Wedding Dress Nightmares

Alternative title: How to Get Out of Going Dress Shopping

I’m pretty sure most of you won’t be able to relate to this post, but if you can, I hope it is encouraging to you that not everyone looks forward to the dress shopping experience. And if you’re a bride who loved going to stores and trying on dresses, that’s awesome! It just wasn’t for me.

Because most brides do look forward to dress shopping, right? It’s often one of the most anticipated and biggest events of the wedding planning process. For various reasons, this was not how I felt—from the very beginning. In fact, the idea of going shopping with a group of females and trying on dresses was pretty terrifying. I’m fairly small, so I was afraid that dresses would look huge and unflattering on me…and I’m also working with a pretty small budget, so I was worried about finding a dress in my price range. I’m also just not a shopper. I buy a lot of clothes online and in thrift stores and generally avoid high end stores and fancy dressing rooms.

(Again, this whole post is the way I feel about wedding dress shopping-probably not the experience of most!)

After the newly engaged period was over, I immediately turned to looking at dresses online. One of the first places where I looked was J. CREW, for three reasons.

1. J. CREW has the kind of simple understated elegance I was looking for in a wedding dress.

2. The prices weren’t more than my entire budget combined.

3. I know my size from J. CREW, which meant I could order online and not worry about it fitting.

I had several favorites.


Images via J. CREW Wedding clockwise from top left: Bettina, Sararose, Sophia, Sinclair, Lyden, & Larissa

You probably notice a theme in the dresses above. First of all, they’re straight and simple. I want to wear a dress that reflects my everyday personality. A lot of people say that you don’t know what kind of dress you want until you try it on, but based on dresses I’ve chosen (or vehemently discarded) for other formal events, I am 100% confident a poofy dress is not for me. Second, none of these dresses are strapless, both because of comfort and family reasons. Third, all of these dresses are under $1000 (in some cases under $500).

I think all of these are beautiful! In fact, I probably would wear any of the dresses above. I did have a preference from the beginning. Mr. Lemur vetoed some of them—yes, he’s seen my dress and actually helped me pick it out. Nontraditional, I know!

I started looking around online to see if I could find any of them even cheaper. I highly recommend this, even if you think your dress is a bargain already. There are some great resale and discount sites out there (more on this in the next post).

Which dress do you like the most? Any other brides out there go an nontraditional route and skip the bridal salon experience?


Mrs. Lemur

Greenville, South Carolina
Wedding Date:
May 2013
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  1. Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 10:33 am

    @AMacwayko: The wedding is in May and then we’re probably having a second couples session in June where I want to wear my wedding dress—and after that I’m going to try to dye it! Maybe I’ll do a post on it to let you all see how it works? Is the Arabelle in silk chiffon?

  2. Member
    cosmo_gmr 946 posts, Busy bee @ 11:05 am

    I love all your choices! But my favorite is Sinclair :)
    Can’t wait to see what you picked and how you’ll accesorize it!

  3. Member
    mrsamac 307 posts, Helper bee @ 11:35 am

    @Miss Lemur: Yes! Please do! Yeah, it’s silk chiffon.

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Claire, Guest @ 12:10 pm

    I got my wedding dress at JCrew! LOVE their dresses! I got the Miranda :)

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Newmrsp, Guest @ 1:49 pm

    This is my first ever Wedding bee post although I have been on this site just about every day since getting engaged in April ’12. My hubby and I just got married under 2weeks ago and had the best time. I too had not liked the trying on process although I did do it, I ended up going with a J crew dress as well, the Cecilia. J crew can still get you one (as they did for me) although the sizes arent on the website and they are on ebay too. It was gorgeous :-) ) I love all those other ones you picked out as well. I pretty much had all the same criteria as you. Cant wait to see the dress. (Cant believe I am still on here after getting married lol).

  6. Member
    otter 1321 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:53 pm

    I love the Larissa! I totally couldn’t pull it off though, it would drive me crazy all night thinking about how my arms/upper body looked!

  7. Member
    msarmadillo 497 posts, Helper bee @ 2:59 pm

    I was totally dead set on ordering my dress online at first, but went ahead and tried on some dresses at a few local shops just to be sure of what I wanted. As luck would have it, I found my dress in the second store we went to! I think it was like the fourth or fifth dress I tried on overall. While it definitely isn’t my “dream dress,” it was a good bargain and looks beautiful on. I think there’s way to much pressure out there for brides to find the “perfect dress” when in the end, any ol’ dress will get you married. ;) Can’t wait to see what dress you ended up with!

  8. Member
    panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:41 pm

    I love, love, love shopping and I seriously *hated* wedding dress shopping. There is something about it that just tired me out, stressed me out, and made me feel fat. I love the JCrew dresses, but unfortunately, I wanted a more poofy dress, which meant I had to go dress shopping… *sigh*
    I can’t wait to see which dress you end up with!

  9. Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 4:07 pm

    @Newmrsp: I feel so honored you chose to comment on my post for your first ever!! :) I looked at the Cecilia too — actually I almost picked them for bridesmaid dresses.

  10. Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 4:09 pm

    @Miss Otter: Yeah, I kinda need to work on that… haha :)

  11. Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:39 pm

    I really like that sillouette, I just don’t have the body for it, bummer.
    I love the neckline of the bottom left one.

  12. Member
    mstreasure 1655 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:21 pm

    I love J.Crew’s dresses. The bottom left one is my favorite.

  13. Member
    lazy 212 posts, Helper bee @ 9:17 pm

    Before I started shopping I was convinced I’d end up with something J.Crew or Ann Taylor. Last summer when I had the prospect of potentially needing to have a quick wedding (for a family member to be able to be there) I ordered an on sale chiffon Sophia – it was pretty, but did not flatter me the way I expected it to.

    I always wanted a leaner, more casual or slinky silhouette. I decided to go to stores because I’m in a location with tons all around, just to see what I like. I think I’m going to end up getting a Vera Wang white that is a similar silhouette to those you posted. I also may pop into the Jcrew shop once they open the Bridal Salon again (though I’m usually more apt to order online – they are right down the street), but I’m concerned about the filmyness showing off lumps and bumps a little too much.

    For dress shopping – I dragged my finance around rather than anyone else. It was just easier that way. I sent photos to my mom and some friends to get their opinions / let them be included in that way.

    I’m not a fan of the dress shopping experience, but I jumped in head first when I realized some items I liked were selling out, and my window to get my dress is closing. So I hit up all the stores in the last couple weeks when I could squeeze it in. Hope I’m about done!

  14. Member
    xjamit 42 posts, Newbee @ 9:52 pm

    I like the bottom left 1.

  15. Guest Icon Guest
    Ella, Guest @ 10:06 pm

    I like Bettina and Sophia.

  16. Member
    raisethejollyroger 10 posts, Newbee @ 5:58 am

    I purchased a JCrew gown and couldn’t be happier. My bridesmaids even purchased seasonal dresses right off the rack! JCrew made the whole experience painless and I highly recommend them to any bride who isn’t crazy

  17. Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 8:09 am

    @lazy: It definitely depends on the person. I’m really small umm… everywhere, so I didn’t need much (any?) support up top. I guess that can be a positive and a negative! The chiffon is pretty forgiving because the flowy top layer kind of skims over my body, but like I said I’m pretty small.

    I almost went shopping with Mr. Lemur!! I would have except I was too nervous of what other people would think. I wish I had—props to you!

  18. Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 8:10 am

    @raisethejollyroger: My bridesmaids bought dresses on super sale! Oops, gave away a post coming in the future. Buuuut it was a great deal and I don’t feel like a bridezilla ;)

  19. Member
    graywolf 725 posts, Busy bee @ 1:50 pm

    i love the j crew stuff. so classic.

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