DISCLAIMER: This is not a fail-safe plan. There are plenty of brides who do every single one of my "do nots" and have walked away without a second glance. However, I firmly believe that if you follow each one of these rules, you will be significantly lowering the chances that you will regret your purchase. That's all. :)
I was a wedding consultant at David's Bridal for 2 years. It was my job to talk brides into buying a wedding dress the first DAY they came into the store. I knew what to say to manipulate emotion to get a bride to make a decision right then and there and my sales record stood a testiment to the fact that %90 of the time I succeeded. That is a real number. Half of these brides came into the store "just getting ideas" and walked out with a wedding dress, bra, slip, shoes and, if I did my job to mgmt satisfaction, 3 headpieces.
So, when I came on Project Wedding and I saw all of you second guessing your wedding dresses I was less than surprised; after all, I have seen hundreds and hundreds of brides get caught up in the emotion of trying on a wedding dress their first or second time in a salon and make rushed decisions I wondered if they'd regret later on. My fears have been confirmed. So, in effort to reconcile my past contributions to the two-dress-bride family, I give you:
How to Stay a One Dress Bride
DO NOT go into a salon "just to get ideas." You may walk out one dress richer and a lotta moola poorer and have serious buyers remorse when it's too late.
- Get online. Buy magazines. Look at as many thousands of dresses as you can as long as you can before you make the decision. Wait until you find yourself going back to 2 or 3 styles. These are your favorites and are what you are looking for.
RESEARCH what looks good on your body type. If you are an extreme pear shape but have no idea that you are or what works for your body, you might end up falling in love with 10 sheath dresses only to get to the salon and find out that all the dresses you love make you look 20 lbs heavier. Now all of your dress hunting you just did online was for naught because none of the styles youcame back to work for your body. And, even worse, youare now at a complete loss as to what to try on....so maybe you try on a pretty a-line and--compared to the sheaths-- you look GORGEOUS. You cry, your mom cries, you think this is the dress. You buy it. You go home and get online and see 50 other a-lines that you love so much more because you didn't make an informed decision! i.e. I love the flowy grecian look, but with these hips it just doesn't work for me, so I appreciated it and would love to get married in one but it just doesn't work for my body. So I didn't even consider it. :)
- JUST BECAUSE YOU CRY OVER A DRESS DOESN'T MEAN YOU SHOULD GET MARRIED IN IT. I cannot stress this enough. The first dress you are emotional over is not neccessarily your dream dress. If you've got the time, wait at least a month between when you felt that initial pang for your dress and when you purchase it. In the mean time, get online and keep looking. Look for similar styles to the one you loved and see if there's detailing on another one that you love more that may be more right for you. In the same way, just because you don't cry over a dress doesn't mean it's wrong for you. If you're holding out for that "feeling" you may be sorely disappointed to find that it's never gonna happen. You may just not be one of those emotional kinda brides. That's okay!
TRY ON ONE OF EVERY SILHOUETTE. You may think you want big pouffy princess and you may even fall in love with one. But if that's the only shape you try on, you may be shocked and amazed to find that the mermaid-styles are the ones that truly take your breath away after all. Educate yourself.
- DO NOT BUY A DRESS MORE THAN 10 MONTHS OUT FROM YOUR WEDDING. Unless you are having a coutoure style gown made specifically for you, there is no reason to go shopping for you dress this early. I know you just got engaged and you're excited. By all means, try things on! Fall in love! If it's an educated decision you're making, go for it! But don't buy a dress this early just because your mom cried at you and told you "boo hoo--that's the one!" It's probably not. It's easy to get caught up in the moment. Don't do it!
Those consultants are going to tell you everything you need to hear to get you to buy that dress. We have a LOT of tricks up our sleeves and are highly trained in all kinds of sales techiniques and know exactly what to say to pressure you into feeling like it will be the end of the world if you don't buy your dress THAT DAY. Wait as long as you can to ensure you will be making an extremely educated decision based on the perfect mix of what looks good on your body and the style that makes your heart pang.
By the time I bought my dress, I had looked at almost every dress known to mankind. I ended up trying on only 4, a sheath, a mermaid, an a-line and a ballgown and 2 of them were dresses I had been stalking online for at least 6 months. The dress I bought didn't make me cry. I didn't get a fuzzy feeling. But I knew I LOVED the style and it looked great on me and, once it was tailored to fit my body and I had the veil on and the whole shebang that it would be the whole picture that made me feel like a bride not just the dress on it's own.
I haven't looked back once. No doubts. Ever.
I hope this keeps at least one person from becoming a 2 dress bride! Of course you could fall in love with a new style even after doing all of these things and decide to go for that one instead, but at least you will know that you did everything you could to try and make sure that first dress was the right dress!