There’s this rusty nugget of bridal wisdom that proclaims “You’ll know it’s ‘THE ONE’ when you start crying.” Well, I call B.S. If you are not an emotional type, do not subscribe to this idea. And if you ARE an emotional type, don’t feel bound forever to the first dress that makes you a little teary. Trying on wedding dresses is a very emotional experience in and of itself – and also, you could be crying because you need a snack. Or you’re laced so tightly into a gown that you can’t breathe. OR this isn’t the completely once-in-a-life-time experience that you need it to be, because you brought ALL the wrong people. Here are 5 things to know about this process well in advance.
Photo: Small Town Girl Photography
1.Do your research BEFOREHAND. Bridal salons are not straightforward about their prices. Usually, they won’t even tell you how much a gown is until after you’ve had that “WOW” moment in front of the mirror. HOWEVER, if you call them on the phone and ask about their price range, they will be happy to tell you what that is. Don’t waste everyone’s time by waltzing into a bridal salon with blinders on and trying on dresses that are beautiful, but not at all within your budget. I spoke to several different bridal salons while trying to set up appointments — one of which referred me to the place where I eventually bought my dress!
2.Bring a posse — but not a ridiculous posse. Right now, I feel safe saying we’ve all seen a few episodes of “Say Yes To The Dress.” PLEASE know that this does not have to be your bridal salon experience. You do not have to bring 3 generations of family and all 14 of your b-maids. In fact, that’s a horrible idea. Keep your posse reasonably sized, and be sure to fill it with people who won’t spare your feelings, or confuse your tastes with their own. And don’t bring ANYONE who might derail you from falling in love with the right dress. If that happens to be your mother, you have my pity.
3. A good bridal salon assistant knows what she’s doing. You are gonna go into a bridal salon with a “vision”, but it’s entirely possible that vision will not work for you and your body type in any way. For instance, I like the idea of wearing a 1950s style tea length gown to my wedding — with crinolines and all! But guess what? That style looks ridiculous on me. I only had to try on one of those to figure out that that style makes me look like a lumbering circus chimp in a sad little tutu. Don’t commit yourself to one style. I was totally 100% convinced that I was not going to end up with anything strapless. Guess what kind of dress I bought? Just guess.
4. Trying on wedding dresses is PHYSICALLY (and EMOTIONALLY) draining. I tried on 3 gowns at the first bridal salon. I had to be corseted and laced into each one of them. All three of those gowns had GI-normous, 80-lb skirts. By the time I was looking at myself in the mirror in the third dress, I realized that I didn’t really know what I thought about this one, because I couldn’t think. In fact, I was feeling quite faint.
5. HAVE NO SHAME. Bridal is not like regular retail. You don’t just slip into a fitting room, wiggle into a dress, and step out to see how you look under crappy florescent lights. Bridal assistants work for that commission: They are gonna be in the dressing room, corseting you, buttoning you, zipping you, stuffing in those weird plastic boob cups — whatever it takes to make you look stunning in a dress. The good news is: It usually works. The bad news is: You’ll be in various stages of BUTT NAKED around a stranger for an extended period of time. If this horrifies you — you should definitely buy a dress online.
Of course, these are just 5 of the things I learned during my multi-hour stint at 2 different bridal salons — which I’ll write more about next week! I’m curious to hear from you though, fellow brides-to-be: what wedding dress shopping advice would you dole out to a gal BEFORE she embarks on this epic dress quest?