So last week we introduced the Bridal Bitching series, the series where I give you my best tips I learned from planning my own wedding. Yeah, this Type B bitch planned a wedding, it CAN be done people!
This week, let’s chat about dress shopping.
Going in to the process, I thought that this would be the absolute hardest part of planning a wedding… I was surprisingly wrong. I approached dress shopping very methodically and think I did a pretty good job so here are some of my tips. Saddle up with a spicy marg, this one’s gonna be long!
I did a SHIT ton of research on dresses. By research, I mean I stalked Instagram, Pinterest, and wedding websites for dresses I liked and then noted the designer. I knew I wanted something unique, flattering, and some what classic but wasn’t obsessed with a certain style (mermaid, ballgown, etc).
Wedding dresses all start to look the same after a while so to be honest, I was mostly underwhelmed just looking at dresses on other people… but that all changes once you put them on.
We were going to be visiting family in Dallas over Thanksgiving so I thought it would be a good time to do a first round of dress shopping. I googled which salons in Dallas had the designers I liked most from stalking/researching and just made appointments at those salons.
Even if you’re not dead set on a designer, this helps to just filter out salons because there are tons you can choose from, and most likely if they carry a designer you like, they will carry other designers with similar styles.
I only made appointments at two salons because I truly didn’t think I would find it on the first try and I am also lazy and was most concerned with getting margaritas at some point during the day.
**Side note: ask about try on policies and pictures policies. I know some places only let you try on a limited number of dresses and won’t allow pictures. If this is something that may bug you, then take note.**
Okay, are they even actually called Bridal Salons? I keep saying it and feels right but I could be wrong, can someone Google that for me?
Anyways, once you get to the bridal salon or whatever you want to call it, most likely they will pair you with a sales consultant. I lucked out and got good people helping me but if you’re a picky bitch (#respect) then maybe tell the salon that when making an appointment because you want someone who will be able to work with you easily.
At both salons, my girl let me pick out any gown I wanted. She helped to guide me a little but for the most part, she kind of let my mom, sisters, and me have at it. I HIGHLY suggest trying stuff on that isn’t exactly what you would have imagined.
I totally thought I would end up with a full skirt and have a total bridal moment but I got the exact opposite. You want to keep an open mind because even though you like it on the hanger/another bride/a model, it might not always be flattering on you.
Don’t be afraid to be 100% honest with your consultant too, they can be a good buffer between you and the guests you brought along to try on dresses, especially if they’re bossy guests (aka moms, grandmas, mother in laws, sisters, angry friends, etc). If you hate a dress your mom picked out, tell the consultant in the dressing room and then she can help have your back when you tell mom, hell to the nah.
My two sisters were there and took a million pictures for me. We shared them in an iCloud Photo Album so only we had access to them and I could go back and look at the different dresses I tried on.
Also, my sisters took pictures of me from every angle, not just the flattering ones. On your wedding day, people will be snapping pics of you when you’re not looking (especially old people) and if you have to suck it in the entire time for you to look good in the dress, you’ll probably hate yourself later. When you’re drinking, visiting, dancing, you WILL forget to suck it in and probably will regret that look. Another important thing about pictures is that when you’re having dress regret (we’ll talk more about that later) you can go back and look at all the other shitty dresses and realize you made the best choice.
Okay, this part is different for everyone. I loved the very last dress of the day that I tried on. It was unique, very flattering, and exactly what I never knew I wanted. After that dress, I thought about the other dresses a little but this one felt right so instead of trying on a million more dresses, I just pulled the trigger and went with it.
A lot of my friends didn’t have it so easy. They took weeks sometimes MONTHS to try on dresses at 10+ salons and had a hard time deciding.
My advice to people who are having that experience is this:
a. You are most likely NOT a celeb and this dress is not going to reinvent the wheel. I am all about a fashion moment but at some point, the difference between dresses is so slight that it’s only going to matter to you.
b. It is all about YOU. Pick what YOU like. Definitely respect people’s opinions but you are the one that is wearing it so make that a main priority. (Side Note: my dress is a slight blush color and someone very close to us made that a huge deal leading up to the wedding and you just have to remember that not everyone is going to love it.)
c. Keep price in mind. I was of the mindset that didn’t really give a shit about price which is… not smart. It is just a dress and you don’t want that shit eating in to your flower budget or even worse, alcohol budget.
d. Ask about alterations and how much that will approximately cost. I had no idea how expensive alterations were on wedding dresses (like, $1,000+ expensive). Some dresses will cost more to alter than others so that can help with coming to a decision.
e. (Last one, prommies) Which one do you look best in? Seriously, think about it. I loved this poofy Hayley Paige dress and was torn between it and the one I chose. The poofy dress was just not as flattering on me and I think made me look bigger than I am so that helped me make my decision too.
Okay, so you picked the dress, thank GOD, we have all been waiting for you to make up your mind. Now it’s time to pull out that CC and hit ’em up style. Here are a couple tips that I learned to cut costs a little.
A lot of my friends purchased their dress and then had it shipped to another state to avoid sales tax. Sales tax adds up when you’re spending thousands of dollars so this a good way to save some money.
Here’s my #1 advice to cut costs…
I purchased my dress semi-used.
Hear me out.
I LOVED my dress and when I tried it on at the salon and saw the price almost died. The cost was just not worth the reward to me so I was prepared to move on. My mom was probably more obsessed with that dress than I was and did some hard core internet digging. She found a dress shop in Florida that was selling their sample of the dress I wanted for 50% OFF.
They said that we could purchase the dress and once it got to my house, I had 7 days to make a decision and if I wasn’t satisfied with the quality then I could send it back.
I got the dress and looked it over with a fine tooth comb, made all my friends look at it, FaceTimed out of state friends to show them any concerns and they all were shocked in the great condition it was in. The only sign of wear was at the bottom of the dress from dust in the store and that part was going to have to be cut off anyways because I am fairly short.
So, yeah. I had a semi-used dress but it was 100000% worth it… and no one knew until I told them.
Okay, so here is the dress I went with!
Are you still with me? I know this was a long one but I hope it helped in some way!
Have you been wedding dress shopping before? Do you have any tricks of the trade that I didn’t mention? Help some sistas out!