PS: The dress hanging on the window frame in the picture above isn’t my dress. I will post my dress after my wedding day…which is soon!
This past week was A M A Z I N G because I chose my wedding dress! I am so thankful to God for how He allowed things to unfold in finding the perfect wedding dress for me! Keep reading to find out!
For starters, wedding dress shopping is hard! There is so much to think about. Here is a short list of what I had to consider:
- Silhouettes (A-line, mermaid, ballgown, etc.)
- Necklines (strapless, high collar, square, v-neck, straps, asymmetric, etc.)
- Waistlines (natural, basque, dropped, etc.)
- Color (white, ivory, champagne, pale pink, etc.)
- Sleeves (sleeveless, fitted, illusion, cap, etc.)
- Train or no train (don’t forget about the length and style of the train!)
- Lace/no lace (if yes to lace, which lace: chantilly, honiton, schiffli, alencon, duchesse, etc.)
- Veil (length of veil, lace or sparkles or both on veil?)
While this list may seem dramatic and over-the-top, trust me, you have to think about all this!
One thing about me is that I am very practical. I live within my means as much as possible.
I understand that a wedding is a once in a lifetime event, but I am being reasonable and prioritizing our life events: we have to find a place to live, pay move in fees, buy furniture and home items, and go on a honeymoon. (We would love to have a beautiful and long honeymoon, if God allows it.)
Our plan is to take care of all these things as we plan the wedding so that we can come back from our honeymoon and start living together.
Going back to the wedding dress…
First: I established a budget
In my opinion, the most important step was for me to establish a budget. I set it at $1000, max. And if I couldn’t find one in that budget, I would go up to $1,500, but I wanted to avoid this by all means because there were other costs to think about such as the veil AND alterations. Knowing that the national average spent on a wedding dress is $1,500, I didn’t want to exceed or reach that.
Second: I searched for bridal stores in my area
I found a couple and made appointments right after the other on different days. I am so glad I went on weekdays and after work hours. The stores were empty. Apparently, most brides go wedding dress shopping on a weekend. [Just making a side note: I did try to find a dress at David’s Bridal because I love how affordable they are, but, sadly, none of them were for me. If you go to David’s Bridal, it can be really busy on weekends.]
I went to a small bridal store that carried SOME selections within my budget. I didn’t feel very welcomed there and the ladies weren’t super friendly. The lady taking care of me would bring up my budget often and that made me a bit uncomfortable.
A lot of people told me that wedding dress shopping should be a fun and happy shopping experience, but it didn’t feel like that at this store.
Almost saying Yes to a dress
I ALMOST decided on a wedding dress here. I ALMOST gave them my debit card. The craziest decision I have would have made on this journey. I am so glad I went home and thought it through.
For instance, this dress I almost purchased was $1,800 not including shipping, alterations, and veil. This means that I would have paid close to $3k for a dress. That’s insane! (This would have been a crazy decision for ME; it may not be a crazy one for you. Understandable.)
I LIKED the dress, but I wasn’t in LOVE with the dress. It was not me, but those around me were saying “it is beautiful on you,” which does have an effect on your decision-making in the moment. (Future bride, stay focused!)
It is hard to describe this feeling, but so many dresses look so beautiful on, especially with the veil that you may end up liking it, but it may not be the RIGHT dress.
That evening, I went home and showed my mom the pictures and videos. She liked this dress, but she felt like it wasn’t the best one for me. While my mom and I do not agree on everything, I knew she was right. Coupled with the cost of the dress, I knew it wasn’t for me. I didn’t feel it was ME and I didn’t feel very comfortable in it. Also, I didn’t see myself walking from table to table greeting our guests in that dress.
It was at this time that I decided to search for one that I had tried in Kleinfeld Bridal store in New York. Let me take a quick tangent to share this story:
Last year, we went to visit my sibling (yes, I call him “sibling” hehe) in New York City. Before we got there, I made an appointment with Kleinfeld Bridal store. My mom and one of my best friend’s were going on this trip and I didn’t want to miss this opportunity.
It was a neat experience! I think there is a huge difference from what you see on the show (Say Yes to the Dress on TLC) and how it is in real life. We loved it, nonetheless. I didn’t pick any of the wedding dresses I tried on. One was definitely a favorite because it had Swarovski crystals (unbelievable sparkles!), but it was not THE ONE.
Again, I couldn’t picture myself walking down the aisle to my fiancé in this dress. (I didn’t realize this until later. I am about to get to that part!)
Flash forward to the present
I called Kleinfeld Bridal in NY to see if they had kept a record of the wedding dresses I tried on. They only had two on file, but not the one I was looking for.
I looked through the pictures and videos to see if I could grab the name on the tag. Thankfully, I got it! I searched for it online to see if I could find it in a store near me. They had it near me! (WHEW! So I thought…)
I contacted the closest one and made an appointment for the same day in the evening. My mom and I got there, and I was impressed!
What happens when you find the best bridal store…
This was a large bridal store. It had a huge selection of wedding dresses. Some were less than $500. Some were 50% off. Others were full price. I was amazed that not only did they have affordable dresses, but they were beautiful, too!
One of my favorite aspects of this bridal store was that they didn’t mind my budget! They were still extremely kind and helpful.
I was also able to search through the wedding dresses myself (another favorite!). I was able to select them right off the rack and give it to the associate to place in my changing room. After seeing my selections, she went ahead of us and made a few picks for me. That really helped!
Let me add that the associates were all super friendly. I was the happiest future bride in the world (haha). I think it matters how you feel in a store, especially when making such a huge decision. The owner was also there and was very friendly. I loved this bridal store!
Once I tried on a wedding dress, I would walk out to their runway to see myself in these large mirrors in different lighting. This was AWESOME! I got to see myself from a few angles.
I think I tried close to 15 dresses that night and all the dresses varied in style. This allowed me to narrow down my choices! By the end of the night, I had two potential dresses set aside.
I am going to add that I tried on a few that were simply “for fun” because I knew I would never pick them for my special day. I enjoyed trying them on – it was a fun memory to make. This is something I do not regret! I wish I could have kept going (haha)!
My advise to all future brides is to try on a few dresses for fun! Take some pictures, try on a veil, and enjoy yourself!
Oh, one more positive aspect about this store: they allow you to take pictures and videos! I had a record of every dress I tried on. I was able to go home and review all of them.
Not all bridal stores allow that. I made an appointment at another store which had a policy about this: no one is allowed to take picture or videos. Once you’ve selected your dress, then the associate will take a picture and video for you. I am so thankful I didn’t have to go to this store!
A few days after, we went to a bridal expo. I recommend all brides to go to a bridal expo. You learn a lot about vendors, and you get to meet the people behind the companies and their quality, which is not the same as what you see on the internet. You also get to compare price packages, which was important for me. (I will make a post about this soon!)
Here is where it starts to get good
At this bridal expo, I picked up a catalog from one of the booth’s showcasing bridal dresses. As I looked through the catalog that evening, I earmarked 5 pages. There was one specific dress that I loved, and I wanted to find it in my favorite bridal store.
About a week later, I went back to the bridal store with my mother, mother-in-law and a close friend.
This time, we were running late to my appointment. (They didn’t mind, of course!) I was waiting for my mother-in-law to arrive at my house and by the time she arrived, it was already my appointment time. We were half an hour late and my close friend was already there waiting for me.
Proof that God is always working for our good
What happened next is confirmation for me (and hopefully, for you, too) that God is ALWAYS working, even when you can’t imagine it!
When I walked in, I started describing to the associate the dress I had seen in the catalog. And a dress like the one I was describing was already on the rack outside of my dressing room waiting for me to try on! She points to it and says, “looks like it may be this one.”
What I didn’t know was that my close friend had picked out a few wedding dresses for me, including the first one on the rack, which was exactly what I was describing.
I went directly to try on this one. I didn’t even try on the two that I had set aside the previous visit.
The moment you say YES to the dress
When I saw this dress on me, I LOVED it. I loved it so much my eyes became watery. I knew it was the ONE. It has everything I wanted in a wedding dress. The previous two I selected were beautiful, but I never had the same feeling as with this one.
Again, I repeat: it had EVERYTHING I wanted in a wedding dress. I won’t go into details about it because my fiancé will be reading this post and I don’t want him to imagine it (winky face!).
I think you know a wedding dress is the one when it has everything you like plus it’s in your budget. (Can’t forget about the budget! haha)
With regard to the cost of this wedding dress, it was originally $1.8k. However, two days before I showed up with my mom, mother in law, and close friend, they had marked it down to 50% off!
The most incredible thing
Did you catch that it was the SAME price as the one I almost bought?
- God listens to our petitions.I keep praying through this wedding + marriage journey because I want to make wise choices. Wedding planning can be overwhelming at times. (Hebrews 4:16; 1 Peter 5:7; Isaiah 65:24, Phil. 4:6)
- God speaks to our heart. He told me when it wasn’t the right dress. (John 10:27; Job 33:14, Isaiah 30:21)
- God provides for our needs. He knew I needed a wedding dress within my budget, but beautiful too. (Matthew 6:31-32; Matthew 7:11; Psalm 34:10; Jeremiah 29:11)
- God strengthens us. He removes our fears. I credit God for giving me the courage to contact the previous bridal store to say no to the dress that was beyond by budget. You may not know this about me, but I can be very shy. (Phil. 4:13; Romans 8:37; Joshua 1:3-9; Deut. 31:6; Romans 8:15)
- God gives us wisdom. I believe He gave me the wisdom to create a reasonable budget, make appointments with several bridal stores, and the understanding to choose the right dress. (James 1:5-8; Job 28:8; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7)
Isn’t God faithful?
Was that not from God or what?! God continuously works in this way, not only for me, but for you, too! I don’t know why I am always amazed by it, but He is so faithful and loving. He provides when you least expect it. He is always taking care of every concern of ours!
Let me know how your ‘saying yes to the dress’ played out or if this resonated with you. God bless you!
Rest easy knowing that God is with you; He will help you and provide for you through anything.