The Spicy Meatball

An Honest Wedding Dress Shopping Guide

I bought my wedding dress. It was $350.

Most brides-to-be hunt down the "perfect" wedding dress with the same precision that they paint their toe nails -- carefully, methodically, making sure to stay within the lines. With an average cost of $1,211, brides feel pressure to find a dress that looks good, is in style, is timeless and most of all makes you look better than your guests. That's a lot of pressure for a dress you're likely only going to wear once and for me it was too much.

Thank god my aunts and friends watch Say Yes to the Dress, because when I said I was going to start looking for my dress in August for an October wedding date, they all gasped like I was about to jump off a bridge. "Oh, no. You have to start looking NOW!"

Ugh.

So I made an appointment with David's Bridal to go try on a couple of dresses I saw online that surely would look great on me. Why did no one tell me to pack Xanax and go alone? It was the most overwhelming thing I have done thus far for the wedding and hopefully it's the last. A couple of notes to any girl who may be fantasizing about the day they try on dresses.

1. Everyone is going to see your boobs. Getting in and out of the dresses requires a lot of coordination, jumping, and smooshing, so you're going to have to leave your pride at the door. At one point I flashed an old lady in the waiting area and had to say, "Sorry about that. I mean it's not like you haven't seen these before. You have two of them."

2. Your guests don't want to be there. Much like how your boyfriend dreads going with you to the mall because he's stuck holding your purse and loitering around the women's fitting room like a creeper, your guests (who all said they can't wait to go with you) really want to leave. I never went to the prom, but I am guessing it's a similar situation. Everyone thinks (including yourself) that you will try on 3 dresses, buy one, and then you'll all go out for lunch. Wrong. I was sweating from trying on so many dresses and my mind changed 40 times about which style I liked, so even I didn't want to be there after a while.

3. You're going to feel crappy. No matter what you try on, not everyone is going to like it. Let's face it, you're there to put on a fashion show and let all of the hens judge the way you look. If you're not mentally prepared for that, take a couple of shots before your appointment. Trust me, when your back fat gets squeezed and you're told you need to "tone up" multiple times, you'll wish you were drunk.

4. When in doubt, go conservative. I tried on this awesome, somewhat slutty gown that was $200. I'm a sucker for a deal. I tried it on several times and kept going back and forth about whether or not to get it. If I got it, I would be forced to lose all my winter weight and then some. Good motivation, but what if I didn't lose it and on my wedding day people still thought I needed to tone up? Ugh. It was down to 3 dresses, so I had everyone secretly vote on their favorite. The slutty dress was the second place finisher. The winner (and the one I ended up buying that day) was something that I thought matched all the criteria 1. it looked good, 2. it's in style, 3. it's timeless, and 4. well, we'll have to see about that.

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2 thoughts on “An Honest Wedding Dress Shopping Guide

  1. jane

    I was a HEN, but a HEN that wanted to be there! I think you did a great job handling the whole thing. It didn’t help that prom was around the corner and the place was packed. I would add to other wedding dress shoppers – don’t go on the weekends.

  2. Aunt Pam

    I am not a hen. I did not want to leave. The dress you picked is beautiful. You will be the prettiest bride on the beach. I love you!

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