Here's a little story about the journey I went on to find my wedding dress. Once upon a time I was engaged. I was only engaged for 30 days before I got married, although that wasn't the original plan (long story about emigrating to Canada for another blog post). Because of the pushed up timeline, I got married in a 1940's style skirt and colorful shirt at a gorgeous, ivy-covered courthouse in Canada. By the time I started planning my "big white wedding" I was already legally married, which made looking for a wedding dress really hard. It was hard because I felt weird spending a lot of money on a fancy wedding gown when I was already married. So, I felt stuck between finding an inexpensive wedding dress since it seemed irresponsible to spend a lot on a custom gown, or to go all out and get the custom wedding dress of my dreams, like all the brides do in the movies.
I Went for Cheap
Like, really cheap. I bought a used $200 Nicole Miller strapless dress that I decided I would just alter. The seams were off but I rationalized that the ribbon I was adding was going to make it so you couldn't see the defects. After each fitting, I left the seamstress's house in tears; big, fat, I-hate-my-wedding-dress tears. This wasn't going to work. I was miserable and the dress just wasn't coming together.
Then I Went for Whatever I Could Find
So, I changed tactics and decided to go for the big, possibly expensive, wedding dress, but now there was no time to order a custom gown. I was going to have to find an off-the-rack dress. Yikes! Three months before the wedding, I flew from British Columbia, where I was living, down to San Francisco (from where I had just moved), met up with my sister and my mother and went proper wedding dress shopping on a wing and a prayer. I went with a mission to find my ideal wedding gown.
My Ideal Wedding Gown
- no lace
- no train
- a-line or at least not form-fitting
What I actually purchased
- bright white
- all lace
- small train
The moral of this story
We must have visited five different wedding shops before I found a dress I sort of liked. At one shop the sales woman/owner told me I was too picky and that I'd never find my dress. WTF?! But we kept looking. I tried on boho-chic flowy gowns, princessy ball gowns, every single f-ing A-line dress each shop carried, but still couldn't find "the one." So I finally did what every good bride is supposed to do: try on dresses you sort of like even if you think they're going to look terrible on you. I tried on this super tight, form-fitting, number convinced that it would look awful and I'd feel ridiculous in it, but at this point I was kind of desperate. And you know what? I liked it! I didn't love it, I didn't get emotional and start crying, I didn't get that "ah-ha!" moment, but I liked it. It was comfortable and I think it looked pretty.
That day I left the bridal salon with a huge smile, rather than big, fat tears, and sometimes that's enough. I found an off-the-rack wedding dress that I liked, I thought I looked pretty, it was expensive but didn't break our bank, and I got to spend time with my mom and sister, so that was cool. Not everyone gets that "yes to the dress" moment and that's ok.
I'd love to hear your story about finding your wedding dress. Email me or leave it in the comments.