried on so far aren’t working for you, trust your stylist and have an open mind when she / he brings you a gown you would have scoffed at on the rack. You’re 100% certain you want a mermaid but you haven’t found one that accentuates your hips right – well, maybe you need a ballgown instead. But . . .

Don’t try on every dress 

Every dress is fabulous and beautiful and when you start trying on each and every one of them, you will get lost in the jumble of white tulle and you will lose track of what you actually like.

Don’t worry about size

Gowns fit differently from your everyday clothes (even differently from other dresses and formal gowns). Don’t stress about the number on the inside of the dress – NO ONE ELSE SEES THAT AS YOU’RE WALKING DOWN THE ISLE! They will notice a dress that is too small so don’t fret about the size of your dress.

Take photos in each gown to compare later

When you try on multiple gowns in an hour or so, the details can be lost. Take pictures of the front and back of each gown you like to compare side to side. (This also helps when you don’t want to re-try on each gown you like to compare again).

Remember you can customize

Have you found the perfect mermaid gown but it is lacking in the bling department? Add a sash. Do you feel beautiful in your dream ball gown but you feel uncomfortable without straps? Add a jacket, straps, or a topper. There’s always ways to customize the little details to make your dress unique to you.

Don’t hold back your true feelings about the dress

You are the one that is wearing the gown so don’t hold back your opinions to not hurt your family’s, friend’s, and the stylist’s opinions. THIS IS YOUR GOWN.

Trust your instincts

You love the very first gown you try on but think that you shouldn’t go with the first one? I mean, don’t you need to visit a few other boutiques and dwell over it for a week or so? NO! No, you sure don’t! Trust your instincts!

Don’t buy a dress smaller than your current size

I know you will loose weight by the wedding, but go ahead and order the size you fit into now! You can always take in but you can’t always let it out.

The undergarments are just as important – buy them

At David’s Bridal we put undergarments on our brides (a bra and a slip). The dress looks so nice and doesn’t scratch your legs because of these pieces. Therefore, you should buy them! Without the support of the undergarments the dress won’t lay the same or fit the same. Another tip about undergarments: definitely bring the with you to alterations.

With all of that being said, go shopping for your most important dress of your life and enjoy your experience. Let me know any other tips you have for brides when looking for “the one” (the dress, not the man)!