Every bride dreams of the moment she’ll step onto that pedestal at the bridal salon, tears in her eyes, as she tells her friends and family this is the dress. Unfortunately, with everything going on, that’s not a possibility right now—at least not in person. On the bright side, at least we don’t have to go hunting through racks and deal with bridal entourages who feel a little too comfortable speaking their minds, but in all seriousness, it sucks not having the wedding experience you’d been planning out since you were little. But just because you can’t step foot into the bridal boutique you’ve been stalking since before you got engaged, doesn’t mean you’re going to have to get married in your pajamas. (Unless you want to, in which case, respect.) In light of lockdowns and social distancing orders, many bridal companies are now offering virtual bridal appointments. Here’s everything you need to know about ordering a dress during the pandemic.
Speak To A Stylist
At the very least, now you have extra time to scour Pinterest and bridal sites to really pinpoint your preferred style and silhouette. Tara Healy, Co-Founder of LA-based bridal brand Tara Lauren, says brides-to-be should “take advantage of all of the extra downtime at home to sit with a bridal stylist, chat about your personal style and gather ideas on what you’re liking.” She adds, “Even if you’re not 100% comfortable with making your purchase remotely, it will give you a much clearer idea of what you’re leaning towards so that when you’re ready for that in person appointment you have your top picks ready to go and a clear plan.” So don’t worry about your screen time usage increasing 150%, since it’s all in the name of research.
Set Up A Virtual Appointment
If your wedding is coming up later in the year or next year, you can still purchase a dress even though bridal boutiques in your state may not be open, as many shops are offering virtual consultations. Bridal retailer Brideside launched virtual styling appointments for bridal parties, allowing clients to video chat with a stylist to look at swatches, see gowns, go over mood boards, and discuss fit.
At Lovely Bride, a bridal shop open in 18 cities around the country, virtual appointments kick off with a mood board, and although trying on dresses in-person isn’t possible right now, founder Lanie List says, “if a bride is on a tight timeline, we can ship her the #1 pick on her wishlist. That way she can make the decision without the stress of long gown lead-times.” It may not be the picture-perfect moment you had envisioned, but companies are devising ways to find you your dress and retain as much of the in-person experience as possible.
Know Your Options
The biggest overarching theme here is that brands and vendors completely understand that nothing is business as usual anymore, and are adjusting their policies to account for all the chaos. For example, Birdy Grey, a direct-to-customer bridesmaid dress brand, has extended their return policy until the end of May for their brides. They’re also offering free color swatches delivered straight to your door to help choose color palettes. Brideside will also send color swatches to all clients who book a virtual styling appointment at least five days in advance. Lee says that, “Unlike most bridal brands that are made-to-order, we hold inventory, so our dresses are in-stock and ready to ship,” adding, “Thankfully, we haven’t experienced any COVID19-related disruption to our shipping lead times, so all of our bridesmaid dresses deliver in 10 days (or less!) worldwide.”
Try On At Home
This should come as a surprise to no one, but many bridal brands and stores are now offering try-at-home options. Grace and Ivory, an online ecommerce bridal brand, launched a try-at-home program “so brides have another option when shopping for their wedding dresses,” says Founder and Creative Director Tina Wong Zysk. For $25, you just pick your style and size range and the gown comes with clips, measuring tape, a try-at-home guide, and a prepaid return shipping label when you’re ready to send it back. If you love the dress and decide to purchase it, Zysk says, “we follow up for measurements and custom options and your dress will be crafted and delivered in just 3 to 4 months.” Keep this timeline in mind when ordering your gown. She advises “that you order 5-6 months before your wedding so we can ensure you have the dress 6-8 weeks before your big day.”
If You Already Ordered A Dress Before COVID-19
If your dress is delayed due to COVID-19 and you’re worried it won’t get to you in time for your big day, don’t worry. Bridal companies are going above and beyond to accommodate brides who are in need of wedding attire in the next few months. The first thing you need to do is review the shop’s policies, as many are likely to have systems in place for these types of situations. If not, due to the crisis, bridal companies are more likely to work with each client on a case-by-case basis. If you have a wedding planner, definitely reach out as they are more likely to have the resources and contacts to help you in this scenario.
Jeannette Tavares, Principal and lead wedding planner of premier event planning company EVOKE Design and Creative, says planners are going above and beyond for their brides, working with their industry contacts and “accessing floor samples, rushed alterations, borrowed gowns and more.” If your dress will not be coming in time for your wedding day due to issues caused by COVID-19, Tavares proposes, “Reach out to family and friends that have their wedding dresses in boxes and ask them to pull them out just for you!” It might be even more special that way. She adds, “Once you receive them, set up virtual try-on sessions with everyone (a fun way to include everyone that has come to help you).” If borrowing a dress isn’t something you want for your special day, or none seem to fit, Jeannette recommends getting family and friends together to help you create your own dress. If you have the time during quarantine, how special would that be? Tavares suggests “find someone who can sew and create your own beautiful gown. There is something pretty special about a ‘something borrowed’ wedding dress.”
If there is no way your dream dress will come to you in time, take the time you need to mourn. While this isn’t ideal and we know you were beyond excited for that dress, there are alternatives you can look into. One option is BHLDN, an online and in-store wedding shop by Anthropologie. For brides in a time crunch and who need their dress ASAP, or their dress is delayed and will not come in time, BHLDN offers an entire collection of last-minute wedding dresses that are ready to be shipped. Each dress offers a detailed style guide as well as an option to speak with a stylist to help find your perfect size. In addition, the site offers a style guide video explaining exactly how to measure yourself for their dresses. All you need is a measuring tape. The dresses are guaranteed to ship to you within 24 hours and they do offer an express overnight option. You can wipe the sweat off your forehead now. Phew.
Above all, Shelley Brown, Senior Fashion & Beauty editor at The Knot, says, “The most important thing to remember during these unprecedented times is that communication is key. If you’re just beginning the shopping process, contact your local bridal salon to see what options they have available. Local bridal salons are doing everything in their power to continue supporting brides during this time, from hosting virtual consultations to sending dress samples for at-home try ons. If you’ve already ordered your dress, check in with your salon regarding arrival date and inquire about options for alterations during this time.” You’re not going to be left hanging, so just reach out and ask.
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On top of all the other f*cking things you’re supposed to remember to do for your wedding day (hire a non-sketchy photographer; book a decent DJ that isn’t going to tell you to “PUT YOUR MOTHERF*CKING HANDS UP” every three minutes; and select food that 85% of your guests will like), picking your dress SHOULD be on the easier side. But is it, like, ever? If I’ve learned anything from watching hours of Say Yes to the Dress of repeat, it’s that a) Randy and I should be besties and b) this is neither a fun nor stress-free experience. Even my own wedding dress shopping saga took place over three months and at least six boutiques; each one extremely different and more confusing than the next.
With Brideside, the entire experience can be much more chill, lead to less stress in your life, and help you rely on more personalized help that ISN’T your mom. Bonus points—they can help you find your bridesmaids dresses, too, which is f*cking stellar, considering you decided to marry someone with three sisters that you can add to the tally of Sorority sisters you’re required by law to put in your party. Seriously, until you try to pick out dresses for your nine incredibly different (and incredibly picky) best friends, you don’t realize just how major of a godsend this is.
Here are a few tips and tricks from the Brideside stylists on how to make the entire wedding + dress experience (for brides and their ladies) a bit smoother.
1. Know And Stay Within Your Budget
Just like when you’re looking at apartments, cars, or houses, don’t f*cking try on the dress that’s out of your price range. Like, would you go and walk an apartment with a realtor if it was three times what you could afford? I mean, like, maybe if Daddy was gonna pony up and buy it for you (love you, mean it), but chances are, if you’re a strong independent woman that don’t need no extra credit card, you’re going to stay realistic about that sh*t.
And don’t f*cking forget—the dress is just one part of the equation. You’re likely getting a veil and/or headpiece, shoes, jewelry, and alterations to said dress. So, yeah, the dress may be at the top end of your budget, but it’ll be far over it by the time everything is said and done. The good news is that if you choose a service like Brideside, the MAJORITY of the dresses are around $2000, which is pretty reasonable when compared to other bridal salons in the city.
2. Stop Looking At The Sizes
I know we’ve all been trained to immediately check the sizing on the tags when shopping for any clothes ever. According to Brideside, though, “your typical everyday size will NOT match the tag on your wedding dress.” I can personally attest to that, as the dress I ended up with was a 4 and I’m over here in a size 0 from JCrew, size 2 from Ann Taylor, and whatever the f*ck size H&M decides fits me on any given day. Will I be a 0? Will I be an 8? Stay tuned while I have a meltdown in an H&M dressing room.
Pro-tip: tell your stylist what size you are in a few different brands, and they can likely easily help you navigate where you should be.
3. Head To Imagination-Land
Obviously, wherever you choose to have your bridal fitting is not going to have your exact size perfectly altered to fit your body. “Bridal gowns have a different size scale than your everyday clothes, and a store sample isn’t going to fit everyone perfectly right off the rack. These dresses are meant to be altered to fit you perfectly. Don’t worry, your stylist will clip you in so you can get a feel of how the dress will look on the big day,” says Brideside.
So, yah, just like on our fav wedding dress shopping shows, your stylist is going to push, shove, and finagle you into whatever dress you’ve pulled so you can see what a truly perfect fit would look like. It’s like being Cinderella and having a perfect dress magically appear around your body, minus singing rats and fugly skanks trying to ruin your day.
4. Do Not Come In With Your Heart Set On One Dress (Or Even Style)
You’ve seen it a million times: A bride comes in with a Pinterest board dedicated to, like, three or four dresses she HAAAAAS to have; never having seen that particular style on her body, in real life, or exiting her bank account. Brideside says to “try on dresses that aren’t typically you.” That may sound horrifying, but trust me. I pictured myself in a typical A-line dress pretty much, well, forever. Once I got to each salon, I had bride squad peeps putting me in ballgowns, mermaid style fluted dresses, long-sleeved dresses, tea-length dresses, and even fit and flare dresses. I had never thought of pulling ANYTHING other than an A-line dress off, and guess what? I ended up with a curve-showing fit-and-flare dress that I LOVED. So, yeah – trust your stylist. They’ve seen all the bodies and all the dresses. They know their sh*t better than you do, fam.
5. Look Beforehand, But Have An Open Mind
The pros at Brideside say to keep informed and “know some bridal buzz words like what silhouettes you might want to try on and what fabrics are out there.” The most important thing, though, is that “you don’t want to overstimulate yourself with Pinterest options and Instagram saved collections.” In other words, you need to keep an open mind since, chances are, you haven’t been bridal dress shopping many times before (I mean, I could be wrong).
There are a lot A LOT of wedding gowns out there, and it’s great that you’re really into the Elie Saab Spring Collection from three years ago. Like, use it as inspo, sure; but don’t get hung up on those being the ONLY dresses that’ll work for you. The same rules apply for material. You may think you need an organza dress to be happy and that your groom-to-be will insist on seeing you in something of the like, but, you could be f*cking wrong, k?
6. Tell Friends And Fam If There’s A Style You Love
This is kind of a huge one since more opinions are not exactly better when it comes to wedding dress shopping. If you bring mom, grandma, your future MIL, sister, bff, and future sisters-in-law, that’s a lot of different opinions that you may feel you have to navigate and please with whatever you choose for what is, essentially, your motherf*cking day.
Brideside’s advice? “Don’t overvalue other people’s opinions. Choose what you love and what makes you feel like you.” I feel this and this sh*t resonates with me on a NORMAL day. So, you should especially take that sh*t to heart if you’re looking for the dress that feels the most YOU on a day celebrating YOU and someone else sorta. If you want a pink dress with sparkles, get a f*cking pink dress with sparkles. If you wanna wear cowboy boots, know that I’ll judge you – but it also isn’t my wedding. So you do you, boo. *Forehead kisses*
7. Connect With Your Stylist Before The Appointment
This isn’t really an option at most bridal salons, but it f*cking is at Brideside. Why does it even matter whether or not you talk to the person that’ll see you in a bra and Spanx all day? “It’s a lot easier to chat up your stylist at an appointment when you feel like you already know her.” Oh, so, like, that makes sense. You may not feel as awkward saying, “Hey Stacy, I f*cking hate this dress” or “Omg Stacy, you’re a f*cking mind reader” if you’ve had even one convo beforehand. The more you know!
“Your Brideside stylist will set up a time to talk before hand, introduce herself and hear about what you’re looking for.” Praise be. So, if you know your Brideside stylist ahead of time, you’ll feel better about having a meltdown and talking about how your MIL is impossible to please and that you need a dress that conceals your cankles!
8. Come Prepared
Speaking of Spanx, wearing the right undergarments and looking as close as is possible to how you would on the big day is a GREAT bit of advice for heading into your bridal dress appointment. If you head in to try on the “most important dress” you’ll ever buy while sporting acne cream, a messy bun, and last night’s smoky eye, you’re notttt really going to come to appreciate the whole vision that your stylist is working for you to see. Plus, you’ll want to take pics to remember what each dress, or, dresses you’re torn between look like. If you look hot AF in said pics, it’s just one less thing distracting you from how you actually look in said dress.
9. Come To The Appointment Ready To Find The Dress
“If you’re always thinking ‘but maybe something somewhere might be better’ and book a million appointments, you’re going to stress yourself out. You don’t have to only try on one style, but when you feel like you’ve found the one, stop looking,” says Brideside.
There are A LOT of bridal salons, and a LOT of f*cking dresses, styles, and looks out there. Don’t get hung up on thinking you’re going to have an “ah-ha” moment.
You may, you may not, or you may fall in love with three different dresses and have to go through an 80s style montage to figure out which one is for you. The point is you need to be in the mental state to say YES to a dress (sorry, sorry). If you aren’t in a true “shopping” mood, you’re going to keep looking, and looking, and driving yourself and your posse insane. Chances are, you look amazing in everything you try on, so don’t keep looking for reasons to say no.
10. Have Fun
Remember, the most important piece of advice riiiight as you walk into the salon: HAVE FUN, KIDS. Seriously, you’re shopping for your WEDDING DRESS. That’s like, in and of itself, f*cking amazing. Start your day with a huge Pumpkin Spice whatever; chug the champagne (but not too much) offered to you at the salon; and plan a huge lunch of nachos or Taco Bell or margaritas or whatever for afterwards. Look at this day for what it is—a good f*cking time.
It seems like a lot to remember and keep track of, but, overall, shopping for your wedding dress should be a fun and fairly easy experience that fits into your whole wedding planning triathalon. Using a service like Brideside takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation and may give your brain more space to process sh*t like which hors d’oeuvres to serve during cocktail hour or which venue will be the most forgiving if someone voms on the floor. All v important stuff.
Click here to book an appointment at Brideside so you can have like, the best dress shopping experience ever.
Thanks to Say Yes to the Dress, the wedding dress shopping experience has become a full-blown circus. From custom T-shirts and coolers of champagne to bringing everyone you’ve ever known to your dress appointment, brides forget what they’re actually doing there. As a former bridal shop consultant, I’ve heard first-hand the crazy tips brides think they should follow, and I’m calling B.S. on a few of these. Here are the wedding dress shopping tips that are complete crap.
B.S. Tip #1: Bring Your Bridesmaids
On TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, you often see the bride with her entire bridal party in tow (and her grandma, her future MIL, her third cousin twice removed). Sure, they might seem like a nice reprieve from mom’s nagging opinions, but in my experience, bridesmaids have a hard time putting their personal opinions aside. Comments like “that doesn’t work for your venue” or “that’s not that flattering” happen more often than you’d think. I once had a bride who went from excitement in the dressing room to total distress because of a bridesmaid’s bitchy comments. I’m not saying all of your friends will be assholes, but wedding dress opinions are subjective, so the most important thing is trusting your gut over their opinion. If you must bring your squad along, set some guidelines beforehand and tell them that they should just be there for moral support, not to go all Simon Cowell circa American Idol.
B.S. Tip #2: Pinterest Is Your Friend
I love Pinterest just as much as the next basic bitch, but TBH, going on a pin binge right before you dress shop is NOT helpful. Sure, you might find things you like, but unless you’re sure the store you’re going to has that dress in stock, you’ll likely be disappointed. Showing a stylist your pin board is helpful if you have a general vibe in mind (classic, formal), but if you want something extremely specific that you pinned, that’s a bit tougher depending on the salon’s inventory. Also, gowns look completely different on you than they do on Pinterest. Often times, those pictures are from models with completely different body types than yours (unless you’re a model, in which case, none of this applies to you). I’ve had a number of brides come into the store with a vision they’d created from hours of pinning, only to find out that a flowy, boho vibe did not live up to their expectations. Having a general idea of what you like is better than coming in with a highly specific vision.
B.S. Tip #3: You Need To Shop At Multiple Stores
This lie is one that really pisses off stylists. Not just because they’re more likely to lose a sale to this notion, but because it’s simply not true. Yes, this dress is a once-in-a-lifetime garment, but that doesn’t mean you have to have an over-the-top emotional moment where you and your mom sob and hug each other like you just overcame some terrible illness. Feeling amazing and loving the way you look in the dress is more than enough of a reason to say yes to it; crying is optional. Brides who go to multiple stores also might do so because at the first store, they found something that wasn’t what they expected. That happens more often than not, so don’t be alarmed. It’s OK to have a change of heart, especially when it comes to wedding gowns, because they’re totally different once you put them on. Be confident in your decision when it feels right, tears or no tears.
B.S. Tip #4: Champagne Required
Celebrating is V important. Boozy brunch is V important. However, a drunk bride and her entourage is NOT. Too many times I’ve dealt with a sloppy appointment when the bride stumbles in, can’t get two feet into her dress, and nobody in her peanut gallery has any self-awareness. When it gets to this point, the squad should have just stayed at brunch. Save the celebrating for after, and don’t show up with a chambong ready to get wild at the salon. A lot of salons either don’t have champagne or they save it until a final decision is made. Wedding dress shopping is a classy affair, so sure, have a few glasses after saying yes, but save the sloppiness for the bachelorette party.
B.S. Tip #5: Make It A Whole-Day Affair
It sounds ridiculous, but putting wedding dresses on is actually a very tiring process. Oftentimes you’re getting in and out of up to 10 dresses in one appointment, times that by three appointments and you’ll have tried on nearly 30 dresses in one day. Not only are you exhausted by your last appointment, everything will start to blend together. There’s no reason you need to turn dress shopping into the hunger games of your wedding. Visiting one store in a day is plenty, especially since the appointments are usually 90 minutes. Don’t go to more than two in one day and plan a break in between so you have time to regroup both mentally and physically.
Images: Shutterstock; Giphy (5)
Thanks to #SYYTD, the wedding dress shopping experience has become a full blown circus. From custom t-shirts and coolers of champagne, to bringing everyone you’ve ever known to your dress appointment, brides forget what they’re actually doing there. As a former bridal shop consultant, I’ve heard first-hand the crazy tips brides think they should follow, and I’m calling B.S.
Bullshit Lie #1: Bring Your Bridesmaids
On TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, you often see the bride with her entire bridal party in tow (and her grandma, her future MIL, her third cousin twice removed). Sure, they might seem like a nice reprieve from mom’s nagging opinions, but in my experience, bridesmaids have a hard time putting their personal opinions aside. Comments like “that doesn’t work for your venue” or “that’s not that flattering” happen more often than you’d think. I once had a bride who went from excitement in the dressing room to total distress because of a bridesmaid’s bitchy comments. I’m not saying all of your friends would be assholes, but wedding dress opinions are subjective, so the most important thing is trusting your gut over their opinion. If you must bring your squad along, set some guidelines beforehand and tell them that they should just be there for moral support, not to go all Simon Cowell circa American Idol.
Bullshit Lie #2: Pinterest Is Your Friend
I love Pinterest just as much as the next basic bitch but TBH, going on a pin binge right before you dress shop is NOT helpful. Sure, you might find things you like, but unless you’re sure the store you’re going to has that dress in stock, you’ll likely be disappointed. Showing a stylist your pin board is helpful if you have a general vibe in mind (classic, formal), but if you want something extremely specific that you pinned, that’s a bit tougher depending on the salon’s inventory. Also, gowns look completely different on you than they do on Pinterest. Often times, those pictures are from models with completely different body types than yours (unless you’re a model, in which case, none of this applies to you). I’ve had a number of brides come into the store with a vision they’d created from hours of pinning, only to find out that a flowy, boho vibe did not live up to their expectations. Having a general idea of what you like is better than coming in with a highly specific vision.
Bullshit Lie #3: You Need To Shop At Multiple Stores
This lie is one that really pisses off stylists. Not just because they’re more likely to lose a sale to this notion, but because it’s simply not true. Yes, this dress is once in a lifetime, but that doesn’t mean you have to have an over-the-top emotional moment where you and your mom sob and hug each other like you just overcame some terrible illness. Feeling kick-ass and loving the way you look in the dress is more than enough of a reason to say yes to it, crying is optional. Brides who go to multiple stores also might do so because the first store they found something that wasn’t what they expected. That happens more often than not, so don’t be alarmed. It’s OK to have a change of heart, especially when it comes to wedding gowns, because they’re totally different once you put them on. Be confident in your decision when it feels right, tears or no tears.
Bullshit Lie #4: Champagne Required
Celebrating is V important. Boozy brunch is V important. However, a drunk bride and her entourage is NOT. Too many times I’ve dealt with a sloppy appointment when the bride stumbles in, can’t get two feet into her dress and nobody in her peanut gallery has self-awareness. When it gets to this point, the squad should have just stayed at brunch. Save the celebrating for after, and don’t show up with a chambong ready to get wild at the salon. A lot of salons either don’t have champagne or they save it until a final decision is made. Wedding dress shopping is a classy affair, so sure, have a few glasses after saying yes, but save the sloppiness for the bachelorette party.
Bullshit Lie #5: Make It A Whole-day Affair
It sounds ridiculous, but putting wedding dresses on is actually a very tiring process. Oftentimes you’re getting in and out of up to 10 dresses in one appointment, times that by three appointments and you’ll have tried on nearly 30 dresses in one day. Not only are you exhausted by your last appointment, everything will start to blend together. There’s no reason you need to turn dress shopping into the Hunger Games of your wedding. Visiting one store in a day is plenty, especially since the appointments are usually 90 minutes. Don’t go to more than two in one day and plan a break in between so you have time to regroup both mentally and physically.
In November 2018, I married my college sweetheart, Mike Sorrentino. One of the most memorable and surreal moments of the entire experience was my first time trying on wedding gowns. I planned our entire wedding start to finish in roughly two months, so I didn’t have time to waste on decisions, especially when it came to wedding dress shopping. I decided on both my wedding gowns in just 30 minutes. I swear, it’s true! But that’s because I went in prepared. Right off the bat, I had in mind a few dresses I liked and wanted to use as inspiration for my gown. I had Pronovias, Ines di Santo, Marchesa, and Zuhair Murad bookmarked as my favorite bridal designers while researching before my appointment. I went into the store with a mission, and really didn’t consider the possibility of not finding a dress I loved. Plus, I made sure the place I was going to carried my preferred designers ahead of time, which was a big help to stay ahead of the game.
Here were some of my top picks for inspiration.
Obviously, I’m not saying you need to choose dresses like these, as they should be to your personal taste. But I am saying you should have a few options either printed out, saved to your phone, or bookmarked in your brain, and concrete reasons why you like them. That way, you know what elements to look for in other gowns. For example, I chose the Zuhair Murad dress on the left because I love the fuller skirt and heavy embellishment; I like the Marchesa one in the middle because the feathery light detail at the bottom of this dress is dreamy and ethereal; and I also love the Zuhair Murad dress on the right because I’m obsessed with the 20s feel of this gown and the embellished cape.
When it comes to wedding dress shopping, it is possible to get a dress on your first appointment and not spend hours in the store and have it be a miserable experience. Here are a few wedding dress shopping tips you should keep in mind, based on my personal experience, to make the whole wedding dress shopping process less stressful (and, dare I say, actually fun).
1. Do Your Homework
Like I said above, don’t show up to a boutique expecting people to read your mind. Have a Pinterest board ready to show your stylist. Even if you can’t verbalize what details you like, the stylist will be able to identify the common thread between the photos to make sure you’re happy with what she pulls for you to try on. (But it’s way easier if you do verbalize the details you like, as I did in my example above.)
2. Don’t Bring Too Many People
If you’re going wedding dress shopping, I’d advise you limit your guest count to 4-5 max if you have a hard time making decisions. The more people you bring, the more opinions you have that may sway you away from your vision. If you’re like me and don’t care what anyone else thinks, then bring your whole bridal party! I picked my dresses (yes, two) in 45 minutes TOPS. It can be done.
3. Don’t Make The Process More Stressful Than It Needs To Be
Enjoy yourself! You’re getting married! This is fun! It can be a stressful time with all the detailed decisions and lifetime commitment and all, but make sure to enjoy this special bonding moment with your friends and the amazing multi-generational women in your family if you’re lucky enough to have them around!
4. Trust Your Gut
The best piece of advice I could give any future bride is to stick to your gut instinct. A women’s intuition is everything, so take a moment (or a day or a week) to decompress after your first time wedding gown shopping experience (if you need it), but don’t second guess your first instinct! Don’t doubt yourself. As sure as you know you want to marry your soon-to-be husband, you’ll know what the right dress for you is as soon as you see yourself in it!
And because I’m sure you’re all super curious about which dresses I went with, I’ve included them below.
I knew I wanted long sleeve lace for my main gown, meaning the gown I’d be married in and wear for our formal photos and first dance.
I love long sleeves on a bridal gown. To me, it’s just super chic, and the lace combination really added a romantic feel. Plus, there’s a traditional aspect to long sleeves on a wedding gown. I didn’t want too much sheerness or anything corseted. I wanted to stick to a semi-traditional silhouette in that sense.
Tip: What I didn’t realize was that even though I had a fall wedding, I definitely worked up a sweat taking photos and socializing the whole day. Had we gotten married in spring or summer, I probably would’ve gone the strapless route or worn an off the shoulder look.
Dress: Stephen Yearick
For the second dress, I went with the mermaid and fit and flare look. When going for a more fitted look like I did, I think as long as it’s done tastefully it can be as beautiful and timeless as a traditional bridal look.
Tip: Balance is key! You don’t want to do fitted, sheer, cleavage, corsets, etc.—it’s just too much! As someone with big boobs, I didn’t want them to be exposed in either dress or to have too much sheerness along with a more fitted look so I went with a higher neckline.
Whether you’re buying one dress or two or five (hey, no judgment), it’s important to go into your appointment with a clear idea of what you like and don’t like. But above all, enjoy the process! You’ll only wear the dress once, so have fun with it.
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Images: Charisse Kenion / Unsplash; Michael Romeo Creations (2); Zuhair Murad (2); Marchesa
If you’re recently engaged and the thought of dropping a couple thousand dollars on a wedding dress coupled with spending prolonged time with your mom/bff/soon-to-be mother-in-law perusing bridal salons is giving you high-level anxiety, time to chill TF out. The internet—and our favorite retailers to buy, like, T-shirts from—have come to our rescue and come out with a bunch of affordable wedding dresses that are still v chic.
Gone are the days of sitting in Kleinfeld’s and pretending to be totally OK with dropping $5k on a gown that will divide everyone in your wedding party. Seriously, do yourself a favor and at least peruse the online offerings from spots you already know, trust, and don’t have to guess your size for. You didn’t know these 5 retailers made affordable wedding dresses, which is why you’re so lucky to have me as a friend and confidant.
You have to poke around a bit, but H&M does offer some pretty cute and affordable wedding dresses if you search and categorize dresses by long and white. There are high-necked lace numbers for under $300, bridal separates, and this slinky, sexy satin dress that’s ideal for a beachy wedding. Plus, they have some decent basics to fill your suitcase with after you decide married life isn’t for you and you need to start a new life on an island with some cats. Just saying.
H&M long lace dress
2. Anthropologie – BHLDN
Boho betches know that Anthropologie has an entire line dedicated to weddings, BHLDN. Dresses range from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars and come in tons of styles from “I don’t care and I’m gonna rock this tiny lace see-through thing” to “I need a glam gown that looks like I spent $10k”. The best part is that BHLDN stores are an actual thing, so if you’re not into ordering your wedding dress online, you can trek to one of those locations and try it on IRL with or without your entourage.
BHLDN medallion gown
3. Free People
The favorite for festival wear and Coachella hats actually makes some very summer and beach-worthy dresses for those of you that enjoy camping and not combing your hair. You can channel Princess Jasmine in this revealing number (and piss off your mom) or channel your inner gypsy in the Canyon Moon dress—probably while reading Tarot cards!
Free People canyon moon gown & duster
Yup. The retro-vibe clothing line offers a lot of tea-length and full-length dresses that are perfect for a super casual wedding where you don’t feel like dropping more than $500 on something you’re only going to wear for eight hours of your entire life. If you aren’t into wearing one of these for a wedding, they make a great rehearsal dinner or shower dress, too. Prices range from $65 for those on sale to around $350, so you can still afford a 10 hour open bar so, #priorities.
Modcloth graceful grandeur maxi dress in ivory
If you haven’t heard of this before, prepare to blow all your money on this wonder. Prices range from about $20-$550 when you sort by wedding stuff, and the options are jaw-dropping. Art Deco style fringe dresses and pink-tinged bridal lace dresses are all amazing finds from this retailer, and many of them are lower than $200. There are also tons of bridal shoes, hair accessories, and other wedding sh*t you didn’t realize you needed! Praise be.
ASOS Edition wedding dress with paneled seam
Images: Melody Jacob / Unsplash; ASOS; Modcloth; Free People; Anthropologie, H&M
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