Wife. Mom-To-Be. Christ Follower. California Living.
My Wedding Dress Story: It's Not About the Dress
Wedding dress shopping.... exciting, daunting, and every emotion in between. Most women think about their wedding dress long before they've met the man they will marry. This is their "princess moment" and they want to feel more beautiful than ever before. No pressure.
When Wes and I got engaged in February and set our wedding date for July 1st I knew that I immediately needed a dress. Immediately as in like the next day. Why the rush? Wes was going to wear his dress whites, so I had to wear white to match, not ivory. Wedding dress shops usually have 90% of their inventory in ivory, not white, because it's easier to hide any stains from the repetitive try-ons. Ordering a dress in white takes up to 6 months for delivery. Um, not okay.
While I would have loved to have the whole "Say Yes to the Dress" experience with my mom and my bridesmaids it wasn't practical with the timing and with them in Minnesota and me in San Diego. And for my personality it was a little less stressful and more low-key to go alone.
I had been eyeing wedding dresses on Pinterest for a few years to get a feel for what I liked. Call me crazy, but I prefer "prepared." I knew I wanted 1) pure white, 2) straps, and 3) an interesting back. I scheduled appointments at two bridal shops I found on Yelp, 2000 Dreams and Prevue Formal and Bridal.
2000 Dreams was more like 2000 Nightmares. It was a bust. The shop opened 1 hour late. That should have been my first sign. When I walked in I told the consultant what I was looking for: white, straps, and an interesting back. There was a slight language barrier, but I did catch her say "you small chest" as she looked me up and down. Great start. At least we were on the same page. She pulled about 8 dresses, ranging in price from $800 to $8,000.... my fault for not giving her a budget, but when else will you have a chance to try on an $8,000 gown!? It was a mixture of Allure and Mori Lee gowns. I loved Mori Lee. The dresses were long enough for my 5'8 1/2" frame, they had gorgeous lace, and they fit my derrière quiet nicely. After each dress I tried on the consultant would get super pushy to try to get me to buy it on the spot, but I really wasn't loving anything. I understand commission is tough and it must be hard to get brides to make a decision, but I felt like she was yelling at me. It was time to get out of there.
Prevue Formal and Bridal was a much more relaxing experience. I told the consultant that I would like to focus on their Mori Lee dresses. They had about 7-8 Mori Lee dresses that I hadn't tried yet. The main problem at Prevue was the lack of the white and the sizing... everything was ivory and about 2 sizes too large so we had to use a lot of clips. When I tried on the Mori Lee 2807 I mostly loved it. Then she said she was going to "jack me up." Um, okay that sounds gross. She meant adding the finishing touches like shoes, veil, and trim. They should just call it the "icing on the cake". Anyways, the final touches sealed the deal. I felt like a beautiful bride. I called the 2000 Dreams store to compare pricing on this dress, and Prevue Formal and Bridal even price-matched them for me. The only problem was that they didn't have the right size or color in store so I would have to order it, and it would arrive in late June, one week before my wedding. Yikes. I needed a night to think it through.
The next day the consultant at Prevue called me with excitement and said that they just got the Mori Lee 2807 dress into the store in my size AND in white! This was an unexpected delivery in their shipment and they rarely get this size in their store, let alone in white. I jumped in my car and headed over. It was a miracle. This dress fit like a glove. No alterations were needed. I was so excited, but I still wanted to think about it for the day, so I walked out of the store and called my mom. Before even making it to my car I turned right around and walked back into Prevue to buy the dress. My mom gives great pep talks.
Once I got the dress home I kept it in the dress bag in our guest room. I asked Wes not to look at it. And he legitimately didn't look at it for the next 4 months! That's self-discipline. I would have lasted about two days before taking a peek.
I loved the beaded trim for the waist that they showed me in at Prevue, but it was $40/foot. I would have needed 3 feet, or $120 of trim. My mom and I found it on Amazon for $15.99 for 1 yard! See it here. We saved $104! Tip: Always check Amazon for accessories you see in bridal shops.
The dress made it safely back to Minnesota for the wedding. Of course I had been trying it on almost once a week up until the wedding to make sure it still fit. Wes and I had been working out a lot before the wedding and I was getting nervous that it would be too tight if I gained too much muscle.
Before I knew it it was July 1st and my mom was using her crochet hook to hook the buttons on my dress. Suck it in! Suck it in! Nope? Exhale! Exhale! Whew, the dress fit. You would think that the most nerve-wracking part would be fitting into your wedding dress, but no, I was actually more nervous for my Wes's reaction.
I had been thinking about that "first-look" moment for months, where Wes would see me in my dress for the first time. I wanted so badly to "wow" him. And I was so nervous that he wouldn't like it. Would he think the back was too low? Would he like it better if it was poofy? My amazing Matron of Honor, Britnie, reassured me over and over that he would love it. She was right.
The "first-look" moment was perfect. Wesley's reaction was better than I ever imagined it could be. His jaw dropped and his face broke into a huge smile as he let out a big laugh of delight. The picture more than speaks for itself. In the end I realized it's not about the dress. It was never about the dress. It was about wanting to give my groom a beautifully packaged gift that made him feel loved and honored. I was so happy that he was happy. That was all I wanted. Mission Wedding Dress... Accomplished.