This may be the longest post I have written so far, and possibly ever, but I wanted to tell you my dress shopping story to help you avoid a similar situation of your own. I am pretty sure that we have all watched at least one episode of Say Yes To The Dress… well at least if you are on this website, you probably have. We all have this idea in our mind that wedding dress shopping, or a wedding in general, is all glitz and glam. Sure, we know there will be bumps, like a pushy bridesmaid, but besides that it’s all glitter and champagne, right? Wrong. But I’m not going to tell you what to expect from the whole planning process, at least not in this post, but the main goal is to have fun with everything. I want to share how dress shopping can be less than picture perfect. 9 times out of 10 shopping for your wedding dress will not be like Say Yes To The Dress, unless you are willing to spend a minimum of 5k for a dress, which are any of us? BUT don’t fear, it is in your hands to make it count!
My 1st shopping experience was less than stellar because of the stylist, but my group of gals made it better. I wish more than anything I would have asked for a different stylist at the first sign of moodiness, but I didn’t. I made two appointments for two dress shops, one was the ever-so-popular David’s Bridal, and the other was a boutique. I would have never made an appointment with the latter, but I found a Facebook post about the dresses being marked down, so I made the appointment anyway. I went to the appointment and didn’t find anything I liked, so I ended up going to David’s Bridal twice.
When it came to the time of appointments, I made sure to be one of the first customers of the day. I knew that If I arrived even 2 hours after they had opened, I wouldn’t get the attention I was looking for from the stylist. As soon as I arrived in David’s, the stylist asked what type of dress I wanted…this was practically the only thing I didn’t already have planned before getting engaged, so I was open to all options. My stylist then walked around the store picking up dresses and ushered me to the dressing room.
This was the first sign of how the day would go. I thought I would at least have the time to browse the aisles with my mom and find a few dresses that I liked, but according to my stylist, we weren’t allowed to look ourselves. My grandmother didn’t exactly like that idea, so she picked up a few on her own and brought them back to the dressing room, only to be barked at that the stylist was supposed to pick each and every dress…excuse me? I must have forgotten that you have known me forever and know my likes and dislikes.
After I began trying on dresses, the stylist asked my budget. I said I would like to stay around $500 and she gave me a look of disappointment. My mom then asked if I could try on one of the dresses from a mannequin, the stylist said it was extremely out of our budget and we should pay attention to the prices. Well, we were, and it was in our budget, I guess she didn’t want to spend the time taking it off of the mannequin though.
I was in and out of several dresses in a half hour, they all looked the same to me and I didn’t like the style. After a while my sister and cousin went to find a dress, they ended up finding the dress I fell in love with. I had a few questions for the stylist but she was nowhere to be found, remember my reasoning for being the first customer in the store? My grandmother picked out a veil and headpiece for me to try with the dress, since the stylist hadn’t reappeared in a while. When the she came back 15 minutes later she was appalled that I had accessories which she didn’t place on me herself. At this point, I had had enough of this lady, but I really thought this was the dress. I told her I wasn’t interested and left.
Two weeks later I made another appointment at Davids and I tried on some new dresses with a new stylist. I liked them, but they just weren’t the first one that I loved. I put the original dress and we all were crying, I obviously knew that was the one. I was so happy to go back and have a better experience when I actually bought my dress.
In-between the stylist’s crazy antics and rude comments, we made sure to make the most of it. Here are some tips on making your wedding dress shopping dreams come true:
Don’t bring everyone. A lot of brides tend to think their family, entire bridal party, and next-door neighbor need to be there to choose a dress, they don’t! I brought my sister (MOH), cousin (bridesmaid), mom, grandmother and aunt. It was perfect having a variety of opinions, but also a smaller group to make it special.
Stick to your budget. If you try on a dress $500 over budget, you are likely to fall in love with it. If you only try on dresses you can afford, I am sure you will still find one you love.
Have an open mind. You may hate a dress on the rack, but once you put it on and it fits like a glove, you could quickly change your mind.
Stay happy. This is a piece of advice I needed. Throughout the day I would get frustrated with my stylist, but my family helped make it better and we laughed until we cried.
Start early. This will allow you to really take your time and find exactly what you are looking for.
Check online. Once you have a dress, check online using the style number. There are several websites that you can use to check out real dresses on real brides.
Enjoy it! You only get to say yes to the dress once, and you want it to be a fun, memorable experience. Laugh throughout the day, try new things and have a good time with the people you brought along. This is a big part of the wedding planning process so have as much fun with it as you can!
Favorite Wedding Dresses from BHLDN
Best of luck with your wedding dress shopping!
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.