Last week, I said yes to the dress! I still can't believe it. All of this engagement and wedding stuff still feels surreal sometimes. And I mean that in the best way possible. Planning a wedding is an experience you wait your whole life for! Especially as a girl. And when it finally happens, it almost doesn't feel real, like you're in a dream.
Finding your wedding dress is no exception to this.
After finding the venue and the photographer, this was my next thing to tackle. Dresses can take anywhere from 3 to 8 months to come in, and I didn't want to rush it or chance it, so I made sure to give myself plenty of time to look at dresses, try them on and make a decision without rushing the experience.
I got my dress at Ava Laurenne Bride (feel free to head on over to their website to check out their newly designed website by yours truly...that'll be coming soon enough to the blog!). And it was such an amazing experience! I got the princess treatment and let me tell you, I truly felt like a princess. It was the most wonderful evening filled wit surprises from friends, family, Catherine from Monkee's and it is something I will remember for the rest of my life.
The hardest thing about picking a dress is not telling Joe about it. I tell him everything; he's my best friend. And I got home from the appointment floating on cloud nine and it was so hard to not spill the beans to him all about the dress.
And while I won't share the details about my dress here, I am going to share about my experience what my tips are for not only finding the perfect dress but also how to have the best experience possible.
Do a little research beforehand. I think we all have a little bit of an idea of what kind of wedding dress we want when we walk into an appointment. With Pinterest and wedding magazines, it's hard not to have an idea of what we want. I sent a few photos to my consultant before going, and also mad a list of what was important to me. For me, I had two things that were 'must haves' (things like strapless, lace, poofiness, etc.) and after that, I left it to my consultant to make suggestions based on my style, wedding theme, and body type. These bridal shops have SO MANY DRESSES that it's hard to go through and see every single one. So that leads to my nest tip:
Trust your consultant. They're the professional! They know what dresses they have in the store, what would look best on your body type, what would match your style and so much more. The dress I ended up choosing had the two must-haves I wanted, but the rest was way different than what I thought I would have wanted. And that's because I trusted my consultant to choose a different style for me and it blew me away.
Be Open Minded. As I said in my last tip, I ended up choosing a dress that was different than what I initially thought I wanted. I went in just wanting to try things on and enjoy my time with my friends and family and having fun, and it made finding my dress so much more relaxing rather than stressing out about whether or not I would have that 'moment.' Because you will have it. And you'll know it in your heart.
Schedule it on a week day (if you can), I know this is hard. Our schedules are crazy, work is crazy, LIFE is crazy. But you know what else is crazy? A Saturday at a bridal salon. Seriously. If you want the true royal treatment, take a half day or an early afternoon and schedule you're appointment then. The consultants won't be running around like crazy and be able to spend more one-on-one time with you, you may even end up having the shop mostly to yourself rather than being one of multiple appointments.
Bring the most important people with you (not everyone!). I definitely can't stress this one enough. Only bring the most important and most supportive people alone with you, not everyone! Yes, I would have loved to have all of my friends there and everyone I want involved in the wedding, I mean, who doesn't want everyone to see them in their wedding dress and have a little attention on them?! But you know that term 'Too many cooks in the kitchen'? That definitely applies here. Only bring those who are going to be positive, supportive, and understand that this is is your decision and yours alone.
Be decisive and specific. Like I said before: it's your decision. If you don't like something, then you don't like it! Don't let someone else talk you into something. It's about you. But when you don't like something, be specific about why. This can help your consultant understand more about you and what you're looking for. So before taking the dress off, point out the specific things that you don't (or that you do!) like about the dress to help them determine what you're looking for.
Think alterations. So this was actually kind of a shock for me. I had no idea that dresses get so many alterations. I mean, I know they alter things to your body type and size, but I didn't realize that they added straps and belts and made things lower or higher, etc. In the end, almost no two dresses are the same! It's actually kind of crazy! Another bride and myself could pick the same dress, but with alterations and additions and subtractions, we could end up in two almost completely different dresses. So be sure to use your imagination a little bit and understand that you can make just about any change to make the dress your own.
A HUGE thank you to Ava Laurenne Bride for providing such an amazing experience and to my consultant (and sister!), Jeri, for making my wedding dress dreams come to life. I can't wait for Joe to see me in my wedding dress!
Do you have any tips on wedding dress shopping? Or want to share your experience? Share it with us my posting below! We'd love to hear!
Photos by Tim Souza Photography