This post has absolutely nothing to do with beauty and everything to do with my upcoming wedding. I’m five months in and I’m already overwhelmed by all these decisions I have to make. Blogging about it just makes me feel better. I’m a bride-to-be on a small budget and while you may have read my first wedding related post, I’m ready to embrace my small budget. If you’re looking for really extravagant, fairy-tale wedding ideas and what not, you’ve come to the wrong place. I won’t be offended if you want to stop reading. Remember, I’m a broke bride-to-be. So let’s get to my latest dilemma.
Earlier this month, I booked a last minute appointment to visit a bridal salon that was having a sample sale. I thought, why not go? I love dress shopping so even if I didn’t fall in love with a dress, I figured I’d walk away with a great experience. But that’s the thing. I did walk away with a dress. Well, I walked away and then I came back 45 minutes later.
I stepped in to a local bridal boutique with the lowest expectations a bride-to-be could possibly have. My mom and my aunt were my plus ones to this appointment. I was greeted by my bridal stylist who went over the questionnaire I filled out which addressed my name, my venue and most importantly, my budget.
We sifted through the racks of gowns and I picked up my favorites. I wanted to be open minded because I had only been to one bridal appointment prior so I was willing to try on every style they had. Among a bunch of poofy tulle, beaded ball gowns and more, I tried on a sexy satin one-shoulder number (I don’t want to give away too many details) that was super flattering on my figure. To be honest, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. But it was love. It was the 2nd dress I tried on and every time I slipped in to a different sample, I compared it to “the 2nd dress.”
Our one-hour appointment happened so quickly there wasn’t time for me to try it on one last time but the stylist was sweet enough to write it down on a note card in case I decided to come back. We left to go across the street and have brunch of Founding Farmers and it was during our 45-minute wait for an outside table, I contemplated if I should go back. You know, if it was “meant to be.” Oh, and did I mention it was on sale? It was originally a $2,000 dress on sale for $799. I mean, damn, when are you ever going to find a deal like that?! I’m incredibly indecisive but to think about the fact that another gal could walk in there, try on that same dress and buy it made me sad. So we went back.
Now, “my dress” is hanging in my closet. Since I came home, every day I’ve unzipped my garment bag, examined it for a few minutes and zipped it back up. I can’t tell if that’s a sign that I love it just that much or if I’m having second thoughts. Which led me to Googling, “is it normal to have second thoughts about the wedding dress?” and other like-minded queries.
I guess I imagined this moment where the bride-to-be tries on a dress and everyone breaks in to tears like they do on Say Yes to The Dress and I Found The Gown. Except, I didn’t have that moment at all. I found a dress that actually was the opposite of what I wanted, but it was gorgeous and it made me feel good.
So, what say you? Should I ignore my second thoughts? Is it a sign I should keep looking?
Photography by Rachel McGinn Photography via The EveryGirl
1. LOVE a great dress on sale, despite popular belief this will only be worn once. That would have definitely put me over the edge too. 2. I think the proliferation of Pinterest has given most brides I know anxiety whether they chose the right dress/venue/flowers/cake because we have such greater access to what is out there and what has been done. You’re gorgeous and so many dresses would look great on you, and you’re wedding could easily turn out a hundred different ways. You are also very dialed in to cutting edge style and trends, so I think it is completely normal that you have a heightened expertise in the area and could be overwhelmed by the thought of choosing one look for yourself. I don’t think there is ever one right choice and that “bridal moment” has to happen, but it’s whether you are comfortable, content, and excited about the dress you do land on. So excited for you!
Thank you! The price point definitely helped and you’re right– I am comfortable, content and truly excited for my wedding and that’s all that matters right now. Miss you girl! Hope all is well.
Ugh. I’m sorry you’re torn. You’ll probably get a million opinions here too. Don’t buy into the hype. Your marriage is what matters. The people at your wedding matter. Just trust your gut but don’t allow external pressure of how things “should” be or how you “should” feel about your dress or anything else to dictate your day. It can create a whirlwind of anxiety and stress and it’s not worth it. If you want you can look around and you’ve got this dress if nothing jumps out at you more than what you have. Since you’re being practical about budget, which is way sexier than forcing something because you have to have it, this might be as good as it gets. And that’s ok. Or maybe something else will jump out at you, and that’s ok. Is the value you place on it and your attitude that will determine how big of a deal this is. Everybody will love it and give you compliments no matter what. It’s really about glowing from the inside out. Make it work if you have to, but explore a little more if you want to. Good luck. And I can’t stress this more. .. Just don’t buy into overly emotional, spoiled women who don’t get it. I can tell you’re so not one of those.
Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment! I completely agree with everything you said and since posting this, I already feel so much better about the decision I made.
When I got married three years ago, I went shopping for a dress without any expectations in mind. I never dreamed about a princess gown, I never thought about what I would look like as a bride… honestly, weddings aren’t really my thing. I went to two different dress shops and it was the last dress of the day that made me feel like, “Okay, I can do this.” It’s a gorgeous dress, it fit me perfectly, and I wasn’t so much in love with the dress itself as I was with how it made me feel. I didn’t have a teary, oh-my-gosh moment. David Tutera didn’t clap his hands together and chant magical wedding incantations at me. I looked at my options and made a choice that I loved.
When you look at the dress and feel like it’s “you,” and you feel your most beautiful in it, that’s how you know you’ve picked the right one. Look in the mirror, exhale, and whatever you choose, wear it with confidence. Congratulations on your wedding!
As a plus-sized bride, I ran into a similar but different issue. Was the dress I picked THE dress? Was I settling because I should just be happy to have found a dress I liked, even if I didn’t have one of the “Oh Randy! It’s Perfect!” sobbing moments like they sell you on TLC?
What I keep having to tell myself is that the dress isn’t the most important part of the day. Getting MARRIED is the only goal. My fiance will think I’m the most beautiful girl in the world no matter what I wear. Does the dress make me feel good? Yes. Is it pretty? Yes. Is it in my budget? Yes. THEN HAPPY DAY, MAMA.
Your fiance is going to be absolutely BESIDE HIMSELF when he sees you coming down that aisle. You will be glowing. All of the worries are going to melt away. So, my dear, celebrate the fact that you have a gorgeous gown at a great price 🙂 It will all fall into place on your big day! Plus, I know you will accessorize it perfectly and your make up will be on point. Those are two things you have going for you already!
P.S. High five for keeping the budget small! We moved our wedding to Florida after seeing the prices up here in DC. $14K doesn’t do much in The District (or Montgomery County, for that matter <3 )
Ashley, thank you so much for the sweet comment. I guess I’ve watched too many episodes of SYTTD. Just writing about my experience made me more confident in my decision.
Ugh– to DC/MoCo wedding costs. WHY must they be so expensive?! I’m getting married in my Greek church in DC and they happen to have a ballroom that they rent out for weddings and special events. Lucky for me it’s pretty cost-effective, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do a DC wedding. But I’ll save more of those details for another wedding post. 🙂
Kara – I did the same thing! I went to three bridal salons in one day and the dress I ended up buying was the very last dress I tried on that day. it was totally opposite then what I set out to get but it looked great on me and made both my mom and MIL cry (not me) so I figured it has to be the one right? Oh and it was over budget but my mom said she didn’t care and that she would pay for it. I called the day after – told the bridal shop owner not to order it and that I wanted to come back in to be sure. Came back in the following week, tried it on again along with some other dresses but ended up ordering the original:) It all worked out and I’m sure the dress you got will be amazing – especially once you get all the final tweaks and you have your hair/make up did. Recommendation – time one of your final fittings on the same day you do you hair/make up trial so you can see what you will look like on the day of! It made me feel so much better. You will be a gorgeous bride and it’s okay you didn’t have that OMG moment or cry – it will be perfect!
Ah, so glad you found this! I was thinking of reaching out to you to get your advice! That’s so funny and I love that you ended up getting the original. You looked beautiful on your wedding day! Thanks for reading! xo
I am also a bride-to-be and yes, I think it’s totally normal not to have that crying “this is it” moment. I ordered my dress via BHLDN because it was on sale (girl on a budget!) and my size was one of two left. I knew if I didn’t at least try it on I would be devastated when it sold out. My mom and two best friends were with me when I tried it on the first time. I thought it was verrrrrry pretty (I’m short and it makes me look taller!) and it made my friends bawl (an unexpected but flattering plus).
I continue to try dresses on at different shops but I always walk away thinking none of them are even half as good as what I have now. So maybe I didn’t cry the second I slipped “my dress” on, but it’s beautiful, makes me look good and my mom and friends adore it. What more can a girl ask for?!
My advice is to go for a few more appointments and compare the dresses there to what you have. If you find a better deal or fall in deep love, you can always sell “your dress” on a wedding re-sell site. Or you’ll discover what you have is perfect, and it will make you feel better knowing what else is out there isn’t nearly as beautiful.
I have an appointment scheduled with BHLDN in August! Since I booked that appointment and one more boutique prior to finding this dress, I’ve decided to follow through with those fittings just to to see. Thanks for the great advice! I really appreciate it.
I think you found your dress, but yes, it’s very normal to think twice about it. I didn’t know I wanted my wedding dress when I tried it on, but that feeling of comparing it to everything else you’ve seen, and it’s always the better choice, is something you need to listen to! Your gut says yes, and your brain is second-guessing. It doesn’t hurt to keep looking – but congrats on finding THE DRESS!
Thank you for the great advice! I’ll keep this in mind. Just writing about this made me feel better already about my decision.
My first experience in a bridal salon was also not the relaxing afternoon that I hoped for. Although i hadn’t dreamt of it all my life, unlike most women I knew, I thought I would at least feel pampered and taken care of. Instead, the salesperson was rushing me in and out of dresses, and then completely MIA for the last 15 mins. I too ended up walking out feeling pressured to find something, but hesitant to get a dress that I wasn’t swooning over — so I was also empty handed. That afternoon, I went back to seek out “the perfect dress” once again, that I hadn’t yet found even a glimpse of. And, this time, I found one I didnt see before that was hiding at the back of the sample rack. Perhaps someone had just put it back, or it was there all along ( like out of a cheesy chick flick) who knows. I hurried to try it on, and it certainly wasn’t perfect in every way. In fact, it was falling off of me and ten sizes too big (noone tells you that is typical for the sample). However, after pinning it closed with clothes pins and putting on heels, I felt like it suited me. It was simple, comfortable, and elegant – like I wanted. Lesson learned for me that day, and looking back five years into marriage now…find something that makes you feel like you, but even more beautiful. Maybe your dress isn’t perfect, but it sounds pretty close! So, perhaps you should not to look at it for an entire day and then do up your makeup, slip on your favorite heels, and try it again. You may just find its the right one!
Hello! I’m from Venezuela but I’m currently on vacations in Florida. Thank God I found your blog, I feel better knowing I’m not the only one who’s had second thoughts about the dress. I bought mine yesterday, this was like the whole purpose of my trip. I love the dress I bought, it makes me feel so pretty, the thing is I think I tried too many dresses, now I’m like regretting not buying one of the many options I had. The one I bought was also on sale, how do you say no to that? Haha anyways, I’m pretty sure we both made a great choice, let’s hope so, reading you talk about your budget and your experience just made me feel better. Thank you!