25 Apr

Oop, look who’s stopping by today! It’s our favorite wedding etiquette expert, Ms. East Side Bride. We’re betting that every lady shopping for her white dress has asked herself this same question.

Dear ESB,

I live in Brooklyn, NY. I am 30 years old and getting married in Sept of this year. I work in a fashion-related field and I like to think I have good sense of personal style. However, the past few months I have been in wedding-dress-shopping-hell. I just have NOT enjoyed the process. Mainly because most dresses at bridal shops I find to be really cheesy (strapless, puffy skirts, etc) and they made me feel like I was wearing a costume. Nothing felt right. 

Then, recently I found a dress at Saks in their evening wear dept. that I liked. It is not a wedding dress, but it can easily pass for one. It was the first dress I tried on that felt…good. It wasn’t an amazing “I’m so freaking psyched this is IT” kind of moment, but it was good. Plus, it was affordable. (Under 1K) After trying on so many dresses that were horrible and expensive, I was really happy to feel “good” in something at last. I bought the dress off the rack.

I know this is not a huge problem, and I am not complaining I swear. I am marrying my best friend whom I love immensely, and I would be ecstatic about doing so in a potato sack for what it’s worth. But I am curious what other girls out there have experienced? 

Is there supposed to be some moment where you fall in love with your dress, or have other people just felt “alright” like I do? What was your experience when you picked out your dress, ESB?

*****

I’ve gotten this question several times over the past couple of years. You’re not the only bride feeling ambivalent about her dress, or wondering, “How do I know if it’s THE ONE?”

I tried on — and bought — a grand total of two dresses.

The first one was a sample I plucked off the rack when I was shopping for a bridesmaids dress for my best friend’s wedding. I was secretly engaged, this friend was the only one who knew, and when I put the damn thing on I think I was just so excited to see myself as a BRIDE that I bought it even though it wasn’t me at all.

For a whole year I told myself I was going to wear that stupid dress. I bought two pairs of shoes and a pair of earrings (and maybe even a shrug?) to go with it, desperately trying to make it work. And then three months before the wedding I panicked and went into a teensy little hole-in-the-wall boutique in my neighborhood and tried on this other, crazy amazing dress.

Did I FALL IN LOVE with it? I don’t know. But I know I felt good in it. I felt like me.

If you feel good in your dress, you’re doing A-Okay.

And: I hereby give you permission to buy a second dress if you change your mind.

Photo: James Macari for Vogue ESP

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Comments

  1. I bought 4 dresses. None over $300, but still. If you feel good, call it good. End of story.

  2. I had no desire to really dress shop. and I felt certain I would end up falling for a dress well outside of my price range. So, when I tried on the dress that I felt good in, that looked good, and was under 1K, I bought it. I didn’t regret it.

  3. This makes me feel so much better! I like my dress, but I don’t know about love. I have just over 3 months until the big day and wondering if I should keep looking. I think watching shows like ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ make you feel like you should get all weepy and start crying when you find the dress, but (obviously) it isn’t reality.

  4. I’ve bought 2, both under 200.

    One from one of those overseas places that was awful. Even though I thought it was awful when it came, I took it to a wonderful seamstress to have it altered. She did a fantastic job, but it didn’t change the fact that the dress itself was awful, and it was nothing like the kind of dress a petite curvy girl should ever try to wear. It was like a linebacker Marie Antoinette, and somehow hella slutty but also matronly and unflattering all at once.

    After deciding there’s no such thing as “the dress,” but *that* thing was not for me, I grabbed a cute white dress off the rack at banana republic. I smile when I wear it, it looks good on me, and I’m positive I can wear it over and over again with different accessories. I think it’s a done deal. (However, the FMIL found one on sale somewhere returnable that she wants me to try on the next time I see her, so maybe it’s not a done deal!) Either way, I’m going to wear something that makes me feel great.

  5. I really like this post. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who DOESN’T freak out when a dress isn’t “heaven-sent” and “the-absolute-necessity-I’ll-die-if-I-DON”T-get-this-dress” kind of dress.

  6. I think if you’re happy in it, you’re fine. Do you necessarily have to be happier than you would be naked or in jeans or in your bathrobe (you know, however you feel best in regular life)? No. But as long as you’re happy, I think you’re ok.

  7. I didn’t love my dress. I felt pretty in it; it was okay. And you know what? It didn’t matter. I had a great time and I looked good in my photos. I will have other opportunities to fall in love with other dresses – and I’ll wear those more than once!

  8. I didn’t *love* my dress. I saw a few dresses after I purchased it, and a couple after I got married that I probably would have loved more. But my dress fit everything that I was looking for, made everyone happy, and I felt like myself in it. I didn’t *love* it, but it worked and I was so glad when I could stop looking.

  9. I am really really into fashion and never had any intention of wearing a traditional wedding dress. I’m a bit insecure about my body and also refused to spend over $2K (and ideally not over $1K) on a dress. This was really limiting. I tried on maybe 10 dresses total. The combination of liking a dress + liking it ON ME + refusing to spend that much money resulted in a dress I liked but didn’t love (actually, I loved the dress itself but less so on me – I don’t think it was that flattering).

    Ultimately my husband and I talked about how the wedding dress was just one component of a much larger day. There’d be compromises everywhere and this was just one of them.

    Here’s the reassuring part: not once did I think about any of this on the day of the wedding. I was confident and comfortable.

    I still have a bit of envy seeing dresses online and on Pinterest that I like so much more than my dress, but I also know that they are 5-10x more expensive.

  10. I didn’t *love* mine when I bought it either. My mom and sister loved it, and I really liked it. I got nervous about it several times and almost bought a new dress. But then, on my wedding day- I LOVED it. Really loved it. So sometimes you figure it out later. And sometimes, never, which is OK too.

  11. Perfect advice :)

  12. i have had the same experience. If you are in NYC though, you should check out Saja Bridal. Sounds like they might have the kind of dress you are looking for, and most for 1K and under.

  13. Um, did I write that question? I too am a bride-to-be who lives in NYC and works in fashion. My whole experience has been pretty terrible. Everything I try on is the same. Even at Klienfelds where they claim to have “7000 dress” was not able to find me a non-strapless dress that I liked (they claimed they had a very small selection of non-strapless) so I too went to Saks and found something I really love but it is way out of my price range. Now I don’t know what to do!

  14. Yeah, I bought three dresses, all over 1K, and never felt in love with any of them. If I had had more time, I would have kept going, I was never able to find one that I loved. I think I kept shopping and kept looking because I was told I was supposed to have some magical feeling. I never got that feeling, so I kept feeling like I must not have found thee dress yet. If it’s any consolation, I did end up wearing the cheapest one, I agree with the her, there are so many costumes out there parading as wedding dresses. Most definitely go with the one that makes you feel most you, not necessarily the hottest trend.

  15. Good question! And i like to chime in to make you feel better. I didn’t enjoy dress shopping either. I bought something really afforable that I really liked, knowing that I could always find something better, but if i didn’t it wouldn’t be a big deal. It fit well for my body ( 5’2′) and people were (of course) very complimentary about it.

    Whenever the wedding comes up, my husband and I get giddy and agree how perfect the day was, how awesome it was to be with friends and family and we think about all of our crazy friends and the dancing and yada yada ya.. and really the dress isn’t even a part of the ‘ good memeories.. you know?

    enjoy your dress! cross it off the list.. there’s more planning to be done…

  16. Yep totally Ok not to be in love with the dress.

    Though if you want to give it another shot try Lynn Lugo http://www.lynnlugo.com/stores/#ny . basically you get to pick and choose different skirts and bodices to make a dress you love. her stuff is quite pared down but you can add more poofy element if you want.

  17. Um can we please SEE the dress!

  18. There will always be the feeling of “Maybe there is another one out there…” I also about died shopping for a dress so much that I ordered one off JCrew because I couldn’t go back into a store. I definitely was not sure if this was it it, mainly because my mom started crying when she made me try on my sister’s dress which was definitely not me. In my dress I felt so comfortable, pretty, and knew it was my style. Don’t get hung up on the dress- you wear it once and basically I have prepared myself for something to go wrong in the day’s events; perhaps some wine will be spilled on that oh so perfect dress… if you feel great and confident it will show in your face not your dress.

  19. I don’t know many women that try on anything (wedding dress or otherwise) and immediately realize how magical it makes them feel. It’s like anything else that you wear – some outfits make you feel beautiful, comfortable, more confident, etc, but they never result in earth shattering epiphanies. However, wedding vendors try very hard to make it seem like there is the “one” that will make you a brighter, sparklier, more amazing version of yourself. At the end of the day, if you do find a dress that flatters and makes you feel comfortable & confident, you’re all set. On your wedding day, I promise that your inner emotions will be the thing that makes you the brighter, sparklier, more amazing version of yourself. The dress will just be there to keep you from dashing up the aisle naked.

  20. I went into dress shopping with the attitude that I wasn’t looking for a soulmate, I was looking for a dress…. I picked one that I love and looked really pretty in, that satisfied my mom’s desire to see me look “bridal” and that had the details I was looking for…. And then I panicked because I was being so practical, that i didn’t buy it. Over the next two days I forced myself to go to all these ridiculous wedding stores… When I finally went back and tried on the first dress, I knew it was a done deal…. Being practical about what you want doesn’t mean you won’t love how you look on your wedding day. Do I think there were probably other dresses out there that I would have loved also? Absolutely. Maybe one I would have loved more? I guess, probably… But I think you’re probably doing what I did and overthinking what you “should” be feeling instead of just letting yourself get excited.

  21. I wound up wearing the 4th dress I purchased. Sounds crazy, but- one was vintage that I bought on Etsy, and the sizing was grossly misrepresented. 2nd was the same situation as ESB’s first dress- I felt SO bridey and got sucked into the bridal gown portal. 3rd was I was starting to feel hopeless, and ordered something super simple off Net-A-Porter. 4th was $175 at a flea market and I had the skirt reworked. I felt great and I felt like me in the last dress. I did love it, but never with ANY of the dresses did I feel that OMG spark moment people talk about.

  22. I am the proud owner of two wedding dresses. My friends and family thought I was nuts. The first one I bought was a sample sale, off the rack, fit like a glove, my bridesmaids loved, didn’t break the bank purchase.

    Sounds wonderful right?

    Well, I felt pressured to buy even though I wasn’t certain. (Only one in the store) While it is beautiful, I hadn’t realized how much I liked another dress I had tried on previously. When I went back to the first store to look for bridesmaids dresses, I felt a nagging to retry the original dress. It was amazing the difference I felt when I got in it. Love? I mean, it’s a piece of fabric. But it’s definitely the one (or two depending on how you look at it). It took a lot of mistakes to find the man, I’m not torn up that I made one mistake on the dress. :)

  23. WOW. I totally felt that way. I’m so excited to be getting married to my fiancé, I tried to talk him into eloping, so I don’t think I’m too into the wedding scene. However, after shopping with a friend for her dress, and having her gasp and beam with excitement and tell everyone she’d found THE dress, I began to feel a little disappointed, like I was supposed to feel that way about mine. But you know, I bought my dress because it wasn’t overly expensive, it’s a little unique (NOT strapless), and so very comfortable. I guess that’s totally me. Actually, I’ve never seen or heard of another bride in my dress, whereas I’ve seen dresses like my friend’s everywhere. So I guess I’ll stand out a little.

  24. About a year before my husband and I actually tied the knot (we were engaged for a while), I popped into a shop with two friends because I thought I might pick bridesmaid dresses there. They persuaded me to try on a few of the long, white dresses just for kicks, even though they weren’t actually bridal gowns. The first two weren’t anything special, it was just fun to play dress up. But when I saw my reflection in the third one, I was like, whoa, this fits really well. Was it the dress I had imagined? Not at all. But it was less than $400, and all the sudden I had visions of myself searching frantically for “THE” dress and never finding anything that fit quite like this one. I decided to buy it on the spot, knowing that I could return or sell it if I got sick of it or found something better. As the months went by, however, I found that there was so much else to focus on, I was just incredibly grateful that I already had this major item all squared away. If I’d had tons more time and an unlimited budget, might I have found the “PERFECT” dress? Maybe. But maybe not. Instead I found a lovely dress that got the job done, and saved myself a lot of sanity in the process.

  25. I LOVED my shoes.

    My dress was okay. I looked good, and I could eat and dance, so it worked. I don’t know if I ever would have had the OMG LOVE IT moment with any dress that I could afford. I did love some Ines di Santo dresses that I tried on hoping to buy a sample, and they were amazing, but alas the sample for the dresses I wanted never came up, so no fancy dress for me. I think everyone on Say Yes to the Dress is faking it. No one has that “moment” its just a dress…

  26. In my opinion, there are a LOT of dresses that I love, but the one to buy is the one that compliments your skin tone, your figure, and your personal style. Then not only will you LOOK great, but you’ll FEEL great too.

  27. yep, “THE ONE” moment doesn’t always happen. i was worried because i really liked almost every dress i tried on but wondered if i needed to keep going to find “the one”. finally i just stopped and picked the cheapest one out of the pack! and i had no regrets. :)

  28. I didn’t love my dress either, I had a really hard time finding something I liked, and I sort of caved on one because it looked fine, had pockets, was in my budget and I was running out of time. I never warmed up that much and kept trying it on and feeling regretful, specially after I saw something online that was way better and also in my budget and had a mini crisis (my dress was not returnable, natch!). I couldn’t bring myself to go try it on lest I had regrets. Anyway, it looked fine. I sometimes feel bummed that I didn’t have that KILLER DRESS moment but oh well. Oh, I had also bought a vintage dress previously on Etsy but it looked stupid on me so I sold it!

  29. I feel like the “omg this is the ONE” moment is a myth perpetuated by the bridal dress industry in hopes it can persuade girls to buys dresses outside of their price range. Call me cynical – but it just doesn’t seem possible to have that moment on a budget. If it feels like “you”, and fits your “price-range”, it’s the “one.” It’s kind of like a fiance. There are probably a whole bunch of potential “ones” but you’ve chosen this one, and therefore it’s your “one.”

  30. Maybe I am alone in this–I actually found the nearly-endless dress shopping experience valuable. I spent the first two excursions with bridesmaids and family, and thought it was really valuable to have two trips set aside to get out all the OMG YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED AND YOU LOOK LIKE A BRIDE excitement out of the way before I got anywhere close to pulling out my pocketbook. Everyone who needed to feel involved felt involved, and I got a good sense of what styles actually looked good on me. After that, I could go shopping with one trusted friend and crank through dresses without the pressure.

    In the end, I found two dresses that were very similar and both flattering and “me”, and picked the cheaper one. I wouldn’t say I’m in love with the dress I picked but I like it, and I’m looking forward to wearing it!

    My take for the letter writer is that if you feel good in the dress you bought, run with it. If you feel fine but a little disappointed because you were hoping for something more, keep it and keep shopping (esp. worth trying the two places mentioned in earlier comments). But if you aren’t disappointed in your dress, you are only concerned because you think you are supposed to feel something you don’t feel, then wrap up your dress shopping experience and file it away.

  31. I ended up looking at wedding dresses the way I do about soulmates. For some people it’s love at first sight and they find their SOUL MATE.

    I bought my dress like 9 months before our wedding. I didn’t LOVE it. I liked it, the style seemed very “me.” It was cute, affordable, different. I didn’t have an “OMG I LOVE IT!” gasping and crying moment. I did have a lot of “omg. if I encounter one more bridal salon I will give up on life” moments. So I bought the dress a little unsure. Why wasn’t I having that intense loving feeling so accurately represented on TV? It’s just a dress that I like, so I was worried I would regret it.

    As time winds down, I find myself falling more and more in love with it. I think about it sitting in it’s precious little garment bag all folded up in the box. I imagine wearing it, during random times throughout the day. I secretly want people to ask me about it so I can show them pictures.

    And then one day I realized, I’m in love with it. Maybe it wasn’t that intense, passionate, fiery love that happened instantly. I’m the kind of person that falls in love slowly, after I’ve thought about it a lot, and and analyzed every aspect.

    We don’t marry men the first time we try them on (although some of us do). We have to date them for awhile, get used to them, warm up to the idea. Sometimes, the same thing goes for a wedding dress.

  32. I loved my dress when I tried it on, and time has passed. I bought and returned another dress and have almost bought several others. I think it is totally natural. I never plan my outfits 6+ months out, and I it would be out of character for me to not have doubts, second thoughts, see other things I like, etc.. Luckily my wandering eye is restricted to fashion not fiances :) . After all that shopping, returning, internet browsing, I think my dress it still great for me whether or not it is “the one.”

  33. I do not love me dress. There, I’ve said it. I went dress shopping with people I’m not super close with (future in laws, two friends who have good style but I only have hung out with a few times) and feel that may have partially ruined the experience. The dress I bought was from a store I liked and I had tried on 3-6 dresses all of which I liked (I’d been to other stores where I’d also liked dresses but all of those dresses weren’t quite what I was looking for). Even when I chose my dress the conversation was “we can change the top to look more like this dress and the straps to be thinner, more like this dress.” The store couldn’t really do all those changes I’d wanted but I bought it anyways because I didn’t want to shop more (and the future MIL thought I was buying it). Also I’m sure there isn’t a perfect dress out there, certainly not within my budget (whenever I fall in love with dresses in pictures they cost app. $10k). Worst part, I went over budget and I’m filled with guilt that I spent a lot of money (my budget was $2K, which already is a ton of money for me) and I don’t even love the dress. So yeah, if you like you’re dress and it fits your price range (and your price range itself isn’t exploded), then you’re doing well.

    As for me, I’m hoping that when it returns from alterations (another $400!!!) I like the dress a little bit more.

  34. I found my dream dress while searching google images of Phillip Lim dresses. Unfortunately the dress I fell in love with was from Fall 2007 collection. Luckily for ebay when I searched Phillip Lim fall 2007 white dress the one I fell in love with on google images was there, in my size, new with tags and I snagged it for $350. I figured if I got it and I didn’t like it when I tried it on it wouldn’t cost me that much. Fortunately I tried it on and I loved it and stayed in love with it. I still kind of looked around on the internet occasionally at other dresses but none of the others did it for me.

  35. i just want to hug all you guys who are in the same boat bc i am having the same experience. i’m a graphic designer and i love clothes, but i just haven’t been able to get excited about the wedding dress. i have found one (by rachel zoe on shopbop) and i like it, but i don’t know if i’m DYING for it. but that being said, i also spent more on the paper elements than the dress so i know my priorities are skewed in that direction anyways. great post. i feel so much better knowing i’m not the only one.

  36. I never went dress shopping in person. I was just online shopping (read: procrastinating) one night and found a dress on Nordstrom ~$600. Bought it, liked (but not loved) it when I tried it on but realized it was too big, returned it. Mourned a little. A month later, found it on eBay for <$400, in the right size.

    Fast forward a year, still didn't love it, wished a little that I could start over, but really couldn't be bothered. It looked/felt right on me, and I took it to a seamstress that has made it look "good" to now "hot."

    In summary: You are the bride. You are going to look hot / beautiful no matter what. So stop stressing about the dress and rest assured that the amazingness of your wedding is in no way correlated with the "perfection" of your dress.

  37. I liked, but did not necessarily love, my dress. I dislike high pressure shopping, so I ended up browsing online and finding a dress that really looked like me. I went to the store, tried it on, along with 4 others from the same line, ended up buying the one I originally liked. Less than 45 minutes of my time.

    I sometimes wonder if I should have sucked it up and spent more time looking for something *magical*, but my dress was comfortable, I felt like myself and I was happy wearing it.

    Oh, and I didn’t care about my shoes or jewelry either. I don’t really know what was up with me, but none of the attire stuff seemed to interest me in the lead up to the wedding. And I’m totally fine with that.

  38. Like many other girls here, I liked but did not LOVE my dress. Originally, I ordered a dress from JCrew, and *liked* it enough when it arrived to think it would be my wedding dress. Then, a friend saw a discontinued Theia dress on Rue La La’s bridal shop for $79. I know. After it arrived, I also *liked* it. So, since it was $79…I decided I couldn’t go wrong. I was able to put all the money I saved from the dress towards a photographer that I DID love. I felt beautiful on my wedding day because I could see in my husband’s eyes that he thought I was beautiful (cheesy, but so true!). And now that I’ve seen my wedding pictures, I am so glad I put my money towards what I really wanted…artistic photos that would likely make ANY dress look good.

  39. I also bought 2 dresses, one in a flurry of ‘please let this be over’ secondhand excitement, with bonus op-shop dressing room tales and flooding in country Australia. The second, made for me by a dress maker over the course of 4 long months of trying it on every day. Was I proud that I didn’t wear the other dress? Totally. Do my friends (that know there are two dresses) think I’m crazy? Most of them. But, end of day, I was comfortable, I rocked my dress, and I got MARRIED.

  40. I don’t think you have to LOoooOOOOoVe your dress. I too hated the process of wedding dress shopping. I’m not very fond of trying on clothes so that’s not exactly the best ingredient for wedding shopping! Of course you want to look your most amazing on your wedding day! So there’s THAT expectation looming while you shop around. I kept hearing over and over again about how people “just knew” it was the perfect dress, and soon-to-be-brides crying once they stepped into their future wedding dress. Alas…I guess clothing just doesn’t move me to tears! And that Libra indecisiveness kept me from “just knowing.” I hated all the “princessy” stuff and just wanted something simple yet elegant. I finally found a Nicole Miller dress that fit the bill, and even though I liked it, I still worried that there might be something better out there. There were even parts of the dress that I didn’t like, like these weird material bunchings on the skirt that I thought made it look like it had snagged or was wrinkled. But this was one of the few dresses that didn’t get stamped a resounding “NO” from myself, and it felt like me, not like a pretend dress-up me. Fast forward to getting the dress. Guess what? Those weird bunchy pieces of fabric ended up not looking weird at all, once I had a dress in MY size rather than a huge one I was swimming in held onto me with heavy-duty clips. I felt great for the wedding. And now guess what? I had been planning to do the “trash-the-dress” photos after the wedding, because what else am I going to do with this dress? My photographer friend suggested cutting the hem and maybe dying part of it…and I can’t bring myself to do it! I’m more attached to the dress AFTER the wedding than I was before! So I think what I’m trying to say is that it’s totally fine to only LIKE your dress, and for some people, that’s the best they can feel about it!

  41. I too bought two dresses…. I feel like this is the norm! The first one I bought was on sale and I bought it ONLINE! It was from Jcrew and I really loved it…. but then I went dress shopping with my best friend when she got engaged and made the mistake of trying on a Vera Wang…. ha. The Jcrew dress was returned shortly there after. I am so excited to wear the Vera Wang dress that I ended up with…… but I feel like the “OMG this is THE dress” moment isn’t very true to life…. none of my friends have had a tear jerking, say yes to the dress experience finding a wedding dress. As long as you feel pretty, I think that is all that matters :)

  42. By the looks of all the comments most people HATE the process. I know I did.

    Why is it hyped up to be the best experience ever that girls wait their entire lives for? Boo to wedding dress shopping.

  43. I’m a wedding dress designer and the owner of a bridal shop, and I do my best to destroy the mystique of “the one.” I like to think that brides (women!) are rational, level-headed creatures capable of making grown-up shopping decisions without the assistance of fairy dust or fantasy. I like my brides to be sure. I tell them “Sleep on it. Take your time. Trust your instincts, not your mother {fiancé, friends, sister, television}.” For some brides there is a “moment,” for others it’s a process of elimination. It’s all ok. It’s one dress for one day. You can do this.

  44. i bought two. the first just in the excitement of things….& while it probably would have matched with my laid back venue more than the second dress (the one i wore) did, i felt *right* in my second dress. i looked good, i felt great. feeling good is a GREAT thing, and i think that’s how you know it’s the one.

  45. @ElizabethDye ♥

  46. This sounds exactly like what I am going through. I am getting my dress made now after finally finding a lovely dressmaker. This way I can take my time and design as I go… (I am prone to having changes of heart!) It’s also ending up about half the price of many of the dresses I tried off the rack. Give it a go!

  47. I think there is so much pressure to have everything be perfect and have the happiest memories of your life be your wedding day. We had a very short 5 month engagement and so I had to buy something off the rack. I didn’t love my dress, I would’ve preferred something with more detail and more uniqueness. Since I didn’t have a lot of money I focused on a dress with not a lot of detail but good structure so it looked really good in pictures, and I LOVED the way it bustled. I focused on a part of the dress I loved and considered the whole dress just part of the overall wedding details. The wedding was great, but the marriage has been awesome. I think it’s important to find some details you can really be excited about maybe the invites, a personal logo, the flowers, but it doesn’t have to be the dress.

  48. I had a similar experience. I tried on many dresses and felt like none of them were me. I had some embarrassingly dramatic conversations with my guy that went something like, “maybe I’m just not a wedding dress type of girl.” Then finally, I found a dress I felt good in– it felt like something I would actually wear. And I immediately bought it. And then I thought about accessories that I would actually wear, too. And I couldn’t be happier with it. I did not have an OMG IT’S THE ONE moment. i just had a much quieter, omg I won’t be going down the aisle naked or dressed like a huge white tent.

  49. I know this is off topic, but does anyone know the style of the dress in the photo?

  50. Here’s my opinion from a purely fashion standpoint. You know the feeling you get when you try on a shirt, a skirt, a pair of jeans, and it looks fabulous and you think, “Duh. Of course this is coming home with me?” Well, you should feel like that about the dress. It should suit you, it should flatter your figure, and you should feel great in it.

    The other component is “the moment,” ie, the sensation that this is what you have always dreamed of wearing on your wedding day. Some women have that. I did, and for me it was like the sensation I describe above (“Duh, this is obviously great for me”) but times a thousand. I did cry. I did get a shock in stomach when I saw the way the train looked and I realized it was exactly how I wanted to look on my wedding day. And it was also the prettiest dress I’d ever put on. All of those emotions added up to feeling that this was the exact right dress for me to be buying (plus the fact that it was in my price range, etc).

    I think if you feel good in the dress (especially compared to all the others you’ve tried), that is a very good sign. Keep it, and feel good about it. And, like ESB said, if you still have nagging doubts closer to the wedding, yes, you can find another one. But don’t stress yourself – if you know you’ll feel good in it the day you marry your best friend, that is an excellent step.

  51. As someone who blogs this stuff, I “fall in love with” dresses all the time, on me, on other ppl, on brides, on fashion models…there’s a bajillion dresses to “love” but really only one we can actually buy.

    I think the whole idea of falling in love with a dress is dumb. Basically, it’s a marketer’s device to convince you to spend more than you ordinarily would on an item of clothing that you like. There are a million considerations, that are more practical than emotions in making your choice. It sounds like the letter writer chose the dress that worked for her, not the marketing director of a bridal wear company or a reality show.

  52. I did not love my dress, but I liked it. It was pretty, was flattering, and it served its purpose. I was happy to get married to my husband and that’s all that mattered. Of course, the day of the wedding, Hurricane Irene caused my wedding ceremony to be moved up and it cut off 2 hours from my reception… I’m lucky I was able to be married at all that day, and I can say that when I was watching the weather reports for 24 hours straight, I didn’t care what I was wearing that day.

  53. In the end it’s just clothes.

    I wasn’t a fan of anything too bridal, it all just felt like costumes on me and I wanted to feel like me on the day, not a meringue. I found a vintage inspired dress that I liked that was a beautiful dress (regardless of it being a wedding dress), and I felt like me in it, but me on a really great day.

    I’ve heard people say they got chills. Well, I didn’t get any chills but I felt good and I could imagine it on the day.

  54. This is really good for me to read. I just bought a dress and returned it (thank goodness)! I’m trying to stay around $600. I am going to try to go to sample sales but I want something that’s column/sheath, no bling, kind of destination-y, and I have no boobs so I need help there. Hardly anyone seems to prefer this simpler style!!!

    I never felt so PICKY but I want to feel AWESOME in it the first time I put it on. The fact that I’m still hunting makes me feel really high maintenance, but I only do this once…Still searching….

  55. The only thing that concerns me about this, is the fact that you wrote into ESB. I feel like, if you’re THAT unsure about your dress that maybe it’s not the right one. No, not everyone will have the “this is the one” moment. But if you’re seeking advice from outside sources? Maybe you should keep looking.

    The good thing is the current dress is a great jumping off point. Now you have a sense of what you like, vs. what you don’t like and that should make shopping a lot easier.

    All that being said, if you decide to stick with the dress you’ve got, in the end, you’re still marrying “the one” and that’s far more important than a dress you’ll wear once.

  56. I love that this is the topic of the day because this is EXACTLY the one and only major pain I had in planning our wedding…and it was the one part I thought I’d enjoy the most. At one point I had had four different appointments to go to bridal boutiques but I cancelled each on the day before because 1.) I knew too much of what I didn’t want (I work in the wedding industry so I’m a little jaded) 2.) I didn’t really want to feel like a bride and 3.) I feared the pressure to find something over $1000. So I bought/returned about 15 different dresses (crazy town!) some of which were preowned dresses that I had to resell.

    One week before the wedding I still hadn’t “fallen in love” but had something that would do on had and had one more pre-owned but never worn ensemble (a high wasted tea length skirt and lace top) coming my way. While the last minute pre-owned skit/top fit perfectly and ultimately did the job in probably no other dress could do (i.e. on a lightly snowy morning with a ceremony outside in Colorado) I liked it a lot but wasn’t utterly in love.

    I do have occasional “ohhh, I should have worn that!” moments but ultimately like so many over emphasized components to weddings (i.e. the details) the bigger picture is we had an amazing day, my favorite people surrounded me and my husband, I was completely comfortable and confident in what clothed me, and we are married!

    Oh, and my only other word of advice is if you get a tad smudge on your dress anywhere just roll with it…it will ruin your day otherwise and no one will notice. (seen this happen too many times).

  57. After trying on a few dresses, I decided to save some money and bought a dress from a shop going out of business in other state. I had it shipped to me and when I tried it on at home, it was just alright. After I took it to an experience seamstress who fit it to my body, I felt better about it. On my wedding day, I felt like a million dollars with my makeup, hair and nails done professionally. I say if you go dress shopping, try doing your hair up and putting on the makeup they way you think you will like to wear it. Take a pair of heels or ask to try on a pair from the store with the dress, a veil, jewelry, etc. It helps to see it all together.

  58. Good topic. Personally for me, the dress was never at the top of my list. I didn’t care to spend a lot of money on it. So I set a budget and skimmed a few magazines to get an idea of the “trends”. One store was all it took for me. I went in there with an open mind, tried on several styles, and in the end picked a dress that was not too heavy or constricting, and one that wasn’t too bedazzled out. I just felt comfortable in it and for that reason, it made me happy.

  59. I never had A Moment during dress shopping and felt supremely ambivalent about my dress up until the moment I slipped into it on my wedding day. Then I effing loved it, because it was the dress I got married in. Something about being surrounded by that much love and joy in one day imbued that dress with magic. Could I have picked something else? Sure. Would I choose that dress again now, were I to do it all over? No way. But I absolutely believe that sometimes the dress becomes The Dress only in retrospect, and that is one hundred percent okay.

  60. I bought five dresses. I dreaded the process and I was determined not to visit a bridal salon. I went to LA and met with a designer, had her sketch something and it was sent to production. Once I saw a photo from the seamstress I knew I could not wear it. What I envisioned to be classic looked like an apron. In full panic I ordered three dresses from China and threw them away. The wedding was starting to take shape as an elegant sophisticated affair and I had nothing. I didn’t really care about the dress, I just didn’t want to let everyone down, people were looking for a bride.

    Finally I went to a small dress shop in my town and spotted the dress immediately.

    I wasn’t in love but there were things that I loved, the fabric quality, the simple line, a little bit of beading. What I did love was my hair, jewelry and makeup. I never looked better. You just need to do whatever is necessary to feel pretty.

  61. @Kim It’s a Lanvin babydoll from 06. I should have included that in the photo credit!

  62. I needed this post more then you know. I bought a dress over a year ago at David’s Bridal it was the only dress I tried on and I liked it – it was different and over time I really started to see it as my dress.

    I started the alteration process in March and when I went back a few weeks ago to try it on they had murdered my dress beyond repair. I was upset and the dress had been discontinued. I was determined and found one a size smaller that would hopefully not need any alterations, but there were no guarantees.

    Later that day I found a second dress, not a “wedding dress” but it’s ivory and it felt like me. I was happy to have a back up but as time passed and I had to try on my first choice again it just didn’t feel right anymore and I decided to give the second dress a real chance.

    I have made the decision to wear the second dress. But it was a tough decision. I am not a traditional person in the least and having been in a fashion related field and creative field I don’t think anyone was expecting that but it can be tough to convince yourself that there is nothing wrong with not being the bride that everyone expects and there is nothing wrong with wearing a dress that isn’t a wedding dress because it will become one once you wear it.

    I’m excited for my wedding day and the unexpected change of dress.
    THANK YOU for helping me realize I wasn’t the only one that didn’t “have a moment” when I found my dress (either one).

  63. I love this question! It’s good to know that I’m not the only one that feels this way.

    I tried on a TON of dresses and a lot of them were pretty but just “meh” to me. And then I tried on one that wasn’t just “meh” but hey… this is more like it. I didn’t have a “this is it” moment, I didn’t cry, I just said… I think I’m going with this one. And that was it. I just had my final fitting for the dress a couple weeks ago and more and more I am satisfied with the dress. I don’t think you have to be in love with your dress. I like it. It’s me. It makes me feel pretty.

  64. Do you know the designer of the black dress in the post?? I would love to know. How great would that dress be in white for a rehearsal dinner dress!! Fun photo!

  65. i am an asian so we usually sarees but a couple of weeks ago my best friend wedding and she bought wedding dress almost 1.3k and more then that i don’t remember after almost 2 weeks going shop to shop. so my advise is do what you wanna do.

  66. I gave her a description of each of them, along with the dress each of the girls picked out for the wedding and she’s designing a set to match each dress AND personality!

  67. It is definitely reassurring to read so many posts from other brides who feel similarly under-whelmed by their dresses.

    My wedding is in less than 3 months and over the last few weeks I have experienced a growing, nagging fear that I actually don’t like my dress.

    But its such a taboo topic and I can’t bring myself to voice my fears to family, friends or my fiance because a) Brides are ‘supposed’ to ‘love’ their dresses and b) there is nothing I can do about it now. I should add that c) something about the idea of complaining makes me feel like a whiny Bridezilla, which I’m not. The dress is perfectly nice, fits well, was well within budget and my Mum likes it.

    The thing thats making me uneasy is that I just don’t feel very special in it. It doesn’t make me feel ‘bridey’ or beautiful, just a bit disappointed some how. I think I probably settled for something ‘nice’ that pleased everyone else because I was getting tired of the shopping process and feeling a bit time pressured.

    I find myself doing sneaky online searches for bridal gowns still, even though mine is bought and paid for, and looking jealously at bridal stores wishing I could find something a bit more special – because I think this day is only going to happen once and if you can’t wear something amazing then when else can you?

    On top of everything I also feel very guilty for not loving my dress! :-( .

    I would be so grateful for any suggestions or words of wisdom from you other girls. But if not, my thanks to you anyway, it is nice to have a forum in which to vent some private worries! xx

  68. @TreacleTart – I bought a dress and had major second thoughts. I, too, felt somewhat pressured into it and had that nagging “this is not THEE dress” feelings. It was a perfectly lovely dress but didn’t feel like the right dress for me. I have since bought a second dress, which was far too expensive and which spun me into a spiral of “maybe the first dress wasn’t so bad! I could’ve added a sash and a veil and made it lovely!” There is always something with the wedding planning to worry about and dwell on – but in your case (and in mine, too!) you already have the dress and need to let it rest. If you aren’t going to act on finding another, then focus on some other part of the wedding that you can make extra perfect, or add some jewelry or shoes that you feel more “bridey” in.

    I recently read “when in doubt, zoom out.” When you are doubting a decision, just zoom out to the big picture and you’ll realize that your focus is minor, and in the end you’ll still be marrying your love.

    Good luck!

  69. I am in the same situation as I read so many of you are in. I came to search google for this topic because I don’t know what to do…
    I tracked a dress down that I found in a magazine that I absolutely fell in love with….still love it!!! (Maggie Sottero Divina) …the problem is no one else liked it at all….and I know for a fact my fiancé won’t like it either.
    I found and bought a different dress…it’s a Pnina Tornai ..the pictures do it no justice..it is a beautiful and unique dress and I know my fiance will love it…but it just doesn’t give me the wow that i STILL feel about that other dress…. I have the opportunity to return the Pnina (i bought it off of a friend of mine ) but i just don’t know what to do.
    I am tired of looking and tired of not finding anything HE will like that lives up to the Divina. Of course people tell me to get what I love, what I feel beatiful in…but of course (i think) most bride want the fiance/husband to at least LIKE (maybe not love) the dress they choose…and I KNOW he will not like the one I love…
    what to do….?

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  72. I am so glad to see this post! Ever since my wedding I haven’t been able to get over my dress. It wasn’t the dress I wanted at all, or the dress it was suppose to be. I am a small girl, 5’4 105lbs and I have a bad back, and I went to bridal store after bridal store and could not find a dress that I like that I could wear. Every single one was too heavy, satin, or not my style at all. I fell in love with one dress by Mori Lee but it was satin and there was no way I could carry it. I finally had to resort to getting a dress made for me. I designed a fit and flair dress because I still wanted the flowy bridal elegance, and I designed the back so that it was completely cut out and just started off my low back. I ended up with a nightmare, a sheath type flair and so much wrong it was nuts. After getting my dress sent to me 10 weeks before my wedding, I had to get it fixed. I took it to another seamstress and she charged me $1,500.00 to butcher my dress so much that to reconstruct it like she said, involved changing everything and I ended up with a dress that didn’t fit my long torso, cups that were too big, and she didn’t even put the swarvoski crystals on my dress that I bought and the dress didn’t fit me it was huge in the stomach. I had to end up putting on the crystals myself by hand which was backbreaking in itself. A week before my wedding my husband and I had left to drive 23 hours home to where we were getting married. A local seamstress pulled a miracle and fixed the dress, the ripped seams because there was too much fabric underneath and not enough on top and it was ripping the dress, she couldn’t do anything about the torso so she tried lowering the straps which is all could be done. The dress was so botched that the rouching was coming apart, the sides of my dress on my torso were buckling and weren’t sitting right but all she could do is take in as much as she could and try to hide the ripping seams. I was happy she was able to save it because without her I didn’t have a dress for my wedding. If it had been done how I designed it, it would have been beautiful but it wasn’t even half way close to what I wanted. It was someone else’s version of my dress. Anyway, I’ve been so sad and resentful ever since. Because at my wedding reception my dress literally started coming apart, it wouldn’t bustle, the thing was like rags. I to this day feel so sad, so hurt that I never got to wear that one and only dress. I didn’t feel like a million bucks on my wedding day, I was exhausted in pain and hated my dress. The only thing I had going was my hair , accessories and my shoes. My heart aches because every time I see my wedding photos I hate that dress and I wish I could have with all my heart wore that Ella Rosa134 one that I loved so much. I know it shouldn’t matter but for me it does because that time is gone and I just never thought I’d wear what looked more like a long raggy halter nightgown with expensive crystals on it that I end up paying $2,350.00 for that looked like $50. Anyway I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who regrets what they wore but I feel for every one of you who felt as I did. Let’s just hope that there was so much love in the air and on our faces that no one else noticed our less than perfect less than IT dresses.

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