The day I went wedding dress shopping with my bridesmaids, I was so excited! I literally couldn’t wait to try on all the dresses and have my own ‘yes to the dress’ moment! But as soon as I walked through those glass doors, I was bombarded with rows and rows of different dresses and different shades of white. I was so overwhelmed with choice that I started to panic. What had I gotten myself into? I hadn’t done any research and I didn’t know where to start or the type of dress I was looking for. I had this unrealistic expectation of ‘seeing my dress from across the room’ and just knowing. I was totally unprepared.
I walked through each row and found long, short, beaded, high neck, halter neck, low back, corset (just to name a few) kinds of dresses. I decided I would try one of each but I was told by the sales assistant that I could only try on 3 dresses per booking. (That meant I’d have to book another appointment if I wanted to try on more dresses). That made things more difficult. By the time we went on our 3rd shopping trip; I was done. I was ready to call it quits because I couldn’t make up my mind and I felt like I was burdening my entourage with these constant shopping days. I was tired and fed up and didn’t feel that ‘yes to the dress’ moment with any that I tried on. It wasn’t until the last hour of that day that I found a dress I liked.
It was a trumpet styled dress covered in lace with a low back. It had a scoop neckline and a beautiful short trail. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw a very mature version starring back at me. My Maid of Honour was on the verge of tears (she never cries) and my bridesmaids were nodding. This dress had to be the one. Then to confirm it more, a young girl walking past gasped at me, saying ‘oh my gosh! She’s so beautiful’. The dress wasn’t my kind of style but the look on all their faces, and that little girls face, was enough to make me buy it. I also enjoyed the bit of ‘shock’ that would come from wearing this wedding dress as it wasn’t very me. It wasn’t my style. It wouldn’t be something my friends and family would see me wearing and surprising them would really make my wedding more memorable and have that ‘wow’ factor I wanted.
However after I bought it I struggled with my decision. I wasn’t sure if picking something that wasn’t my style was a good idea. I was constantly stressing about how I looked in it (working out like crazy because it was so skin tight and I wanted a perfect bikini body) and about how I felt about myself in this dress. I spoke to friends and family about it too but I found them reassuring me that it was fine. I felt guilty for second guessing my decision because I had already spent so much money on a dress.
Alex (my fiance and now husband) was so helpful through this struggle. He said that if it really meant that much to me, it didn’t matter if I spent the extra money. He said that he didn’t care what I wore as long as he got to marry me. (cue: awwwwwww). So with 3 months to go before the wedding, I decided I’ll search around the net a bit just to see what was out there. In a matter of minutes I struck gold. I found a beautiful wedding dress by one of my favourite wedding dress designers (Hayley Paige is the freaking best!!) at a discounted price! Hayley Paige was always out of my price range so I never dreamed that it would be possible for me to wear her dress, but here it was at a price that I could afford. It was strapless, simple with a full skirt layered with tulle and a low back. No lace. No trumpet. No high neck. The dress screamed ‘me’ and I loved it. The next day I tried it on and in a week I bought it.
I think I got so caught up with wanting that wedding dress that everybody talks about for years later that I lost the meaning and purpose of a wedding. I was marrying my best friend so why would I show up on my wedding day in a dress that wasn’t me? In hindsight I think I adored the awwing and ahhing from the first dress that I lost a bit of myself in it. I was caught up in wanting to make the wedding ‘spectacular’ that I forgot that it would just be ‘spectacular’ because I was marrying Alex.
I guess what I’m trying to share with you (so you don’t make the same mistakes I do) is to do your research before going into dress stores and to really trust your instincts. Know your limitations and your style so you can be better prepared when you’re shopping. This will shave off wasted time and messing around trying to figure out what dresses you like. And don’t loose sight of what truly matters at a wedding – the love between two people. A dress is, after all, just a dress.
P.S. If you’re about to go Dress Shopping – I hope I haven’t freaked you out. I’ve also written a post about what you should know before going Wedding Dress Shopping.