i bought a wedding dress this weekend and could not be more excited!! i went home to austin for the weekend and while i had planned on dress shopping with my mom and a close friend, i did not plan on finding the dress, let alone buying it! that being said, the experience was perfect and i'm thrilled! if you'll indulge me, i'd love to share some things i learned this weekend about bridal gown shopping:
1. consider who you take to the bridal salon carefully.
i recommend taking friends and/or relatives who means the world to you, but those who will encourage you to try the dresses you like and will give you honest feedback. i would also limit how many people you have in tow - it's too easy to get distracted with lots of varying opinions.
it was absolutely perfect that i had time just with my mom and just with a friend over the weekend. love it or hate it, your mom (or step-mom or future mother-in-law or sister or...) will probably have a strong opinion on what she envisions you wearing on the big day. if you're anything like me, that vision will be pretty much the complete opposite of what you want. even though our tastes are very different, i wanted my mom to be a part of the process and to like what i eventually chose. i tried on a few dresses that she picked out, but had the opportunity to select dresses without any i-don't-like-that's and that's-nice-but-what-about-this-one's when my friend and i went to the salon early for my appointment. i had almost 10 dresses selected by the time the consultant met up with us and by the time my mom got there, i had it narrowed down to two.
because i didn't have much hope my mom would love the style of dress i chose, i was so incredibly touched when she cried seeing me in my favorite gown. actually, we all started crying - my mom, my friend, the bridal consultant and i! and then we had champagne. so yeah, pretty much perfect.
2. your bridal consultant matters.
i had the amazing fortune of happening upon a former kleinfeld (of "say yes to the dress" fame) consultant at serendipity bridal salon in austin. we didn't find out until the end of the appointment that she had just relocated from nyc, but it made so much sense she worked for kleinfeld because she was amazing. she was accommodating, thoughtful and most of all, she listened.
although the consultant was armed with recommendations, i picked all but one of the 15+ dresses i tried on at the salon. what can i say - i know what i like! she was great about
3. don't be afraid to pull the trigger.
whether it costs $500 or $5,000, purchasing a wedding dress is a big step emotionally and financially. take the time to do online research (hello, style me pretty!) but don't be surprised if the styles you like on are different than the ones you've been pinning. you just never know until it's on. the same holds true for looking at dresses on the rack - make sure you try on enough dresses and in different styles and don't be afraid to drag your besties to more than one salon.
do know, however, that at some point, you'll have to stop looking. there will always be new styles and new inspiration to draw from, but if you find a dress you love, don't be afraid to go ahead and buy it! the salon offered me a discount on the dress and veil if i purchased that day, so i went with it. i had the this is my dress moment, made my mom cry and couldn't stop smiling. what else could i possibly want?! i've also resolved to not "shop" for other dresses online or in magazines because i don't want any buyers remorse. i love the dress i picked and even though the wedding is still over 300 days away, i know it was the right choice. i even cancelled the appointments i had set up in chicago!
images: lazaro, bliss by monique lhuillier, reverie by melissa sweet, melissa sweet via the knot
i hope my advice helps and that the brides out there have an amazing wedding dress shopping experience! stay true to your personal style, gather the most supportive people around you, don't settle for anything but the most attentive bridal consultant, and buy that dress, girl!