Consider the ‘Hows’ When Shopping for a Wedding Dress

One of the things I think I regret most about my own wedding experience was buying my gown online. NOT, I want to stress, that I think there’s anything wrong with buying online if you’re not one for shopping. I just wish I’d gotten to have that wedding dress shopping experience that is so often cited as one of those special elements of wedding planning that bride will remember forever. Only problem was that in my case, shopping was difficult. My mom was in another state. As a freelancer, my schedule was flexible, but mostly when it came to daytime on weekdays – precisely when my girlfriends were at work. There was something about the notion of shopping for my gown alone that just plain bummed me out. End result, I ended up with something not quite right instead of, say, one of the Priscilla of Boston wedding dresses that might have been my first choice.

Want to know a secret about me? I still imagine myself walking into somewhere like Priscilla of Boston (which just happens to be local to me and just plain awesome all around), and getting the celebrity-style bride-to-be treatment along with my mom and a bestie or two, even though my hope is that I’ll never actually need another wedding dress! (Note: I am not the kind of weirdo who would actually go try on a bunch of gowns, fibbing about being engaged all the while. I’m this shy of being that kind of weirdo, but not there yet.)

Aren’t those just beautiful? …and there I go hypothetically wedding gown shopping all over again.

Indeed, if I had my whole wedding to do over again, I’d probably actually hit up an actual real live luxury bridal shop this time around after figuring out a day and time that worked for those of my loved ones who are ladies instead of just going it alone. Not that there’s anything wrong with gown shopping alone if that’s what you want to do, but I personally didn’t find my wedding gown shopping and wedding gown alteration experience all that jazzy. (Did you know that P of B – can I call it that? – can make a muslin before making your gown so it fits your body perfectly? Would have saved me a lot of hassle, that’s for sure…)

So that’s my sob story – no one to shop with, no pre-wedding pampering in the bridal salon. Now I’m asking you: What was the best part of your wedding gown shopping experience? What, if anything, do you regret about your wedding gown shopping experience?

5 Responses to “Consider the ‘Hows’ When Shopping for a Wedding Dress”

  1. The Jananator May 16, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    There’s another side to gown shopping, though, which is that people are probably going to try to influence you. Is it more important to get a dress you love, even if maybe it doesn’t look perfect in the eyes of mom/best friend/etc.? Or do you want to wow everyone so you choose a dress people rave about that isn’t necessarily your first choice? At least going alone, you are more likely to pick something you love.

  2. casablanca May 16, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    I went shopping with a couple of friends on separate occasions and had a terrible time. As a size 12/14 shopping in a town where bridal salons carry, for the most part, all gowns in sizes 0-4 there wasn’t much trying on and on more than one occasion there was me leaving a salon in tears because the attendant made a snide comment about not carrying anything in “my size.” I ended up with a dress I loved but a horrible experience and I wish I could have shopped for it online.

  3. Rebecca A May 18, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    I did a lot of my shopping online with girlfriends-sharing pics by email and such (my MOH and a couple bridesmaids were out of town). I fully intended to go armed with this info and try on a bunch of dresses in multiple stores, but I went to the first one with my mom and two bridesmaids and ended up falling in love with the very first dress I tried on. I had seen it online and thought it was great, and all it took was one look in the big mirrors to know I had to have it. I completely understand the feeling of missing out on the shopping-a part of me wishes I had not been so decisive!

  4. Twistie May 22, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    I knew from moment one that the gown of my dreams was not to be found in a salon. I had a very clear vision and friends who could help me make it happen.

    The most fun I had shopping was picking out the fabrics. I ordered them from a wholesale-to-the-public mail-order company, so I had to order the catalogue which came with a batch of swatches. It was so fun feeling up all those little squares of silk!

    The most fun I had in creating the gown of my dreams was working on the lace at demonstrations all up and down the state. I got to the point where I could do the insertion pattern entirely by feel.

    While I would never begrudge the experience to someone else nor rain on their parade for wanting it, I’m glad I skipped the salon shopping thing. It just wasn’t for me.

  5. Michael Carabini May 22, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    The advice I give my friends is a minimum nine months to search shop order and alter and actually that last word is plural for you will have many many fittings . You may be that lucky gal who finds a dress off the rack that fits you perfectly but for most brides there is a great deal of custom-tailoring that goes on no matter what the price of the gown. Mind you plenty of peeps get married with far less time on their hands so you can slice the nine months to about half that if need be but you ll need the speediest tailor ever!.Do your homework.