A wedding gown is truly a unique article of clothing.
Although I am 1000% in support of non-traditional wedding looks – I’m a big fan of jumpsuits in particular – I knew I wanted to go with a classic white gown.
For a while, I envisioned more of a bohemian look – something with lace sleeves, simple.
Then for a while I thought about tulle. A big tulle skirt.
I flip flopped on this all over Pinterest.
The one thing that remained consistent was that I really wanted a gown that was certified as ethically made. The brands of ethically made gowns that were able to certify that statement, unfortunately, were well out of my dress budget. If you’re able to afford it, you should check out Celia Grace.
In an unfortunate compromise, when I realized I couldn’t afford one of these gowns, I was determined to support a small business – ideally a woman-owned small business.
A sweet friend of mine suggested that I check out Your Dream Bridal. This shop really is precious. It’s beautifully decorated, intimate, and has a great selection of dresses. What’s better is that it’s a small, woman-owned business. The shop also operates in a really unique and incredible way – you’re the only bride in the store.
It’s appointment only, and you have the whole shop to yourself.
I can’t tell you how amazing that was for me.
The first time I tried on gowns, I was low-key kidnapped by my mom and my sister and brought to a local bridal shop. They were getting impatient and wanted me to start feeling like a bride.
The shop – where I’d previously purchased prom gowns – is a small business, but it was packed. There were three other brides there. The store was so packed with dresses that I could barely pull them off the rack.
At Dream, nothing felt shoved in. The dresses were treated as the beautiful pieces of work that they were and given the space they needed.
Malinda, the owner, sat with me for a few minutes at the start of our appointment, and then pulled some dresses based on what I described as my vision for the wedding.
And I found it.
I really believe in gut feelings – and I felt it in my gut when I found my dress. Malinda added a sash to my dress, and that was it – I was sold. My mom had tears and so did I.
Each dress is custom ordered, and you get to go back and try it on all over again.
Malinda was so patient and accommodating. She offered recommendations for bridesmaid dresses as well as for alterations (the only downfall of Dream is that no alterations are done on site).
If you’re thinking about your first wedding gown shopping experience, I really encourage you to try out Dream. The intimate and private setting made the experience really special. Without the chaos of other brides nearby, I was able to really envision my day and find what fit me and my wedding best.
Before you head out to try on your gown, I encourage you to plan ahead a bit. Here are my tips to make wedding dress shopping the best experience it can be:
- Be open – whoever you bring with you will likely have ideas as to what you should wear, and that’s okay. I’ve heard it time and again – and it was true for me: what you think you want won’t be what you end up with. Nothing in the world is quite like your wedding gown, and what feels right for a black-tie gala might not be the same for your wedding.
- Feel your best – now, the glow on your wedding day is certainly not something you can replicate, but if you try on gowns without makeup or just after the gym, you’ll notice it. To feel your best in your dress might mean a few days of clean eating, eye lash extensions, or fancy earrings. Prepare for what you know makes you feel more confident – and remember, all brides are beautiful.
- Get your supplies – if you have jewelry that’s been in your family for years that you’re planning to wear, bring it to your try-on. You’ll need to see how the whole look goes. If you know you’re going to wear heels, try to find similar height shoes to what you’d be comfortable in and wear those.
- Go nude – for your underwear and bra colors. You’ll likely be climbing in and out of dresses with the consultant, and you want to be comfortable and covered. Some dresses are also sheer, so instead of wearing those red undies, go for conservative nude ones, especially if your mother-in-law is joining the trip.
- Be patient – you might not find your dress on your first time. You might find it on your first one. Even when you decide you think you found it, you don’t have to buy it right then and there (unless it’s a sample size and magically on sale, then please don’t hesitate!).
- Think in context – as soon as I told Malinda that I was intending to take photos on the beach, she guided me away from tulle, cautioning me that it would pick up sand more easily than other materials. If you’re having an August wedding, a heavy, layer gown might not work best – and vice-versa. If you’re planning for a winter weekend, an airy gown might not go best with your cabin-in-the-woods vibe.
- Consider accessories – think about how you’d wear your hair, and if you’ll wear a veil. Try a veil on. Try on a sash. Do you want gloves? Think about what you envision your day to include and try it on!
- Relax and have fun – remember that while your gown is important, what matters most is that you still get to marry your person – so don’t stress too much. Don’t miss a moment because you feel under pressure. If the shopping trip doesn’t feel right, reschedule.
Photo Credit: FreeBird Photography