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Even more stressed after first dress appointment

Warning, this is very long, pretty rambling, and a bit whiny. I'm trying to avoid overwhelming my friends and family with my wedding-related complaints so there's a good chance a lot will be dumped on these forums.

I have no idea what I want in a wedding dress. The last time I bought a dress anywhere other than Target was ~40 pounds ago, so I don't really know what looks good on my body anymore. I've also never been good at picking out clothes from pictures, so even after doing all the research online and in magazines I still wasn't able to narrow down my preferences much.

Well, I figured that sure it makes sense that I don't know how to pick a wedding dress, I've never done it before. I could probably use some help from a professional, someone who does this all day every day, so I set my first appointment to look at dresses.

The lady helping me was nice, but I really apparently should have had a better idea of what I wanted. "I really don't know what I want. Fit, neckline, fabric, all of it, I just don't know. I'd like to try on a bunch of different stuff and narrow it down." "Sure honey, we'll find something you love! Hmm, do you like lace?" "Um maybe?" Cue the montage of me being shoved into what felt like the exact same lace overlay/trumpet cut/sweetheart neckline dress over and over again for the next half hour.

It was awful and I felt like she wasn't listening to me at all.

"This one has a keyhole back." "Oh, well I don't think I want that. I have a lot of blemishes on my back," *next dress* "This is an illusion back. It isn't really backless because it has this mesh that covers you." "I can still see the issue spots though, I don't think this fixes the problem." "Oh it does sweetie don't worry." Do you...not have dresses with backs? I'm pretty sure those exist.

"Could we try some with straps?" *Exclusively full-sleeved dresses appear* Alright I guess straps means something different in crazy wedding land, do you have a pocket translation dictionary or...?

At one point I noticed that every single dress she was bringing me was from the same designer, which probably explains why I could barely tell the difference between them. I don't know if this was an accident or not. I want to hope it was, but I can't help but wonder if they were being pressured to sell more of that specific collection or something.

The worst bit? I started checking price tags and realized that all of these dresses were several hundred dollars above the top of the budget range I had selected on their little information sheet. It wasn't like I had written in some crazy low price that they didn't have options for, this was a check box on a form they had made! Why bother to ask about a budget if you're just going to ignore it and do whatever you want anyways?

Apparently when looking at one dress I must have given some kind of signal, because the next thing I knew I had a veil on my head and all the store workers were doing little claps. My dressing room was cleared, the lady logged the dress number in their system, and it was stressed to me over and over again that I needed to make my final decision before their 10% off sale ended this weekend. Which, hey, that's not a bad sale, but when I've only looked at dresses far outside my price range it's not going to make up the difference.

In summary, I will be getting married in whatever dress I can find at Target the day before the wedding. They're the only one I can trust anymore.


But really, what can I do to make this easier at the next place I go? I'm sure having a better idea of what I want would help (also having a backbone and telling her to stop it with the over-budget nonsense, but that's a whole 'nother issue to tackle), how exact of an idea for your dress did you have when you went shopping?

Bonus question: anyone else have a dress shopping sob story? I'd love to know I'm not the only person who didn't have a super magical rainbow fun time.

Re: Even more stressed after first dress appointment

  • I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. Not all salespeople will be like that. Do you have friends that can recommend stores/salespeople to you? Now you know to tell a person that you want a covered back, stress your budget and not strapless. You did learn something from this experience - which is what just about every bride needs. The first appointment DD had reinforced to her what she wanted. She found her dress at her third appointment. You will find a dress, just hang in there! Good luck!

    SP29
  • Arieuxin said:
    Warning, this is very long, pretty rambling, and a bit whiny. I'm trying to avoid overwhelming my friends and family with my wedding-related complaints so there's a good chance a lot will be dumped on these forums.

    I have no idea what I want in a wedding dress. The last time I bought a dress anywhere other than Target was ~40 pounds ago, so I don't really know what looks good on my body anymore. I've also never been good at picking out clothes from pictures, so even after doing all the research online and in magazines I still wasn't able to narrow down my preferences much.

    Well, I figured that sure it makes sense that I don't know how to pick a wedding dress, I've never done it before. I could probably use some help from a professional, someone who does this all day every day, so I set my first appointment to look at dresses.

    The lady helping me was nice, but I really apparently should have had a better idea of what I wanted. "I really don't know what I want. Fit, neckline, fabric, all of it, I just don't know. I'd like to try on a bunch of different stuff and narrow it down." "Sure honey, we'll find something you love! Hmm, do you like lace?" "Um maybe?" Cue the montage of me being shoved into what felt like the exact same lace overlay/trumpet cut/sweetheart neckline dress over and over again for the next half hour.

    It was awful and I felt like she wasn't listening to me at all.

    "This one has a keyhole back." "Oh, well I don't think I want that. I have a lot of blemishes on my back," *next dress* "This is an illusion back. It isn't really backless because it has this mesh that covers you." "I can still see the issue spots though, I don't think this fixes the problem." "Oh it does sweetie don't worry." Do you...not have dresses with backs? I'm pretty sure those exist.

    "Could we try some with straps?" *Exclusively full-sleeved dresses appear* Alright I guess straps means something different in crazy wedding land, do you have a pocket translation dictionary or...?

    At one point I noticed that every single dress she was bringing me was from the same designer, which probably explains why I could barely tell the difference between them. I don't know if this was an accident or not. I want to hope it was, but I can't help but wonder if they were being pressured to sell more of that specific collection or something.

    The worst bit? I started checking price tags and realized that all of these dresses were several hundred dollars above the top of the budget range I had selected on their little information sheet. It wasn't like I had written in some crazy low price that they didn't have options for, this was a check box on a form they had made! Why bother to ask about a budget if you're just going to ignore it and do whatever you want anyways?

    Apparently when looking at one dress I must have given some kind of signal, because the next thing I knew I had a veil on my head and all the store workers were doing little claps. My dressing room was cleared, the lady logged the dress number in their system, and it was stressed to me over and over again that I needed to make my final decision before their 10% off sale ended this weekend. Which, hey, that's not a bad sale, but when I've only looked at dresses far outside my price range it's not going to make up the difference.

    In summary, I will be getting married in whatever dress I can find at Target the day before the wedding. They're the only one I can trust anymore.


    But really, what can I do to make this easier at the next place I go? I'm sure having a better idea of what I want would help (also having a backbone and telling her to stop it with the over-budget nonsense, but that's a whole 'nother issue to tackle), how exact of an idea for your dress did you have when you went shopping?

    Bonus question: anyone else have a dress shopping sob story? I'd love to know I'm not the only person who didn't have a super magical rainbow fun time.
    Definitely think it's time to go to a different store, not all are like this, I promise. Have you rad any reviews online of bridal stores? I found those were pretty accurate in my area to the service I received. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience!

    If you find find a new store I would be clear you want to try on a lot of silhouettes, fabrics, and designers, and you don't want to look at anything above X price. Also state you want to try something with sleeves and a covered back. If you feel like they're not listening to you, or that they're bringing things out of your price range, speak up. They are there to make a sale, but that won't happen if you're unhappy. 

    Also, I absolutely had a bad dress experience. I went to a salon (which had some great, but also some terrible reviews so I should have known), and told them my sizes (street 8/10 so bridal 12/14) and she had me look around first (also I found this was a bad sign). I pointed out a few that I liked and asked if they had a sample close to my size, she said yes of course. She brought in those plus some of her own. Well the first was a bridal 4. There was no way that was going on. She said "oh  it's fine just pull it up and we don't zip it. " Yah no that wasn't happening. She didn't bring me anything above a bridal 6. At one point she told me to just "hold it up to get an idea". I felt terrible and should have left after the first dress but I didn't. 
    kimmiinthemittenSP29cowgirl8238
  • Also, definitely post here about your questions and complaints that's what we're here for. Think of us as your unbiased friends with tons of wedding experience. 
    DrillSergeantCatkimmiinthemittencowgirl8238
  • I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. Not all salespeople will be like that. Do you have friends that can recommend stores/salespeople to you? Now you know to tell a person that you want a covered back, stress your budget and not strapless. You did learn something from this experience - which is what just about every bride needs. The first appointment DD had reinforced to her what she wanted. She found her dress at her third appointment. You will find a dress, just hang in there! Good luck!

    This is what I was going to say. Also, were you able to narrow down silhouettes there at all? It sounds like you were put in a lot of trumpet dresses. Did you like the silhouette if not the material? If not, cross trumpet and probably mermaid as well off your list. 

  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited December 2016
    I would definitely find another shop!
    When daughter was looking for her dress, five years ago, EVERYTHING was strapless!  We went to five places in the Washington, DC, area.  The worst one did not have one dress that was not strapless, and the pushy saleslady tried to insist that SHE knew what looked best on daughter!  We walked out.  The woman actually ran after us in the parking lot and tried to get us back into her store!
    Our favorite shopping experience was actually at David's Bridal, which had lots of larger dresses for daughter to try on, but she found the dress at Demetrios at Macy's in Tyson, VA.  It had a covered back and was a one-strap dress.
    Hang in there.  I bet your next trip will be better.
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    MesmrEwecowgirl8238
  • Sorry you had such a bad experience.  Just a few suggestions I hope might help: 

    - Did you look much at dresses online before you went shopping? While you won't necessarily find a specific dress that way, I found it helpful in narrowing down what I did and didn't like, and that way when I did go shopping I didn't feel quite so on the spot and was able to make a little clearer to the salespeople what I wanted and what I didn't. 

    - As far as budget goes, even if you write it down on an info sheet, it doesn't hurt to remind whoever you're working with what your limit is. Don't be afraid to ask up front how much a dress is and to say no if it's out of your budget. Don't try anything on you know you can't afford, no matter how much you like it.

    -  I can't tell from your post whether anyone went with you to the bridal shop. While I don't think it's a good idea to bring too many people with you (that creates its own problems!), you may find it helpful to bring a family member or friend next time who would help you feel a bit more at ease and could speak up about certain issues if you are feeling overwhelmed. 

    - I did not want a strapless dress either. I ended up with a sleeveless Justin Alexander dress with a lace illusion top. Their collection has a good variety of both strapless and non-strapless dresses, and while I don't know what your spending limit is, my dress was well within my budget, which wasn't particularly big. Just something to consider if you feel like everything you're seeing is strapless. 

    A lot of people find wedding dress shopping intimidating. Bridal shops know this and unfortunately sometimes take advantage, or at least try to. If you go in next time with a little more confidence and a little support, I think you'll have a better experience and find something you like. Good luck! 


    image
    charlotte989875ILoveBeachMusicSP29cowgirl8238
  • My sympathy on your experience. I was terrified to go to a bridal shop for that reason - I had a not-so-great experience as a BM a while back. I'm also just not sure what would look good on me. I'm 42 and I haven't bought anything but loose, casual clothes in years. My body has changed on me, big time. I know what dresses looked good on me when I had a smokin' bod in my 20s, but now all bets are off. 

    I agree that it sounds like you've learned what you don't  want, so stick to your guns and something will pop out at you. I figured out that I didn't want strapless (good luck there, that seems to be the majority of gowns!) and I eliminated a few other styles just because they didn't appeal to me.

    It might be a long shot, but don't rule out classified ads. I avoided the bridal shop experience all together by finding a gown on kijiji (similar to Craigslist here in Canada.) Long story short, the seller used to own a boutique and just wanted to get rid of the gowns she still had. I got an Alfred Angelo gown for $100 and I felt like I looked fantastic in it! The seller was super-helpful and we ended up gabbing for about half an hour while my poor FI waited in the car. LOL. So ya never know. 
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    I hated dress shopping!  So much so that I would take a shot of whiskey before each appointment. 

    My last appointment (and as such my successful one) worked because I went to a good reputable salon that provided true one on one service and I was honest with my consultant about my previous experiences. I explained my body image issues and what I disliked about the previous places I had been. One of the dresses I picked out that day was a sample size 6 and at that time I was a bridal 16, she came to me and said we're going to skip that dress because I'm not going to do that to you. That's when I knew I found the right shop. 

    image
    charlotte989875MesmrEwecowgirl8238
  • I spent a lot of time looking at dress online prior. Of course you need to actually try dresses on, and it's good to try various styles, but through looking at dresses online, I figured out which dresses I liked and what it was these dresses had in common (i.e. is it a particular silhouette? A fabric? style? details?).

    Yes, a lot of dress are strapless. But dresses with some sort of strap/neck/overlay definitely exist. You may want to look online and see if there are any designers in particular that make not strapless dresses. Then when you go to the salon, you'll know who to ask for.

    Take someone with you next time. Let them know what you're after and have them help you stand up to the consultant if you need to.

    Hope the next trip is better!
  • If it helps - the consultant I dealt with called me fat and pressured me into buying a dress that day otherwise I'd not have a dress in time for my wedding 10mo later!  Which is BS!  To this day I still have "Dress regret" because back then getting a second or replacement dress was seen as frivolous.  Also, the reason they were bringing out dresses higher than your price point is that they were buffering in to the discounted price to get the maximum budget $$$ out of you before alterations and add-on items takes another chunk.  (online or DIY your veil - there's no comparison on prices!)

    Not every bride has that "SYTTD" fairy tale sunshine and unicorns moment.  Instead of expecting that "OMG - this is THE ONE!", aim for hearing in your head "Hmm, I like how I look and feel in this, I could recite my vows in this dress!" instead.  

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • is it possible the salon was having a trunk show usually during trunk shows they only show you the stuff from that designer and its usually 10% off if your purchase during the trunk show week or weekend. 

    please find other salons look for reviews you know know that you can eliminate trumpet style dresses and dresses with bare backs. 

    when i was wedding dress shopping i had a salon who was looking to make a sale and anything they put me in they said looked good on me when i clearly knew it wouldn't 
    MesmrEwe
  • Thanks for the replies everyone! (Sorry for the delay - was without internet that wouldn't drop every time I tried to post)

    I really appreciate all the encouragement and sympathy. Honestly just putting this rant here helped me a lot, and I now feel like I can go back out there and try again. This time with more confidence and a firmer voice to my preferences!


    There were a few questions asked so I'll try to cover them here:

    Did I check reviews of the store before going? This store is THE place in my area to get wedding dresses, and has glowing online reviews, so I think my experience was just a fluke! To give you an idea of how loved and trusted it is, the few family members and friends in the area who heard I had gone (through my mother/FMIL, definitely not something I was going to bring up) were shocked that I hadn't bought my dress right then and there. Oh well!

    Did I bring anyone with me? I did actually, two very good friends. They were great, took lots of pictures for me, and helped make the saleslady back off on her "you need to buy this NOW!!" pitch. Sadly, they actually know less about the dress shopping process than I do, but they were great moral support and I'm extremely glad I chose to have them with me.

    Have I looked at dresses online to narrow down style choices? So. Much. I've just never been good at figuring out what I like from pictures. An example, me picking out my first prom dress. Went in sure that I hated mermaid dresses, then, whoops, one got put in my stack, might as well try it on, oh geez this is awesome, oh no I can't imagine any other dress, whelp I hope my date is ok with coral!

    Did I at least learn anything about what I wanted from the experience? Yep - trumpet and mermaid are probably out unless I invest in a corset! Yeah...it's been a while since that prom dress.


    Thanks again everyone!
  • There's a fine line between not wanting to try on things you KNOW you don't want and not wanting to on something because you think it won't look good. If you want a covered back then you want a covered back, and you shouldn't feel bad about that! Just don't back down--don't try on dresses without backs. 

    Personally, I didn't want a strapless dress. I didn't care if straps could be sewn on, that's not what I wanted (I find they typically look like a strapless dress with straps sewn on). It was quite a fight with most of the consultants!

    And also, while you have no idea what kind of dress you want, do you know what kind of WEDDING you want? How would you describe your wedding? Where and what time of day will it be? This can help you figure out your dress. If it's in a barn in July at 1pm a heavy satin beaded dress probably isn't what you want. If it's in a city hotel ballroom at 6pm on a Saturday in November, something light and ethereal and bohemian likely isn't the best fit. 
    SP29
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