The Dress: Help!

Okay, so I feel way behind on bloggin’ and it’s buggin’ me. But since weddings are on my mind roughly 80% of the time right now (I mean, I am still going to work every day, so there is some brain power going elsewhere), I wanted to use you all as the awesome resource you are. I have, naturally, been stalkin’ the heck out of for dress options, but it is just ohsohard to tell how much things actually cost, how they’d look on me, etc. I have a couple of bridal shop appointments coming up, but before they happen…I’d love to hear about your wedding dress! Or, hey, the future dress of your dreams. No discrimination here.

Where did you find it? How many did you have to try on before finding  “the one”? Was it a certain designer? And—perhaps most importantly for me right now—what was your budget, did you stick to it, and how much did the dress cost (anonymous comments more than welcome, of course)? Of course, just share whatever you feel comfortable with. I’m just desperate for information over here.

As for where I stand, I’ll be trying to hover around $1000. If I can find one for less, awesome! More? Well, not by much. I’d like to stay around $1500 with alterations. I’m hoping it’s not a pipe dream to find something beautiful in this range. I refuse to spend thousands on a dress, but I’ll admit that having a dress I love is pretty important to me.

Oooh and—want to send a photo of you in your dress? I’d be all for featuring you gorgeous ladies in your dresses. Email with any details you care to provide (wedding date, dress designer, how you chose it, etc) and be featured in an upcoming post.

Thanks for any tips. You ladies rock. And if you have an amazing eye for fit, feel free to tell me what silhouettes you’d see me wearing. Any input is welcome. I’m just excited to start trying on dresses!

Photo by Scott Lawrence via Style Me Pretty


~ by Elena Marie on December 10, 2010.

12 Responses to “The Dress: Help!”

  1. Looking for wedding dresses is truly the one part of wedding planning I miss. When else do you get to try on such gorgeous (and expensive) gowns?! So, if you get nothing else from this comment, just take this advice: ENJOY IT. Here’s my story:
    Mom set a budget at $1000. Since she was offering to pay, that was fine by me. I adored the very first dress I tried on, but it was $1300, which was not terribly over budget, but I just didn’t feel right about spending that much on a dress I would only wear for about 12 hours. I tried on probably over 2 and a half dozen dresses at small boutiques, David’s, and a little place down in Rantoul. The dress I ended up with was NOTHING like what I had in mind. It wasn’t even a dress that I would have picked out. My sister-in-law picked it out and insisted that I try it on. My salesperson forgot to grab it, and I almost didn’t remind her because I was so sick of trying on dresses. The minute I put it on, I knew it was my dress. It was from David’s, but it was one of their designer lines, so it ran about $750. You have access to pictures of me in my dress, so feel free to post one if you’d like. 😉 Good luck!!!

  2. A Practical Wedding (blog) is a MUST for every wedding undergrad! Plus they have dress giveaways that could help with your search. Have fun in your search.

  3. A Practical Wedding (blog) is a MUST for every wedding undergrad! Plus they have dress giveaways that could help with your search. Have fun in your search

  4. How exciting!
    When I got married I wanted a very simple, plain strapless dress with a fitted waist and a princess skirt with a puddle train. I got all of that but it cost me $2000! NOT including alterations! It was a Reem Acra and 100% silk, but really, I wore it once (and now I’m divorced) so don’t follow my example.
    Here are a few tips I got when shopping for a dress. Don’t tell the shop the real date of the wedding. tell them it’s a week earlier so you don’t have any last minute craziness. Also, try on formal dresses in the style you want at department stores so you know how that style should fit. Think about the critical fit areas and make sure those spots in you bridal gown need the least amount of alternations. Also, don’t let the shop talk you into a larger size based on measurements. My shop wanted me to go up 2 sizes based on my hit measurements, but the dress had a princess style skirt! They make a lot of money on alterations and wanted to take in the entire bodice. I bought the size based on my waist measurement and only had it taken in at the bust a bit.
    Good luck!

  5. i dont ever think about getting married or wedding dresses, um, EVER. (cough cough cough cough cough)

    when the day comes, i’d ideally like to wear vintage, but unless i shed 50 pounds, get a breast reduction and remove a few ribs, that wont likely happen. why were the ladies of yesteryear all size zeroes?!?!

    i love the price, customizable options, and styles of aria: ive had a few friends use them for their dresses and their bridesmaids and only heard good things! good luck, my dear!!!! i wish you the VERY best and cant wait to see what you end up with! 😀

  6. Congrats on your engagement!
    I, too, am recently engaged and just bought my dress. I went through magazines, dutifully earmarking the ones I liked and a theme emerged: Lace, a-line, sleeveless with v-neck. And that was every single dress!
    I choose a dress shop based on who carried my favorite of that style and tried it on only to see that that dress does look good, on someone 6 inches taller! 🙂
    I wound up trying on a mermaid style strapless dress (a style I vowed I HATED!) and when I saw myself in in, I teared up. It was the 6th dress I tried on and I knew it was the right one.

    Buy the dress that makes you feel like a bride. Don’t feel like you have to buy the styles you like in pictures!

  7. I got inspired by browsing the knot and using their little $ sign indicators to get an idea if a dress would be in budget. I also checked out the websites of different bridal salons in town to see what lines they carried to get some different ideas. My budget was $1200.

    For all of the dresses I printed off and brought with me the salons rarely had any of those in stock!

    At the end of the day I found a discontinued sample for $1000 that was everything I was looking for. Strapless, beading and lace on the bust, a-line with a simple style skirt. And the sample fit me to a tee so all I have to worry about for alterations is a bustle.

    If I had any advice to give it would be to be open to trying on different styles of dresses as you never know what might look good on you. Samples are a great way to get a higher quality dress for less, especially if the sample is in great condition. While you may not have the waterworks “this is my dress” moment, chances are you’ll know it is the one because you’ll just feel so happy in it! And definitely don’t bring too large of a group to go shopping with. Keep it simple with mom and your MOH and/or bridesmaid.

    Good luck and happy shopping!

  8. The best advice I can offer is keep an open mind and shop anywhere and everywhere. I got my wedding dress for less than $400 at a dumpy little formalwear shop that was the last place I would have thought to look because I knew it had crappy clothes. But, I had found one dress I sort of liked and just wasn’t sold on it, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to keep looking, even if that included humoring my mother by looking in the dumpy little formalwear shop. What do you know, I found a simple yet sophisticated dress with some great detailing on the back that was perfect for me! And what a great price for a wedding dress, even 10 years ago.

    A friend of mine got married this year and she bought her dress at some warehouse here in Chicago that has new and used and vintage dresses. She found a dress from the 70’s that had never been worn. She made some sight alterations, including removing the sleeves (it was long-sleeved, like so many 70’s wedding dresses) and it was perfect for her. I’ll ask what the name and address of the store is and let you know.

  9. I started at David’s Bridal and tried on a lot of dresses just to get an idea of what silhouettes seemed to look best on me and which I felt were most me in actuality not just in theory. I then expanded my search outward to local boutiques, and if I’d had the time and availability I would have gone to second-hand dress shops and sample sales to look as well. I got lucky and found my dress at a local boutique. It was on sale and I got another discount for paying the price in full. The dress and alterations and pressing were about $1300. I wore a second, simpler dress that I bought at Nordstrom to my reception.

  10. My primary advice would be to stay away from The Knot! They are just trying to get you to spend way more than is necessary on an albeit very important garment and foster all sorts of nagging and negative feelings and they perpetuate gender stereotypes like whoa. I bought a $300 wedding dress at David’s Bridal and had no attachment to it, didn’t really like it that much. Two weeks before our wedding I went into a thrift store, found a gorgeous vintage lace dress for $15 that fit me perfectly, to a T, and loved it. My husband teared up when he saw me in it, before we walked down the aisle together.

    What matters is the substance of your day – and if your dress is a part of that, great, otherwise, don’t pressure yourself! & check out the book Offbeat Bride!

  11. Since I’m in Austria, I’m afraid I don’t have any shop recommendations, but I also wanted to mention Offbeat Bride (there’s a blog, too, not just the book) and A Practical Wedding – both for inspiration and advice on staying sane. I’m not even close to getting married, but I still love reading those blogs for all sorts of reasons. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them. 🙂

  12. […] asked for tips re: THE dress, and you kindly answered! A few of you also awesomely emailed me photos of your gorgeous dresses along with your advice. […]

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