My Wedding Dress Shopping Experience

Hey there, welcome back!

I am not typically one to get excited about shopping.. but this is THE DRESS.

**Girly Squeal**

My parents live out of state about eight hours away and I knew I wanted my mom to be with me when I found my dress. I am having a pretty large bridal party so I wanted this experience to be more intimate. I invited my mom, sister, maid of honor, and Jason’s mom (she raised two boys – so she is always excited to do girly things with me!). I had one day to find my dress.

Let me tell you that I had two pictures on my Pinterest board because I JUST KNEW that was the dress I wanted and there was no need to pin 32154623 dresses. As it turns out, finding a dress similar to what I wanted was more difficult than I thought (in my price range).

Given my budget-savvy ways, I was super happy to learn that a near-by town had a consignment wedding store. With my $500 wedding dress budget in tow, my entourage and I began our journey. I would love to tell you that I found my dress there for an amazing deal, but I didn’t, and honestly after visiting the other shops.. there wasn’t much saving of dollars to be done at that consignment shop. From there, we went to a different bridal boutique chain called USA Bridal. They carry all designer dresses, unbeknownst to me, but did end up having a killer rack of for-sale sample gowns. That is where we stayed and we were able to pull TONS of gowns because I had no idea what I wanted anymore.

 This is a good opportunity for advice. Even if you are dead-set on having a lace gown – try on at least one in chiffon and some other fabrics just to make sure!
I was pleasantly surprised. Did you know lace is super expensive? Me either.

wedding gown

What I thought was my dream gown from BridalBlissDesigns on Etsy



Now this doesn’t seem like a problem, but it really was. I went into this experience expecting the “mushy-gushy, cry like a baby, it’s the one” feeling, but I seriously loved the majority of dresses I tried on.

FYI – I never got that feeling, but I still love, LOVE my dress, so don’t necessarily expect
some extreme emotional connection like the movies if you simply aren’t that kind of gal

I narrowed it down to three or four, but I could not make a decision – I needed to walk away from the table. We left and went to David’s Bridal, because I made an appointment weeks ago and why wouldn’t I want to confuse myself a bit more? I tried on several dresses and learned that it was, in fact, possible for me to not like some. While I was there, I kept thinking about one dress in particular from USA Bridal.

We sped back to the store before it closed and tried on the one I was thinking of and one other that I liked (just to be sure!) I went with my gut and I am so happy that I did. I never imagined that I would wear something so beautiful, but it truly is gorgeous and makes me feel like a bride. That’s another thing – it actually looks like a wedding dress – which is something that I wanted. I will show you guys my dress eventually, but out of fear someone I know will read this.. I can’t post it quite yet. 

So my advice is this:

  • Do NOT try on a dress out of your price range.. I promise you will find one you can afford.
  • Don’t let words like “consignment” or “used” make you think you’re getting a good deal – shop around.
  • Smaller entourage = fewer opinions.
  • Don’t make impulsive decisions.
  • Don’t be afraid to go to those expensive designer boutiques – they have to sell their sample gowns too!

I would love to hear about your experience – good and bad – in the comment section below!

My dress may be fairly traditional – but check back next week for a post on my super unique (and budget friendly) bridesmaid dresses! I promise I will post pictures of those 

Favorite Wedding Dresses from BHLDN


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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