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The Clumsy Lady’s Guide to Being a Bride: Dress Shopping

Hello Interweb!

Apologies for the hiatus. With wedding planning, work, working out amongst other things, I seemed to have lost all sense of time!

So today, to distract me from all of the details I’m supposed to be ironing out, I wanted to hand out some unsolicited advice on a big one…

Dress Shopping.

Dress shopping for me was something that fell on the back burner on my list of priorities for the wedding. In my last Clumsy Bride post, I talked about how priorities for people are all very different (obviously) and how it is really important while on a budget to make a list and figure out what your “must haves” are and be willing to compromise on everything else.

The dress for me was “everything else.”

I think this comes as shock to many people when I tell them my sentiments on dresses but for me, it is something I’ll wear once and while yes, I want to look baller, I also care way more about booze and music than I do about how I look. Sorry Steven!

However, I also thought it would be an awesome opportunity to get to have some special moments with my mom and sister so having at least 1 dress shopping experience for me was important. I did get to have my first (of many) dress shopping trips with my mom and sis which was awesome. After that, it was a whirlwind lace, tulle and silhouettes… a whirlwind I will be glad never to enter into again. SO for all the brides to be out there who are looking to dress shop here are some of my tips.

Figure out a budget
Yes, for all of us that have seen “Say Yes to the Dress” we know how important this cardinal rule is. However, in the midst of convincing sales ladies, swanky boutiques and beautiful dresses, it is easy to stray. Besides not having to offer your first born for that dress that is slightly out of reach, keeping a budget also LIMITS the number of dresses you’ll have to look at and trust me, that is KEY. The less you have to look at, the better. Just remember: wedding dresses are not always whiter on the other side.

That Beautiful Crying Moment Doesn’t Happen For Everyone
It took a few dress shopping trips for me to realize this one. I kept feeling like I wasn’t ever going to find a dress because I was no where near tears at any of the dresses I tried on….this coming from the lady who has cried in almost every pixar movie there ever was. Since I wasn’t even remotely emotional about what I was seeing in those beautiful boutique mirrors, I was convinced I had to keep looking. Then it dawned on me: I don’t really care about the dress…so why would it make me cry? Bingo! We cannot hold our bridal/wedding experience against those of someone else’s. Our experiences should be as different as we are.

Esty is the best…y!
After shopping around and not finding anything that quite fit my style, I headed to my favorite place on planet Internet: Etsy. There are SO many amazing dress makers on Etsy who will custom create a dress for you for a FRACTION of the price you’ll find in any boutique. I bought a dress, that I custom made with a designer for… $300. I ended up returning the dress but not because of quality; the dress ended up not suiting me (turns out I’m not a 6 ft 100 lb model like the photo.) If you are open to creating and willing to take a risk, try Etsy out. Its where dreams (and dresses) come true!

Stay True to You
Again, if you are a follower of Say Yes to the Dress, you will know opinions can cloud even the most rational human’s judgement. With your entourage, bridal consultant and random bride in the dressing room next to you, you are bound to hear a LOT of different opinions, and that isn’t a BAD thing but you do need to know how to filter them. There will be a million beautiful dresses, details and things you like about dresses. Just keep in mind which of these beautiful things suit you and are true to your vision!

Find a Few Designers that Represent a Style you Like
To reiterate….there are a bazillion wedding dresses in existence. To look at them all will make your eyes bleed and head explode. To help narrow your focus (and make your bridal appointments more productive) find a few designers that represent a style/look you enjoy. Being able to point to these designers will give bridal consultants an idea of what you like, even if you can’t articulate it yourself (like me.) One thing that was super helpful for me was using Wedding Wire’s Wedding Dress page. This page has so many filter options that will help narrow your focus into something manageable as you navigate the sea of white, ivory and cream. Check it out to discover lots of designers you may have never heard of before!

Thanks to my friends at Wedding Wire for sponsoring this post and for being a life saver in the dress department (and overall wedding planning). I will reveal the dress after the big day! In the meantime, you can check out my “fake wedding” dress in this Wedding Wire Commercial!

Happy Tri-ing!

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