Early in my planning, I kept forgetting I was a bride. I mean, obviously I was doing bride-esque things, like booking our venue and failing at favors, but it was a weird combination of having been thinking about doing this for so long and diving into doing it head first that kept me somewhat detached.
Bridesmaid Y and I went to a bridal show in the first month of my engagement (I’m telling you, folks, I wasn’t messing around), and I definitely experienced some sort of overwhelming, awe-inducing, “whoa this is real” feelings. But—and I’m willing to bet many brides and/or brides-to-be would say similar—nothing, nothing, NOTHING compares to picking a dress.
I have so much to say about this day. I’ll save the suspense and tell you all now: We were able to leave with not only my dress chosen, but also the dresses that my bridal party will be wearing—which was very important to me, because having everyone together is a rare occurrence.
We went to a local David’s Bridal for our dresses. Being the lunatic stalker thorough person that I am, I scoured reviews, ideas, hints, any and everything related to this type of experience beforehand. Unfortunately, I encountered numerous negative reviews—even from Weddingbee—and I began to freak out inwardly. Of course, I know enough about the internet to know that often only the extreme cases warrant reviews, but I still started to have mini anxiety attacks. What if they don’t know what they’re doing? What if I get a complete bitch and end up snapping? What if they won’t let me use the appointment for both me and my girls? What if all of the dresses look hideous on me? What if MY dress, my dream dress, fails everywhere like the favors did? I was sincerely, legitimately concerned.
Here’s the thing: every single thing that I worried about went flawlessly, every single thing that I thought I wanted didn’t work. Yup, you read that right. It was a day of “No way! Really?”
This was my vision a la David’s Bridal’s Dress Your Wedding:
Personal image created using David’s Bridal Dress Your Wedding tool / Set in stone…
As I planned my just-in-case backups, I made sure to avoid strapless dresses or one-shouldered dresses. I was adamant that I did NOT want strapless. I wanted A-line, and I really wanted a halter.
I tried on a handful of dresses, and my girls as well as the David’s Bridal women had such patience and care. The reviews I read did not apply to my experience; my attendant and the store manager were so phenomenal that I actually wrote them a very heartfelt thank you letter. Pittsburgh ladies, PM me if you want names and details because I will happily provide them.
The first dress I tried on had me feeling like a bride. I took a deep breath as I saw myself in it, and inside I was saying, “Don’t freak out. It’s only the first one, it’s only the first one.” The girls loved it, and Bridesmaid Badonk (Mr. Palm Tree’s sister) immediately got a little teary over it. I gave it a solid nine and a half, but that was because in my head and heart I was still holding out for my dream dress.
I went on to try others (some hits, some misses, as is life) and then the Wild Card came. The Wild Card was one that the store manager had picked out for me, after gauging my reactions to some I had already picked. This dress had everyone in tears almost the instant I stepped out of the dressing room. Of course, seeing them misty made ME misty—even the store manager got a little choked up upon my reveal. I did LOVE this dress, and I gave it a nine; I felt gorgeous and the dress itself was beautiful and stunning…but it just wasn’t my dress. I still had a lot of feelings for and about the first dress and, of course, I was still holding out for the dream dress.
I changed out of the Wild Card and into the dream dress and…before I even saw it I knew that it wasn’t it. I realize that all of this “feeling” and “knowing” sounds like a bunch of horse doodoo, but it’s true: I could just feel that I wasn’t going to get married in this dress. I walked out and pretty much everyone else instantaneously agreed. I allowed myself a tiny bit of mourning and then my attendant and I decided to try the first dress on again to see if I went from a solid nine to a solid ten after being able to compare. I put it on and…yup, you guessed it: I knew.
“I’m pretty sure this is it, guys,” I told them as I walked out, already deep-breathing to prevent a complete and total meltdown. Of course, it was the exact opposite of what I thought I wanted: It was strapless, it had a corset, it was ball-gown-esque, and it was “big.” But it didn’t matter. My checklist went out the window and my feelings took over; I couldn’t stop smiling and thinking about Mr. Palm Tree at the end of the aisle seeing me in this dress. Some of the girls were still lobbying for the Wild Card, but I explained to them that while it was beautiful, it wasn’t right. It just wasn’t me. This dress, though, was me. I remember a very specific moment, when I glanced down at my dress and teared up and I looked up a tiny bit and caught Bridesmaid Y’s eye and saw her red-eyed and holding back…and I semi lost it. I just kind of smiled and tears spilled over and I allowed myself to get caught up in the moment for a little. I had been planning this for so long. I had been waiting for THIS moment and here it was: I was officially a bride.
All photos courtesy of Rev. Fun, all from David’s
The Dream Dress. I would’ve had it in sapphire (“Marine”) blue, but it still was not for me. I felt it made me look old. Rev. Fun said it looked like a Teen Mom wedding dress.
The Wild Card dress (in a size and a half too small, for the record)
The jaw-dropping train/back of the Wild Card dress
The bustled back of the jaw-dropping beautiful train of the Wild Card dress…
My halter backup that I loved, that everyone else disliked almost instantly. For the record, I still love it.
Back of the above
Back of what Rev. Fun dubbed “the Emily Gellar wedding dress” with my marine sash
Emily Gellar’s wedding dress, the front. This is me telling them that the off-the-shoulder straps drove me bananas.
Rev. Fun, Bridesmaid Blackout, and Bridesmaid Y waiting for the bride
Bridesmaid Badonk, MOH Mem, and Rev. Fun (Bridesmaid Tiny Dancer was in the dressing room with me, helping with dress number one and the undergarments.)
Unfortunately for you readers, I am not allowed to have a picture of me in my dress, because I will absolutely positively cave and show Mr. Palm Tree. I had to send my veil home with Bridesmaid Badonk for fear that I’d show it to him. I can, however, show the dress on the David’s Bridal model, and you can all use your imagination.
Image via David’s Bridal website / The back of my dress, which will be laced with the Marine (sapphire) ribbon
Image via David’s Bridal website / The front of MY dress…it makes me teary when I look at it too much. <3
So this was an extremely successful, emotional, and surprisingly EASY part our David’s Bridal adventure.
Next up: the bridal party dresses (a surprisingly giant chunk of our time/day).