Our Wedding: Finding “The Dress”

Before I start: I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED my wedding dress. Still do! When can I wear it again? This is just a little bit about my experience with the PROCESS of finding it.

There were things that I either absolutely loved about wedding planning and then there were things I really hated. And picking a wedding dress was one of those things that I, for the life of me, could not get excited about. I know I’m probably 1 percent of the population who didn’t get excited about this (at least I know my friend Sara felt the same way!) but truthfully, it wasn’t something that I enjoyed.

A St. Louis Wedding | Laura Ann Miller Photography

You see, I hate to shop in general anyways. I am not lying when I say that the last time I bought a pair of jeans was Christmas 2012 and my last pair of dress shoes were bought in July 2013 before my bachelorette party. I loathe the whole process: browsing, looking at the price tag, having anxiety over if I should spend money on said item, trying on the clothes, experiencing all of the world’s static in my dressing room, sweating, dealing with terrible dressing room lighting, getting dressed and then having more anxiety over spending money on said item. Really, I’m not a very fun person to shop with. Every once in awhile I’ll get an itch to go to the mall, but it’s very rare.

A St. Louis Wedding | Laura Ann Miller Photography

So the thought of trying on wedding dresses really did stress me out a little bit. I knew that I didn’t need to make any big decisions the first day of dress shopping since we went early enough, but I felt a lot of pressure (not by anyone! just myself) to find “the one” since I had both my mom and my MIL there, as well as my bridesmaids Sara and Alison. I didn’t know when we’d all get together again since we were living in different places, so I really wanted to find a dress the weekend that we went.

A St. Louis Wedding | Laura Ann Miller Photography

Before shopping, I didn’t really have an exact vision of what I wanted the dress to look like, but I did have a few requirements. Some things that I wanted in a dress: something that would not break the bank (I had a strict budget and I wasn’t going above it. It’s a dress for ONE day, after all!), COMFORT (my most important requirement), something NON-POOFY (no ball gowns for me), something I could easily dance in and move around in, something I didn’t have to pull up all night (so preferably something with straps), no silk or shiny material, and something with limited or no beading. Easy, right?

A St. Louis Wedding | Laura Ann Miller Photography

So we all ventured to Cincinnati’s “bridal district” to try on dresses at Bridal and Formal. I was a little nervous when we walked in and were told to go pick out dresses from their big stock room that we think we might like. Um what? I thought that was the consultant’s job? So I had my mom, MIL and bridesmaid Alison (Sara wasn’t there yet) pulling dresses asking, “do you like this?” “what about this?” “how about this one?” I had no idea! We grabbed a handful of dresses and pretty soon my consultant called my name. I tried on a handful of the dresses that we pulled and the consultant went to go get more. I wasn’t impressed with her to begin with, but what did she bring me? POOFY, UNCOMFORTABLE, STRAPLESS dresses that were so tight, I even couldn’t sit down. Oh, and most were over my budget. Why thank you. How helpful. After a few more frustrating dresses, my consultant had the nerve to tell me I was an incredibly difficult bride, and finding something that I was looking for in my budget was unrealistic. OKAY, BYE.

A St. Louis Wedding | Laura Ann Miller Photography

So we left Bridal and Formal and headed down the street to Something New Borrowed and Blue. While it was a much better experience and my consultant actually listened to me, I didn’t find anything I fell in love with.

A St. Louis Wedding | Laura Ann Miller Photography

A little discouraged, we headed to David’s Bridal that evening. I tried on a handful of dresses there and a few dresses later, my consultant (who I loved!) brought out the dress that I’d end up picking. On the hanger, it looked perfect: it was not poofy at all, looked super comfortable, had straps, no beading and was chiffon. OH, and it was under my budget significantly! Excited, I tried it on and came out for everyone to see. I sat down. Moved around a bit. Looked at it some more. And pretty soon, I realized that I couldn’t find a single thing wrong with it! And I really didn’t want to take it off. I looked over at the consultant and said, “I’ll take it!”

A St. Louis Wedding | Laura Ann Miller Photography

I didn’t have to do much to the dress to alter it. There was a ruffly detail that actually went up the whole back of the dress, but I had my tailor remove it because I wanted the back to be completely open. Otherwise, she built me a bra inside so I didn’t have to worry about finding one, adjusted the straps, took it in a bit in the waist and removed the belt loops (more on that later).

I also had my tailor add a bustle to my dress, but sadly it broke before our reception even started. I had friends and family offer to help and my poor MOH Katie attempted to fix it probably 10 different times but by that time, I didn’t want to worry about it anymore so I just held the darn thing up with no problem. Good thing it wasn’t a huge, heavy gown!

A St. Louis Wedding | Laura Ann Miller Photography

Overall, finding my dress seemed like a painful process but it all worked out in the end, and I wore a dress that I was absolutely in love with! And seriously, is it appropriate to wear it around the house?

Did you like dress shopping?

What was your experience like?

(All photos are credited to Laura Ann Miller photography)


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10 thoughts on “Our Wedding: Finding “The Dress”

  1. I got first dress syndrome. 🙂 I hate the consultants. I panicked several times before the wedding about alterations. But in the end I loved my dress and felt like the most beautiful person on my day. You looked gorgeous! Had a great time celebrating with you.

    • You looked beautiful and I loved your dress as well! So even though the experience wasn’t great for either of us, it all worked out!

    • I do like watching that show also! Especially when the ridiculous girls have a “budget” (WHAT BUDGET) of $20,000+. Ha!

  2. The first day I tried on dresses I absolutely hated the whole experience. The lady didn’t listen and kept putting me in super tight mermaid style dresses that were so uncomfortable I couldn’t even walk. And the first dress I tried on was so small it didn’t fit over my hips! Talk about making me feel bad. Needless to say I was less than thrilled besides the fact that I’m super self conscious. I did find one in STL that I love and can’t wait to wear! Still it wasn’t nearly as fun as I thought it could be.

    • Ugh, that doesn’t sound fun at all! Why do I keep hearing about brides with experiences similar to mine. I hate hearing it!! I’m glad you found your dream dress. I can’t wait to see pictures of your big day!

  3. I’m not engaged or married so I can’t contribute my thoughts on wedding dress shopping, but I just had a horrible experience at David’s Bridal fitting my bridesmaids dress for my brother’s wedding. The sales woman more or less told me I was “wide” – I was like, thank you? I appreciate that? I feel GREAT about myself? She literally ruined my weekend. It made me NOT excited to wedding dress shop one day. I hate trying things on and hate the attention.

    Your dress is my dream!

    • Oh how terrible! I think consultants think that they have the right to say whatever they want like, “You’re wide” or “You’re a difficult bride” <- UM NO. GO AWAY, MEAN LADIES. I'm sorry you had a bad experience there! Hopefully wedding dress shopping is much better. And thank youuuuu. You're so sweet.

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