Broke-Ass Tag: davids bridal


As someone who has only seen episodes of Say Yes to the Dress in the time it takes for the channel to load and me to flip to the next channel, I was completely unprepared for wedding dress hunting. I was a “good” bride/friend and invited my mom and two besties to Charleston for the process.  I made appointments at 3 different bridal shops (Bridals by Jodi, DeBorah’s Bridal, and David’s Bridal) for the weekend they came to town.  Charleston has no shortage of bridal shops, but I knew I wanted to stick to my budget, despite mom saying it didn’t matter how much the dress was since she was paying. I knew that would be impossible looking for dresses downtown.

Veils put me into First Communion mode. I can’t explain it, it just happens.

I am pretty much the anti-bride. I don’t really do “girly.”

I knew going into this process that it would be a test for me. Remaining calm and collected in an uncomfortable, unfamiliar situation is difficult for me. Also, a stranger was probably going to see my tatas and I’m not overly modest (military boot camp really helps you overcome body shyness) but still, I like my private parts private when I have the choice.

I also have this issue where I get extremely disappointed very easily.

Meaning, if I get my hopes up about something and it doesn’t happen, I will be crushed. I decided I would go into dress shopping completely objective. I wanted a dress that was functional (I needed to be able to walk and move naturally and spread my legs a little [for dancing, duhh]), but still flattering. Pockets would be a mind-blowing positive. I quickly learned that I was drawn to full-pattern, lace overlays. I knew that an empire waist/A-line dress looked best on me (I went to four proms in high school and it actually came in handy … who would have thought?). I knew that regular waists make me look frumpy and I needed to avoid those.

Over three dress appointments, I probably tried on over 80 dresses.

EIGHTY. I went home empty handed. I had a favorite dress at each place I went to — one of which I quickly eliminated after it was several hundred dollars over budget. I’m nothing if not practical, and one option was eliminated. I may have gone home empty handed, but I had learned some valuable lessons. Your experience at a place will color your opinion. I was so overwhelmed and disappointed at my David’s Bridal appointment that I didn’t like anything I tried on. I kinda liked one dress, but it had a weird waist issue (on me) that I wasn’t sure I could deal with and it was a little over-budget. The dress I liked at Bridals by Jodi was in budget, but I wasn’t sure if I was sold on it. What if I found something better?

With each dress I put on, my entourage was extremely encouraging.

Each dress was beautiful and I looked soooo good in it!! I finally pointed out that these dresses cost at least $800+ and if it didn’t look amazing and make me look gorgeous, it was overpriced and wouldn’t be coming home with me. I needed real critique I felt like a real jerk telling my people that their compliments weren’t really helpful, but I needed productive feedback, I needed to pick ONE dress.


The butt rouching on this dress was fabulous, but I wasn’t sold on an open back.

The night after my final appointment I was scrolling through the photos that had been taken of me in different dresses.

I had seen myself in the mirror with every dress on, but I hadn’t actually seen myself. Every time I stood in front of the mirror, I was critiquing everything:

Are my boobs hanging out? How does my butt look? Does this dress make me look pregnant?

Body image is a real struggle over here in Megansville.

Is this dress comfortable? Can I move around? Will this be too hot/cold for November 1st? Does it have pockets? What will Timo think of me in this dress? What do I think of me in this dress?

I decided to look up the dress I’d liked from David’s Bridal on their site and happened to notice that it was on sale for $500 from $1150. It instantly became my #1. I could deal with the weird waist issue with a sash for that price. The next day, with only one of my besties in tow, I headed back to try on the dress with a sash to make sure I was OK with the waist (Mom and the other bestie had left town the day before).

I said yes to the dress.

Little did I know that I’d have to ring a bell and make a wish, but if I had known my wish would have been, “Let me be able to order this dress.” I learned when I went to check out that the dress was no longer in production and they could sell me the floor model, but that was my only option. The savings weren’t worth that. The dress I had tried on was picked and torn to bits. Despite being told they would “fix” the dress, I knew there was no way they could make the dress perfect again and I said, “Nope,” and we left.


I was at my most photogenic while trying on wedding dresses. This is The Almost Dress.

I took a split second to be frustrated and then we headed back to Bridals by Jodi to try on my other #1. I tried on my #1 and several other dresses the attendant recommended but in the end my #1 is what I ended up going with. It wasn’t the PERFECT dress, but I know that to get a PERFECT dress, I’d have to find someone who can make a dress from scratch and I just don’t have the energy or money for that. I was pleased with how I looked and felt in the dress and it was $850 (under-budget). #win

My key takeaways from the entire process:

  • If possible, do NOT go dress shopping on a holiday or weekend. That is when every other bride is also out shopping.  Stores will be slammed and attendants will be harried. It’s no one’s idea of a good time.
  • You do NOT have to spent a lot of money for a gorgeous dress. Don’t fall prey to the wedding “industry” and the “have to haves”.
  • It’s not like it is on TV. Even if they try to give your entourage signs, it’s definitely not like on TV. Someone will always be pissed off or disgruntled. Wait, maybe it is exactly like on TV.
  • When trying on dresses that are too big, pillows stuffed down the back of the dress to pull it taut are the shiznit. Hardware clips are not as magical as pillows.
  • Most stores do NOT give you free champagne. You can bring your own.
  • Do not have expectations of stores to help you. David’s Bridal only pulls the dresses for you and you have to fend for yourself getting in/out of them. Their dressing rooms are TINY and there are no mirrors in the room so everyone sees you before you are able to see yourself. Some places give you a room with a door to change in, some places you get an area with a curtain as a door. Each place is different. #themoreyouknow
  • What looks good on someone else may not look as good on you, no matter how bad you want it to.
  • When you say the “Kate Middleton” dress, your “Kate” may not be the same as someone else’s “Kate.”
  • The type of dress you think you like isn’t necessarily the type of dress you actually like.

But most importantly, and what no one told me:

Some people don’t have a magical moment of finding THE DRESS.

Sometimes, you find a dress that is just fine and you buy it and you slowly get excited while you wait four months for it to eventually come in and then continue to wait as it get altered and then you worry about where you’re going to hide it until the wedding day so your fiance’ doesn’t find it.

Photo Feb 18, 3 02 26 PM

Pillows make the best stuffing!

Have you gone dress shopping yet?  What are you looking forward to?  What do you dread the most?




  • 3/28

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewI am so happy to report that I have finally made a concrete decision on something … THE DRESS! About a week and a half ago I hauled my mom, my bridesmaid Shay and my two girls to David’s Bridal in the hopes that I could finally get this ball rolling and make a decision on something. Chris has recently taken on a paramedic certification class on top of his full time job and National Guard duties, so a lot of planning is going to fall on me (and my wonderful, Type-A mother), so I’m starting to buckle down and try and get things done.

    I actually really enjoyed this experience, even though I typically am not a huge fan of extended shopping experiences or having all eyes on me for a long period of time. My consultant, Iman, was amazing. She knew what she was doing, and even though I think she had 2-3 other brides and bridesmaids appointments, she was very attentive without being overbearing. When we walked in, she pulled some of the dresses that I had indicated I liked on their website, and then a couple other ones that were within my budget, which was $500. I’ve known the kind of dress I want to wear on my wedding day for a long time: off-white or champagne (I’m very pale and I feel like pure white would wash me out. Plus, I have two kids, so I’m not trying to look virginal), definitely lace, straps, and form-fitting. So Iman pulled some dresses for me that met my criteria and then one big, poofy ball gown to try on just for fun and so my girls could see me in a princess dress, which my 4-year-old really wanted.

    Poofy ball gown

    Me and my “princess dress”

    So the ball gown was definitely not my style.

    However, I did fall in love with a dress that had a faux button up back and lace that went all over my back. It was gorgeous … but very itchy. I hadn’t had it on for two minutes before I wanted it off. Luckily, Iman really was amazing and told me to wait a minute and she’d be right back. She then came back with THE dress. It was everything I wanted, and only $100 over my budget. I had already had a mental discussion with myself on whether or not I was willing to compromise on my budget, so this didn’t worry me too much. Iman had been very good about my budget concerns as well, so I wasn’t worried about hurting her feelings or being made to feel bad if I didn’t pick the dress because of money issues. My mother loved it, Shay cried and Y was in love. The only person I had to convince was L, my 7-year-old, who had fallen in love with the second dress I tried on. I promised her that she could wear it to her wedding, which smoothed over the hurt feelings and she jumped on board. I told Chris I found the dress and told him 500 times that no, he couldn’t see it before I walked down the aisle. I got to ring the bell and make a wish, order my dress, and voila! One piece of my wedding is done. Only 1000 more pieces to go!

    Hair pic

    What kind of bra do you wear with a keyhole back dress?!

    I would definitely recommend David’s Bridal to a bride on a budget. The consultants seemed to be very good at sticking to your budget, and I receive emails constantly about sales and coupons that they offer. I said no to quite a few dresses, and quite a few accessories, and no one made me feel bullied or pressured, which I really appreciated. Definitely Broke-Ass Bride friendly!

    How was your dress-shopping experience? Did you have luck on the first go, or did you have to make multiple trips to find The One?




  • 3/2

    Reader Rachel is searching for a dress for her fairy tale wedding: "Avina Valenta Style 9616.   Any dress you can recommend similar to this dress, which is over $2500 and I can't spend over $400 on a dress, but I want something sexy yet fairytale for my wedding! :) Love your blog, Thank you, Rachel" Thanks for the love, Rachel!  I hear you, this dress…

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    Man, oh man, today's CAI/GOI post may be the most challenging request we've had yet! Reader Teneasha commented on this post with: "I need help. I've never seen a bridal gown that felt like the gown for me. I'm starting to lower my expectations to a gown that is slimming because there's no way that I can afford my dream gown that's rumored to be…

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  • 7/28

    Sometimes a gown calls to you like a low-backed, cap-sleeved, plunging neckline, lace siren, as the Berta 14-20 did for reader Jessica, who commented on this post: I'm obsessed with these posts and have a dilemma myself... I fell in love with the Berta 14-20 when a model at a bridal show walked past me. The $8,000 price tag is out of my budget, though. Do…

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    Today's CAI/GOI post was super fun to put together! Reader Marta emailed us asking for something a little non-traditional. She wrote: "Help! I am not your conventional bride and am having such a hard time finding a dress. I love this one on BHLDN but of course this is their only dress at $2500: . Really like a low back but BHLDN's dress in particular…

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    As a special treat this month, we’re partnering with David’s Bridal to bring you four special edition Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! posts (catch the first three here, here and here), featuring their very own gorgeous styles. David’s Bridal, a name synonymous with affordable wedding gowns in a huge variety of styles, has been dressing women for all types of special occasions for over 60 years —…

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  • 6/17

    As a special treat this month, we’re partnering with David’s Bridal to bring you four special edition Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! posts (catch the first two here and here), featuring their very own gorgeous styles. David’s Bridal, a name synonymous with affordable wedding gowns in a huge variety of styles, has been dressing women for all types of special occasions for over 60 years…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!