'ello. Me again! What's that you said? You want me to talk EVEN MORE about wedding dresses? OK!!!
I could talk about wedding dresses all the livelong day so I think I just might. Now that I've shared the oppressively long and detailed story of my own personal dress shopping journey, I wanted to share a few tips & observations I learned while out in the field. Magazines and wedding blogs always tell you the boring obvious stuff like "know what kind of dresses you like" and "make an appointment" and "don't eat spaghetti while trying on wedding dresses" but there's so much more to this magical process and the world needs someone to share the real dirt. I can be that dirt person!
- Be upfront about your budget.
This might be obvious and covered by other people but I felt it bore repeating. For serious, y'all, just tell these people what you can afford and stick to it. One thing I was consistently impressed with at all of the stores I visited was how respectful they were of my financial limits. I was nervous we'd encounter that seminal Say Yes to the Dress moment where I'd set a strict line for the budget and then someone would haul out a $4,000 gown and I'd fall in love and have some kind of emotional crisis but not one of the consultants so much as attempted to pull that move. They kept ME in check, pulling me away from more expensive gowns and showing me comparable options within my price range. I was grateful and surprised by this. Other places might not be the same but that's all the more reason to stick to your guns. Financially speaking. I wouldn't advise bringing actual guns into a bridal salon...
ALSO: if this means that Say Yes to the Dress isn't like real life...what else do you think TLC has been lying about?!!
- Wear nude underwear.
Nothing ruins the illusion of a schmancy white gown like hot pink polka dotted undies shining through on your behind. I realized that the only nude underbusiness I own was of the thong variety and didn't know how appropriate that might be in a semi-public dressing room situation, so the weekend before we went shopping, I spent several hours on Friday night sitting on the floor of Target digging through bins of nude colored underwear trying to find just ONE pair of full-booty coverage bottoms in my size. I managed to find two pair (pairs? I don't know grammar anymore!) that fit, so I snagged 'em and never looked back. Turned out that both were lace and fully sheer, negating the modesty I'd tried so hard to preserve. Shoulda just gone for the thong!
- KEEP IT SILKY SMOOTH
Let's just cut right to the chase: when you're going wedding dress shopping, you might want to make sure your whole downtown area is in check, if you know what I mean. Now, obviously I believe in a woman's right to style or not style her body hair as she sees fit, society be damned, however due to said society, many women (for example me) might feel insecure, for better or for worse (undecided) being seen in her skivvies with an unkempt bikini area. SO if you are one of these ladies, you might want to spend an extra few minutes with your Venus Spa Breeze (not an endorsement, but would love some free razors if you're offering, Venus) before you hit the shops, because your business will be on display for many and I mean MANY eyes.
Which brings me to this...
-There Is No Time for Modesty.
In the course of my shopping weekend, I think my bresticles (and more!) were seen by no less than 9 pairs of eyes, some belonging to strangers, some to friends, none, PRAISE HIM to my future mother-in-law. I'm all for casual nudity but there are some situations where you might just want to keep a little mystery alive, you know?
All of the consultants I worked with were polite and offered to look away but honestly, I figured get over it. Again, as I said, I'm not that concerned in general about a little nip-slippage, who cares, (oh you just KNOW I'm going to be such a self-righteous public breastfeeder some day) and especially in front of these women. It's like being insecure when you go to the gyno. These ladies probably see like 30 pairs of knockers per day, minimum, they are completely immune and genuinely uninterested by your hooters. You can try to play it coy but that'll just drag everything out and make the whole day slightly longer and more complicated so I say just get over yourself and let those boobies fly.
Maybe don't accidentally wear see-through underwear, though, this isn't Showgirls. Sorry, sweet lady at Lovely Bride...that can't have been pleasant.
- CREEP ON EVERYONE AROUND YOU.
Y'all. The VERY BEST part of wedding dress shopping is the other shoppers. It is like physically being inside an episode of Say Yes to the Dress. A DREAM COME TRUE! The very first boutique I went to was tiny and was just me (snooze) but all of the others had open dressing areas. Well, open posing areas, I mean. We changed in private rooms (now THAT would be some casual nudity) but then all of the mirrors were in outside of the dressing rooms, so that the bride's peeps could see her...as could everyone else in the room. It was flipping awesome.
It's important to surround yourself with people who share your interests and hobbies, which is why I choose to hang around people who love spying on and judging other people's business so you can trust my entire crew was deeply, deeply invested in the lives of everyone around us.
There was the gal at Lovely Bride who was trying on exclusively 4K + designer gowns...all of which were hideous...and the other gal beside me who kept trying on really pretty dresses but then pairing them with like, bad accessories or mis-matched veils and Schmoops and I had to physically restrain ourlseves not to just take over her whole fitting and yell "you're doing everything wrong!"
She totally was, though.
At David's on Sunday there was this super cute girl trying on all these short, retro looking gowns and we all kept staring at her and at one point I gave her a thumbs up when I really liked what she was wearing (is is never normal/smooth to give a thumbs up, just FYI), she then started trying on traditional gowns and we all got really nervous and worked up about it because she so clearly was working the short look better...what would she choose?! She chose short and we all cheered (outloud) and clapped for her and she was THE cutest and I love her. Beside her were two Asian girls who may or may not have been friends OR they were both alone and became friends there. Hard to tell. I kind of hope they became friends there and remain life long besties forever. Wouldn't that be a great romantic comedy?! They kept swapping gowns and trying on the same looks. In our super humble, totally correct opinion, all the dresses they were trying were snooze worthy.
RK Bride was the best though, obviously. I mean, that place was out of control. At any given moment like 10 women were trying on wedding gowns and everyone was crowded around staring at them. I was sharing a 3 way mirror with the woman in the changing room next to me and according to my crew, she was having like a legit SYTTD experience. One of the members of her party, who turned out to be her Mother in Law, kept harshing on all of her choices and the consultant literally said "This is about you. This is your day. Not theirs."
Aaaaah! I die.
The next day when we went back to pick up my gown we had pah-lenty of time to kill just standing around like morons while the staff looked for my dress. We became BFF with this group of women shopping for a dress for a wedding the week after mine. We were suuuper invested in her search and she picked the dress we all liked the best!!! But then I found out she was having a beach wedding and I found her gown too formal for a beach wedding and was super upset she didn't ask my opinion first because I thought we were pals?! Girllll why don't you listen to my advice??
Thennn we went to Heartland Brewery near Port Authority to get burgers (unsurprisingly, the very worst burger I have ever eaten...here I thought the bus station was known for their haute cuisine) and who was seated at the table next to us but ANOTHER future bride we had been all up on that day! She and her mom were sharing a piece of cake (cuuuute!) and we basically accosted them, yelling "OH MY GOD HI!! You looked so beautiful! Did you pick a gown?!"
Annnnd they just stared at us in shock/horror and we had to introduce ourselves as fellow RK shoppers who had been staring at them the whole time she was trying on gowns and that's not weird at all. So lesson within the lesson: keep your stalking under wraps, you creep.
It was seriously so much fun. I half-jokingly but actually mostly seriously would consider just going and hanging around one of these salons some day just so I can spy on people buying dresses. Seriously I will do it. Would you like to come with me?!!
Ok, enough is enough, I will stop talking about wedding dresses now! I swear. Hopefully these essential, life-saving tips might come in handy for someone, somewhere, someday. Probably not but I just really like giving unsolicited life advice, so there ya go.