Yes! To The Dress

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - by Ferris Robinson
Allison Brown Howell in a dress from Monica's.
Allison Brown Howell in a dress from Monica's.

The very first yes is to him, of course. To your darling fiancé who you will spend the rest of your life loving and honoring and cherishing.  

The very next yes it to, you guessed it, the DRESS. Immediately after you agree to the marriage, reserve the church and commit to a venue, you must find a dress you can say Yes! to. 

Your wedding is going to be your day. You are the star here, and you are going to stand out in whatever dress you choose, be it billowing white lace or an understated gown, or even a low-key suit. 

It is of utmost importance that your dress makes you feel special and beautiful, and is everything you ever imagined on this important day. Dolores Murphy of Monica's Bridal Salon says she's nothing more than a 'lady with experience.' But clearly she's much more. "After 15 years of helping brides choose their wedding dresses, I've learned a little," she admits.

Dolores gets to know the bride a little bit before the trying on of dresses. She listens to the bride's ideas, gets a feel for her personality and what sort of things she likes. Then Dolores presents her with choices to try, and they winnow down hundreds of choices to a final two or three.  

It sounds overwhelming, but Dolores says it's not as complicated as it sounds. "We basically listen to the bride, and pay attention to what she says. So really almost unconsciously the bride is choosing her dress just by talking to us," Dolores says. 

The styles change in wedding gowns just like the do with everything else, and the 'fit and flare' gown, sort of like a mermaid feel, is popular, as are the ball gown styles. But the strapless bridal dresses are the most popular. "We can add straps to them now," Dolores says. "Maybe just a lace neckline, or netting with a keyhole back." 

Obviously a wedding is a little more important than a cocktail party or a gala, and at Monica's it is treated as such. "I love my job," Dolores says. "I have a tiny picture of the bride when she first walks into the shop, and after I get to know what she likes and what kind of wedding she wants, I feel very involved. Then I get to know the family, the mother and siblings, and the groom and his family.... and well, I get very attached!" 

Dolores gives the bride feedback as she tries on dresses, and helps her choose the most flattering gown for her big day. "You really need to start thinking about the dress as soon as you have the church because it can take five months by the time everything is said and done," she says.  

The bridal gown sets the tone for the entire wedding, be it formal or understated, so everything hinges on the dress. The bridesmaid dresses are the next big decision, and their color affects everything as well, from the bouquets to the table linens to the flowers on the cake to the mother-of-the-bride dress. "I tell my brides to trust their own instinct when choosing the bridesmaid dresses. This is her day. I love the mothers. Their goal is the same as mine; to make sure the bride is happy." 

Dolores orders an extra swatch of fabric from the bridesmaid dresses, and insists the bride carries it in her purse. "You wouldn't believe how many times that material is matched up to flowers and linens and icing!" she says. 

It's that extra mile that makes Monica's special. "We provide turn-key service for the entire wedding party," she says. But clearly it's much more than that. It's personal for Dolores Murphy, and there's nothing she loves more than being part of a wedding. 

(Ferris Robinson can be contacted at ferrisrobinson@gmail.com)


Heather Hogan Phelps in a dress from Monica's.
Heather Hogan Phelps in a dress from Monica's.


Next English Country Dance Set For Nov. 7

Heritage House's latest free public event, English Country Dance, will meet every first and fourth Tuesday of the month from 7-9 p.m. English Country Dance is a beautiful, historical social dance that was popular from around 1650 through the early 1800s. Movies based on Jane Austen novels such as Pride & Prejudice or Emma feature scenes with English country dancing at balls ... (click for more)

Military Women Across America #157 Meets Saturday

Military Women Across America, Unit #157, TriState Women Veterans, will meet at 2318 Shallowford Village Dr. (I75/Exit 5), Chattanooga, in the Shoney’s meeting room on Saturday from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. All military women, Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force and Coast Guard, active, reserve, guard, retired, or veteran, are welcome.   Participants may stop in for a cup ... (click for more)

State Comptroller Says More Control Over Spending Needed At CVB

The state Comptroller’s Office is recommending the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) board of directors take steps to adopt detailed policies concerning how the CVB spends its money.   The Comptroller’s Office has completed a review of Hamilton County’s hotel/motel taxes which are all forwarded to the CVB. The annual report is required by Public Chapter ... (click for more)

County Commission Votes 7-2 For Rezoning For C&D Landfill At Harrison

The County Commission on Wednesday voted 7-2 to approve rezoning for a Construction and Debris landfill at Harrison.  Voting in favor were Greg Beck, Warren Mackey, Sabrena Smedley, Greg Martin, Tim Boyd, Randy Fairbanks and Jim Fields.   Opposed were Chester Bankston and Joe Graham.  Commissioner Boyd said it was just the first step in permitting for ... (click for more)

Trump - And Response

Hardly a day, even a moment, goes by when some news flash appears sharing what  Trump  said or did. Not catchy and cute as we might feel when we see the baby turn over for the first time or say Da, da. Instead, this grown man and our president defies child cooing and smiling and instead frowns amid growing anger that we voted for this man, a grown up not quite potty-trained.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: New Schools On Agenda

Hamilton County School Superintendent Bryan Johnson confirmed on Wednesday that a plan for several new public schools will be included on Thursday night’s School Board agenda. Hamilton County has fallen woefully behind other metro school districts in the state and, with an estimated $340 million in deferred repairs, upgrading facilities - that now average over 40 years old - was ... (click for more)