Let me justify my reasoning behind dress shopping so early. Back in high school when Danny was my prom date I was determined to find a dress that would be unique, flatter my figure, and one that I would absolutely love. Do you know how long it took me to find that one dress that isn't even 1/4 as important as your wedding dress? I looked for about four months! It's a prom dress! I started at every mall around the west side and then even ventured over to the east side of town a few times. I went to boutiques, bridal shops, I even looked online. I just couldn't find a thing. I finally went to Catan Fashions and I found it. It wasn't what I thought I wanted but it was beautiful. I remember specifically telling my mom when we were purchasing my prom dress, "If looking for a prom dress was this big of a challenge I do not even want to think about how long it's going to take me to find a wedding dress." So that is why I started sooooo early!
I booked my appointments with two local bridal shops on Sunday afternoon over lunch with my mom. Setting up the appointments from my iPhone probably wasn't the smartest thing to do but apparently it worked since I received confirmations e-mails within the hour of booking. HOWEVER, just because a confirmation e-mail is sent, it doesn't mean that the store's e-mail account is working or that people even check their appointment bookings within the 24-48 hours they say they will. I will get to that later. I booked my first appointment for Tuesday at noon with Dora's Bridal and then a Wednesday appointment with Catan Fashions, also at noon. Monday comes around, no response from either place. Tuesday morning, I check my e-mail, still no confirmation. At that point being the crazy person that I can be I was a little freaked out. I remembered that Dora's didn't necessarily need an appointment set up in order to look at gowns so I just decided to head up there anyway.
My mom and I got to the store right when it opened so thankfully no one was there in case an appointment was booked, I wouldn't be getting in the way. I walked in and told them I tried to make an appointment and there was no confirmation saying when my appointment actually was. Apparently the store's e-mail account was down over the weekend. Ladies, I feel that it is much easier to just call and set up an appointment because technology fails, multiple times, because this happened again.
Here is my confession. I may have "accidentally" stumbled upon a few bridal websites over the past few months before I was engaged. I may have glanced at a few oh maybe hundred dresses, just to see what was out there. I may have found about seven dresses that I already knew as soon as I got engaged that I wanted to try on the next week. But hey if you have been dating a person for almost six years, I think you would do the same thing too.
I had a few pictures printed off of dresses that I had picked out online and went over them with the sales associate. She only had about two of the ones I wanted to try on. One of them being what I thought was THE DRESS. I tried on about six dresses at Dora's and the dress that I thought was THE ONE was just kind of ehh take it or leave it. The other dresses weren't much better. I did get a better idea of what flattered my figure and I found out what looked awful on me.
What I thought to be THE DRESS
Wednesday my mom and I were set to go to Catan Fashions. Yet again, I had no confirmation e-mail saying when my appointment was. Luckily, I was able to get a hold of someone over the phone to confirm that my appointment was set for noon that day.
My consultant for the day was a very helpful lady. She greeted my mom and I very cheerfully and let us know where all the designers were located in the store. She encouraged me to try on as many dresses as I wanted and even in styles that I didn't think would flatter me. She was actually pretty funny because if she ever saw me look at a dress for longer than five seconds she would say, "Just try it!" One thing I really liked about Catan's was the fact that I had a large dressing room with two larger mirrors in it so I didn't have to go to the main room and show everyone my dress. I had privacy to try on the gowns and it was more relaxed just being my mom, me, and the consultant. We had pulled about 13 or 14 gowns to try on. All of them were completely different from each other. The first gown I tried on was an Allure Aline, lace gown with an empire waist and a sweetheart neckline. I had actually printed out a picture of this gown but I didn't realize it until half-way through my appointment. I was drawn to this dress instantly. It was the right color and it had the lace and beading details that I thought I would want in a dress.
Back view of dress
Front view with me in the dress...it's a little big
Front view from the designer's website (you can see the dress better this way)
I went on to try on a few other gowns but nothing was really standing out. Dresses would have certain details or cuts that I liked but nothing was really screaming this is my dress. We took lots of pictures, and I guess I will embarrass myself by posting a few of them now.
We liked the waistline of this dress, but it was a lot of dress
We like the pretty detailing on the back of this dress, yet again, it was a big dress
This dress may look a little ridiculous the more I look at it. But I liked it off the rack.
Back view of the ridiculous dress
Mom's pick...wasn't a fan of the fabric, but it had cute details
There were a lot more dresses that we tried but we didn't bother taking pictures because I immediately ruled them out after I tried on a dress that after a little time would be THE DRESS. My dress was probably the fourth dress that I tried on. I put it on and it fit well, it was the right color, it was light, cute, but still beautiful, and I was kind of attached to it. I was told by the consultant to keep a set of top two or three dresses and compare the other ones I tried on to them. I kept saying, "Nope, that's not it, I like the other two better." a lot after trying on the first and fourth dress. We narrowed it down to two dresses and I tried them on again. At that point I was pretty sure that I knew what dress I wanted. Both of the dresses were COMPLETELY different from each other. One was what I thought I wanted and the other was the total opposite of what I thought I wanted.
My dress was nothing what I imagined it to be. It is a beautiful Allure gown and it even has POCKETS (perfect for my iPhone)!!!! It is taffeta (not lace), diamond white (not ivory), it has a strapless neckline (not a sweetheart), and it has a ballgown/ A-line skirt (not mermaid). Because I know Danny will be looking at this I am not going to post any pictures of me in the dress or of the dress at all. If you want to see it you can ask and I will be more than happy to send you a picture of it.
We left the store and I found another store that we could just walk into without an appointment that was on the other side of town. Galleria Gowns is a smaller store that is just kind of go in, look at what's on the racks, and you can just throw it on. I pulled about six more dresses when I was there. While I was looking, I found my dress again, and I immediately got excited. I had to try it on again. I even found another Allure gown that was very similar to my dress but it has some beading detailing at the waistline that was absolutely gorgeous. I tried on all the dresses and saved my dress for last. The dresses I tried on were beautiful dresses with more detailing than any of the other dresses that I had previously tried.
Yet again I will embarrass myself some more. Man I wish my mom was a better photographer, or that she would at least tell me when she was taking pictures.
GORGEOUS...but not my dress. Oh and I didn't cut my head out of these pictures...mom did. Probably because I was making faces the majority of the time.
Close but still not it
I would show you more of the dresses but I don't want to give any more away. I was actually a little torn between the two similar Allure gowns. That was before I tried on my gown again though. I tried on my dress for one last time and as soon as I walked out to look at myself in the mirrors I was smiling and the consultant was telling me how flattering the dress was and how she could tell it was more my style of dress. Then she pushed me overboard and put on the veil and that's when I started getting a little misty eyed. I never thought I would get that overwhelming feeling where I would almost cry! I knew it was my dress.
We talked about some alterations, like adding some straps. Getting the dress hemmed and fitted. Ordering the dress, getting shoes and the right veil, and all that stuff for a bit. It takes about six months to get a dress ordered and made so I didn't immediately purchase the dress. But I cannot wait until I can go back and try it on again and get it fitted perfectly just for me!!
NOW I have some questions for those of you that have looked for dresses. How many places did you look? Did you try on as many gowns as I did? How did you know that was your dress? When you got your dress altered did you have any issues? Was it really pricey to get alterations done to your dress? When you dress was finished being altered and ready for you to pick up were you happy with it?
I would love to hear about your experiences with your own dress shopping mission. Please comment!
Photos courtesy of: