Attire & Accessories Forum

Did anyone else HATE dress shopping?

Dress shopping made me miserable. The thought of having to make that decision made me more miserable. You watch shows like "Say Yes to the Dress" and you see girls saying they "just KNOW" it's the one, and everyone's crying and happy. This did not happen to me. I went to 4 different appointments at 3 different stores and just felt an immense amount of pressure and confusion. The sales people kept saying "you only get ONE so it has to be the most perfect one" which made me want to have a full-on panic attack and/or chug some vodka. 

I took other brides' advice of going in with an open mind, trying on lots of different styles, etc. When I finally chose a dress (because I felt like I had to, even though realistically I had plenty of time still) it wasn't a joyful crying moment like on TV. It was just "ok, I guess I'll buy this one." Don't get me wrong, it's an absolutely beautiful dress. But I didn't "fall in love" and "know it was the one" as if it were my FI. 

The more I hear other brides talking about their dress buying experience the more I think I'm totally weird. Normally I love shopping, and I never have trouble making decisions. When I went with my FI to buy a new couch, for example, I walked in, pointed at the first one I saw, and never regretted it. So why was it so awful, confusing, and not fun to buy my wedding dress? 
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Re: Did anyone else HATE dress shopping?

  • I don't know how to answer your final question, but I just wanted to say: I'm with you. You're not alone.

    I loved shopping for them at first, because I was afraid they'd all look terrible. So my first two appointments were all "OMG! So many look great! This is fabulous!" And then I proceeded to try on dresses four more times, at three new places. I got confused. I had found a dress that was my "top" in visit number two, that I had compared to the other dresses. I decided to just go with it after my six visits (and a few extra visits of trying on that particular dress to be sure.) It was a great price, pretty, I felt good in it when I wasn't all "I just need to buy one. This is too much". and had elements that I really liked when looking at over budget pictures online. So, I bought it. I wasn't gushing, I wasn't thrilled. I was a little relieved, and also a little worried that I settled. 

    But it was an experience that I had built up, and I was very worried about looking awesome. So it kind of makes sense to me that the pressure takes away the fluttery heart and excitement that a lot of girls talk about. And, frankly, I have a fluttery heart when I look at my fiance... I don't need that when I look at or try on a dress. 
    novella1186
  • I will admit, I only went to one bridal salon and it was enough.  I showed her pictures and she was like "oh that's beautiful....but we don't have anything like it" followed by comments like "maybe you just don't want anything mainstream."  It was not fun.  I also got told that no matter what dress I ordered that there would be a lot of alterations.  

    I ended up going to a boutique that custom makes wedding dress for reasonable prices.  I have my appointment to confirm my order and get measured on Saturday.  It really seems like he got me way better than the bridal consultant people.
    novella1186
  • I wasn't a huge fan either.  I guess I just didnt want to put too much stock (and cash) into something I would only wear once.  I tried on about a dozen but ultimately found one I was really excited about.  
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  • Good to know I'm not crazy!  I felt like I was reacting "wrong" or something. One of my good friends is also engaged and even she said she burst out in tears when she found "the dress" because she was so happy. Like... what? How? I don't understand and I feel like I'm the only one not on that bandwagon! 
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  • I completely sympathize.  I hate the bridal dress shopping!  I have such a failure of imagination when it comes to trying to work out what a heavily clamped up size 20 would actually look like if it fit me.  Pulling all the fabric to the back to make it tight isn't the same thing as fitting.  I wish bridal stores would realize this, and order at least two samples.  It's making it so hard to come to a decision, but I'm going with whichever one I like best tomorrow morning.  
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  • I was too chicken to even go, after the one place I went made me feel like I needed to call Omar the tent maker.
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  • Zero crying or gushing here - I just found a dress I didn't want to take off. I kept swishing around in it while we were talking and finally my mother was like, "Aren't you going to go change?" I hate that TV tells women they should become blubbery messes over a dress.

    I think these consultants also suck - holy crap, care more about your bride and less about making the sale. I think the biggest thing that helped me was I tried to have fun with it. My sisters made me try on ridiculous dresses I would never wear just to see what they'd look like. We played mean girls with the dresses and basically just picked them apart (think SYTTD live action role playing).


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    gen148
  • beachyone15beachyone15 TEXAS (the home of my exes) member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    I didn't cry either (although my mom did - multiple times). I definitely think that a good consultant can make all the difference towards having a good/bad experience. I ended up shopping around more for the right consultant first, and then really focused on the dresses.


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    Ndelible
  • @missdelilah that's one of things I hated most. I'm just supposed to "envision how it will look if it's in my size." How? First of all, anything that had a sweetheart neckline was clipped so much that the sweetheart part of it was in my armpits instead of on my chest. I have no idea what the hell that will look like! That takes a TON of imagination that I apparently just don't have. I felt like an idiot the entire time with these giant plastic clips and rolls of bunched up fabric hanging off my back.
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  • @PDKH that is hilarious! I will say the one big highlight of my first appointment was that my college roommate made me try on a super poofy "tea length" dress. I'm 5'1" so she knew it was going to be hilarious. The "tea length" was actually floor length on me and I kept hopping around to watch the layers of tulle fly.
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  • @novella1186 I'm so pleased that it's not just me!  I imagine it has to be a fairly common problem for ladies who are used to buying off the rack clothing that fits.  I hope when my potential children get married the virtual dressing room will be an option.  I'd much prefer that!
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  • beetherybeethery So sayeth the fuckin' Pope. member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    I'm really not looking forward to dress shopping. At all. I have a good bit of weight to lose before I want to start looking to begin with. In all honesty, I really just want to go by myself and at least narrow the options down to a few dresses, and then MAYBE invite my mother and MOHs to come help me pick. If I even do that.

    Plus, my mother is a fucking nightmare to shop with. She started talking about dress shopping the other day, and I had PTSD flashbacks to pre-prom season 2003+2004. It was a fucking nightmare. I can barely tolerate grocery shopping with her, much less shopping for any kind of clothing.

    I never thought I'd dread dress shopping so much, but here we are!
    --

    I'm the fuck out.

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  • I'm not looking forward to going. So far, I haven't found anything in my budget that I like in pictures. I think shopping is going to be an epic failure. I'd rather wear a maxi dress and some sandals to my wedding, so I skip the shopping part.

    My wedding is November 15, so I need to get over it and start trying on stuff. Ugh

  • YES. It sucked. When I finally found my dress, I was sort of neutral about it and then the longer I looked at it from all angles I was like, "damn I look good." I know, not very modest but it was the first and only time I actually felt and looked like myself and felt comfortable parading around in it all day.
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  • Yes, it's not as amazing as they make it out to be. I thought the trying on part was so fun (although I thought "God, I wanna lose weight, I didn't expect this style to look like THAT on me") but I made a decision at the second store. Although I felt so pretty, I did not feel extreme excitement, joy, or start crying. I felt just anxiety. Don't get me wrong, I love my dress but it is the exact opposite of what I thought I would get--thought I would get lace, simple, cap sleeves...thought I hated bling and poof. Got this dress which clearly has bling and poof http://www.theknot.com/wedding-dress/allure-bridals/9100-1?src=par Instead of thinking, "ha, I just didn't know what I wanted" I felt sheer panic and had a million thoughts, like "oh my god, we just put the deposit down, oh my god is this dress 'me'?? oh my god I only tried 5 dresses on. Now I can't do pink and yellow! This dress makes my whole wedding way more formal! Do I want that??" ....Yeah. It's nervewracking. You have to look at these pictures the rest of your life, almost as big a decision as the husband! ha.
  • I hated it. I am petite and noting came close to fitting. I loved the dresses with detailed or illusion backs. No way to even tell how that would look on me. I also felt incredibly pressured. Knowing that the sales people were commissioned I felt like I needed to buy something. It took so long every time and I left empty handed everytune. I felt so uncomfortable.
    I think if I could just try some stuff on alone I'd have enjoyed it more.
  • I HATED shopping for a dress.  I went to six different places, and all but one had super pushy salespeople who couldn't be bothered to listen to me.  I was looking for a sheath dress and they kept pulling bigger and poofier dresses for me.  The worst part was that no shop had any sample dresses that were larger than a size 12 (so street size 10), and I was an actual size 12 at the time.  I was told by most of them that I should really have been going to plus-size stores.  My ego just crumbled.  At 5'8" and 150 lbs, I had never considered myself to be a plus size.  Room to lose some weight, sure, but not fat.  It was completely demoralizing to go to shop after shop and not have a single sample dress large enough to fit into.  One lady even said, "I don't understand why you're even bothering with a wedding yet.  Look at you.  You're obviously not even ready for a dress yet."

    I couldn't stomach the thought of going into one more store and being made to feel ugly, fat, and undeserving to be a bride.  Long story short, my aunt (who is a dress designer) made me a beautiful version of a dress from Anna Campbell's Gossamer collection, which I absolutely loved when I saw the pictures online (the designer doesn't sell them in the U.S.). I don't know what I would have done without her.
  • Nymeru that is awful. I'm so sorry you had that experience. I feel like I should send this whole thread out to every dress shop in the country and say "here's what you guys SHOULDN'T do!" Assholes. 
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  • @Nymeru: that is an atrocious thing to say to a bride!  Every woman is worthy of being a bride and having the dress of her dreams, regardless of shape, size, or any other modifier.  I completely agree with @novella1186's idea of making this, and some of the other stories I've read here, public.  One community member was told by someone that she had such broad shoulders that of course she would feel self conscious wearing a strapless dress, and another that she man hands.  I can't get over all these people who take what should be a wonderful experience for any woman, and turn it in to something soul crushing.  
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    novella1186
  • @Nymeru‌ I literally said, "no she didn't!" out loud to no one. You are not plus size. And even if you were, so what? The average US woman is a size 14. She obviously didn't want to sell a dress that day. As someone who has recently went down from an 18 to a 12-14, having to buy a size 18 wedding gown was a bit demoralizing. It's almost like they want women to feel bad. Why not mimic street sizes or go the other way? Say, wedding dresses run two sizes under street sizes?
    Happiness is an inside job
  • @Ndelible I've wondered that too. The ladies in the boutique where I bought my dress suggested that the wedding sizes were smaller because of conspiracy to make brides feel fat, and buy in to weight loss programs, etc. I think it's actually probably because international sizes are different. US sizes are generally two sizes out from Australian sizes - so a size 4 in the US is a size 8 in Australia; and one size out from UK sizes (that 4 would be a 6 there). It's the only plausible reason I can find for them being so seemingly strange. But yes; it's totally demoralizing for those of us who are used to US sizes, and probably quite reasonable for those of us who live in Australia.
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    Ndelible
  • @missdelilah‌ That's a great explanation. Aren't a lot of dresses made to order, so then they can mimic the country in which it is sold? Take a place like David's Bridal, where they also said the sizing runs small, I fit into 90% of their 14s. Seems to me that their dresses are closer to street size than they think. They make their dresses at their factory in China, so they could just go with US sizing easily and stop confusing us.
    Happiness is an inside job
  • missdelilahmissdelilah member
    1000 Comments 250 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    edited August 2014
    @Ndelible I can't speak to David's Bridal.  Do they exist outside of the US?  If they don't then there's no need for them to have strange sizing, unless they're simply trying to look more like a traditional bridal salon.  

    As for the made to order dresses, I imagine it's just easier for the designers to know that a size 14 is always a size 14, not sometimes a 16 or 18.  It would just be one more thing for them to have to deal with if they're getting orders in US 14, UK 16, and AUS 18, and just one more thing that could potentially go wrong with an order.  I'll suck up feeling a teensy bit bad about my bridal size being larger than my street size, and having to order a dress that states that it is larger than used to if it means there's less chance of the manufacturer sending me something incorrect.
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  • @missdelilah‌ Agreed. Gotta stop being so US centric. I'm not sure if David's is a US only chain. I guess it is. But the dresses might be sold to other international stores. I'm working on the premise that each dress really needs to fit the woman, so sizing is irrelevant. Maybe I'll cut out the tag. LOL.
    Happiness is an inside job
  • @Ndelilble I love that idea!  The dress fits; the tag size is irrelevant.  If you're getting the dress altered, perhaps ask the seamstress to remove it, so you don't end up with that itchy bit sticking out.
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    Ndelible
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