I've always assumed my wedding dress would be my favorite dress of all time. Thus, I (and I'm guessing many BRIDES readers), started my search looooong before I had a ring on my finger — collecting magazines, screenshotting Instagrams, and pinning dozens of Pinterest inspo gowns. I was sure there was no such thing as over-shopping or looking too hard for your wedding dress if you wanted it to be "the one." And I'd have to see them all to know I got the right one, right? Besides, who could possibly tire of ogling and trying on pretty white dresses?
That why I couldn't believe it when I found myself half-naked in a bridal salon dressing room — lifting my arms for what felt like the millionth time as my sister wrestled ivory tulle over my head — confessing,"I don't want to do this anymore."
After three bridal appointments in a span of four hours, I was exhausted and confused. Dresses on the rack had blurred into a single poofy, demonic cloud determined to suffocate me. I no longer had any idea "what styles I liked," or "what I'd tried on before," or — most importantly — how I'd become so miserable when I'd been dreaming of this momentous excursion since childhood.
When I relayed my horror story to NYC bridal designer Jaclyn Jordan, she nodded knowingly with a sad smile. "Oh, honey," she said. "You overshopped the dress."
She's seen it countless times; in fact, Jordan says many of her fellow Bridal Fashion Week cohorts complain that "wedding dress fatigue" has become all too common a problem in the industry. With so many FOMO-inducing platforms (Pinterest, Instagram, iPhone dropboxes) out there, brides are convinced "perfect" does exist when it comes to their wedding dress. They tucker themselves out refusing to commit, or second-guessing their initial commitment, until they hate everything about the experience, and sometimes even —gulp!– their dress itself.
No more, ladies! With Jordan's following five tips, you can learn from my mistake and say yes to the dress with all the enthusiastic bell-ringing excitement your gown —and 15-year-old daydreaming you — truly deserve!
1. Research (Beyond Pinterest)
Getting a feel for what's out there in terms of styles, fabrics, and fits before heading to a bridal appointment is crucial, and Pinterest is a fabulous starting point — but beware the Pinterest Trap. "Finding this one picture of this one dress that you absolutely must have is not going to help you," warns Jordan. Why? "Because more than likely that dress is old or it's thousands of dollars over your budget or it was a custom-made one-off," she says. "In most cases, it no longer exists for you to buy today. Gathering general ideas on Pinterest is great, but committing to something? Please don't do that."
Instead, look into what the stores in your area offer regarding designers and price points. "Make appointments at stores that make sense for you," Jordan says. (Seriously — do not waste precious energy hoisting arms over your head for nothing!) "Most store websites will say, 'Our gowns start at $1500 or whatever,'" says Jordan. "If your budget is a $1000, it's probably not smart to go there unless you're willing to buy a sample off the rack."
2. Be Ready to Buy — Tuh-day!
Sorry for the sass, but you gotta be set to drop change at a moment's notice, because "you never know when a dress is going to be 'the one,'" says Jordan. "If mom's going to pay with a check, bring the checkbook. If you want to use a certain credit card for the sky miles, have it with you. Be prepared for the right dress to fall into your lap at any time."
3. Don't Overshop; You'll Start to Overthink
While there isn't a magic number for how many places you should visit, Jordan says you'll likely see a wide variety in as few as three locations. "There's no need to go to every store you can," she says. "If you're going to ten, you're going to start seeing the same things over and over again." Then, you get stalled because overexposure and the drains (emotional and physical) of shopping start to muddy your judgement of what you like and dislike, she explains.
When it comes to scheduling your appointments, do a little soul searching. "If you're the type of person who gets tired after an hour of shopping, spread them out over the course of a week or a weekend or two," Jordan advises. "If you're a power-through type of lady, maybe you can do three appointments in one day. Just know yourself, ya know?"
4. Listen to Yourself, Not the Crowd
If you've seen Say Yes to the Dress, we don't need to explain why too many bridesmaids in one fitting room is a recipe for disaster. "You might have eleven girls in your bridal party, but all eleven of them do not need to be there," says Jordan. "Have two or three people who you love and care about, and will support you." But Jordan also says you shouldn't let the opinions of others — even those well-meaning relatives or besties — obscure what you want in a dress. Don't be afraid to disagree.
5. Once You Purchase the Thing, Unplug!
It's counter-intuitive, but you'd be surprised how many brides "find" their dress, yet don't stop looking. "You've got to be purposeful about unplugging," says Jordan, who discourages brides from keeping photos of their selected gown on their phones to avoid growing bored with it. (Hide pics a few folders deep on your computer — not your desktop — so you have them for years to come, but don't look at them regularly.) "Unplugging also means not searching dresses on Pinterest and unfollowing certain Instagram accounts, " Jordan instructs. "All you'll see are these dresses that make you second-guess what you've already found. You've gotta be like, 'Bye! They never existed.' You have found your one."
If you're still struggling to let go, Jordan says, "Think about it the same way you did for your other finding of 'the one:' Whenever you found your fiancé — the person you're going to spend the rest of your life with — you didn't keep looking. Once you'd made the decision, you committed to it. This is the same thing. Don't be worried if it's the first store or even the first dress you try. It's okay if it's easy. You don't have to make it hard."