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Dress shopping question

hellosweetie1015hellosweetie1015 Where the skies are so blue member
2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
Did you guys feel a little let down after your first dress shopping experience?

I went looking today to get ideas, and a combination of visiting what seemed like a small DB, being fat, and having a budget of $300 or less (preferably less) left me with only a couple options available in my size. I had no idea what to expect, and although I did find one I liked well enough to take a picture instead of ripping it off immediately, I keep looking at the picture and finding flaws. I know that's me being silly, but I just ... well. I expected to find more than four options.

My stylist was nice, and she did convince me to take the one dress I liked back with me (it was HIDEOUS on the hanger), but I kind of felt like the her knowing my budget was so low, plus the fact that I made it clear I wasn't actually buying anything until my "dress committee" could come with me, made it easier for her to sort of shunt me sideways since she was unnecessarily busy (lots of walk-ins that were there before me, and they were short staffed too).

I dunno. I feel weird about it. Maybe when my mom and sisters can come with me it'll be different.
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Re: Dress shopping question

  • WinstonsGirlWinstonsGirl The Cold North member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I found it incredibly frustrating.  I went over 6 different days and tried over 100+ dresses.  I didn't know what I wanted perhaps.  I finally went with about dress 64 or something, but I tried it on 4 times before I bought it.  The first day was fun.  By the end I hated it all and just wanted to find a dress.  

    I think you'll feel better with your family there.  You'll be able to gauge reactions, get ideas, etc.   But don't worry.  Not everyone has the SYTTD crying moment.  I never did.  

    hellosweetie1015
  • I couldn't imagine doing it alone. I would go with your mom and sisters. Some people prefer going alone, but I needed my mom there. I have 2 appointments next week and my mom is going with me to both.


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  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    I am super picky. I refused strapless, stark white and sparkles. This narrowed my choices down to like 8 dresses between the three stores I went to, lol. I still tried on all of the things I refused to wear, just to be sure. I am so in love with my dress, but I did not cry and therefore second guess myself all the time. The truth?


    I don't really care about weddings or wedding dresses. It's all just fun, so I don't take it that seriously.

    Go with people who are honest but not mean, and won't push you. You need someone to tell you if a dress really looks horrible on you, not someone to tell you they don't personally like X about the dress. That won't help you at all. You know what you like.

    And don't only shop at bridal stores. Prom is coming up, I've seen some pretty white prom dresses and prom dresses cost way less.
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  • porkchops926porkchops926 Cape Cod member
    250 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    I was incredibly frustrated both times I went. I suppose I looked at too many pictures in magazines, which I know is a cardinal mistake. Each one I put on I thought I looked like total crap in, because I didn't look like the model. Plus, IMO, a lot of wedding dresses look and feel cheap in person. 

    I ended up buying the one I thought was the most "me" and that my parents loved, but now that I see the horrible pics my dad took of me I think I look awful in it. Oh well, it's too late to go back, and my common sense is telling me that it's just me being crazy.

    I kinda think that that "fantasy moment" of finding the dress and shopping is what makes this experience so lacking for a lot of us. You have these high expectations for this shopping experience and it's either your budget or your body image or something that makes it less than. 

    Definitely bring your mom and sisters, just a few people who are close to you, not too many. That will make it easier. 
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  • I haven't started dress shopping yet, but my budget is as low as yours so I know I'll be limited. Have you considered buying used/pre-owned? A lot of the dresses on Craigslist, Tradesy, and Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses haven't even been worn. I plan to go somewhere to try on dresses and get a feel for what style suits me, not adhering so strictly to my ridiculously low budget, and then shop online to see if I can find something great in my price range. I know I'll feel a little guilty wasting a stylist's time since it's unlikely anything in the store will fit my criteria, but what else can I do? Maybe shopping used will broaden your options so you can find something you're truly happy with.
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  • emmaaaemmaaa North Carolina mod
    Moderator 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary
    I only went with my mom both times I looked. The first time was kind of a let down. I was very critical of every dress. Little things and details about it would bother me. I did find one I liked but didn't get the reaction from my mom that I wanted so we moved on.

    My second appointment was better. I had more of an idea of what I liked and wanted and what looked good on me. I loved my dress, but I didn't cry when I put it on. I still had to narrow it down between two of them. I just knew I didn't want to take it off, and I knew that DH would love me in it.

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  • It's definitely hard. Did you try a local store? Mine had great sales or could you wait for the David's $99 sale? 

    I agree completely with whoever said there's not a big over the top crying moment. I tried on five dresses in one store and was like yep, this one will work. My mom or I didn't cry at all so try to let go of those big expectations, they're so unnessesary. 
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  • I hated dress shopping. I hated all the pressure to pick something perfect, I hated the consultants pushing stuff at me that I specifically said I didn't like, I hated having all that attention on me (because any time I walked out in a dress, any strangers in the salon also stopped and stared which I find extremely uncomfortable because I just don't like a bunch of attention), I hated that the sample sizes were so so so far from actually fitting me so how the hell am I supposed to know how the dress will look on me?

    Besides all the regular suckiness, though, I was in grad school at the time, and also working full-time, so I hardly had free time, and there are no bridal salons in my city so I was driving an hour and a half to where my mom lives or 2 and a half hours to Chicago where my sister lives, and it was almost impossible to find the time to do this because none of the places were opened on Sundays and that was the ONE free day I had, so that added a ton of extra stress to it, and there's so much urgency in the matter like "order NOW cuz it takes 8 months for the dress to come in! Hurry, hurry!" Ugh! 

    Then there was my sister. No idea why I involved her. Back then I was still having delusions of her being there for me and us getting along. The original dress I fell in love with was "the one," and made everyone cry, so I went to buy it and then my sister barged into my dressing room to tell me that the dress was "cheap and tacky." She got into my head and totally changed my perception of that dress, so I didn't buy it, which I still regret. 

    She then made an appointment for me at a place in Chicago that I spent a total of 5 hours driving for, and the least expensive dresses there were about $2,000 over my budget. She knew this. She did it anyway. So I tried a few on since I'd made the trip anyway, and one of them I had a horrible allergic reaction to and broke out in dark red blotches, and THAT'S the one that she tried to convince me to buy. 

    I was so disappointed to have not found anything that she offered to find more bridal salons in Chicago so I would have to make ANOTHER trip up there. I declined when she said SHE wanted to be the one to try on wedding dresses while I sat there and watched. Biggest fucking narcissist ever (she did the same thing back when I was shopping for a prom dress). 

    So. I ended up buying a dress with just my mom at a place near where she lives. I wasn't very excited about it. I didn't really care. More than anything I was just relieved that the dress shopping process was finally over. 

    Sorry that this turned into such a long post, but don't feel bad and don't feel alone that you don't enjoy dress shopping. For some of us, it's frustrating, and it kind of sucks, and it's not like the way they make it look on tv, and we shouldn't have to feel bad about that. 
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  • edited February 2015
    I was worried that I would hate every minute of it because I don't like to shop in general and my budget was 700 - 800. I brought two people, God mother and her daughter. They would 100% tell me the truth and GM's daughter has a great eye and was there to help me in the event I needed to visualize adjusting a bridesmaid dress into a wedding dress.

    I found my dress on the first trip; I think it was the 8th one I tried on, and I enjoyed myself. Went to a small botique, was the only person there, and my consultant chose very well 10 options for me.

    I didn't have your experience but I recognize how easily I could have. So many people get excited about dress shopping but for me it was probably the thing I was looking forward to least.

    Good luck- I'm rooting for you.
  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    novella1186 Everytime you talk about your sister I just want to clock her in the nose so hard I break it.

    And I probably would if she were my sister.
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  • amelishaamelisha Canadian Texas member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer Name Dropper
    Can you wait until the David's $99 sale? You'll have a bigger variety to chose from in your budget at that time - I got mine there and I think it was around $700 regular price.

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  • I had similar experiences but  I will offer this advice to 

    LURKERS: If you have a bad 1st experience don't just give up. I felt so gross/uncomfortable/ miserable that I was about to go $300 over my budget just so I would never have to go through the process again. My Mom convinced me to walk away. The intimate/ boutique/no prices listed just wasn't working for this Maxxonista.

    I tried DB, found a dress significantly under budget and had fun. Yes it's like more like shopping at Macy's, and there definitely are some cheesy aspects (ringing a bell and making a wish when when you choose the dress) but it was a much better fit for me.


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  • Your first mistake was going to DB. My first dress experience was there and it was HORRENDOUS. 

    Bring someone with you to your next appointment --- and make that appointment at a store with good reviews. I tried on dresses at a boutique that were out of my price range, just to get a good idea of what I was looking for (most people discourage that & they're right, but I have control & was able to do it without going gaga for a dress I couldn't afford). 
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  • larrygaga said:
    novella1186 Everytime you talk about your sister I just want to clock her in the nose so hard I break it.

    And I probably would if she were my sister.
    lol thank you. That just made me laugh. And it's nice to know the knotties have my back! :) 
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  • KatieinBklnKatieinBkln (NO SLEEP TIL) Brooklyn! member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer First Anniversary
    Don't feel bad! Dress shopping is totally personal, and the idea that every bride should have the same happy-happy, tears of joy experience is total bullshit.

    I echo others who suggested trying the DB sale, and also trying regular stores and checking the prom departments (some prom dresses are tacky and ridiculous, of course, but c'est la vie). 

    As far as being limited size-wise and budget-wise, I think you can probably have a lot of luck ordering online (direct from the retailer's site, none of these knockoff sites, please!). Since you've tried things on at DB, you can check their website, which has a TON of online-only options and clearance stuff, as well as a wider variety of sizes, and order a few things in the size that worked. Who knows, you might be WAY happier trying things on in the comfort of your own home. Just be sure to check the return policies before you order--often times the final sale/clearance stuff will be un-returnable.

    Good luck, you can do this! 
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  • MadHops21MadHops21 Buried in blankets member
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments First Answer
    I finally got my dress and trying it on tonight (EEEEEEK)  but searching for it was a bit of a hassle. I would try on dresses I had fallen in love with in magazines and websites, but it didn't look right on my body type.

    Personally, my SIL was the best to go with. She was excited and we would run around the store together, pulling things that would look good and odd dresses we just wanted to see on. My mom was quiet and really wanted me to choose what I wanted, but I wanted honesty and my SIL gave it to me. 

    She won't be going tonight (nephew is getting ready for stem cell transplant for his AML) but my parents get to see the dress and I'm really excited now. 

    After getting the dress, it's just better and more exciting (for me at least). 
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  • hellosweetie1015hellosweetie1015 Where the skies are so blue member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    edited February 2015
    Awww, guys. Sorry to have posted and run, but I pretty much gave up on all wedding shit for the night after I posted, and watched a documentary about Lipizzaner horses and the Spanish Riding School in Vienna with my mom instead. :/

    I feel a lot better now, though. I certainly wasn't expecting a SYTTD reaction (especially since I've avoided that show pretty successfully for exactly that reason), but I was hoping to at least see something I wanted to show off and bring my peeps back to see. And I probably should have gone with trying on some of the ones that offered larger sizes, or dresses out of my budget, since I know I won't go over it for this - there's too many things more important to me.

    I hadn't really thought about going to a prom shop, but I may look into that. A cousin of mine owns a really nice dress shop, and I think we're going up there later on this month to look for my sister's last prom dress; I might see if I can try some of her options on then. She's next door to a boutique-style bridal shop, as well - so maybe I can kill two birds with one stone that day. We'll see, anyway.

    And @novella1186 I'm with LarryGaga, except I wouldn't worry about whether or not she was my sister or not. I'd just have punched her. Seriously. She makes me so so so angry.

    ETA Also - @madhops21 - thoughts and prayers to your nephew!!!
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  • I was worried about my dress shopping trip. I had a pretty small budget ($300) and the first shop we went to had only about 5 dresses under $1000. I had my  mom and sister with me and was very glad for them to be there. I was really just stressing myself out because I don't usually like dresses and I knew that most of the dresses in the stores would be way over budget. At the second store, I tried to relax and they ended up having a wider variety of budget-friendly options. I ended up finding my dress there. It was one that neither my sister nor I thought I should even bother trying on because I didn't like it on the hanger, but it ended up looking amazing! 

    One idea to find a larger variety of dresses within your budget (someone may have already mentioned it and I missed  it): my dress is actually a bridesmaid's dress. The store liked it as a wedding dress, so had it stocked in ivory. It's perfect for me and I can't wait to wear it.
  • I hated dress shopping. I hated all the pressure to pick something perfect, I hated the consultants pushing stuff at me that I specifically said I didn't like, I hated having all that attention on me (because any time I walked out in a dress, any strangers in the salon also stopped and stared which I find extremely uncomfortable because I just don't like a bunch of attention), I hated that the sample sizes were so so so far from actually fitting me so how the hell am I supposed to know how the dress will look on me?

    Besides all the regular suckiness, though, I was in grad school at the time, and also working full-time, so I hardly had free time, and there are no bridal salons in my city so I was driving an hour and a half to where my mom lives or 2 and a half hours to Chicago where my sister lives, and it was almost impossible to find the time to do this because none of the places were opened on Sundays and that was the ONE free day I had, so that added a ton of extra stress to it, and there's so much urgency in the matter like "order NOW cuz it takes 8 months for the dress to come in! Hurry, hurry!" Ugh! 

    Then there was my sister. No idea why I involved her. Back then I was still having delusions of her being there for me and us getting along. The original dress I fell in love with was "the one," and made everyone cry, so I went to buy it and then my sister barged into my dressing room to tell me that the dress was "cheap and tacky." She got into my head and totally changed my perception of that dress, so I didn't buy it, which I still regret. 

    She then made an appointment for me at a place in Chicago that I spent a total of 5 hours driving for, and the least expensive dresses there were about $2,000 over my budget. She knew this. She did it anyway. So I tried a few on since I'd made the trip anyway, and one of them I had a horrible allergic reaction to and broke out in dark red blotches, and THAT'S the one that she tried to convince me to buy. 

    I was so disappointed to have not found anything that she offered to find more bridal salons in Chicago so I would have to make ANOTHER trip up there. I declined when she said SHE wanted to be the one to try on wedding dresses while I sat there and watched. Biggest fucking narcissist ever (she did the same thing back when I was shopping for a prom dress). 

    So. I ended up buying a dress with just my mom at a place near where she lives. I wasn't very excited about it. I didn't really care. More than anything I was just relieved that the dress shopping process was finally over. 

    Sorry that this turned into such a long post, but don't feel bad and don't feel alone that you don't enjoy dress shopping. For some of us, it's frustrating, and it kind of sucks, and it's not like the way they make it look on tv, and we shouldn't have to feel bad about that. 

    My BFF did something similar :(

    So I went with my mom first, 3 stores. Tried on a ton of dresses. She's normally really hard to shop with, so I didn't think it would go well, but shockingly we got along great. Agreed on most everything. Had it narrowed down to four dresses at two shops. One was my clear favorite.

    Then I took FMIL and two bridesmaids to look at the final four, plus FaceTimed my MOH. They loved the dress that was my second favorite, which was at the very tip top of my budget. I would have had to skimp elsewhere in the wedding budget to pay for any alterations. But they all went NUTS over it.

    Then I tried on the one I was in love with. Just nothing. No reaction. Everyone said it was "just ok" and that they liked the other one so much better. Then my MOH told me that "it just looked like a white prom dress" and "you won't look like a bride" and "you can't just buy a dress because it's cheap." Yes, it was cheaper than the one she liked, but that had nothing to do with why I liked it better. I let her get into my head, and ended up not buying it.

    I eventually went by myself and Facetimed my mom. It was way better that way. I found a dress I LOVE, but I still have doubts about whether I like it better than the original one I fell for. But at the end of the day, there are a zillion pretty white dresses out there. I think SYTTD creates such an unrealistic standard of "the one" dress. Maybe you won't cry when you try on your dress. But you CAN find something that you feel fabulous in and are happy wearing.

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  • sophhabobophasophhabobopha The Midwestern tundra member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    I prefer clothes shopping by myself. My dress will come from ModCloth. :)
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