Bride-to-be Blogger Carly: I Finally Found My Dress!

Bride-to-be Blogger Carly: I Finally Found My Dress!

Carly and her mom at her latest (and most successful!) dress-shopping appointment.

Well ladies (and gents), I did it. I found the dress. My dress! And I am in love and we are going to live happily ever after until I wear it to death on June 29th. Yay!

Now that I told you the very happy ending to this blog (sorry, I couldn’t hold it in!), let’s rewind and I’ll fill you in on the details.

When I last left you in my search for the dress story, I had successfully gotten myself to try on wedding dresses, and while unsuccessful in finding a winner, just getting into the store was a little victory.

A week later, I went back to David’s Bridal hoping to try on just a few more dresses before hitting the rest of my upcoming bridal appointments. This time Claire (my sis) couldn’t make it, so my dad took her place outside the dressing room alongside my mom. I made my appointment with the same consultant, Annie, and tried on about five or six dresses. I even strongly liked a few, but still felt hesitant, and therefore, did not say yes to a dress.

I have to pause here to say that my dad was a great addition to my dress shopping team that night: strolling the racks to try to help me find my dream dress and getting a little choked up at seeing his oldest daughter in a wedding dress for the first time (thanks for coming, love you dad!) And, similar to last time, my team was no peanut gallery of opinions, but rather gave me support and told me I was beautiful, no matter what. I have to emphasize how important it has been to have such a strong support system, not just for dress shopping, but for wedding planning in general. I am very lucky to have these wonderful people in my life who are willing to help me through this process. We left empty handed once again, but looked forward to the two appointments I had made for the following week.

Fast forward to Wednesday. My mom met me at the Ardmore train station and we walked over to Bijou Bridal in Suburban Square for my first appointment of the day. We scanned the racks with the consultant but, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find anything that fit the look I was going for. Don’t get me wrong—there were many pretty dresses in Bijou, but the semi-simple, tulle-less dress I was envisioning didn’t exist on their floor. After about 20 minutes and four no’s my mom and I hit the road. At this point I was starting to worry: why was this style I was searching for so hard to find? Am I a diva? Do I have weird taste? Is it me?

A few hours (and Corner Bakery cookies) later, my mom and I drove a few miles to my second appointment at Sabrina Ann. Nestled on Ardmore Ave. sat this little unassuming shop. We were a few minutes early so Mary Ann, our new consultant, invited us to look through the racks and select as many dresses as I wanted to try on. And off to work we went (and when I say work I mean work—have you picked up a wedding gown lately? Those things are heavy!) We ended up selecting eight dresses before Mary Ann even finished up with the bride-to-be before me.

I immediately felt comfortable at Sabrina Ann. Unlike Bijou with their fancy-feeling white couches, white carpet, white walls (I actually went straight to the bathroom to wash my hands when we got there, I was so afraid to touch anything!), Sabrina Ann is just a cute little shop busting at the seams with dresses and accessories. There is only room for one bride at a time, so the shop is yours to try on as much as you want for as long as it takes. While I totally get why some brides would want to be in a fancy dress shop reminiscent of Kleinfeld’s (and I honestly thought that was what I wanted, too) I actually much preferred being able to select dresses I like off the rack, dress and undress myself, and give a private showing to the people I had asked to come along. I found, in my other experiences, that I felt slightly uncomfortable with other women (brides, mothers of brides, sales associates) telling me how great I looked in dresses I didn’t like. I am a people-pleaser, so not liking a dress that everyone else has complemented me on made it hard for me to move forward. At Sabrina Ann’s it was just me, my mom, my best friend, and one friendly (yet honest) consultant. People I felt comfortable sharing my true feelings with.

Mary Ann hauled the dresses to the back where there is a dressing room, sitting area and tons of mirrors. My friend best friend Jill arrived just as I walked out in the first dress. I had seen this Nicole Miller on their website and adored the simplicity of it. All three (Mom, Jill and Mary Ann) loved it and we put this aside as my front-runner … but there was something missing that I couldn’t put my finger on. I tried a few more that couldn’t compete with the first, then Mary Ann handed another to slip on as she put the others back. I stepped into the dress, pulled it up and knew. In my head I started freaking out: “This is it, oh my gosh this is it! Hurry up Mary Ann, I need you to zip me so I know it fits! This is it, my dress, O.M.G. I am going to be a bride! This. Is. It!” Finally, after what seemed like days, Mary Ann returned to zip me up, and I walked out of the dressing room to smiles from mom and Jill. Ladies, this is it!

I have been excited about this dress since I put it on. It’s everything I was looking for in my dress, and I am so glad I didn’t settle for anything else along the way. I didn’t have “the moment” I was expecting (joyful weeping at the sight of myself) but I did get a special butterfly-y feeling: the dress was perfect, it feels like me, it looks like me and it makes me really, really (really, really, really) happy. And while there were no waterworks from me, the tears in my mom and Jill’s eyes told me they loved the dress just as much as I did.

What makes Sabrina Ann special, aside from the casual, no-pressure environment is that they sell never-worn, once-worn and sample dresses. So they have dresses in a variety of sizes and so as a bonus, my dress fit me so perfectly that I only need minor alterations to wear it! And additionally, even though my dress was never worn, we only paid half of its original price!

I am all smiles knowing that I finally have my dress. Now, no matter if the flowers are wrong or the DJ is late, at least I will be in the dress of my dreams. Everything else will work itself out. (The relief I am feeling after all this is incredible. I hope it lasts at least a few weeks!)

I want to end this post with a special thank you to my mom, who accompanied me on all of my appointments, helped me breathe through the anxiety of the first, encouraged me when I was still unsatisfied after the second, didn’t judge me for my pickiness during the third, and cried tears of joy for me when I found my dress at the fourth. Love you, Mom! Couldn’t have done it without you!

This ends the dress chapter. Thank goodness it only took two posts!

Was your dress-finding experience a long or short one? Was it filled with some anxious moments or was it smooth and easy?

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