After weeks of nonstop grading, a much-needed trip to my hometown, wedding cake tasting and flower picking, celebrating my dad’s 60th birthday, and several cuddle sessions with our family cat, Bella, I have finally found time for Saying Yes to the Dress: Part 2.
My sister and I decided to match at my dad’s 60th birthday party. We also decided to practice different poses while taking pictures:
I call the series below Bella with Katherine’s Laptop (and doesn’t help grade):
Now that I’ve overloaded you with pictures, let’s get on to the actual post.
Before dress shopping, I got a few tips from friends and websites on how to best approach the whole process. Most of the tips were simple: set a budget, scout ideas beforehand (while also being open to other choices), take a few favorite people with you to each store, and keep your store visitations to a select few places.
Well, I did really well with the first three: I set a very clear budget in the beginning and stuck to it, screenshotted dresses on Pinterest and cut some out of magazines, took my mother to every single dress shop (except for one, when my sister tagged along as well), and made initial appointments at three dress shops that I had researched extensively online. I just knew that I was going to find THE dress at one of these first appointments, because that’s what my friends and every single TV/movie featuring wedding dress shopping had told me.
Guess what? I was wrong.
If you read my last blog post, you know that somewhere between the 3rd and 9th bridal store visit, I disappeared into a tulle-induced frenzy where I was determined to try on every single dress that I might REMOTELY like. I was on a crazy dress path and it was going downhill fast. I was waiting for that “ah-ha” moment when I put on the dress and everyone around me starts clapping and crying instantly. I’m not making that part up–I’ve literally read a blog post where a bride said this happened to her. So, in my crazy bridal mind, I was determined to have that same moment because, dammit, why not! I tried and retried dresses, determined to have an ah-ha moment of my own.
But then, something my best friend said to me brought me back to reality: “The TV/movies lie to you. The dress is important, but it doesn’t make the wedding, and definitely doesn’t make the marriage.” (I’m totally paraphrasing because I can’t find the original text).
There is a reason we have best friends, and it’s for times like these. Her simple text reminded me that just because the “ah-ha this is the dress” moment happens all the time in the media doesn’t mean that it has to happen to me. Every person’s dress shopping experience is different, and every PERSON is different.
This is the same rule that applies to the reaction to getting proposed to. Even though I always pictured that I would cry, as that’s what you see in the movies/etc, I instead started in utter shock at the ring. On an unrelated note, I’ve also started to think that men holding women’s purses when they shop is not a real thing, but something started in commercials/TV shows. More on this to come.
After this text, I slowly came back to reality and the rest of the wedding dress shopping experience became a little easier, as outlined in my first post. Here, I want to share a few dress shopping guidelines–as it there weren’t enough already out there–to remind other soon-to-be-brides that it’s okay if the “ah-ha” moment takes some time, or happens in a different way than you expected.
Wordifications’ Endorsed Wedding Dress Shopping Guidelines
1. Plan beforehand. Like I outlined above, going in with an idea of the dress you’re looking for is key. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s a helpful reminder.
2. Say no and be firm to dresses you are not interested in. You will be offered plenty of dresses that are not your type or are too pricey. Just because that trick works on other customers–oh, you love the dress? oh, it’s $500 over your budget? oh, you want it anyway? perfect!–doesn’t mean it has to work on you. I’m a perennially nice person when it comes to interacting with salespeople, often too timid to really speak my mind, but I said no when necessary.
3. The step above helps trim down your dressing room options, which is key. You don’t want to take a bunch of dresses you don’t actually like back to the dressing room, and waste your time trying them on, when your dream dress is probably somewhere else in the store. Especially in stores that have a strict appointment time limit, say yes to only your favorite picks.
4. At the same time, say yes to different styles–within reason. Like, if you know you will never, ever want to wear a huge ball gown type dress, then mark those off completely. But, if you know you are open to, say, strapless, even though it’s not your first choice, then try on some strapless dresses. You never know, you might find the dress this way. Let’s just say that’s how I found mine–although my dress doesn’t fall into any of the above categories. Like I would give away what the dress looks like on this blog!
My emotions (in gif form, of course) about halfway through the whole dress shopping process:
5. Don’t put your hopes on one store. Let me repeat. DON’T PUT YOUR HOPES ON ONE STORE. This was the big dress shopping mistake I made and it ultimately lead to my wedding dress-shopping-frenzy. I was so disappointed that I hadn’t found the dress at this specific store that SO many people had vouched for, that I spun out into a wedding panic.
Which store, you ask? Well, about 2 1/2 hours away from my hometown in TN is Low’s Bridal & Formal, which so happens to house the largest bridal selection in the mid-south. Sounds perfect, right? My mom and I heard about the store and, after asking for opinions on FB on whether or not a visit to the store was worth it and getting a resounding yes from many people who got their dress there, I made an appointment. After such praiseworthy FB comments, I was positive that I was going to find THE DRESS here. Like, steroid-induced confidence positive. And I did find many lovely dresses at this store, ultimately whittling it down to two favorites. Yet, while I was looking for the “THIS IS THE ONE!” moment, I instead spun off in a totally different direction: stressed, anxious, and confused. Sure, I had found some lovely dresses, but none of them were THE dress. Instead of feeling excited that I had found good options, I was stressed about the whole process and upset at the blind confidence I had placed in the store after hearing such rave reviews about it. I had planned on walking out with a dress purchased, and I instead walked out (well, rather, hobbled-I was still in the boot from my fracture!) confused, angry, and a little bitter, which is SO not the emotion you want to get from wedding dress shopping.
The visit to Low’s slowed down the whole process a bit instead of speeding it up, as I had hoped. Even though many, many people raved about the store, I finally accepted that their positive reviews didn’t mean jack if I wasn’t finding the dress I wanted, even in a store that looked like it was straight out of “Say Yes to the Dress.”
Ultimately, going to 12 different stores paid off–I found THE dress, and I’ll be going to try MY DRESS on in a week and a half. However, if I had known some of the above reminders going in to the whole process, especially the fifth one, the process would have been a little easier. I finally had to remind myself: There are thousands of dress shops with millions of dresses (not really sure on that math) and NO WAY to try on every single one. I had to put aside my inner perfectionist and, once I did, I was able to calm down long enough to say yes to the perfect dress.