Yesterday evening was my first wedding dress shopping experience and enthusiastically I said YES to the perfect wedding dress for me that brought tears to my eyes! Even though I have only been to one wedding dress appointment for myself, I feel that I learned a lot with the experience and staying true to myself and what I was falling in love with! We had the most fabulous time because I was open to trying a lot of different styles but had an idea what I was most interested in. Ashley from Studio I Do absolutely spoiled us and took the time to explain a lot of the different aspects of the dresses. Ashley and I quickly became in sync with the dresses, eliminating certain ones and brainstorming what to try next. Just by me saying a few things I liked about each dress or didn’t quite love she was able to pick the next dress that one-upped all of the previous ones every time. I had tried on about five of the same skirt style and started to think, “Yeah this looks pretty, I could definitely find my dress in this style!” Then, we tried on a completely different style and there was no turning back from that! <3 I think my words were in that style of wedding dress that I felt like an adult, the other’s were the one’s you dream up in your head when you’re a little girl. I knew looking back at our wedding photographs ten years from now that I would still love this style of dress. So I backed off of trendy and went with the style that I would love for decades. I had a pretty good idea of how to go into a wedding dress appointment, to keep your mind open and to have fun, that I think that all really helped me pinpoint how I was feeling!
So if you do not have an Ashely like I did, or wedding dress shopping seems a little overwhelming to you, I wanted to write out what I learned! These are tips from my personal experience wedding dress shopping, helping brides into their wedding dresses on their special days and seeing the look in their eyes when they felt most beautiful!
1- Keep an open mind!
I knew that I liked certain styles on Pinterest but I also knew that I had brides telling me all of the time that they went with something completely different than they originally thought. My wedding dress photographs that I showed Ashley were a little all over the place but I did that on purpose. She picked up on two elements that almost all of them had in common and kept that in mind! When I tried on all of the different styles I was able to start to differentiate what I was loving and what was easily eliminated.
2- Bring the women that know everything about you!
I only brought two women to my wedding dress appointment, my Mom and my best friend Nicole! I know plenty of brides who bring more people and have just as much of a great time as we did, but I encourage you to not feel obligated to invite a bunch of people. At Studio I Do, you don’t see yourself in the dress until you come out to the mirror where your ladies are sitting so they see you first! It was so much fun to see them smiling and excited but trying to stay collected until I saw myself! Of course, my Mom was going to be at my appointment for the wedding dress and I wouldn’t have it any other way but I knew I also needed Nicole there. We have been best friends since Senior year of high school, sorority sisters, roommates for four years total, and we feel that my family is her family and her family is my family. This was like having my true sister and best friend there with me at such an important moment in my life! More importantly, they both know me completely and our styles could not be more different but it just works!
3- Don’t be worried to try on what is trendy now but don’t feel worried when/if you start to think, am I going to love this twenty years from now?
I tried on lots of dresses with illusions, which I still LOVE, skirts with different layers, puffy, fitted, keyhole backs, simple dresses and ones with lots of embellishments! On one skirt with different layers I liked it but there was something that was making me not LOVE it. We peeled some layers to see what it would look like and I did love it when it was a little thinner. This dress was completely in trend, and I had to ask myself if I love it for right now but will I love it later? I was not sure, so I knew it was not the one!
4- If you are bringing the right people to your wedding dress appointment, let them pick a few out for you!
My Mom and I’s style is completely different. Nicole and I’s style is also completely different, but it goes back to what I said before, they know ME! I trusted them that they would be picking the dresses with me in mind and not just things that they wanted to see me in. If you have the right people there, this should be true for you! They did pick several dresses for me that I wouldn’t have picked originally and there were parts of those dresses that surprised me that I loved! Surprise, surprise they both, together, ended up picking the dress that I fell completely in love with!
5- Still try on the style you know that you most likely do not want.
When I was almost ready to put the one dress back on that I loved the most so far, I tried on two more styles. They only stipulation to the appointment I had was that I most likely would not end up in a strapless wedding dress for our wedding day. But we still picked one out and had it in the dressing room and I am so glad that I ended up trying it on. No, I did not fall in love with it, but it gave me peace of mind that I was making the right decision. I know that a few weeks from now looking back I will be glad I tried one on so I could 100% eliminate that out confidently.
6- Remember the first wedding dress that you ever saw!
The wedding dress in the silver frames in your childhood home. The dress that was saved in the back of your parent’s closet. The dress that you tried on when you were twelve with your mother! That was such a fun day trying on my mother’s wedding dress, twirling around our living room with her taking photographs of me in it. My Dad came home that day and walked into his little girl in his wife’s wedding dress and I am pretty sure we aged him a couple of years in that moment! Sorry, Dad! 😉 My parents are still happily married and I love that this wedding dress has safely been kept all of these years. The reason I say to remember this dress is because, for me, this was the first idea and memory I have of a wedding dress, and it was my mother’s that was on day one of my parents’ marriage and there I was twirling in our living room in it day dreaming of the man I was going to meet over a decade later and what he would be like. (By the way, that man is a million times better than the one I was daydreaming of years ago!) That dress represents more of what my memory of a marriage is, which my parents are the first experience and memories I have of a marriage. This is also what is most important to remember for your wedding day!
7- Say how you feel!
When you come out in the wedding dress and are looking at yourself in the mirror, just start talking! Say anything that comes to mind! This helps the consultant, it helps you, and it helps your family and friends know how you are feeling before they say their opinions. When I started talking I was able to become more clear to myself what I was loving and not loving. Ashley was able to pick up on things because of this and we moved past a few dresses that we knew were not going to be the one because of this!
8- Tell yourself that you are beautiful!
Make a conscious effort to talk to yourself a couple days before your appointment in a positive way! We all get on a scale or look in the mirror at times and say the most awful things inside of our heads. I am guilty of it! I made a conscious effort to tell myself I was beautiful and did things leading up to the appointment to ensure I was treating myself nicely and setting myself up to feel this way. I got my makeup done by my friend, Dhalia Edwards and I went and got a pedicure with my mom! I always tell my brides how beautiful they are and treat them with so much grace that I owed it to myself to do the same.
9- Not all sample sizes are created equal!
I knew going into the appointment to not expect them to fit me perfectly, and that some samples might even be way too small. I will admit, that I was glad several of them that I tried on zipped, buttoned, clasped perfectly! There were others that Ashley had to get up close and personal to me and clip and band the dresses. I definitely feel like she’s a friend of mine now because quite frankly she’s seen it all! 😉 One sample size from a designer would fit great and the same size in another designer was not even close to closing! When this would happen she was still able to pin or alter them so I could picture what it would like in the right size. Ashley also explained very well how it would fit and what to expect to help me picture it. With tip numbers 8 and 9 in mind, there wasn’t a time in the appointment that I didn’t feel pretty enough or good enough.
10- I knew it was the one when my mind went from feeling beautiful in the wedding dress to picturing Cory’s reaction as I walked down the aisle.
That is when I got emotional. When it went from being a dress I had on, to picturing our wedding day and seeing Cory under the tree at The Hermitage smiling, and maybe crying a little, when he saw me. My vision of myself and the dress completely disappeared from my mind and it was just him. His smile, his heart and his love for me all flooded through me and just like I knew he was the one very early on in our relationship, I knew that this wedding dress was the one too! Everyone says you will just know and this was what my, “I found the one,” feeling was!
Lastly do not feel pressure to Say Yes To The Dress at your first appointment, even though I did! Thank you much to Ashley at Studio I Do for giving us the best private wedding dress shopping experience! Happy wedding dress shopping brides! Remember you are beautiful and good enough and show yourself grace! You deserve to give yourself a great experience!