11/1 Real Bride Ciji: Say Yes, Maybe or I’m Not Too Sure to the Dress!

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Affiliate Disclaimer New$500, that’s all that I budgeted for my wedding dress. Many said that it would be  impossible to find a dress under $1000, many told me that I should splurge a little because it’s my once in a lifetime “big day,” many told me it was too early in my planning process to understand how much dresses cost. All of the feedback was shared with good intentions, so I figured that I would set out to find my perfect dress and not worry too much about the cost … at least not right away.

I rallied the Bride Tribe and we set out to David’s Bridal. I have never tried on wedding dresses before and I didn’t have my heart set on a specific style, so I figured that the appointment would be good to at least narrow down the style that I like. The appointment was set for 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning, my plan was to not take up too much of their time so I planned to be out of there in an hour and then we could all grab lunch!

Real Bride Ciji's Wedding Dress Shopping Adventure

All of my local bridesmaids joined me and those out of state participated in the fun by sharing their thoughts in our GroupMe. I tried on each and every style and while I have to admit that I have never been one to enjoy trying on clothes, there was something special about the experience! Although a somewhat overwhelming adventure considering that I had never thought about ivory, champagne or white and trumpet vs. mermaid. The best part was NOT looking at the price tags. After trying on about eight dresses and enjoying the time with my favorite ladies who sipped on sparkling grape juice while I sucked it in and allowed a stranger to tug, pull and zip; I left knowing my favorite top two styles and ready to dig deep into finding my budget friendly dress.

It’s been three months since that day and I have learned more about wedding dresses than I could have possibly have ever wanted to know. I’ve considered re-purposing a dress that I wore 13 years ago when I was a debutante. I’ve hit the heart button for all of my favorite sellers on Etsy and weighed the pros and cons of having a dress made and shipped from China or Bulgaria. I’ve researched EVERY bridal consignment store in America and negotiated with strangers on Facebook trading pages.  I’ve considered taking sewing classes, primarily for my reception decor but it wouldn’t hurt to know how to make a wedding dress, right?  I’ve become obsessed with PreOwnedWeddingDress.com and I check my size and price range daily to find a deal. I’ve done all that I can and just when I was thinking about giving up, something amazing happened. Actually multiple amazing things happened …I found the dress of my dreams, honestly I found four dresses of my dreams.

Finally after weeks of searching every site known to (wo)man, I found not one but three dresses that I love from PreOwnedWeddingDress.com, all under $100 each. So I bought them all, I just couldn’t take any chances with leaving one for someone else to snag before me. Five days after making the purchase and confirming the shipping plan, I decided to attend a “run for the dress” sale. I really just wanted to go and jump in on the fun and I was pretty confident that unless I saw an “I can’t live without it” dress that fit me with no alterations and was under $150 that I would leave the store empty handed.

I stood in line for an hour, I met wonderful people, we discussed our wedding planning progress and we took selfies to distract us from the long wait to get inside. The store provided a DJ and employees walked around pumping up the crowd. I started to get more and more excited as the time passed and a couple of pumped up text messages from my Matron of Honor/Best Friend were icing on the cake! I was READY and even though I didn’t plan to buy anything, I felt like it was game day.

There was a countdown and then the doors opened and Brides, mothers and friends rushed into the store.


I followed suit, ran in and started to look thru the racks. All of the dresses were outside of my budget so I started to help a new friend that I met in line find her perfect dress. I had all but given up on finding anything for myself and was happy to help her since I didn’t plan to make a purchase until I saw the ONE. There it is was hanging on a picked over rack of dresses as if it was waiting for me to walk over and grab it. As I neared, I decided to grab it and try it on, why not? That was a mistake. I put it on, some of the other brides stopped shopping to help me zip it up, I walked over to a mirror and immediately knew that it was the one. I had to have it, so I bought it.

In one week, I became the owner of four wedding dresses. Oh boy! Now all that I have to do is narrow down which one will be the one that is the ultimate one.  My hope is that I say YES to the dress soon!