Courtney Soberal is originally from Michigan, but has lived in Los Angeles for five years. She is currently a preschool teacher and college student at CSU Dominguez Hills, working toward a degree in Child Development. Courtney and her husband met on Tinder, bonding over Taco Tuesday nights, and eventually tying the knot in 2018. They hope to expand their family with a puppy very soon.
Call me cliché, but after my now-husband proposed, we almost immediately knew how and where we wanted to exchange our vows: an intimate beach ceremony in Hawaii. Just like many other young couples, we also quickly realized that a dream destination wedding can come with a nightmare price tag, so we wanted to figure out ways to cut other costs, particularly with our bridal fashion.
Did you know that the average cost of a wedding dress is $1,631? If my husband and I wanted to say aloha to our new life together, I knew I couldn’t spend anything near that price for one dress. I also didn’t want my bridesmaids to have to invest in a dress with a staggering retail price when they were already jet-setting across the Pacific.
This is where Poshmark comes in. I had been using the app for nearly two years when my wedding rolled around, and had ample success buying and selling clothes and accessories on the app as a side hustle, so it was really a no-brainer to browse the platform for bridal looks. I started sifting through their millions of new-with-tags (NWT) and pre-loved listings in hopes of finding my bridal party’s looks, and of course, the beachy glam wedding dress of my tropical dreams.
In reality, I had already found the perfect dress, but it had an unfathomable retail price tag (it would have cost the same amount as two round-trip tickets to Hawaii, which was something I couldn’t justify). After about two weeks of searching on the Poshmark app, I found the exact same dress NWT in my size for ONLY $200 (pro-tip: buy one size up if you’re debating because you’ll likely get it altered anyway and will want the fabric). It was delivered to me in a few days, brand new and beautifully wrapped. My only added expense was getting a few alterations done.
Inspired by my wedding dress haul, my bridesmaids and I went on a wine-fueled shopping spree for the rest of the bridal party dresses. We found two flower girl dresses for $40 a piece and three bridesmaids dresses for $75 each in a single evening. Again, all of these finds were new and wrapped better than a department store would wrap your Christmas shopping. And we looked incredible, if I do say so myself.
Thanks to the profits that I made from my Poshmark side hustle and the discounted prices of our apparel (an estimated $4,000 in savings), I was able to set aside about $6,000 for wedding expenses. My hubby and I were able to comfortably pay for the intimate, tropical wedding of our dreams in Hawaii AND a reception back in California (where we live) for our extended family and friends. At our California ceremony, I even wore a second dress that I bought on Poshmark for $200 (NWT, originally $1,600).
But it gets even better: after the wedding shenanigans were over, I sold everything back on Poshmark for the original Poshmark-listed prices, meaning I sold my $200 dress for $200 (disclaimer: Poshmark takes 20% of each sale so my total earnings in this case was ~$160). But still!
Moral of the story: don’t let anyone tell you that BHLDN or Vera Wang are your only options. There are some incredibly beautiful gowns available for less than half the price on resale platforms like Poshmark. Happy shopping!
Images: Courtney Soberal (4)
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)
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
Mazel Tov! You’re getting married. Or you’re balls deep in a breakup and fantasizing hard about a day when a man comes into your life who doesn’t turn out to be a total fuckboy as soon as you hook up. Either way, you’re obsessed with weddings right now. Despite being a completely outdated societal norm that reinforces the idea that women are nada unless they have a man who loves them, it’s something we all dream about our entire lives. Hey, no one ever accused me of being a romantic, but even I’m all fired up about putting on a big cotton ball of a dress just to have some poor dude proclaim that he’s officially whipped in the name of the Lord and the government. I blame Say Yes To The Dress tbh. Like, fuck you Randy for making me all basic and shit. How dare you? I’m supposed to be a card carrying feminist out here in my pussy hat and yet the minute somebody mentions floral arrangements, I’m suddenly full of opinions. It’s the eternal paradox. Anyway, to help you judge the shit out of almost-married besties this wedding season or make sure you don’t commit bridal fashion suicide if you’re you’re the one saying “I do,” here’s what your wedding dress style says about you.
If you dream of having a dress so big you can hardly walk down the aisle, you def want a ball gown, meaning you’re a basic AF bride. You probably say shit about wanting to feel like a princess on your big day and all your bridesmaids def commence talking shit about you as soon as you leave the room. Just trust me. They are. You’re the type that’s dreamed/talked/pinned about this day for-fucking-ever and you’re super optimistic about getting married, even though deep down you know a lack of interesting sex with a man who is developing a beer belly is in your future. You’ll start a mommy blog once you have kids and make everything look like it’s perfect, but you’ll have a secret stash of vodka and maybe a little weed in your nightstand for the one day a year when you’re actually allowed to enjoy life.
Mermaid/Trumpet/Fit And Flare
First things first, what’s the fucking difference? And even if there is a slight difference, is three different names for something that’s virtually the same really necessary? I’m gonna say no. But I digress. If this is the kind of dress you go for, you’re confident and hot but you understand that your 90-year-old Meemaw doesn’t want to see you looking like a hoe on your wedding day. Ever since you got engaged, you haven’t eaten carbs (except for that one drunken pizza binge at your bachelorette) and you’ve been hitting up SoulCycle every morning. You’re super successful at work thanks in large part to your type A personality. Because of this, you’re obsessing over every detail of your wedding and have had at least four nervous breakdowns planning this shit. You’re excited for it to be over with so you can finally relax, but let’s be honest, you’ll find something else to obsess over in a matter of days. Probably like, a baby or some shit.
If this style is for you, you’re the trashy bride. I mean, at least you’re bold, right? You’re marrying someone who’s rich AF because there’s no way you’d settle for one dick the rest of your life if there wasn’t some benefit in it for you. You were the lush of your sorority in college and while you were excited to get married at first, the whole “till death do us part” thing has you wigging the fuck out the closer you get to your wedding. In a few years, you’ll get a role on Real Housewives because you need to do something for you and after two seasons you and your husband will call it quits. You’ll say it’s because the pressure of living your life on reality TV magnified your problems, but it’s really because you were bored out of your fucking mind. In a year or so, you’ll try releasing a pop single and it’ll be embarrassing for literally everyone.
Hold on. I need to wait for this massive eye roll to end before I can put together my thoughts. Okay cool. I’m finished. A tea-length wedding dress is reserved specifically for hipster brides and people who are roughly a thousand times less cute than they think they are. At your wedding, everything will be DIY because “you couldn’t find anything that truly embodied your essence” and you will literally tell everyone in earshot about it. For favors, you and your fiancé brewed your own beer that’s fucking disgusting if I had to guess and made custom labels that say “Let Love Brew.” Vomit. IRL, you pride yourself on not having the type of job the status quo—or as you like to call it, “The Man”—expects you to have. So like, you harvest bees and sell honey on the side of the road or some shit. Idk. Long story short: You’re the worst. Welcome to your tape.
Isn’t one $10,000 dress for one evening of your life enough? If your answer to this question is no, you’re extra af. You care way too much about what everyone thinks and you’re going to be so tied up in everyone’s opinion of you and your wedding, you’re going to be fucking miserable the day of. In general, you try way harder than you need to at pretty much everything you do. Out of your 12 bridesmaids, only 4 or 5 would consider you a close enough friend to have them in their wedding, and all of them are pissed about how much money they had to spend making your destination bachelorette happen. Ouch. In a few years, you’ll pop out a kid or two and quit your job to be a full-time mom so you can take up tennis at your local country club and become the president of PTA.
Your Mom’s Dress
If you insist on wearing your mom’s old haggard wedding dress from the 80s, you’re a typical nicegirl. Everything you do in life revolves around what’s best for others rather than looking out for #1 and because of this you’ve been walked on by everyone you know. Tragic. You think wearing your mom’s dress will be a sweet gesture and will make her v happy, but did you even think about yourself? I mean, it’s your fucking day and you’re gonna wear some tacky shit from the 80s? I’d feel bad for you except you’re also the type that would only have beer and wine at your reception, fuck maybe even no alcohol at all, and I don’t feel bad for people who pull that kind of shit on their friends.
Brides who choose A-line dresses are sophisticated, classic betches, not just on their wedding day but in general. Unlike most brides, you’ve been chill throughout the entire wedding process and not a total nightmare so you’ll still have friends other than your spouse once this whole thing is over. You’re like really really pretty and don’t need a super tight dress to be the hottest girl in the room. You’re the type that won’t change after you get married. You’ll still hang out with all your friends and not be lame AF and for sure won’t keep your wedding portraits as your prof pic for too long. When you have a kid, you’ll name it something normal and have the appropriate amount of involvement in its day to day life. Congratulations. You win.
How long is it acceptable to keep your wedding profile pic up? Find out here!