10 Things No One Tells You About Wedding Dress Shopping

In an effort to keep myself in check and not talk too much about wedding stuff, I’ve decided to do Wedding Wednesday. Each Wednesday my post will (probably) be wedding related. If you don’t want to read wedding stuff, skip it and I’ll see you back here on Thursday. If you do, great! Thanks for letting me fully enjoy this special time in our lives.

10 things no one tells you about wedding dress shopping

1. Eat first!

Sure, you might want to be your skinniest self but it’s not fun to be starving while trying on dresses. The dresses are heavy and getting in and out of them can take a bit of effort. An afternoon appointment combined with an empty stomach led to a low blood sugar, grumpy version of me at one appointment.

2. And hit the ladies room too.

Nothing sucks more than putting on a gown and realizing how bad you have to pee. Plus, since you are generally going gown to gown to gown, pausing the whole process to put your own clothes back on and high tailing it to the ladies room is kind of a buzz kill.

3. Get used to getting (almost) naked in front of strangers.

Some salons asked nicely if I wanted them to come in and others, well they just came on in. I preferred when they asked vs. assumed that I was okay with this.

As a side note, I think this might have been proportional to how expensive the dresses were but I can’t say for sure. Having a consultant help you get in to the dresses does keep people from stepping on the fabric and ripping it etc. and in some cases it really was helpful.

4. Your consultant can completely change the tone of the appointment.

An enthusiastic consultant can start the appointment off right. A grumpy, snooty consultant can make things a little more challenging and caused more self-consciousness for me personally. At one salon I was told by the consultant that with my “lower budget” there were only about 10 dresses in the store I could try on. Okay, sure, I get that. But you still should treat me like I’m worth your time.

I found that my favorite consultants were the more “Mom like” ladies. At one store I had an older lady named Edna and I found I was most comfortable working with her vs. someone my age.

5. You might like exactly what you thought you’d like.

I was told by many people to “try on all different styles” and that “you might like something you never thought you’d like”. I heard story after story of brides trying on a dress they knew wouldn’t work and then ta-da! it was the one. And while that was true on some level (I liked the poofy dresses more than I thought I would), I still liked the dresses I thought I would like.

Nope. Nope. Nope. p.s. Fiance has been asked to not read this post. Obviously.
Nope. Nope. Nope.
p.s. Fiance has been asked to not read this post. Obviously.

6. The people who love you will shock you.

I texted photos of me in dresses to my Mom, Step-mom, and best friend and found that nearly all of them could pick the dress they knew I liked the best. I thought it was a fluke at first but they continued to surprise me. They really know me. Almost better than I know myself.

7. The person whose opinion you may want most can’t help you.

Every time I was almost convinced that this dress was the dress, all I wanted was my fiancé’s opinion. As I debated between an A-line style and something more form-fitting, I could hardly resist showing him photos to get his opinion. But if you are a little traditional deep down, this might be a no-go for you, as it was for me.

To me, this was by far the biggest challenge.

8. You might not be able to see the cost-quality correlation.

While there are some dresses that you can tell are made with cheaper materials, for a lot of the dresses, I just couldn’t tell. I’d look at a dress and think because it was simple that it might be cheaper and it would be $1,900. Then I’d see another that had elaborate detail and was sure it would be pricy and found it to be $699. Maybe some people can spot the higher quality items but for many dresses, I found that I couldn’t.

9. Try the boutiques and the chain store.

I had great experiences at both boutique type bridal salons and the big chain store (David’s Bridal). At the boutique salons, I found that the personal attention they gave you was nice, albeit a little much at times. They really focus on you. They are also more likely to have upcoming trunk shows which can get you 10-20% off that specific designer during the designated time.

At the chain store, I found that each consultant was working with 2-3 brides at a time. It was a lot less personal attention but I actually really liked that. It gave me time alone with my Mom to talk about how we really feel about the dress without feeling like we couldn’t be honest because the consultant was hovering. I also found the chain store to be a little less snooty.

Each experience was different and I would urge every bride to give each a shot because you never know what you might like.

10. Be honest with yourself about what you are self-conscious about.

Wedding dress shopping is the ultimate test of how well you dress for your body type and how aware you are about what you are self-conscious about.

I don’t love my arms so I walked in and insisted on sleeves (at the very least, a cap sleeve) because I knew I’d feel self-conscious in a strapless style. I feel like my back is just a regular back (i.e. it’s nothing special) so I knew I didn’t want an open back style. That said, I liked the styles that emphasized my waist and found that those that hugged my waist and hips made me feel best. You know your body and you know what you are most comfortable in.

 With all that said and at least 50 dresses tried on,  guess who still doesn’t have her dress? This girl. But hey, I’m having a ton of fun with this process.

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