Wedding Planning 102: Finding a Dress

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I found my dress about a month ago, but haven’t had time or the willpower to post about it until now. I’ve talked to a lot of people about finding their dress, and unlike me, they knew “it was the one” by a matter of looking at a few dresses. Sometimes it was the first or second dress they tried on. But if you know me, you know that could never happen. I am SO indecisive. So, I looked at David’s Bridal, found two dresses I liked, and then went to look at Alfred Angelo. I found a dress I fell in love with there (Snow White dress with a cape – ridiculous, I know, but when else will wearing a cape in my life be appropriate?), but it was very expensive and they never offer discounts on their Disney collection dresses. So, I went back to David’s Bridal, but still didn’t fall in love with any one dress. Luckily, my friend (Lindsey) knew of a store in Rancho Cucamonga that had nice dresses, and I ended up falling in love with a dress there. It was the complete opposite style of what I wanted, but it looked great on and matched my theme perfectly 🙂

David's Bridal wedding gown with sleeves

I learned a lot from trying on tons of dresses, so here are some “you must knows” about dresses:

Popular Styles:

Ball Gown: tight on the top until the waist (unless it’s drop waist) and huge on the bottom. Think Disney princess dresses. I love ball gowns, but a lot of them do not have a design that flows throughout the dress (for good reason). Thus, the tops are usually stunning, and the bottom of the dress is fairly plain.
David's Bridal Ball Gown

A-line: looks like an A when tried on… more fitted up top and flows out. It can have sleeves or can be sleeveless.
Snow White with cape Alfred Angelo

Mermaid: tight all the way to the knees, and then it flares out at the bottom. Think of mermaid fins.

Drop- Waist: Tight all the way through the hips and then flares out

Trumpet: fitted to the mid thigh and then flares out to the floor

 

I suggest being open to all different styles and trying on at least 1 of each. Every time I tried on a new style that ended up being the dress I liked the best at that particular store. For instance, I liked ball gowns, but tried on an A-line dress at Alfred Angelo and loved it more than any of the ball gowns I tried on.

 

Stores in/near OC: (listed somewhat in order of increasing price)

David’s Bridal* (where most people I know bought their dresses- bridal shows offer discounts to David’s)

Alfred Angelo (Bridal shows offer discounts to Alfred Angelo)

Demetrio’s (Bridal shows offer discounts to Demetrio’s)

Bonny’s Bridal

Mary Me Bridal

The Dresser

The Wedding Day* (where my friend found her dress 🙂 )

Bellasposa* (where I found my dress 🙂 )

 

There are several other stores, but these are just some suggestions.

  • As you go down the list, the prices will increase because the bottom stores are boutiques that carry designer names.
  • I suggest you go online and find dresses you like and their numbers before you go in to the store. David’s and Alfred Angelo allow you to create accounts and even save your favorites. This will allow you to save time when you go into the store.
  • Calling boutiques ahead of time to figure out their average price can save you time.  If you’re on a tight budget, David’s may be best, but you can always talk to boutiques and look at their sales.
  • Trunk shows = discounts on all of those dresses, so subscribe to get emails from stores you are interested in to find out when they are having these shows
  • Bellasposa offers a first time visit discount of anywhere from 400 to over 600 dollars off of a dress. So I would suggest going there last.
  • Like I said before, Alfred Angelo offers no discounts on their Disney princess collection. 🙁
  • Do NOT try on dresses outside of your budget because you will fall in love with them and then spend over your budget (like me…)
  • Bridal shows will offer discounts to certain stores (but be warned, if you sign up for a bridal show, they will spam you to no end)

How to prepare to try on dresses at a store:

Each store does dress fitting differently, so be prepared to be flexible. Here are my experiences:

  • David’s Bridal: a consultant will put the dress on you by putting it over your head in which you face away from them in most cases. You will be given a corset and slip to wear so no need to worry about flashing people. Always opt for a straight slip. Trust me.
  • Alfred Angelo: a consultant will put the dress on you by putting it over your head in which you face them. You will be given a corset and slip, so no need to worry about flashing people.
  • Bellasposa: a consultant will put the dress on you by having you step into it (all dresses are big sizes). They will clip you like crazy to fit the dress to your body. All of their dresses (designer dresses) already have built in corsets and slips so no need to even take off your pants (I wore a bra and yoga pants underneath the dresses I tried on). It was very comfortable and easy.
  • None of the places will have all of the dresses you want to try on in stock, they will have different methods for you to pick out dresses (some will let you pull them yourself, others want you to have them get the dresses for you), and a lot of the dresses they have for you to try on will not be in your correct size (they will clip you a lot to fit them to your body, but it sucks because dresses look best when they are your size).
  • Always try on your top picks with a veil because it will make the look complete and help you visualize yourself on your actual wedding day.Snow White with cape

Who to bring with you to dress fittings:

At first, since I am decisive, I wanted everyone to go with me to try on wedding dresses. I thought it was a momentous occasion and wanted everyone there. Bad idea. While it’s nice to share that moment with everyone, it is also stressful. I could tell by facial expressions who liked what dress, and had a very hard time figuring out what dress I actually liked because I was trying to please everyone else.  When I finally picked out my dress, I was with Lindsey and she was on strict orders to keep quiet about her feelings until I said how I felt about the dress. That allowed me to finally figure out what I liked and what I didn’t. At the end of the day, you are the only one who will be wearing the dress so don’t please everyone else. If you are in no way swayed by opinion, then feel free to have everyone go with you to your fittings! Make sure that no matter what, you get the dresses documented with pictures so you don’t forget what they look like! Get all of the angles of the dress in the pictures. Oh, and when you do pick the dress, many places will give you a complimentary champagne toast for you and your guests! Enjoy it!

 

I hope this helps! Happy dress hunting!

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