We all piled into our vehicles and drove caravan-style to our first stop of the day: David’s Bridal. Being a frugal person, I knew I wanted to stick with “budget” dresses, so most designer boutiques were out. David’s Bridal seemed like the logical choice, and so that’s where we went first.
When we arrived I met my consultant, Elayne, and she had me mark each dress I wanted to try on in their catalog. I found the dresses from our online pre-shopping, and added a smattering of other dresses I liked upon first glance. A few minutes later, Elayne went to fetch the first round of dresses, and it was time to get bridal.
Screencap of Lord of the Rings / Credit: New Line Cinema
My heart skipped a beat—this was really it. In a few seconds’ time I would be wearing a wedding dress for the first time ever in my life. Elayne held up the first dress like a hoop and I dove into it, and then it was time to make my bridal debut.
Oleg Cassini CWG365 / Photo by cousin T
I think my face in the photo says it all. “Holy cow. I’m really getting married. I’m really standing here in a wedding dress right now. This is really happening.” My entourage were all poised, leaning forward in their seats, grins on their faces, eyebrows raised as if to ask, “So do we love it or do we hate it?” But I was speechless. I could only stare from myself to my family and back to myself, excited, giddy, nervous, ready to laugh and cry at the same time. No one really said anything, until Elayne finally broke the silence by asking, “So…what do you think?”
“Um,” was my ever-so-eloquent answer. “It’s a little heavy.”
And suddenly Elayne was in her zone. She launched right in and explained that it was heavy because it was so big on me, and that when the dress fit me it wouldn’t have any extra fabric to weigh me down. She literally lay down on the floor next to me and tried to “lift” the skirt a little bit, supporting it from the bottom, to show how it would feel without the extra fabric.
Photographic evidence of Elayne on the floor / Photo by cousin T
I finally told her I didn’t think this one was it, and we headed back into the dressing room for dress #2. Dress #2 was one that Elayne had pulled for me to try after seeing how many chiffon dresses I had bookmarked in the catalog. It, however, was strapless. No one had gotten a chance to mention to her that I didn’t want strapless, but in the moment I figured it was worth it to try it on anyway.
David’s Bridal V9743 / Photo by cousin T
Admittedly, I liked this dress. It wasn’t terrible. It fit my breezy, simple, summery vision perfectly. But that flowy chiffon feel that I thought I wanted? So did not live up to my expectations. I felt like I was wearing a freaking nightgown. I felt that a wedding gown should have presence, both visually and the way it physically feels on me. I mentioned this to Elayne and she shuffled me back into the dressing room while she went and pulled some different dresses.
Awkward…and not just my face / Photo by FMIL Wizard
Pooping out my train from a butt decal…what? Who decided it was a good idea to put that there? / Photo by FMIL Wizard
What is this? / Photo by FMIL Wizard
MOH Lefty pointing out the “apron” effect. This dress also gave me a rash from all the beading. Fun! / Photo by FMIL Wizard
Hive, I tried on so many dresses that I lost count, and they were all starting to blend together in my head. I was getting frustrated. My entourage were all bored. I felt that all the beading, all the lace, all the ruching, buttons, flowers, bows—it was too much. I wanted something simple. I voiced my concerns to Elayne, and what do you know? A miracle happened.
David’s Bridal V3189 / Photo by cousin T
I knew from the second I saw myself in it: I had found my dress. It was simple, understated, elegant, feminine, perfect. Most importantly, I felt like myself, which was a first out of all the dresses I’d tried on that day. Elayne popped a veil on my head and that sealed the deal.
I make such wonderful faces. / Photo by cousin T
Photo by cousin T
I was about 99% positive this was my dress. But I held off on purchasing it, because I knew we had one more stop to go that day. So with a heavy heart I changed back into my normal clothes, said goodbye to my dress, and headed down the road with my entourage to our next stop.
How was your first dress-shopping experience? Were you surprised by what you liked once you actually started trying dresses on?