Fact: I love Say Yes to the Dress. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine, and if there’s a marathon on, you bet your butt I’ll be sitting on the couch watching it. But as much as I love it, the show made me fear the day I had to go wedding dress shopping for myself. Just watch one 30-minute episode, and you’ll understand why.
I’m not the girl who has been dreaming of her wedding her whole life. And quite frankly, I never even saw myself getting married. On top of that, I absolutely despise wearing dresses – and I hate shopping for them even more. So when the day came that I had to schedule my wedding dress appointment, I was overwhelmed with so many different emotions that I didn’t know whether I was excited or straight up terrified.
Wedding dress shopping has come and gone, and I’m so happy that I said YES to the dress. Looking back, there are some things I wish I knew before going wedding dress shopping. So, I’m passing this knowledge on to you. Here are six things no one tells you about wedding dress shopping.
1. If You Don’t Know What You Want, Try on Everything
Sure, it’s time-consuming – and a little bit overwhelming. But if you’re a bride that doesn’t normally wear dresses or has no idea what will flatter your body, ask your consultant to bring you a wide variety of styles. Once I did this, I quickly found the style that looked good on me. And guess what? It’s the one style I swore I “didn’t want.”
2. Accessories Can Make or Break a Dress
Once I got a good idea of what style dress I wanted, my consultant started bringing over sashes for me to try on with the dresses – and what a difference it made! Dresses that I was indifferent about turned into some of my favorites after putting on a sash. In fact, I initially said that my dress looked like a tablecloth. But the second we put on a sash with some bling, the dress transformed into something I “sort of liked.” Add a headband to it, and BAM! I broke down in tears because I knew it was the one.
3. Every Bride is Comparing Themselves to the Other Brides
At the beginning of dress shopping, I found myself looking over to the bride next to me thinking, “wow, she looks good in every dress she puts on.” I was constantly comparing myself to her (and the other girls around me) instead of focusing on myself. I later found out that the girl who came in after me was comparing herself to me and felt the exact same way I did earlier. We’re our own worst critics, and comparing ourselves to other brides doesn’t help. My advice? Be happy for other brides when they find their dress, but don’t compare yourself to them along the way.
4. Don’t Focus on the Size
For brides that have been focusing on losing weight before the wedding (like myself), it can be incredibly disappointing when you see your wedding dress size. Just remember- bridal gowns are sized differently than normal clothes. If you wear a 6 or 8 on a normal day, you may be wearing a 12 or 14 on your wedding day. Focus on how you feel in the dress – not the number on the tag.
5. You May Have a Meltdown
After trying on nearly 20 dresses, I was overwhelmed because I didn’t really love anything I tried on. When I finally narrowed it down to my final three, I still wasn’t loving any of them. And it led to a full-blown meltdown – anxiety attack, tears, swear words, and all. After some encouraging words from my sister/ matron of honor, I realized that I was stressing way too much about what my fiance wanted instead of focusing on how I looked and felt in the dresses. Once I walked out of the dressing room with an open mind, I was able to find the perfect dress for me.
6. You May Not Love Your Dress Right Away
Even after I left David’s Bridal, I was still unsure that I picked out the dress. I looked at pictures online and thought to myself, “are you sure that really looked good on you?”And then I looked at my receipt and saw the dress was ivory instead of white, which led to a full-blown anxiety attack because I had it in my head that my dress was going to be yellow. I ended up going back to David’s Bridal to make sure that I liked the dress in ivory and spent the next two days looking at pictures of real brides wearing my dress. It took a good three or four days until I truly felt like I made the right choice. It took some time, but now, I’m completely in love with my dress.
Looking back, I wish I would’ve been less stressed about wedding dress shopping. I was so terrified about the whole experience that I didn’t really get to enjoy myself. You only get one (or two or three) opportunities to try on wedding dresses – so take advantage of it. And most of all, have fun!