Last weekend, I successfully completed my first day of dress shopping. I wasn’t planning on buying anything, so my goals were:
- See what silhouette looked best on me. When I researched, I settled on A-line, also known as the silhouette that fits virtually anyone, but I was willing to try different styles just to see what happened.
- See what price range was realistic for the type of dress that looked good on me. I had a certain amount in my budget, but wanted to actually see what different priced dresses looked like before I settled on what was doable.
I made two appointments for last Saturday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The morning appointment was for David’s Bridal, and the afternoon was at a smaller designer-owned boutique on the west side of Portland.
My mom went with me to the first appointment and I must say – I’m glad we arrived early. We got a parking spot at the very front of the store, but very soon realized that there were at least 10 other groups coming to try on dresses. First note about DB – they are huge, and book many appointments at one time. I thought I would get around that by booking at the beginning of the day, but other people had the same idea. Additionally, everyone else had multiple people with them. The store was packed! But moving on…
Our consultant was wonderful and very nice. She showed us around the store, then set us loose to grab dresses we thought would work. Some nos:
Here’s where I add my second note about David’s Bridal. They would do well to invest in non-fluorescent lights. The photos above were taken by a phone, but seriously – bride-to-bes would look a lot better in better lights. Just trust me on this one.
I tried on four dresses that MoB and I picked out, but none of them clicked. By that time the consultant knew what I liked, so she went and pulled two more dresses. I don’t really remember the other one she had me try on, but I distinctly remember the one I loved. I’m not going to post a picture and ruin it, but I will explain a little. It’s a beautiful semi-sweetheart fit and flare with a really unique leafy/petal lace overlay and sweep train. It compliments my body well and is still tasteful. I saw it on the hanger while I was picking dresses, but didn’t care for the lace too much. When I had it on though, I realized how perfectly the lace fit with the theme of my wedding. I was in love.
The best part of finding a great dress was finding out the price was not outrageous. I budgeted only a few hundred for the dress, but was not bowled over by finding out the regular price was only $549. This is in the much lower range of wedding dress prices, and when my mom told me her dress was $300 when she got married 30 years ago, I was convinced this was actually a pretty great find.
I still had another appointment and I was going to go to it no matter what. One of my BMs came as well, so it was special to have her there. We arrived and I was already a little tired (interruptive note: trying on dresses is tiring – I needed a nap at the end) so I probably wasn’t giving the shop a great chance. Still I was raring to try on some more fun things, so into the shop I went. We picked some things similar to what I tried on before, but some more unique pieces like a sheath champagne lace with a rose-colored full length plus peplum. I also tried on an illusion strapped pink ball gown, which was fun. By the end of it though, I realized that these dresses just weren’t living up to my hopes and didn’t look great on my body. They also were all over twice (usually thrice) my dream dress’ price.
All of this (I know, I’m blathering) to say that in defense of David’s Bridal, you really can find something that fits you and your budget. The service won’t always be great (though our consultant was fantastic, even when she had a second bride at the end), but there is a bonus to having other people around – they will tell you when you look great and it’s a huge confidence boost! Plus you can feed off the energy in the room. The boutique wasn’t nearly as stimulating, and I felt awkward at times. At David’s Bridal I felt like I could be amazing and not break the bank. It’s not for everyone, and I’m not knocking those who go elsewhere. It’s still possible I might. But the dress I found is really great, so we shall see.
Lastly – I’m going to another bridal show tomorrow with a colleague, so there may be another post about that. I’ll also be in Oklahoma after Monday, and a potential dress shopping adventure awaits in Tulsa, so much more fun to be had! Also look forward to an upcoming post on my venue adventures!