Finding the Dress

Growing up, I was never one of those girls who dreamed about her wedding day or her wedding dress. As a matter-of-fact, I wasn’t one for prom dress shopping, either. So I wasn’t sure how I would feel when searching for a dress and I had no idea what I was looking for in a dress — lace, tulle, satin, taffeta, a-line, empire waist, etc. were all words not in my vocabulary. I was a little apprehensive about finding THE dress. But truthfully, the entire process was wonderful and still remains as one of my favorite parts in planning our wedding.

I knew I wanted to keep my wedding dress in the $1,000 range and I wanted my mom to be with me when I was searching. Since I live in North Carolina and my mom lives in Pennsylvania, we made appointments in Pennsylvania during our visits up north throughout the summer and fall of 2013.

I started off at David’s Bridal and the consultants there were amazing. I picked out some styles I thought I would like and was able to narrow down some specifics of what exactly I liked and didn’t like (being that my fiancé reads my posts, I’m not going into any specifics regarding what I liked and disliked so he has no idea what my dress will look like). I found a few dresses I really liked, but didn’t have that “aha” moment (which I wasn’t sure I would have, period), so I decided to make 2 more appointments at local boutiques and a follow-up appointment at David’s to retry on the dresses I really liked.

The second dress shop I went to I found something I really liked within my budget, but again, I could find things wrong with it, and I feel like if you’re spending $1,000 on a dress, you shouldn’t find anything wrong with it (truthfully – those were words of my mother and she was right!). The third dress shop I went to, Renaissance Bridals, was very intimidating, at first. When I walked in and told the sales lady my budget, she informed me they didn’t have many dresses within that budget, but she would pull what she could find. And although I got nervous that I wouldn’t find anything I absolutely loved, my consultant quickly changed my mind. I told her our theme, what I wanted and didn’t want in a dress, and she pulled about 3 or 4 dresses for me to try. It was either the second or third dress I tried on and instantly knew it was the one (I didn’t want to take it off). To put it simply, I definitely had that aha moment I was afraid I wasn’t going to experience!

To be honest, at first I was a little skeptical to go into boutiques because my budget was on the lower end for a wedding gown, but, obviously, I’m so glad I did. I found a dress that I absolutely love within my budget. Most people told me I’d have to go to David’s Bridal in order to purchase my gown, and although, that was a great starting point and I loved my experience there, I am really happy I ignored the naysayers and went to the boutiques to look around. Wedding dress shopping turned out to be a blast and something I will cherish forever, as I got to experience it all with my mother and grandmother, and I can’t wait to reveal my dress to my fiancé!

Favorite Wedding Dresses from BHLDN


What was your favorite part about wedding dress shopping?

What was your least favorite part?

Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here

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