Different brides approach wedding dress shopping differently. Maybe you’ve known the exact style you would get married in since before you knew your groom. Maybe you’ve spent many nights up late on Pinterest. You may have gone to a specific bridal shop because you knew they carried the exact dress you just HAD to try on, or maybe you just googled “Local Bridal Shop,” made an appointment at the first one on the list, and went in clueless. Maybe you went shopping with a huge group of friends, or maybe it was just you and mom. Maybe you were looking forward to it, maybe you were dreading it. No matter your approach, it all ends the same - with a beautiful bride walking down the aisle.
For me, well ~ I just wasn’t there yet. My wedding was a year and a half away and I hadn’t done much planning at all. I’ve been a fan of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” for years and had seen plenty of styles I liked, and plenty I didn’t. I had done a little “pinteresting” in my spare time, but my wedding dress board only had a few dresses, each very different than the others. I followed one bridal shop on instagram, only because I had met the owner at a networking event, but most of the dresses on her feed just weren’t for me. They were screencapped and sent to my beautiful sister with a note that I pictured her in a dress like that for her future wedding (usually met with “Charlotte, it’s pretty, but I’m not even engaged. Your supposed to be looking for yourself!”).
I imagined that sometime this summer or fall, I would make a couple appointments at a few local bridal shops. I’d be sure to choose dates that my mom and bridesmaids could all make it to, and by the time the appointments rolled around, I’d have narrowed down the look I imagined. Then, out of the blue, the owner of the bridal shop our ED, Laurelle, got her dress at, and where we got out bridesmaids dresses for her wedding, left a comment on one of Timeless’s Instagram posts. “Hi Ladies...we are having a closing sale. Bridal dresses $100.” Laurelle tagged my personal Instagram and I responded with “I wish I was ready for dress shopping!” I thought of all the reasons why I shouldn’t go. It’s too early. I’m not ready. I don’t know what I want. What are the chances of a sample dress even fitting me close enough that we can make it work with alterations? Besides, the sale was the next day and I already had plans with my mom and sister to go to a bridal show at the same time. But the more I thought about it, I changed my mind. What was there to lose? I probably wouldn’t find the dress. But at least I could get an idea of the styles I like, what looks good, and what doesn’t. I texted my mom and sister. “This mayyyyy be crazy, but the bridal shop where Laurelle got her dress is closing...final sale, cash and carry, and every dress is $100. Do we think it’s worth trying? If there is time after the bridal show...idk. It’s too early to try on dresses, but part of me is like what if I find THE dress and it’s $100?” They agreed, it can’t hurt to look!
It turned out that the bridal show was a bust, and we did have plenty of time to stop by the sale. I walked into that bridal shop KNOWING that I was NOT going to find the dress. In fact, I had mentioned to a few people that morning that I was looking at dresses, but each time I quickly followed with “I’m not buying one today though.” Well. I was wrong. I did find THE dress...or to be more precise, my mom found it. There were only 20-30 dresses there to choose from, and when I arrived, I looked through ALL of them and pulled every dress that I liked even a little bit and tried it on. With each one, my sister helped me put it on, told my mom, who was sitting outside the dressing room, to close her eyes, pulled open the curtain, and said, “ok! Open your eyes!” Some dresses were immediate “nos”. I liked the top of one but not the bottom, and on another I liked the bottom but not the top. There were some that I liked, but they just didn’t give me that “this is the dress” feeling. As I expected, after trying on the 6 or 7 dresses I pulled, I knew none of them were the one, but there were two “maybes” that I wanted to try again, just in case. I was about to put one of them back on , but first I looked at my mom and said “Will you go look again and pull out any dresses you want to see me in?” She ended up handing me two dresses, both of which I had seen on the racks earlier and decided not to try on, but I tried them. The first one was ok, but not the dress. The second one though...the second one quickly moved to the maybe hook. I took it off and put those other two “maybes” back on, and they immediately turned into no’s. I looked at the dress my mom chose hanging next to me and said “I think it’s that one. I have to put it back on.” My sister said “good. I wasn’t going to say anything but I don’t even know why you gave these other two a second chance.” My mom agreed with her. I put my moms pick back on and I knew. This is my dress. and did I mention, it fit like a glove? It was meant to be. My sister went and grabbed a couple veils for me to try, and I put one on and immediately felt something amazing...I felt like a bride. I was breathless. I looked at my sister and said “I look like a bride!” and she quickly made fun of me for stating the obvious. She peaked around the curtain and asked my mom if she’s ready. When she pulled back the curtain, and my mom saw ,me standing there in my dress, with a veil on my head, I knew she saw it too. She was seeing her little girl all grown up, imagining me walking down the aisle. The feeling in my heart, and the look on my moms face, just solidified what I already knew. I found my dress. And I can’t wait until the day I get to wear it for real and say “I do.”