The unromantic, realistic and yet still perfect wedding dress shopping experience

Posted: 2/9/15


The second time around was a much different experience for me when finding my wedding gown. I think we start out having this dream of what our shopping experience will be like. All your girlfriends and/or family spending a day trying on beautiful gowns as you parade in front of them. You look in the mirror and you either cry – because it’s “the one” – or everyone collectively decides it’s not and you move on to the next one. Basically it’s a magical day filled with laughter and tears you will cherish forever. ↓


“Say Yes To The Dress” on TLC gives brides-to-be a glimpse of what they MIGHT expect when finding the perfect wedding gown.


Well, that wasn’t in the cards this time around. Nor is it really “me.” I am more of a “let’s get this done and on to the next thing” kinda girl so the thought of having to wrangle anyone but myself was too much.


So most of my time was spent, as I imagine we all do, on Pinterest looking at what style I wanted. I knew I didn’t want the traditional wedding dress. Not that I cared about it being white as much as I just wanted something more simple… less traditional.


So my wish list looked something like this:


Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 3.50.20 PM

As you can see, my ideas were all over the place. I finally realized after hours of looking at pictures online, the only choice I had was to go and try on dresses – IN REAL LIFE. Even though I had an idea of what style I (thought) I wanted and what fit was best for me, I didn’t know what was going to be 1) Available. We were planning a very short turnaround for this wedding and anything less than 6 months is not idea for a special order so it would have to be off the rack. 2) What I would like once it was on me IN REAL LIFE.


So I booked an appointment with a local wedding boutique and sent them my pictures in advance so they could get an idea of what to set aside for me. Luckily, I know these girls and work with them throughout the year as the event director of the Bridal Show so I was 100 percent comfortable going into the fitting. They knew what kind of wedding I was planning and what style I had in mind so when I arrived 5 dresses were already pulled for me. I quickly picked out a few more and headed into the dressing room.


Now this is the part where I tell you NOTHING was magical. I didn’t walk out and go “This is it!!!” and cry tears of joy. Nope. I did try on all the dresses and some were obviously not the right fit or look so those were easily put aside. I got hung up on two completely different looks and this, I will tell you, is when I wished I would have brought a friend with me to help. I honestly started getting a little upset and frustrated with myself


“why did I have to do everything my way…why couldn’t I invited one of my friends to help me?”


I threw a little mini-pity party in my head.


Then, the store’s owner (and friend) appeared at my side. THANK GOD! I knew she would give it to me straight and just having her with me put me at ease. She had me try them both on again and the second time I walked out wearing the simple ivory chiffon dress with flutter sleeves and draped wrap v neckline, and after she explained the magical world of alterations and threw on a black sash, I had made my decision. It was just what I was looking for, although I really had no idea before that moment.




For wedding gown inspiration, check out the Arkansas Bridal Community’s Pinterest page: