Wedding Planning with Tammy: Buying the Dress

One of the most important pieces to creating the perfect wedding is getting the perfect dress.  Each bride has her own unique style and personality, and finding the dress that fits you and what you want for your wedding will be one of the highlights of your planning process.

I started thinking about dresses 9 months before my wedding.  At first John and were going to elope, so I was just looking for a simple but elegant beach dress.  I was on Pinterest and saw a picture of a dress that I LOVED: Ivory, lace, high neckline and just gorgeous.  Of course that dress wasn’t suited for the beach, so next thing I know we are planning a full-blown formal wedding!  Anyways, I was a last minute shopper, so I didn’t really start shopping for dresses until 5 months before the big day.

My mom came into town, so we started off by going to the Poinsett Bride to see what they had.  The staff was helpful, I just didn’t fall in love with anything.  A few weeks later my bridesmaids and I took an afternoon and went to Dimitra’s, David’s Bridal and The Bridal Shoppe of Pendleton.  I didn’t have a good experience at the first two, but I LOVED The Bridal Shoppe of Pendleton.  The staff was super sweet, and they let us drink champagne in the fitting room (GASP!)  I am a firm believer that bubbles will always help you make the right decision.  I did fall in love with a dress there, but I wanted to look a little more.  It was a beautiful chiffon A-line, I just thought it wouldn’t be quite formal enough for a seated wine dinner.

I delayed my decision as long as I could, and decided to give The Dress in Mauldin a chance.  Julia and her mom are the greatest team, and so supportive of their brides.  They sell consignment and sample dresses, so if you find a dress that you love, you are guaranteed to be getting a good deal.  The best thing is they are not high pressured sales people, they know that they might not have the perfect dress for you today, but if you come back in two weeks you might find the one!  Since I haven’t gotten married yet I won’t reveal too many details, but I did find a beautiful dress there that I am so excited about!  It was a size 12 (I’m a 4), so it was big, but I was able to get it altered.  I do wish I had the time to order it in my size, it’s strapless so when we took out the corset back I lost the ability to really shape it and get it tight.  Oh well, we’ll see how it goes at the wedding!

Here are my 10 tips for dress shopping:

  1. Try on dresses you don’t think you want, you never know what may surprise you.
  2. Don’t go to more than 3 shops in a day, we were exhausted and I was not having fun by the last one.
  3. Don’t be afraid to go by yourself.  When I finally bought my dress I was alone.  I think the staff thought it was odd, but I loved it.  I didn’t have to worry about anyone else’s opinions, it was my decision and I needed to be confident about it.
  4. Be financially ready to buy a dress.  You may find a great dress as a sample or on consignment.  The shop will not hold it for you, so have the cash in the bank to buy the dress when you see it.
  5. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.  You don’t have to have a long white dress, you can go with a bold color or something short and fun.  Whatever fits you!
  6. Do consider your ceremony venue and environment.  If you are getting ready on the beach you don’t want a ball gown.  If you are having a black-tie dinner, you don’t want something too short and casual.  Think about where your wedding is before you buy your dress.
  7. Take appropriate undergarments with you.  I wore leggings and a strapless bra so I wasn’t uncomfortable changing in front of a sales clerk.  Make sure you have a pair of heels too, it completes the look.
  8. Wear make-up and have your hair done.  I am notorious for clothes shopping on a Saturday morning when I don’t care what I look at.  When wedding dress shopping, you want to be able to get the whole look, so dress the part.  It will give you confidence and comfort.
  9. Consider alterations.  Especially if you are looking at a sample or consignment dress, make sure the alterations aren’t going to raise the price higher than buying the dress new.  If the dress has to be cleaned you can expect to spend another $150-$200.
  10. Don’t look at any more dresses after you buy yours.  The first dress you picked was perfect, don’t do buyer’s remorse and spend time looking at more dresses, you will just regret it!

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