Wedding 101: The Dream Dress

Okay. I literally can’t start today’s blog post without addressing the number one thing that has been on my mind today. STEVE AND JEAN-RALPHIO HAVE FINALLY MET AND ALL IS PERFECT IN MY WORLD. Seriously. If you love Stranger Things and Parks and Rec as much as I do, you’ve got to be freaking out too! You have no idea how badly I want this fan theory to be true. If you haven’t seen the news, you can read about it (and catch up with their hair) here!

And now… wedding time!

The first thing that pops into most brides minds the second after they get engaged is “Oh my God. I have to find my dress.” Because everyone knows, no matter how much time you put into small details, the one detail people will remember most is your dress. Right? Wrong. And this false pretense is what makes the average bride freak out. The pressure to find a dress that fits you like a glove, makes people cry because you look so beautiful, and looks exactly like what you’ve been picturing for your entire life is seriously daunting. So here I am today, to give you some simple Dos and Don’ts to help you come out on top of the “dream dress” pile.

HOLD UP. REWIND. Let’s start right there… 

DON’T go to your bridal appointment with a dream dress in your mind that you’ve never actually seen on paper. You’re not going to get very far if you have a vision of a dress in your head that doesn’t exist. (Unless you’re getting it specifically designed for you. And if that’s the case, girl you shouldn’t even be reading this!) You will end up completely disappointed and lose all faith in finding your dress. That being said…

DO go in with an open mind. While you should have styles you like, and examples of dresses to show your bridal consultant, it’s important not to shut the door on something just because it’s not a lace mermaid gown with a sweetheart neckline and exactly three rhinestone buttons. Give something you may not have thought of before a chance! And while you’re getting in the right frame of mind for your appointment…

DON’T forget to shave your legs, put on some make up and brush your hair. This may sound silly. But you’ll have a hard time picturing yourself on your wedding day if you aren’t looking your best. Trust me, as a girl that’s showed up to model fittings in a sports bra and ponytails, even the most exquisite Monique Lhuillier dress won’t make you feel beautiful if you’re not feeling beautiful the second you walk in the door. And before you head to the bridal shop…

DO make sure you have the people that you love most with you. But be selective. The very best advice I can give you is to take the smallest group of people possible. Everyone will have opinions. And you don’t want those opinions to influence you negatively. You don’t want to be like the girls on Say Yes To The Dress that are crying because they love a dress and 2 of the 35 people they brought say they hate it. Choosing your dress isn’t about pleasing everyone else. It’s about pleasing yourself!

When you get to the dress shop…

DON’T expect the same experience that you’ve seen on TV. Unless you’re shopping at Kleinfeld, Randy won’t be coming out to give you his opinion. Each bridal store is unique. From chain stores like David’s Bridal, to small hometown bridal shops, every place has their own way of going about finding you your perfect dress. So be sure to check out stores and read reviews of bridal consultants. Because every bride needs to know that bridal consultants… 

DO make or break your experience. (HAHA that was a bit of a stretch for a “do” I know. Just roll with me here!) If you have someone helping you find your dress that you don’t connect with, trust, or feel comfortable with, it will not go the way that you hope. Before you even try on the first dress, talk to your consultant. Tell them your vision, about your wedding, and just get comfortable.

And when it’s time to step out in the first dress…

DON’T try on ANY dresses that are not in your budget. You don’t want to fall in love with something that you can’t afford. Because if you do, nothing else will seem good enough. And you don’t want that feeling about your wedding dress. And while you’re at it…

DO focus on how the dress fits you, not the size. Wedding dress sizes are weird. When I model them, I go anywhere from a size zero to a size 8. Don’t refuse to try on a dress because it runs small and you might have to “size up” when you purchase it. It’s silly not to get your dream dress over something like the size you buy it in. Because guess what? Not a single other person (besides your seamstress) is going to know what size your dress is. What matters is that it fits you perfectly and makes you feel your best.

DON’T forgot to MOVE around. You are going to be in that thing all dang day. You want to be sure you can walk, sit, stand and bust a move comfortably.

DO consider the location of your wedding. If you’re getting married on the beach in Mexico, chances are a big, poofy, Pnina isn’t going to be the smartest choice to travel with… no matter how much you love it.

DON’T worry about it not fitting you perfectly in store. Most brides try on a sample size. Sometimes, the dress you love might only be in a size that is way too small or way too big for you. It’s totally normal to step out in a dress that doesn’t zip up, or has clips all up the back just to hold you in.

DO be sure to try on as many dresses as you feel like you need to. I tried on 12! However, I knew the first one I tried on was my dress the second I put it on. BUT I still tried on the others we’d picked just to be sure. However, don’t try on TOO many dresses, because you will just end up confusing yourself. Talk to your bridal consultant, and see what their recommended number to try on is!

DON’T be discouraged if a dress looks better on the hanger than it does on you. I remember falling in love with a dress that looked super similar to my idol, Kate Middleton’s. And when I put it on, I couldn’t believe how bad it was on me. It overwhelmed by short stature, and I looked like Alice when she’s shrinking after eating that cookie. There was nothing I could do but laugh! Not every dress is going to look great on you… and knowing that before you go in will help it to not knock your self confidence.

DO have someone take pictures in every dress you try on. It could photograph completely differently than you expect. And since this will be the dress you are most photographed in EVER you want to be sure you like how it looks in pictures.

And finally…

DON’T be worried if you don’t cry. On TV, the heavens open and a golden light shines down and everyone cries the second they find their dress. This doesn’t happen for everyone. I didn’t cry, and I’m usually an overly emotional person. At first this worried me, but then I thought about it and I just knew that it was the perfect dress. And that was more than enough for me!

I remember trying on wedding dresses like it was yesterday. I went in on Halloween (so weird right?) because the lady I modeled for had just gotten a HUGE shipment of wedding dresses in that she knew would be in my size. Every fall, she has a massive sale, where she sells her brand new, designer dresses (fresh out the box) at super discounted prices. However, you have to get whatever is in your size, you can’t order it and get the same discount. So I went in and she had 12 dresses picked out for me. A few exactly like what I had told her I pictured, but more what she thought would be perfect for me. I seriously lucked out here, having someone who has been dressing me in wedding dresses for the past 13 years finding me my dress. It’s safe to say she knew me better than I knew myself. I ditched every idea I had in my brain the SECOND I saw “my dress”. It was the first I tried on, and I just knew it was it. I tried on all the others too, but all the others weren’t nearly as perfect as the first. I put the first one back on, and she put a veil on me, and I couldn’t stop looking at myself. I felt SO PRETTY and I knew that Trevor would love it. Plus my mom was bawling, and Heather had the biggest smile on her face. I was sold!

It’s my hope that every bride can have an experience like I did. I hate hearing the horror stories of brides leaving the shop in tears, and everyone they brought with them fighting. Finding your dress is supposed to be a wonderful, happy memory. No one deserves for it to go bad! I hope my Dos and Don’ts can help even the littlest bit in finding your dress!

Happy Wednesday! We’re half way through the week!




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