9/11 {Real Bride: Carrie} The Quest For The Dress & ALL THE FEELINGS!

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. By clicking on the links and making a purchase, you're helping to support the site so we can keep bringing you badass ideas.

Ok, let me be really, really honest for a second here.  Most of the time, when I look at wedding dresses, I think “Wow!  Why would anyone wear that? It looks like a cupcake!”  So when envisioning what I would wear on my wedding day, I was really at a loss.  First, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to wear white.  Eventually, I decided I did want a white dress but I wanted it to be short!  A casual, barefoot, short-dress, groom-in-suspenders-and-no-jacket outdoor wedding seemed pretty us.  So I started looking at white cocktail and reception dresses online.

The first one I ordered and tried on didn’t wow me.

BCBG Maxzaria Floral Applique Dress

So I sent it back.  Yay free returns!  Then I made a big mistake.  I ventured into the most (in)famous bridal store of all time.  You know the one I’m talking about.  David’s Bridal.  Honestly, I had no intention of buying a dress there.  I’d rather buy a used or independently-designed dress and feel better about where my money is going.  But my mom and best friend really wanted to be in on the dress shopping while I was still in Ohio.  I too wanted to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience with them.  So I repeatedly emphasized that we were only going “for fun” and to see what shapes looked good, not to buy.  Also, I really didn’t expect to find anything I liked.  I envisioned a whole store full of cupcake-dresses.  But off to the DB we went!

They hardly had any short dresses, of course.  I tried on a few tea-length gowns and they weren’t very flattering.

It’s kinda 50s but kinda meh.

I don’t even remember how I ended up trying on this next dress.  I wanted to try something long just for fun, even though I was pretty set on short.  So I put on this dress, and all of a sudden BAM!  Oh my God, it looked amazing!!! (Not to toot my own horn, judge for yourselves, of course.)

David’s Bridal Allover Beaded Lace Trumpet Gown

I couldn’t stop smiling.  My mom and bestie were loving it.  I loved the classic, slightly-vintage elegance of the dress.  Here’s the kicker: I’m not the most body-confident person ever.  All I ever see when I look in the mirror are the improvements I need to make.  But as I looked at myself in that dress, I didn’t want to change a SINGLE THING about my body.  As cliche as it is to say it, I felt like a BRIDE!  “Nooooooooooooooo….” I started thinking, “You’ve got me, David’s Bridal!”

But don’t think the story’s over yet, because despite all the pros, there are several cons to this dress, and I am the world’s most indecisive bride.  First of all, it’s just SO DIFFERENT from what I had envisioned.  Not short, not casual; I don’t even know if I can legitimately rock this baby with my dreadlocks.  I definitely can’t get super jiggy with it on the dance floor.  I love it, but I worry it just isn’t ME enough.

Secondly, and this is a big one, my bestie and I are 99% sure that this is the EXACT SAME dress that a friend of ours wore about a year ago.  A friend that is probably coming to our wedding.  Uh oh.  That’s a big no-no, right?  I’m sure that she’d be cool with it if I explained the situation to her, but I don’t like the idea of people seeing me on my big day and thinking “that’s so-and-so’s dress!”  Argh, F U David’s Bridal and your massive popularity!

I ended up trying on one more long dress that day.

Forgot the name of this style too

I liked it and it was much more “me” but it just didn’t make me feel drop dead gorgeous like the last one did.

Conundrum!  We left the store empty-handed, despite my mom’s willingness to pull out her credit card at the slightest indication (she’s awesome, but as I’ve said before, we’re paying for this ourselves).  Since then, I’ve been stalking the dress all over the internet, looking for it used and in my size.  I still have the same reservations about about it not being “me” enough and being the same dress a friend wore.  But I feel like if I could find it used for a good price it would be a sign to go for it, as buying used would also allow the purchase to fit better with my consumer values and budget!  No luck with that so far though.

What do you think, my wonderful readers?  Should I go with the ooey-gooey gushy-mushy feeling in my gut and just buy it?  Or is the fact that a friend wore it a big no no?  Should I have faith and hold out for something that fits my original vision?  Was anyone else totally blindsided by ALL THE FEELINGS when dress shopping?

  • missscarlet88

    Oh my goodness. Please buy the trumpet one. You look gorgeous!

  • Faith

    I think you should go with your gut. Personally I wouldn't worry about it being the same dress, especially not that she would be offended. Shouldn't that be considered a compliment? I know I'd be flattered if a friend got the same dress I did. You could always send her a quick message to run it past her.

  • That trumpet one looks gorgeous! I had a similar experience; I didn't ever see a wedding dress I could imagine wearing, then I wanted a short, more casual dress, then I ended up at David's Bridal buy a strapless, taffeta wonder that I LOVE.

    Also, I don't think people will recognize the other person's dress. The only friends whose dresses I remember are my besties, where I was in on the dress buyings and/or fittings, or in the wedding.

  • Victoria Ford

    Buy the dress you love! Almost nobody will remember that it was your friends dress. A sad-but-true fact of weddings is that nobody really notices all the details that we obsess over. And as for wearing the same dress being a no-no? When you buy a dress at David's Bridal you forfeit the right to object to anyone wearing the same dress. That's the price we pay for affordable wedding gowns!

  • I'd try on a few more A-line dresses to make sure it's that one particular dress you're loving, and not just the cut. I agree that the lace seems a little sweet for what seem to be your tastes.

  • All over beaded lace trumpet – you look amazing in that one…

  • Cate

    I could not decide between short and fun and long and ridiculous. I was insanely overwhelmed! I went to a local shop having a sale and found one that was in the style I liked the best, and marked 80% off at 300$, I went with it. I feel beautiful in the dress and it is the kind I like. I am going to change for the reception into something awesome I can dance in. That is going to be about 80$. For both, I am still under 400$, so I am really excited, although I never thought I would be a two dress kind of person.

  • Elizabeth

    Listen, that is David's most universally flattering dress for any girl with a slightly pear shaped figure. They pull it out and MAKE YOU try it on, even though you're like, wait, this thing is beige silk and covered in beading and ew? I had the exact same experience- I tried on other dresses I liked the idea of more, but that one looked the best on me by far. I passed on it anyway, hoping to find something that looks good on me but has more of the feeling I'm looking for. Good luck to you! (If you do decide to buy it, get it used- it's so popular, it's all over the used dress sites)

    • Carrie

      Wow, I believe it! Did you find something you liked better in the end?

  • Brit

    Lesson I've learned while planning my wedding. If you like it, if you love it. Get it, and quit looking. You'll drive yourself nuts with all of the options out there. Also, I went with a dress that was totally not the style I had thought I wanted.

  • I agree with the suggestion to look for other dresses in that style – but if you still love the look and not just the shape, go for it. There is nothing more “you” than a dress that makes you feel amazing.

  • As someone who just admitted that I compromised and shouldn't have….and hence, bought a SECOND dress (dress number one will go to a consignment store) I recommend going with what you love. That being said, make sure you're going to be happy with the total package…that you aren't going to be upset that it's not as light/mobile/informal as you originally thought. Long story short: go with your gut, but don't let bride brain get the better of you. 🙂

  • kaity e

    LOVE that gown. almost bought it, but didn't bc i was getting married in FL in may and would melt into a bridal puddle. looks fab on you 🙂

  • kaity e

    also, davids is reasonably price, so maybe get a short 'party' dress that you can dance in too?

  • Casandra B

    my family loved that same dress on me too. BUT i found a dress i love that is out of my budget. : ( Maybe you can help me find it used Sottero Midgley 1103!! size 12 HELP PLEASE

  • Jessica

    Find it used, then chop it off at the knees. Walla.

  • Linz

    This was my wedding dress back in June!! Honestly, you can SO “get down” in this dress. For a long lace gown, it’s so light! It wasnt what I had envisioned either but it was the most flattering we could afford and our pictures were beautiful. I say go for it

  • theweddingbossblog

    Woman I could practically see the Happy Aura on you in that picture!!! The trumpet dress had me at HELLO!!!. 🙂

  • prettymindy

    That trumpet lace dress looks like it was made for you and who cares if it's popular and similar to another friend's dress – do what's best for you.

    I was convinced I wanted a fit and flare and nothing boring like an A line dress, and I tried on over 60 dresses before finding my dress in a thrift shop, and what was it? Boring A line. I ended up with the very thing I was avoiding and I loved my dress. Like others have said, go with your gut. It's your one wedding day (hopefully) and you don't want to have any regrets! 🙂

  • Debbie

    BUY IT!!! I was in the same situation as you. I had to go back three times and try the dress on before I gave in and bought it. If you have the feeling, go with it! You don’t want to regret it in the long run, and it looks amazing on you! Best of luck!

  • Mindy

    Um. Hello? You loved it. You loved it on you. You couldn’t stop smiling. The chick who (possibly) wore it really shouldn’t give two hoots. (She wore it first! haha) You don’t need anyone else to tell you what to do. Just follow your heart/gut and stop thinking.

  • Laurie

    You look really happy in that dress. Honestly, if you love it, you should get it!

    I ended up with a dress that was ALL the things I claimed not to want – it's long, it has a train, it's strapless, and it has a sweetheart neckline. I always said I HATED all those things! Haha. When I tried it on, it just felt right… and all the types of dresses I had previously sort of envisioned myself in just didn't feel as 'right'. Weird how that works out.

  • I agree with trying a few more gowns on, there is so much out there! Don't give up hope! As long as you're still loving the process don't stop now. If you try a few more on and have separation pains with that beautiful trumpet gown go all lace! No one will remember this dress as the dress your friend wore, especially when you put your own spin on it with your dreadlocks. Good luck!

  • Grace Filkins

    Go with your gut, you looked amazing in that long lace dress and you rocked it, dreds and all! I say if you want it look different that so and so's dress add some flare to it. See if you can add a sash, color, silk flowers, beading, sparkle, anything. You will make it your own dress. But if the dress gave you that feeling I say rock it on your wedding day.

  • Kcaudad

    Have you thought about asking the friend who wore the same dress if she is willing to sell or lend it to you? If you are close in size, then you could have it altered so it fits you better. Or, you could add some embellishment to make it more your own.

    • Carrie

      I did talk to her and she is fine with me wearing the dress of course. But we're not close enough to the same size that I could buy hers, unfortunately.

  • Dear

    Not a fan of trumpets but that's because I'm a big frilly rainbow princess at heart and has nothing to do with the dresses themselves, just not…fluffy enough for me.
    That's a pretty popular style. If you didn't want to buy from DB you could find it elsewhere. Try a local seamstress maybe? Etsy seller? Someone out there would take what you like about it, nix what you don't like about it and then add what you wanted it to be. Then it would be your own design.

    But that being said, if it's so popular, I don't think anyone will be able to tell you wore your friend's dress. Most guests just see "white dress", they blur together.

    Forgive me for my blunt rudeness, but I'm not really feelin' it. It's beautiful and classy and timeless…but it's not fun. You wanted fun. Your entire vision was laid back and fun. This looks very fussy to me. Maybe you could edge it up a bit with accessories?

    Good luck hun! Man…tough choices.

  • Lynsy

    That's my dress! I love it and even better, I found it on ebay, new with tags, in my size and color. Keep watch on there. It's SUCH a popular dress so I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't pop up used somewhere.

  • You look so gorgeous in the long lace dress! If you are really concerned about the fact that your friend wore it, I'm sure you could find something very similar but with your own "twist", it's such a classic shape. And if you decide that's the one for you, I'd just be honest with your friend that you tried it on, fell in love with it, and then wondered if it was the same one she had. Chances are, she'll understand that you weren't simply trying to copy her. And it sounds like you have enough personal style that you'd wear it and accessorize it very differently, anyway! Good luck, I hope you find a dress that makes you feel as gorgeous as you are!

  • Rachel

    Carrie–our dress shopping stories are eerily similar! Just wanted to say that I was also overwhelmed with the ALL THE FEELINGS. Totally didn’t expect it; just thought the dress would be another item to check off the shopping list. I was planning on something sensible and tea-length, then got blindsided by a freaking champagne ball gown that actually made me cry with happiness. The experience was exhilarating and exhausting. As long as it’s in your budget, I vote to go with your gut instinct on the dress. Try on a few others in a similar style to make sure, and if that one still makes you light up, go for it! Best of luck!

  • Bride2Be

    I almost bought a dress that I liked bc it’s what I thought I was looking for .. I wanted a ball gown .. Then I realized that I’m not a ball gown type of gal.. I’m a fitted gal lol i went to a different bridal shop that had Maggie dresses( I heart this designer lol) n was torn between two gowns .. One I had my eyes on since I seen it in the magazine n another .. Surprisingly the one that I can see myself in walking down the isle isnt the one I had my eye on all this time. Long story shorter lol I am purchasing the Maggie Adorea online instead of at the bridal shop.. At RecycledBrides.com for 600 VS 1250. If u love that dress see if you can get in online cheaper first .. RecycledBrides.com has a lot of dresses , u might find someone selling the one you fell in love with for less than 600$. Best of luck to you

  • TeamShaheen

    The trumpet dress is gorgeous on you and very flattering. However, I would NEVER recommend David's Bridal to anyone for any reason. As a Maid of Honor for my best friend a few years ago, I watched my bride and fellow bridesmaids as well as myself deal with the terrible service that is David's Bridal. The cheap price isn't worth the headache. As a bride now, I refuse to use them. I agree with Bride2Be. There are plenty of other options out there to find your dress at a reasonable price without having to use David's Bridal

  • April

    If you have any reservations about it, pass on it. You will get over it. I had the same experience at DB. I ended up buying a $150 short, white Banana Republic dress that I thought had more of the "feel" of my wedding. I couldn't have been happier in it on my wedding day. I was so comfortable (hooray!), could dance, go to the bathroom without help, AND I was right about it fitting the feel of the day better than the long lace A-line from DB.

  • kaysa1

    Being comfortable in your own skin is worth a pretty penny. And so is being done looking. So…if you go back to the store and still feel the same way, go fer it. If anyone cares it's the same dress, oh well (sounds like your friend is happy about it). I'd be flattered if someone liked my taste that much. If fact, I was very nearly married in a friend's dress (we just couldn't figure out how to alter it 'right' for my slightly-larger bod).

  • shuppet

    Honestly, I think the trumpet dress looks really awesome on you. It is very flattering for your figure. I wouldn't feel too bad about it being the same dress as your friend wore; just ask her about it.

  • Lindsey

    Where did you order the BCBG dress from? I can not find it anywhere!

  • Beth

    You could always alter the dress to look different. Have it cut short (so it's also the short dress you wanted!) add some ribbon, change the sleeves, have it dyed, etc. OR look for a short dress with the same shape. If it doesn't have the lace and beading like you want you can always buy a lace fabric and have it altered by a seamstress.

  • Annette Heathen

    So strange isn't it? When I went dress shopping a few months ago I found two dresses that made me gasp at how I looked in them and make me think "Wow, is that ME?" and yet tried on another dress and think "Oh there I am". I learnt a lot from it: that sparkles on my dress make me ridiculously happy, I don't recognise myself unless I've got some black on, and a well structured dress makes me look like I did before I had kids. 😉

    I'm so glad I did not go with my heart on the first dress because it was three times my budget and I think I was mostly mesmerized by the sparkly princessiness of it which is really inappropriate for our venue and my age.

    Most of us are not used to seeing ourselves in glamorous dresses and I think that's why most brides buy one of the first three wedding dress they try on. Whenever I see pageant girls on Say Yes To The Dress, they are always the hardest to please because they are used to glamming up and some end up going for the simpler dresses because they want the experience of being a _bride_, not just being the glamorous centre of attention because for them that is like work.

    So perhaps the best approach is to think about the _experience_ you want to have and the photos you want to keep and hand on. Since I already have kids I think of how wedding photos are handed down through generations. I'd like our's to really show who we were at the time of getting married. I don't care about "classic" and "timeless". Personally I want a boho dress with some sparkle, and I may put a black sash or fabric flower on it. You can always add accessories to your dress to make it exactly right anyway.

    IMHO dreads funky up any outfit and make it uniquely you.

    Also the trumpet dress looks awesome on you. When you consider how many differences there will be between your friend's wedding and your's it won't look like you copied her dress, and the way you wear it won't be the same as the way she wore her's.

  • I like the one with belts!

  • Margaret

    You look stunning in the trumpet gown! It's so funny, I had the *exact* same experience with it–didn't want a traditional dress, didn't want to go into DB, mom & MOH did, etc etc, somehow I end up in the dress and…I now own it and am wearing it this Saturday. I couldn't find it used anywhere either, and I did look (well not in my size, and not for cheaper than it was new–seriously). Anyhow I would be interested in re-selling, so let me know if it's still on your mind! I got the size 12 (I'm a consistent street size 8); very slight modifications, mostly just adding a bustle and fixing a flaw in the dress. My email's freejennet at yahoo dot com 🙂

    Also, for what it's worth, no dress looks the same on two women. I'm sure your friend would understand, and you could always frame it as a direct compliment to her if you were worried about that. You're the one who's going to look back at wedding photos your whole life–not so much your guests! Wear what you feel gorgeous in.