In August (pre-engagement), my friend and I sat down at my computer and started dreaming about wedding dresses. I found one on Etsy that I really liked for a reasonable price that had many of the elements I was looking for. I also liked the idea of buying a custom made dress.
After my engagement, many people encouraged me to just go to a store and try on dresses for fun. I also began having second thoughts about the online dress. So, I made an appointment at David's Bridal. My parents and college roommate (who studied apparel design at Purdue) came with me.
I budgeted about $500 for the dress, but wanted to keep it under $300 (without alterations) if possible. My mom, roommate and I sorted through the dresses of the store, chose a variety of styles, and the trying-on process began!
I found one I liked a lot, but wasn't sure about. It had an asymmetrical neckline and a full skirt that came in at $499.99. My sweet roommate did another walk through the store, and came back with a dress from the clearance rack my mom and I had forgotten to bring back to try on.
When I saw myself in the mirror, I realized it was the type of dress I had always envisioned myself wearing on my wedding day. The details, neckline and fit of the dress were perfect. Everyone thought it was beautiful and flattering. The Etsy dress was immediately gone from my mind.
I was 99.9% sold on it, and then I learned the cost of the dress was $249.99. That sealed the deal. This was the wedding dress for me.
Wedding dress shopping taught me an important lesson: Don't be afraid to go places and see what they have to offer. I'm often tempted to sit behind my computer and plan everything from the Internet. But, some deals can only be found through old-fashioned, in-person bargain hunting!