I said yes.. to the dress that is! Seriously, you have no idea how long I've been waiting to say that. Or maybe you've watched that show from episode 1 and if that's the case, you understand where I'm coming from. A mere 19 days after my engagement I have purchased my wedding dress. Now, some individuals may have mixed feelings about purchasing a dress so soon, and to be completely honest, so did I. However, as I stood on the podium in front of the grand mirror, I realized it was time to grow a pair and have a little faith. Here's how I made the decision:
Know and Accept Your Budget. If you are the 1% of brides without a dress budget, skip this part. If you are like the rest of us, you have a dress budget. In one brief moment of sanity, you realized that you can only afford to spend a certain amount of dollars on an item you will likely only wear once. Going over budget on your dress could mean going low quality on equally important parts of your wedding, such as food, music, or photography. When you are surrounded by fabric, beading, glitter, and a seemingly endless supply of wedding dresses, it is easy to loose a sense of reality. However, I guarantee reality will slap you in the face when the extra thousand dollars you spent on your dress means you have to eliminate wedding guests simply because cannot afford them. "I know you wanted to come to the wedding, and I really wanted you there as well seeing as we've been friends for over 15 years, but I decided that silk organza and swarovski crystals are far more important to me". A wedding is a time of celebration, not regret. So stay realistic, stick to your budget, and you will have no regrets.
Appreciate Variety. When asked what kind of dress I was looking for, I honestly responded with "I'm open to pretty much anything". Had I looked through hundreds of wedding dresses online for the past two years and got a certain feeling for what I thought I would like? Yes. I envisioned myself in full lace, likely sheath or a slight mermaid. However, I committed myself to being open to dresses outside of my vision. In all aspects of my life, I tend to limit myself and I decided that if I'm going to do this once, there would be no limits (other than budget). So I tried on ball gowns, a-lines, modified a-lines, fit n flares, mermaids, sheaths. I tried on silk, satin, organza, tulle, lots of beading, no beading, sashes, no sashes. I tried on any dress that I thought was beautiful so that at the end of the dress journey, I could feel certain that I wasn't missing out on anything. All in all, I tried on approximately 24 dresses in total.
Keep a Small Entourage. I always knew who I would invite to go wedding dress shopping: My mother and my best friend. That's it. Could I have invited my sisters, my grandmother, my future mother in-law, my four other best friends? Yes, of course I could have. But I didn't and in fact, I didn't even tell any of them I was looking. My reason is that an open invitation to accompany you while dress shopping is also an open invitation for opinions. Your wedding dress entourage needs to keep one person in mind: You. This is not about what they would wear to their own wedding, nor is it about what they envision you wearing to yours. Their job is simply to be supportive and honestly respond if a dress isn't flattering. That is IT. I have enough trouble convincing myself I like something, let alone convincing nine other people to like it just as much. I knew that my mom and my best friend would be honest and would make suggestions that I may not have thought of myself. I also knew that if I didn't like something they suggested, I could tell them without worrying about hurting their feelings. The only opinion that truly matters in regards to your wedding dress is your own. You will be the one wearing it all day. You will be the one looking at it in pictures for the rest of your life. Make sure you're the person in love with it, and not someone else.
You Don't Have to Cry. I thought for sure I would be one of those women who would burst into tears as soon as an attendant laid the veil on my head and I saw myself for the first time as a real bride. But you know what, I didn't shed any tears. Not one. Which resulted in me refusing to agree to purchase the dress that I knew I loved. I stood there thinking, why am I not crying? Aren't I supposed to be crying? Shouldn't I have some sort of out of body experience where confetti falls from the ceiling, quoir angels sing, and I have this strange glow all around me??? This must not be the dress. I've tried on twenty four dresses and I know I love this the most out of all them (I truly liked them all), but if I'm not crying I must not be done shopping... Luckily, I then proceeded to emotionally slap myself in the face because guess what, my life is not a TV show. If I said no to twenty or so dresses prior to this one, what is the point of trying on another twenty four? Eventually there comes a time when you just have to admit to yourself that the search has ended and as much fun as it is, tears or no tears, you have to pick a dress.
I am so gosh darned excited about my dress, words just can't even express it. I have a feeling I will totally ball my eyes out when I actually see my dress on the day of my wedding. There it will be in all of its tulle, lace, and beaded glory. Yup, that's right, I went for a trifecta.
Happy shopping to you!!