Prior to getting engaged, I’d never even looked at a single wedding dress. Nope, not even on Pinterest. I always thought, How can you legitimately plan a wedding when you don’t even have a groom?
The second Mitch and I returned home from Seattle [read about our engagement story here], though, I dove deep into everything wedding.
I never imagined my wedding day growing up, but my style has always been a bit more casual and boho. Lots of bright colors, flowy dresses, you get the picture. Naturally, I figured I’d be more drawn to a hippie style dress. And with my consistent love of heat and warm weather, spring or summer was inevitable for my wedding day.
At least, that’s what I thought.
When Mitch and I started discussing wedding dates, we both agreed we wanted sometime in the fall [shockingly, I realized I didn’t want to be sweating all over my wedding dress, nor did I want to risk it raining on our wedding day – that immediately eliminated any spring or midsummer dates]. With this in my mind and my iPad in my hand, I started scouring Pinterest for wedding gowns. I was immediately drawn to long-sleeved ball gowns [yes, like a Disney princess!], and figured that if we were having a fall wedding, there was a 50% chance it would be cool enough for a long sleeved gown. After consistently finding photos of dresses I loved by the same designer, I finally checked out her website and found a bridal boutique in Sacramento that carried her line. I was elated! While Sac may be the capital of CA, we don’t have the luxury of having very many fancy, designer stores, nor do our stores carry much designer apparel. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find any better-known designers here, so finding a boutique that carried one that I liked was like finding a needle in a haystack! A golden needle, at that.
And just like that, I had an appointment scheduled for mid July [yes, fourteen-and-a-half months before my wedding date] – I honestly couldn’t want any longer to try on dresses! And I kept picturing horror stories of not having enough time to have my dress hemmed and fitted, so I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to find a dress, order it, and have the measurements done.
When my mom, sister and I popped into the boutique for my fitting, I was so ridiculously excited. I had heard from so many friends that they loved trying on dresses, that it was their favorite part of the whole wedding planning process. And all of them found their dress at the first store they ever went to. With these experiences in the back of my mind, I was feeling pretty confident that I’d find my dream dress that day.
I tried on probably ten or fifteen different dresses in the 90 minutes we spent at the shop, and each of them was pretty and unique in its own way. I felt pretty damn special and beautiful, even in the dresses that weren’t very flattering or I just didn’t end up liking. In the end, I nixed the long sleeve gown idea. Though they were gorgeous dresses, even inside the air conditioned boutique I was uncomfortable and sweaty. I knew that would not work for a fall wedding in Sacramento. It’s just too warm. And with layers and layers of tulle for my skirt, I already knew I’d be miserable if I settled for long-sleeve. So, instead, I found a dress that was thin strapped, very different and pretty and stood out from the others [and was by the designer I loved]. But I wasn’t sure it was the one. I couldn’t really picture myself walking down the aisle to Mitch in it.
I left the store feeling extremely deflated and bummed. I thought for sure I was going to find THE dress! And, even worse, I was already burnt out on shopping for wedding dresses. I started to think there was something wrong with me – not only did I not find my dress, but I didn’t really enjoy the process. Was this a bad sign? Did this mean I was marrying the wrong person?
After the disappointment of not finding my dress and feeling like I was a failure as a bride, I put the dress shopping on hold and decided to focus on other aspects of the wedding. After all, I was still 14 months from my wedding. I still had more than enough time to find a dress. I thought, I’ll get excited about it again after a couple of months goes by.
As 2017 drew to a close and I still wasn’t looking forward to trying on dresses, I realized what was keeping me from being excited about the process: I was so afraid that I wouldn’t find my dress and that I would feel horribly deflated and let down again. So instead of trying on thousands of dresses and using process of elimination, I completely avoided it entirely. Yup, like a big ass baby.
I couldn’t avoid it forever, though. My mom had been pressuring me to nail down another try-on date, and the longer I waited to find my gown, the smaller the window to get my dress fitted and hemmed in time for the wedding. I finally found a boutique in greater Bay Area hosting a trunk show for my favorite designer, and decided to make a weekend out of it. I invited my best friend [matron of honor] to be a part of the weekend, hoping she would be my good-luck-charm.
After my prior experience, I went into my appointment with no expectations. I was excited to try on more dresses, but prepared myself for the possibility that I may not find a dress that day. And that if I didn’t, it would be okay. I would figure it out.
As it turned out, I wouldn’t be leaving the boutique empty-handed that day. I found my dress! It’s more beautiful than I ever could have hoped for or imagined, and I am beyond excited to marry Mitch in it on our wedding day.
It wasn’t a perfect process to find my dress. Far from it, actually. I had a lot of emotions and not a whole lot of excitement to go through the try-on process. Every experience is different, though, and I think it’s important that every bride-to-be remembers that little tidbit of information. It’s okay if you’re not excited about gown shopping, it’s okay if it takes you six months to find your dress, and it’s okay if you burst into tears [or don’t!] when you find your dream gown [if you want some wedding dress shopping tips, read my post here!]. Your experience is your own, and I can personally attest to the fact that regardless of my disappointment after my first dress appointment, I ended up having an amazing afternoon with the three most important women in my life. Even if I hadn’t found my dress, it came down to my experience at the salon with those women which totally made my day.