I can hardly believe this past Sunday marked one year since I said yes to the dress that I married my best friend in! After a long day of shopping I found my gown and couldn’t have found a better dress to wear as I said “I do”. I haven’t shared many details from that day, mostly because I wanted to keep the details of my dress and bridal style a secret for my husband and our guests. Now that the wedding has passed, I thought it would be fun to share my experience in honor of the one year anniversary of buying my dress!
I’m pretty sure that I have been a devoted follower of the “Say Yes to the Dress” TV series since it first aired on TLC. I have watched countless brides go through the process of picking their dress and have mentally noted every tip ever shared about trying on wedding dresses. With all of this knowledge, I felt over prepared when it came to shopping for my own gown. I knew what style, color and look that I was going for and was confident I would be able to find the dress with little to no stress or heartache. Even still, I knew I was open to trying on each style and silhouette just to be sure.
I decided a number of years ago that I only wanted my mom and sister at my bridal appointment. I tend to be very indecisive and while I’m sure my bridesmaids’ advice and suggestions would be so heartfelt, I knew having more opinions would make the process even harder for me. Because my sister was still in college and had a busy fall due to her tennis schedule, and I had almost every weekend booked with weddings and bachelorette parties, I knew we had a limited window for all of us to experience this together. I scheduled three appointments (yes, all on the same day) at three different bridal salons, mostly just in case I didn’t find what I was looking for at the first two stores. I even brought along my bridal style inspiration board I made to help the consultants understand what I was looking for.
My first appointment was at a little bridal shop in Delmar, DE called Stained Glass Bridal. It was the same shop that my aunt got her wedding gown from, as well as where my sister got her senior prom dress a few years prior. We arrived for the appointment and the very nice employee invited us to help ourselves to any dresses on the rack. While this store didn’t give the one on one attention I was anticipating, it was nice to just try on the dresses to get over the “wedding dress shopping” nerves. I tried on some beautiful A-Line gowns including what I call the “Wendy Dress” (pictured below). I knew after going through the dresses that I had pulled that my dress wasn’t at this store. However, I was a little surprised how much I liked this fit and flare with a gorgeous long train!
My next appointment was at Downtown Bridal in Salisbury, MD. I immediately felt more relaxed as this appointment began, solely based on the face that this store had more gowns than the previous one and my wonderful consultant was truly interested in helping me find my dream dress. After I told her our theme, and that I was looking for an A-Line gown with a tulle skirt, she pulled so many beautiful dresses for me to try on. I also mentioned that I was surprised that I liked the fit and flare at the previous store, so she found a few of those for me to try on as well.
Just like the process to find a husband, you may fall in love, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the one for you. 30 some odd dresses later, I still didn’t have the feeling. I had fallen in love with a dress with lace detail at the top, and a beautiful tulle skirt, but even after getting “jacked up” and trying it on twice, I still wasn’t sure it that dress was the one. Between each dress, I had thirty seconds to myself to have my own silent options. I vividly remember standing in the dressing room, completely torn as to why I wasn’t excited or sure that this dress was it. It was pretty, it felt comfortable, and I loved the lace applique across the bodice. But, in my thirty seconds to myself, I looked at my dress and thought “That’s it? That’s all you’re going to get as your wedding dress?”. I knew something wasn’t right. Something was missing, although I wasn’t exactly sure what.
We left that appointment and I was becoming frustrated and disappointed. I knew we didn’t have many other weekends for me to do this with both my mom and sister in tow, and I really didn’t want to drag out the process. I was confused as to what I wanted, after being so sure that the A-Line style was for me. Disheartened, we headed to the last appointment at Louis Marie Bridal.
Even with an hour drive to the next shop, I still felt a little flustered upon arrival. Because we had spent so long at the last appointment, we were late to this one and only had a little over an hour until they closed for the day. Once we met with my consultant, I told her everything that has transpired that day from what dresses I liked, which ones I didn’t and handed over my inspiration board yet again to see if we could find anything. She pulled three dresses, two A-Lines, and one fit and flare. I tried on the first A-Line and liked how unique the top was before it descended into the fuller skirt. I thought it could be a possibility, but still headed back into the changing room to try on the others.
As I pulled the next dress out of the bag, I thought to myself, “Wow, this is really pretty”. I slipped it on and walked out to see it in the mirror and thought again “Wow, this is really pretty!”. It hugged me in all of the right places, and had a hint of sparkle that was subtle enough to only be noticeable when the light hit it the right way. It showed off my curves, had beautiful lace detail, and had buttons going down the back. It was then that I realized I might be more in love with the fit and flare after all.
I honestly don’t even remember the other dress I tried on after that one. But I did, and apparently didn’t impress me because before I knew it, I was back in this Serenity Bridal gown, this time to get jacked up. At this point, my mom and sister hadn’t said much in regards to what they thought about the dresses, mostly to not confuse me any more than I already was. But when I put that dress on the second time, I was desperately hoping that they liked it as much as I did. I pulled my hair back and we added the veil, and I turned to my entourage again for an option. As soon as they said they loved it, and could see me wearing this down the aisle, I burst into tears. I had found the dress that I was going to marry my best friend in.
After three different bridal stores in two different states, and over 50 dresses in one day, my road to finding my dress wasn’t what I imagined, but I wouldn’t have had in any other way. I’m eternally grateful to my consultants, Louis Marie Bridal for all they have done for me during my engagement, and my mom and sister for their unwavering support through this experience.
I do want to mention too, it is completely normal to have dress regret. For weeks after I bought my dress, I wondered if I made the right choice, or made a decision solely to get a dress that day, and would I regret my choice on my wedding day. Buying a wedding gown is a huge investment, emotionally and financially, so it is normal to second guess whether you made the right decision or not. I know I struggled with this and I don’t think it is talked about enough. For me, trying on wedding dresses made everything feel real; this was actually happening, you are getting married. Those emotions mixed in with “this is the dress that I’ll remember forever” is a lot of pressure for someone to deal with! But, looking back now, each time I tried on my dress after I bought it, I fell in love with it more and more each time, just like I do each day I spend with Jody. If anyone else is experiencing this remember that you chose it for a reason. Stick with your gut and everything will turn out beautifully. After all, you could get married in your pajamas, while I don’t suggest this, you’ll still be just as married at the end of the day and that is all that matters.