(Closed) Bees, how did you choose your dress?

posted 4 years ago in Dress
Post # 16
3899 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2016 - Manhattan, NY

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garnobella:  Not every bride gets all teary-eyed when they find the right dress – I’m not a cryer. But there certainly was a lot more pep in my step when I found the right one. I couldn’t help but smile and laugh as I pranced around in it because it was so perfect. Granted, this was the third time around, after an awful first dress shopping experience with my family, then a good experience with just my best friend there. The third time was the charm, and I didn’t have any opinions clouding my judgment and putting down dresses that I actually really liked. 

Maybe you can think about your venue and decor and what kind of look you’re going for so you can narrow in on a style. Do you want to be a princess in a ballgown? Show off your shape in something more fitted like a mermaid? And maybe think about materials and colors. I knew I wanted white (no blush, champagne, etc.) and no satin. That can help you rule things out. Best of luck! Just because you haven’t dreamt about your dress or wedding from a young age doesn’t mean there isn’t a perfect dress out there for you. I hope you find one that takes your breath away 🙂 

Post # 17
99 posts
Worker bee

My decision was made based on comfort level. I’ve always had a big hang-up about my flabby upper arms, which I feel are out of proportion to the rest of me. I knew that if I wore a strapless gown, I would feel unconfident about it the whole night. So I chose a dress with sleeves, and when I look at the photos, I am so glad that I made that choice.

I didn’t feel like it was the right dress when I chose it; it was just better/more expensive looking than the other options. I brought in my mom to confirm, and I don’t think I’ll forget her reaction. It was that stereotypical mother/daughter moment and it blew me away, because she’s the type who’s wants to see all the different options and make a lot of assessments, but when I wore the dress, her face lit up and she got right on the phone with my dad to tell him how perfect I looked. So that pretty much sealed the deal.

Post # 18
671 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I did not have a teary emotional moment. I made my choice after sleeping on it and reviewing pictures. I think it’s ok to not have that moment. I tried on a lot of beautiful dresses that looked nice in me and felt overwhelmed. I narrowed it down to 4 or 5 I liked the most and made my choice based on:

1) where the dress was made. one of my top choices was made in Australia and I am in the US so the idea of my dress having to be shipped across the ocean just made me nervous since I was in a time crunch (bought in May for a sept wedding). So that eliminated that dress. I ended up choosing a dress made locally to where I am. 

2) what my Fiance would like. It may sound silly but I tried in some stunning dresses that I really liked, but some were kind of high fashion for him. I didn’t want him to be distracted by any thing he wouldn’t “get” like large appliqués. there was this one dress I tried on with a large bold lace pattern but I could totally imagine him thinking “is that a table cloth?” And so I cut that one from the list! the part of me he likes the best physically is my butt/ thighs so I chose a trumpet cut in the end because I knew it would emphasize that area. 


Post # 19
470 posts
Helper bee

I do get what you mean about the custom dress. My mom and I are super close. I bought mine at David’s and she’s looking at stuff at Sax. It bothers me a bit, because she played a big role in where I bought my dress. I did pay for my own dress though.

My journey? We went to Davids super early in my engagement. We were just out shopping, and my mom dragged me into the store. I originally had a budget of like $400 because I hate spending money. I also have expensive taste. We left, and I had some ideas, knowing I liked mermaids, and I needed to loosen the purse strings.

We made another appointment at this great second hand store. I raised my budget to 1k including alterations. The dresses were in great condition, but I was trying really hard to say yes to one. I realized they had nothing I liked, and that if I did buy one, I’d just be buying because of the great price. I had the plan to make an appointment in a few weeks when more stock came in.

My mom took me to David’s (again). Background: she’s got cancer, and I think she was so adamant about me getting the dress early because she’s worried. Every time we complete a wedding task she says “good, I don’t have to worry about that”. She booked my shower 13 months in advance. I get it, and she needs to do whatever she needs for herself. I like getting stuff done early too. SHe liked Davids because they let us cruise the racks, we didn’t need an appt, and I could try on so many styles in my price range.

So at David’s, she mentions my stepfather didn’t like the photos from stuff I tried on, saying it was “hoochie” (a mermaid). So now she hates them too. I tried on a ball gown, the popular Vera Wang with the split front, and loved it. Came back with my bestie, who loved it too (she hates mermaids). Bought it. Regret sets in at about November, and I bought it in August. It’s going to be 300 dollars to alter it. The bustle is going to take 45 minutes to put on. My fiance is going to think it’s too big Etc. Etc. I tried to defeat it.

Two months ago I saw on David’s that a dress I had loved, but never tried on, was on sale for the price I paid before. Go in with my mom, she hates it. I hate it too — it looks boring. I realized I love mermaids, but they need a super dramatic and voluminous bottom. I try on this new lace gown they have. It’s super pretty, but I feel bored, and it’s 1200 dollars. And they’re saying 300 to alter. My mom is throwing money at me, saying she’d pay the difference. My thought? If I were spending 1500 on a dress, we wouldn’t be in this store. Keep going, and I ask the sales girl for this other gown I had liked before, but again, didn’t try on for the price. It was on sale, same price as what I paid before. They let me switch it out! (ETA: It’s now on sale for $400, half of what I paid, but oh well).

So I went from this:


to this:


What I learned — I thought I loved ethereal, beaded, BHLDN style gowns, and when I put them on, I hate every one. A lines remind me of my prom dress. If I don’t have a tight fitting bottom, I feel frumpy. I like structure. I’d rather the shape and texture speak, than embellishments. The ball gown was like this, but it was too big. And if you look in my closet, I realized, this makes sense — I have no a line dresses, no tops with beading, all my jeans are straight or skinny, and I have a lot of structured blazers.

 My dream dress is a 5k lazaro another girl posted a few weeks ago. It’s not going to happen. The constraints on my dress selection are a result of my own choices (career choice and frugality) and stuff beyong my control (cancer sucks). It bothers me that I am “ok” with an 800 dollar purchase, but that’s the wedding industry, I guess, and if my mom was feeling better, I would have been dragging her to trunk shows every week.

If I were you, I’d look through your closet and see what type of clothes you’re buying, and try to translate that into a gown! That’s the advice I have. Sorry for the novel.

Post # 20
98 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

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garnobella:  My issue wasn’t that I didn’t love anything, it was that I loved EVERYTHING.  Wedding dresses are meant to make you look amazing, and I didn’t have a picture in my head of anything specific so it was difficult.  After a lot of shopping, I noticed a pattern.  I would think “I like this and this and this…. BUT”  I bought the first dress I put on that didn’t have a BUT.  I’ve wondered if maybe I picked too early or too quickly, but you know at the end of the day there are SO MANY dresses and you would look amazing in so many of them.  Just pick something that makes you feel good.  And I’m always a voter on comfort too.  My thighs wont be glued together for my late August wedding yay!

Post # 21
930 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

I never dreamed about my wedding so I had no vision for my dress. I went to a few different shops, tried on a lot of dresses, and  kept an open mind. I knew I wouldn’t have “the moment” or “the feeling.” At the last shop, I put on the dress I ultimately chose and thought to myself “holy crap!! This dress is amazing!!!” It came down to two dresses that I kept getting in and out of. At the end of it, I just couldn’t get my dress out of my head and I could see it fit so well with our venue. 

Post # 23
113 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

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garnobella:  Aw, I don’t think custom made is necessarily a good thing! It’s risky and there are many failures. you can’t guarantee on quality either. My friend paid $600 deposit (50% deposit) for her custom made dress and when she went in for the first fitting, she hated it and just decided to give up on it! I also had a terrible experience with custom made dress for my prom (a cheap version of course).

not sure what kind of dress you are getting but I’m opting for a branded off the rack. I feel like they would have more quality control and have a better grasp of the fit because it’s mass produced. So they would make sure the cutting and fit is good.

But if you’re not satisfied, maybe you can look online too? or used? You can get a nicer brand one used and you just have to get it altered if it doesn’t fit perfectly.


Post # 26
1702 posts
Bumble bee

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I understand now what you mean about your mom…my mom and I have issues (different issues), but I totally get what you mean about how certain things just sting and rub you the wrong way! 

I am glad you found a dress you are happy with…congratulations!!

Post # 27
470 posts
Helper bee

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garnobella:  I think you need to go buy the dress, by yourself. To take control over the situation and your feelings, take possession of your wedding day look. Don’t share with your mom anything about your shoes, jewelry, etc. That way you eliminate any possibility for her to compete with you (or any feeling you have that she might be), and you can take ownership of how you look. Know that you picked your dress because the circumstances were best for you.

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