Who among us does not watch Say Yes to the Dress? (Men reading: sorry, I know you don’t.) There’s a lot of hoopla around the whole experience of trying on wedding dresses and finding the one. We’ve seen the episodes where the girl just doesn’t feel it; she doesn’t cry tears of joy, she doesn’t find her dress. This, I think, is the fear. With this garment so built up, can we achieve that perfect bridal moment?
I did, and I’m here to share my experience & some advice on saying yes to the dress! While I know my experience is just one person’s, I asked my friends to weigh in too to give a little more of a balanced view.
It only took me one shopping trip to find my dress. Is this weird? My two married friends also only took one shopping trip each. My friend Stacie picked a shop specifically because it was on the smaller side and she didn’t want to be overwhelmed with her options… and trust me, you can be!
I tried on about 20 dresses. Thinking back now, they’re all a blur of lace and pouf in my mind. I can only remember the first one I put on– my favorite from the photos I brought with me and the first wedding dress I ever wore– and the one I bought! My cousin Amanda thinks she tried on nearly 50 dresses over her three shopping trips and ended up with something very different than what she thought she wanted.
So how do you know when it’s the one? For myself and Amanda, we had to put on another dress after the one to confirm it. I slipped into the first dress I put on again, the one that nothing else was comparing to, and found that I didn’t really like it after all. Once the previous dress was back on, my mom started saying “that’s it!” and the tears came… from both of us!
For my friend Megan, the reaction of the crowd was very important to her decision; we see this in Say Yes all the time too. She said the fact that everyone else loved it made her love it too. Stacie said she couldn’t stop smiling in her pick and then just stopped looking. After 5 dresses, she was done. Though she’s sure there are a lot of dresses out there that would’ve worked for her, she didn’t want to look any more once she found one that worked.
So, how can you say yes to the dress?
Do your homework. I know you have a secret wedding board on your Pinterest. Now is the time to look at pictures and see what you like and what you don’t like! You should have some ideas and photos for when you shop!
Take it from dream to reality. If you have no idea where to start, look for bridal shops in the area. Ask friends where they got their dresses or do a google search. Once you’ve picked a shop, you can see which designers they carry and take your time browsing those designers’ sites.
Determine your budget. I think for most people this is the first step. Again, with a designer in mind, I was able to confirm the price point I was looking for made sense. A designer’s website will have ranges for each of their collections.
Stay open-minded. It is a delicate balancing act to stay firm to what you want and open to the possibilities. You should try what your mom/MOH/friend picks at least once. Things look very different on you than on the hanger or the model in photos! (I happen to think I look way better in my dress than the model in the photo…) Don’t marry yourself to a style (Amanda ended up in something completely different) or a designer (I went for a Maggie Sottero trunk show and didn’t buy a Maggie Sottero) either.
Don’t let anyone else control the appointment. The consultant is trying to make a sale. She will try to push you to make a decision. It’s okay to walk away… I almost did until the very last dress ignited a spark! As for your entourage, if you watch Say Yes I don’t have to warn you about this– it is ultimately your decision.