Wedding dress shopping was such an amazing experience! Everything that could go RIGHT did, and I was surrounded by some of my favorite people in the process! For months, I had THE dress I just knew I was going to buy in mind and picked the bridal boutique we went to based on the fact that I knew they had my dress in stock! We went to New York Bride & Groom of Raleigh and had an AMAZING experience! I was so lucky because I was able to bring four of my bridesmaids (who didn’t know they were bridesmaids at the time!), my mom, and my Mimi with me to shop for wedding gowns. I knew I could fully trust all six of the ladies I brought with me to be honest (without being mean!), be supportive, and be genuinely happy for me on such a fun day. I can’t recommend making sure whoever you bring with you to try on dresses fits that exact same bill because it made a world of difference! I loved having them there for support (soooo important) and having zero concern that any of them would hurt my feelings.
When you walk into the salon, you enter into a crisp, clean and open salon with lots of modern furniture with pearlescent white finishes — you instantly feel glamorous as soon as you walk through those doors (and let’s be honest — every bride should feel glamorous when trying on wedding dresses!). You don’t need an appointment and I was a little worried about a wait since we were just walking in to the salon with seven people, but we were immediately greeted with smiling faces and they were able to accommodate us right away. We got our own (massive) dressing room, put our stuff down, and started the search for my dress! Of course, everything I read said that you should NEVER try on just one dress, so my group helped me pick out three other dresses to try on in addition to the one I had pretty much already decided on.
On our way back to the dressing room, one dress in particular caught my Matron of Honor’s eye. She held it up for me and I took one look at it and said, “Nope!” It was the total opposite of what I wanted in a dress and not only did not fit any of the requirements I had for potential dresses, but it had characteristics I specifically DIDN’T want! But something about that dress made my MOH push me to at least try it on and as you may have guessed, I ended up falling in love with it!
I am very much the type of person who likes to plan way ahead and then stick very strictly to that plan, so the fact that I was loving a dress that wasn’t in my plans was very stressful for me! I so desperately wanted to want my original dress, but my mind kept returning to the new one. It was comfortable, I felt good in it, and I didn’t ever want to take it off! I put the dress on for a second time, put my wedding shoes and veil on, and stepped back in front of the mirror and that was it! I knew for sure I had found my dress. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since!
To make it even more amazing, when I told our consultant that I had picked my dress, she checked the tag and informed us it was 50% off! We ended up spending less than half of our original budget and my mom (who is THE BEST) surprised me and paid for the dress for me (insert many, many happy tears here)!
I don’t want to give too much about the dress away (pretty sure Stephen is one of the few people who actually reads here for the time being lol), but I CAN say it perfectly encompasses the Southern look I was looking for and looks amazing with my Matron of Honor’s (GORGEOUS) veil which I will be borrowing for my wedding day!
As AMAZING as my experience was, there are a few things I wish I had known about wedding dress shopping before I went!
Here are a few tips for any brides planning on going wedding dress shopping soon!
- Get a little dolled up! I wish I had put more effort into my appearance (and maybe have gotten a tan?) before I went shopping! You want to feel your absolute best when picking the most beautiful article of clothing you will ever wear! Plus, if you aren’t feeling confident (and it’s easy not to — those fluorescent lights can be harsh in a lot of salons!), it can skew the way you see yourself in the dresses!
- Do your research and read reviews about the bridal salons you are considering shopping at. The demeanor of our consultants made ALL the difference when I went shopping! I am generally pretty self-conscious and didn’t want to be made to feel like being there was a burden to them but everyone we interacted with was so helpful, happy, and supportive! Plus, it was through our research that we discovered that we did not need an appointment to go shopping!
- If you already have any accessories you know you’ll be wearing on your wedding day (I was a rule-breaker and already had both my veil and my shoes!), bring them! This way you can see how they look with your dress.
- Wear appropriate under garments! 🙂
- LISTEN to your consultant — they usually have lots of experience and can offer some pretty sound advice!
- Consider going shopping on a weekday afternoon to avoid crowds — that’s what we did and I’m so glad!
- GO WITH YOUR INSTINCTS! If your gut is telling you something, listen!
Hopefully something from that list was helpful to any brides seeking advice! Wedding dress shopping should NOT be stressful, and I hope anyone who goes has as amazing a time as I did!
Thanks for stopping by!