As promised, I wanted to tell you guys about going wedding dress shopping today! Really I should be studying for my art history final on Monday morning (which goes against everything I said in my staying motivated post), but I can’t help myself because I HAD SO MUCH FUN!
I went with two of my best friends (and bridesmaids) Arielle and Julia and my dad (I know, I know – not very traditional but more on that later). We had a blast. We went to two different (very different) stores and I tried on lots of dresses and then finally found “my” dress at the second one. It’s gorgeous and I am in love with it. I absolutely cannot wait until I get to put it on again in two months when my custom size comes in! Unfortunately, I can’t post any photos since Kevin reads my blog! (Sorry Kev, you’re going to have to wait!)
There’s something about putting on a wedding dress that makes everything feel so much more real! I’m not sure I really fully 100% believed that I was getting married next year until I saw myself in that dress today! I wouldn’t say that I got all teary-eyed like so many brides on “say yes to the dress” (not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not me) but it definitely did it me at different times during the shopping experience. I am getting married!
I’ve heard that wedding dress shopping is exhausting and can be emotionally draining and I would say that I definitely agree. I’m not sure that I really felt emotionally drained but I can definitely understand people who do after trying on dress after dress that doesn’t work (thankfully that was not my experience). But I was definitely exhausted (and hungry) afterward! In fact, I was so tired that by the time I made it home, I was convinced I had left my keys in my dad’s care and locked myself out even though I had just driven myself home from my dad’s house with the very keys I was looking for. Thankfully after sitting on the front steps for 15 minutes, my brain started working again!
I am by no means an expert but I did learn a few things today so here is my list of tips and advice that I compiled for anyone who is going wedding dress shopping!
1. Book Your Appointment Early
This is true especially if you want to go shopping on a weekend. Saturdays especially are super busy and tend to be booked way in advance. I booked my appointments about 6 weeks out and I’m not even getting married during wedding season
2. Shop Early
Wedding dress shopping isn’t like regular dress shopping. You don’t just go in, pick out a dress and then take it home. Instead, you pick out a dress, then they order it in the size you want (or in my case based on the measurements they took) and then they make it and send it to the store. This can take anywhere between 5 weeks and a few months depending on how intricate the dress is. Then you have to come back in for a fitting to make sure they actually sized it correctly, or they can make adjustments in case you lost/gained weight. Then closer to the wedding you come in for a second and hopefully final fitting. All of this can take months. So do yourself (and the store) a favor and start shopping early. It will save everyone a lot of stress – trust me!
3. Wear a strapless bra
This one is pretty basic, but I still ended up googling it before I went. Wearing a strapless bra (or a convertible one in my case) will come in handy for all those strapless dresses you are going to try on! Nude is best, but white works too (mine was white – it wasn’t an issue)
4. Different stores do things differently
Different stores will do things differently. The first place we went to, the lady helping me out picked out all the dresses. Came into the dressing room with me and personally helped me in and out of every dress. The second place, we were encouraged to walk around and pick the dresses ourselves. The lady helping us then pulled them into the fitting room and left me alone to struggle in and out of the dresses. It took me a couple of dresses, trying to pull the giant poofy things over my head and getting caught before I pulled my bridesmaids into the fitting room with me to help me out.
5. Ask for what you want
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. If you see a dress that you like, ask to try it on! If you need some space to think, ask everyone to give you a minute! Heck, if you want coffee, ask for it (though don’t expect to get a good one – my dad sure didn’t) In all seriousness, this is about you and what you want. Don’t be afraid to ask for the style of dress you’ve been wanting to try even if everyone tells you it won’t be good (it might not, but you’ll never know unless you try, right?). If you like the top of one dress but the bottom of another, ask the store – they can most likely make that happen. The moral of the story: It never hurts to ask.
6. Be Rude
Ok – don’t actually be rude but speak up when we don’t like something. No one wants to be rude, but seriously you won’t hurt the salesperson’s feelings if you tell them you don’t like a dress they picked out. In fact, it will only help them. If they know what you don’t like it will only make it so much easier to find something you like. This also goes for friends, parents, future in-laws, grandparents or whoever else you may have brought with you.
7. Try on lots of dresses (even if you find one you love)
This one might be a little controversial. There are lots of people out there who say to stop trying on dresses once you find one you love. I’m not sure I agree (at least to an extend). The first place I went to, we found two dresses that everyone loved. I’m sure I would have been super happy with either of them but I am so so so happy that I didn’t stop looking there. The second store that we went to had so many more dresses that I loved even more. I found one that I was pretty sure I was going to pick but then I tried on one more dress and I knew it was my dress. I loved it SO much more than any of the others. Bottom line: I’m glad I didn’t stop looking after finding the first dress that I “loved”.
8. Listen to your inner voice
Even if you try on a dress that everyone LOVES, tune them out and listen to your inner voice. Do you love it? Afterall, you’re the one that is going to be walking down the aisle in it. Plus, when you find your dress, you’ll know. I kinda thought that was just something people said, but it does happen. Just listen to that inner voice of yours.
9. Have Fun With It
You’re (hopefully) only going to get married once so have fun with it! Most people only go wedding dress shopping a couple times so have fun, be silly, try on that ridiculous dress! Do whatever you want!
10. Don’t take lots of people
When I first made appointments to go wedding dress shopping, I wanted to take anyone I could think of basically. I wanted to take my three bridesmaids, my dad, his wife, Kevin’s mom and a close family friend. In the end, only two of my bridesmaids and my dad came and I am really happy that’s how it worked out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it would have been fun to take any of those other people and I value everyone’s opinion but having too many people with you can be confusing. There are just too many differing opinions and it can make it so much harder to find a dress that everyone (mostly you) is happy with. With three people there, I am happy to say we ended up finding a dress that we all loved!
11. Take whoever you want
This one is a little contradictory to the point above. But at the end of the day, take whoever you want. This is about you, so if you want to take your eleven best friends then do it! (just know it might be a little harder to make a decision). In my case, I wanted to take my dad. Most people told me that was weird before we went. I still ended up taking him and I am so glad that I did. I value his opinion and it would have been so much harder to choose a dress if I hadn’t had him there with me. In fact, if you want to take your fiance – then to hell with tradition. Take your fiance. Your wedding is about you and you can do it however it works for you!
If any of you have any other practical wedding dress shopping tips of funny stories, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!