A couple weekends ago, I picked up my wedding dress. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) It's now hanging in my closet in an opaque bag so Pat won't see it when he's in Colorado. I stare at it -- even though it's all zipped up and I can't even see it -- I sit on my bed and stare at it.
Sheep's gettin real, you guys. We are getting maaaaaaaaaaarried.
So anyway. I wanted to tell you about my experience shopping for a wedding dress! Broken into thoughts. Because.
(This post turned into a much longer post than I expected. Oops! There's your warning.)
ATTEMPTING TO BE NON-TRADITIONAL
I was open to the idea of a non-traditional wedding dress -- meaning either a tea-length dress or a dress off the rack in a department store. I ran into trouble though and ended up getting a traditional Wedding Dress.
When I tried just going to stores like Macy's to look, it turned out they didn't really have white dresses in the middle of winter. Imagine that. And I did want my dress to be white or white-ish -- ivory or champagne or something. I wanted to find the dress sooner rather than later because I knew if I ended up with a traditional wedding gown, it takes time to find and order and alter and all that. So I abandoned the department-store idea pretty quickly.
For the tea-length dress idea, the trouble was that stores don't tend to actually have them on hand -- they are online or in the catalogs, but of the three places we went shopping, I think I found one or two tea-length dresses -- that was it. So since they didn't work for me, that was it for that idea. I didn't want to order a dress without trying it on, so that meant no online orders.
Moral of the story: if you have more patience than I do or more faith in ordering dresses without trying them on, this might work for you. Otherwise...
BOUTIQUE VS. DAVID'S BRIDAL
I went to three places -- two boutiques and then finally David's Bridal. My experience at each place varied, but the boutiques were definitely similar to each other. Still, I ended up getting my dress from David's Bridal. The boutiques were better experiences, but I don't know if that's just because I didn't like my salesperson at David's Bridal. Has anyone else gotten theirs at David's Bridal? My lady was VERY sales-y and kind of fake. But I didn't have that experience buying my bridesmaid dress for Simone's wedding at a different location, so maybe it was just her.
GETTING NAKED WITH A STRANGER
Even if you go with bridesmaids and/or your mom, be prepared to get VERY friendly with a stranger. At the first boutique, the girl helping me said I could have my sisters do it instead, but it was easier to work with her since she knew how the dresses worked. At the second place, I wasn't allowed to put the dresses on myself -- the girl had to be the one to get me in and out of the dress (which for most dresses I needed help anyway). And at David's Bridal, I was by myself, so I never had the option of someone else helping me.
So be prepared to be pretty nakedy with a lot of people when you go dress shopping.
All of them offered me a strapless bra to try on with the dresses, which I didn't need, but I guess it's cool they had the option? The second boutique offered me a slip so I wouldn't be quite so naked with a stranger. David's Bridal was actually pretty pushy (again, might have just been my lady) and I ended up wearing one of their bras -- I think because they're hoping I'll buy it.
GOING IT ALONE
It's maybe smart to go by yourself to at least one appointment. I went to the first boutique when my family visited me in Colorado, the second when I was home for Thanksgiving, so I had my family/friends/bridesmaids/someone with me at both the boutiques. I wanted them to be there when I found my dress. But I'm a very empathetic person, so if they got excited about a dress, I think I got more excited about it than I would have otherwise. So when I went to David's Bridal by myself, I was a little sad that I was by myself, but I knew when I loved my dress that I loved it.
BRING A SELFIE STICK IF YOU HAVE TO
For the love of Jim, have someone take pictures of every dress you like. The very first boutique we were thisclose to buying a dress, but we left without buying it so I could think about it. The more I looked at the pictures of it, the more I knew I didn't want it to be my dress. (It was like, half a size too small. I would have had to buy all kinds of spanx and hope that it smoothed me out and made it look like my size.) Without the pictures, I probably would have bought the dress -- the issues revealed by the pictures were harder to see in real life. But this is probably going to be the single most photographed moment of my life, so I want a dress that's flattering in person and in photos.