Bride-to-be Blogger Carly: My First Dress Shopping Trip, Kinda

Stockbyte

If you were to ask me, “Carly, what are your favorite sports?” it’s likely I’d name shopping (and tailgating) at the top of my list. So when it comes to shopping for my wedding dress, you’d think I’d be quick to suit up and and cheer, “Put me in coach!” This, however, has not been the case.

Wedding Dress Shopping: Round One (more rounds to follow in the weeks to come)

Since I’ve setteled into being engaged and can quickly answer the obligatory “have you set a date?” question, I’ve learned that the follow-up almost always involves the dress: “Do you have a dress? Have you tried on any dresses? Have you thought about the style you want? Train? Vail? Sweetheart? Mermaid?” You get the picture. But, until last Sunday, I had few answers to these inquisitons because, for some incredibly strange reason, I had little to no interest in trying on, looking at, or even thinking much about my wedding dress.

While I love shopping, I am a creature of habit and have my go-to stores where I almost always find something (or many somethings) to buy. I love wearing new clothes and will take any excuse to buy an occasion outfit (Holiday party at work? I can’t wear something my co-workers have seen! Going on vacation? I certainly need new sundresses! If I had an endless supply of money I might opt to never wear the same outfit twice, just sayin’.). But because I love new clothes so much, and because I haven’t come across a magic geenie or money tree (yet!), I usually buy from the sale rack, at the outlets, with an additional coupon (isn’t it just the best when you leave a store with six items for original price of one?).

Something I have discovered about myself is that I am fickle about fashion. Something I like, can’t live without one day could end up neglected at the bottom of my closet a few months later. My best college bud Jill and I always joke about how, looking back at pictures from our nights at Tiki Bob’s and Main Street Manayunk, we never let each other leave the house in our original outfits. However, we also remember standing in the epic line at the King of Prussia Forever 21 thinking how hot were were going to look in those exact clothes!

So I’m thinking there are a couple things going on in this head of mine that are causing my hesitation about this whole dress shopping thing:

  1. Obviously, I don’t have a go-to store when it comes to finding a gown, specifically a bridal (!) gown. H&M doesn’t make wedding gowns, huh?
  2. There are a freaking lot of dresses to choose from, made by designers that I don’t know from Adam!
  3. I get one dress (ONE DRESS!). There is no bargin shopping to find six wedding dresses for price of one. (I know that some girls do wear multiple dresses during the course of their wedding night but, as much as I think a costume change could be fun, I’m just aiming for one)
  4. I am eight months out from my wedding. What if I love ruffles today and think they are the worst style known to brides in June???

With all of this swirling around in my head, at speeds to fast it was hard for me to get a handle on them, I took some advice and made an appointment at David’s Bridal in Plymouth Meeting. Another bride suggested that if I was overwhelmed by the things I mentioned above, DB would be a good starting point to try on various styles and see what I like, what looks good, and all that jazz.

The few days before the appointment, my stomach churned with anxiety and there may have been a tear or two shed as a result. Sean saw the tizzy this was putting me and gave me a great pep-talk, helping me come up with a way to manage this anxiety I was feeling and try to have fun with it. He suggested my approach should be to remind myself that I wasn’t going to come home with a dress. Even if I think I love something, I will come home empty handed. That way there would be absolutely no pressure for me to make any decisions or feel put on the spot. I could just pop dresses on and off, check myself out in the mirror and tell the consultants that I’d get back to them if I made a decision. (This is why I love Sean; he totally gets me and knew that would be the best approach).

So on Sunday, my mom and sister and I went to my first bridal appointment. I checked-in and was assigned Annie as my consultant. She led us back to my fitting room and asked me about what I thought I might like. I gave her some ideas and off she went to pull some dresses. We headed into the fitting room and Annie sucked me into a corset-type bra, long, semi-puffy slip and it was game on. The first dress hung dauntingly on the hanger, and I let Annie know I was sort of freaking out, man. Annie was so reassuring and let me know that we were just trying on dresses, no big deal. I thought I’d hate her first pick, but as I walked out to the mirrored room where my mom and sister waited, I felt, for the first time, like a real bride.

I tried on four more dresses after that first one but, while I saw some likes, I didn’t find any loves. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a crier, and while I don’t necessarily believe that I need water-works to be sure that I’ve found the one, I am looking for a certain feeling that I can’t quite describe. If you’ve ever watched Say Yes to the Dress, you may know that this mythical feeling seems to be important to many brides-to-be. I don’t know if it actually exists, yet, but I’m willing to go for a few more appointments at various bridal salons, just to see. If all else fails, it’s great research for future blog posts!

What I’ll say I took from this first round of dress shopping is to be open-minded; Annie promised me that the way a dress looks on the hanger might fool you, so just try it on! I’ll also say that a good consultant makes the appointment. Annie was awesome—she listened to me patiently and didn’t push me to just pick a dress already (which was what the voice in my head was trying to tell me). And don’t be scared to leave without a dress. I’m the type of person who needs to sleep on things (Jill says I have buyers remorse, which is true) so it’s important that I think before I buy. And finally, bring your biggest supporters with you (and arm them with a camera—it’s helpful to see how a dress photographs!). My mom and sister were really wonderful to have with me. They let me react before sharing their thoughts and opinions, which were always framed in a positive way.

So I’m ending my search for a dress blog with a … to-be-continued. Any brides out there have some advice for the next round of shopping?

 

  • http://www.wendys-bridalaffairs.blogspot.com Wendy

    Carly- You are like MANY brides! So, don’t feel you are alone or crazy. As someone who has worked in the wedding retail business ( and sold lots of scared and fickle brides their gowns) and as someone who now assists many clients in choosing their gown, let me give you some advice. First, don’t take an entourage on your appointments. You are already confused and that will make it worse. Taking your mom is great, as long as she is your cheerleader. Cameras are not allowed in most salons until you have said “yes to the dress”. So, don’t be disappointed if you can’t take a picture before you buy. When you go to your appointments, FEEL PRETTY! Do your hair and make up and wear good under garments. This will make a difference. Finally, enjoy the process!! You WILL find your dress and you will get that “WOW” feeling. You will know when it is right.

    Here are some suggestions of salons to try-

    VanCleve Wedding Pavilion- They are awesome!

    The Wedding Shoppe- Patti will make you feel at ease.

    Sabrina Ann- a consignment shop with beautiful things- some never worn and a comfortable atmosphere. I have had clients find a dress there.

    Good luck to you! I know you will find that dream dress and you will know when you have found it!

  • Carly

    Hi Wendy,
    Thanks so much for your advice! Your words are incredibly encouraging and it’s alway good to know I’m not alone in the ways I’m feeling.

    I actually have an appointment at Sabrina Ann’s in a week! I’ll look into those other suggestions too :)

    Thanks for reading!
    Carly