Oh my goodness, I went through this EXACT same situation. Honestly, if I didn’t know better, I would have thought that this was my post ver batem. I too changed my mind on what I wanted to wear after my non-refundable dress had been ordered and had arrived, so I started secretly looking for new gowns with my best friends without telling my mom, just to see how I felt in other gowns. As soon as I started trying on new options, I realized even more that I rushed into a dress too quickly and was greatly influenced by the affordability. I KNEW I wanted a new dress, and that I would be upset walking down the aisle in the previous dress. I knew I would make it work if I had to stick to that dress, but it just didn’t make me feel special. I thought, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I don’t want to feel like I cheated myself of feeling spectacular on my wedding day! Even so, I felt an immense amount of guilt and frivolity, and was terrified and frankly embarassed to tell my mom because she had graciously purchased the dress for me as a gift, and I did not want to hurt her feelings, or ruin the experience we had had shopping the first time. I felt bad for all the time that was previously invested, time she had taken out of her work days, etc.
Ultimately, though, I followed my gut, which was to continue searching for a new gown, and although it was hard to tell my mom, I knew it was the right thing to do. Trust me, it wasn’t easy, and she was confused and hurt for a while, but she also understood that the first dress wouldn’t make me happy. She wanted me to be happy no matter what, and slowly came to terms with the change. She even accompanied me on my second gown search, because I told her how much it meant to me for her to be there when I found my dress. I told her that I couldn’t make the decision without her. I of course was willing to take full financial responsibility for the new gown and any accessories/alterations needed.
It took a LOT of dresses and a lengthy search, but I finally found the dress of my dreams!! And when I found it, my mom and sister were both there, and I could see it written all over their faces that this was finally “the one”. I couldn’t be happier that I was honest and brave enough with my feelings, and even though it was hard at first, it was definitely the right choice. 🙂
I say, shop on your own/with your friends, and if you start to have a “feeling” about a few gowns and you are 100% serious about changing your dress, tell your mom. Let her in on how you’ve been feeling. Tell her you’d like her to accompany you on your new search because you wouldn’t want to find “the one” without her, that it would mean the world, and you are sorry if this in any way hurts her. Make sure you tell her you are not ungrateful for the beautiful gift she gave you, and that you will always cherish that memory and generosity. Also, come up with a plan of action for the old dress. Look into preownedweddingdresses.com and oncewed.com, and let her know that MANY MANY brides go through this, and that you have a solution. Also, obviously, tell her you are taking the financial burden of the new gown, and will even pay her back for the previous dress purchased if necessary.
In the end, she will understand that this will make you happy, and will support you. And if she doesn’t, then you still need to trust your instincts and go with your heart. Because it’s YOUR wedding and your special day! Just know, you are NOT the first one to go through this, and certainly not the last. Don’t feel guilty!!! It happens all the time to brides! 🙂 Will you post pics of your previous dress?