Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Wedding Dress Shopping Experience

"Say Yes to the Dress"  What's not to love?   I think John even secretly likes it.   

I did not cry.   No tears of joy, jumping up and down and hugging of friends and family.   

So how did I know it was "The One"?

I just knew.  It took me an overnight of lost sleep and another round of trying on dresses to be really sure, but after all was said and done I knew.    (Admission - there was another round of doubt after the dress came home with me, but that was just nerves in disguise.   Totally normal.)
                                                                                      My dress! ---->
                                                                 (Priscilla of Boston website)

I went shopping by myself.    I like shopping by myself.   No pressure.   (I did drag in my friends at the very end of the day, for a second set of eyes and to add a little fun to the process.)

I went to one store.    I did this over the course of two visits, probably could have done it in one if it weren't such a big decision. 
I tried on ten dresses.    Four the first day.  My dress was the third I tried on. 

I got opinions from the consultants at the store.    (Priscilla of Boston, by the way, brand new in Raleigh and highly recommend.   They were so much fun to work with and always made me feel like a special bride).     

They asked me questions about my vision.    I explained that I wanted elegant, sophisticated a little romantic, a little European.    We used these keywords as questions to "test" the dress.

"Do you feel elegant, sophisticated... etc?"   Sounds silly, but it was a helpful double check. 

We added fashion forward after I tried on a very traditional cinderella-y dress that made me cringe.    Sometimes things are better on paper than they are on your body.   

<--- Me, in "The Dress" just minutes before the ceremony.  Looking incredibly nervous! 
(Visio Photography)

In the end, there were a couple that I liked, but only one that was really me.     It was the one I felt most comfortable in.  Not in the comfort sense, but in the dress feels like a natural extension of me.    Me, but better.   Me, getting married.     

So, that's what it came down to.   In the end, I loved my dress and know that I made the right decision.   

My advice for any brides who may just be starting this process - 
  • Bookmark images in magazines and on-line, but do not get overly hung up on a particular style. 
  • Try on all kinds of styles when you first start looking.   You will figure out right away what does not work and what you like most.    
  • Be completely open.   You may be surprised but what type of dress you prefer. 
  • Trust your instinct.    You may not be overwhelmed with emotion and cry tears of joy, but you may just feel content,  like yourself, only better.    
  • Have fun!    It is an experience like no other.   
  • Start early if you can.  I was in a serious time crunch and luckily had a wonderful new store to work with, but this is probably not typical.    Ordering the dress and alterations will take more time than you think. 
  • Oh, and keep the fiance in mind as well.   You'll want him to like the dress too!
For any already marrieds, I'd love to hear your stories...   

How did you find your dress?   How did you know that it was "The One"?   
Any other advice that you would add?


  1. Gorgeous pick...and you just know when it's the right one the minute you put it on. :-)

  2. oh you look so beautiful!

    i'll have to pass this post onto Panda. this is excellent advice.

    i saw my dress in a magazine layout, and flagged it. i thought it was totally cute in the picture, but it could definitely have had something to do with all the cake in the background.

    anyway, i knew it was perfect as soon as i put it on. but yes, i tried it on a half dozen times before purchasing it. :P

  3. Meeling - Well said, much more succinctly than I did! (and thank you!)

    kelli - Thank you! Cake in the background... too funny. Can totally relate to trying it on over and over. My consultant had the patience of a saint. Also... this made me think. I remember seeing my dress before seeing it in person and I thought... never. No way. Goes to show you... sometimes you just have to try it on!

  4. Your dress is gorgeous and you look so beautiful in it!
    I wasn't as lucky in my search for a dress - it seemed to be the era of big bows and lots of frills and puffiness and I was searching for something a little simpler, more refined that didn't seem to exist so I ended up making my own. It was a big undertaking, especially the 52 buttons up the back but I loved it and I'm so glad I didn't settle for one in a store that I would have hated. :)
    thanks for your heartfelt comment - through lots of praying things have worked out and I'm so incredibly thankful. xo

  5. I tried on a ton of dresses! I'd say in the 40 to 50 range. This was over a few days. By the time I found my dress, I was so over it! I had no immediate tears or jumping either. It was more of a "wow, this just feels right".
    Once I knew, I just knew. That's the only way I can describe it. Oh, and I didn't want to take it off. Ever! That's another good sign. ;)

  6. Wow Emily, you look beautiful. Love the neckline on the dress...stunning!


Thanks so much for your comments! I love hearing from you and read each and every one!