Tuesday, November 19, 2013

{our wedding} finding my dress

i've told you before, but it bears repeating:  i don't like shopping.  but somehow, maybe it took a miracle, i found my wedding dress in under 90 minutes.  and i believe, based on a few specific details of my experience, that anyone can do the same thing.

so, here's the story of how i found my dress, and i will follow up with another post with my advice for other brides-to-be out there shopping for your dream dress.

i made my appointment a few weeks in advance, for 10:00am on saturday, november 16th, at madeleine's daughter in portsmouth, new hampshire.  i figured an appointment over seven months out from our wedding date was good timing.  (i was kinda right, more on that in my advice post.)  

i was bringing three special people with me:  my mom and my two best friends (and co-matron & maid of honor), marileigh and sara.  (i've watched enough episodes of 'say yes to the dress' to know bringing an army to support you means you're bringing an army of opinions, too.  hence why i brought three people whose opinions i 100% trust.  that and madeleine's daughter could only accommodate up to 4 people in any bridal room.)

upon arriving to the bridal shop, i was given a quick questionnaire to fill out and the four of us were whisked off to a private bridal room.  my consultant, brandie, arrived right behind us and we quickly got to work.  she asked me about my thoughts on dresses (materials, styles, cuts, embellishments, etc.) as well as our wedding 'style'.  i brought pictures of about 15 dresses that had caught my eye online.  i showed them to brandie and she immediately got a good feel for what i should try on to kick off the appointment.  here are a few of my inspiration dresses...(don't worry, none of them are my actual dress!)...

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i had no idea of what i really wanted because, well, who tries on wedding dresses before they need to and know exactly what they want when the time comes?  i mean, it's not like i wear formal dresses often ever!  the only thing i was sure of?  no bling.  i've got a sparkly personality, but i'm not a sparkly person.  i don't like beading and bling, so that was my one requirement.

while brandie was out gathering the first dresses for me to try on, i changed into a strapless bra and slip (provided by md) and got comfy in a pretty silk robe.  i waited with mom and the girls in our private bridal dressing room for the gorgeous white gowns to arrive.

brandie returned with 5 dresses.  two were quite similar with dramatic skirts, one was quite modern, one was lace, and one was 'the one' (i just didn't know it yet).

i tried on #1 with the dramatic skirt.  i liked it, but knew immediately it wasn't 'it'.  i liked how it accentuated my waist, but it was too much dress, so out it went.  

#2 was so similar to the first one, but i liked it more.  so i kept it in the room.  

then i tried on 'the one'.  i liked it.  i liked the material, the weight, and the way it made me look.  but there was something about it that i just wasn't so sure about and it made the skirt look weird to me.  bottom line, i didn't like it enough.  out it went.  

then i tried on the one with the lace overlay.  i loved how it looked on me.  it hugged my curves and accentuated my waist, but the layer under the lace was tight.  uncomfortably tight.  like beyonce at the met gala when she needed to be carried up the stairs tight.  i could barely move my feet just to step on the little platform.  out it went.

i knew the modern one wasn't 'the one', but i tried it on anyway.  the skirt was fuller than i'd liked at that point and the design was more 'red carpet' to me than 'wedding'.  out it went.

#2 was still in the room when brandie came back with two more.  nope and nope.  i sent #2 out too.  i said, "i'm still thinking about #3...the weight, the cut, the i'd like to try something more like that."

she returned with one dress.  on the hanger i liked it, but once i got it on, it was too blingy for me.  and i was still thinking about the other dress.

brandie brought it back in.  i was excited to try it on.  then i started to recognize unchangeable facts that were affecting my opinion:  it's a sample dress (not my size), it's a sample dress (that is stuffed into a bag several times a day), and it's a sample dress (not fresh and new and pressed to be the exact way i want it).

i put it on and felt really comfortable.  it was so pretty.  and it was so much lighter weight than all of the other dresses i had tried.  the color looked fantastic with my complexion.  

but was it 'the one'?

brandie asked, "do you want to go out in front of the big mirror and maybe try a veil?"

"i don't care much about a veil, but i'll go in front of the big mirror." i told her.

i loved it.  i loved the way it made me feel.  i love how it accentuated my waist.

and then i looked past my own reflection to see my very own small army, wiping away their tears.  and before i could look away, my own eyes were filling up.

"is this your dress?" brandie asked.

"yeah," i said, confidently, through my emotions.  "this is definitely my dress."

and that's how i ended up trying on 8 dresses and chose the third one i tried on.

***don't forget to enter my blogiversary giveaway!  it ends this week, so you've got plenty of time to enter to win a custom my kinda perfect piece of art!***

***please help us win a special engagement photo canvas!  mike and i are looking for anyone and everyone to head over to bethany and dan's blog post about our engagement session.  we have the opportunity to win a big canvas of our favorite photo (which will be a very hard choice!) if we get 100 people to comment on the posthead over and help us out, will ya?  pretty pretty please?  we have over 35 comments now, but we need 100 by the end of the month!  fyi: it seems the site is not mobile compatible, so please do it from a computer.  thanks!  you guys are the best!***



  1. So which dress did you get?

    1. you'll have to find out after the wedding! gotta stay a surprise for my man!

  2. I'm so excited that you found your dress so easily! I'm right there with you. I do not like shopping. It's exhausting. I can't wait to see your dress. You are going to be the most beautiful bride :)

  3. Hi Andrea, I'm blushing and a little teary as I read this. It was so wonderful to work with you and help you find your perfect dress. Thank you for capturing the essence of us,and sharing your experience. I look forward to reading more blog posts and having you come back to try on your gown. xoxo Brandie-your bridal stylist :)

    1. Awww, Brandie, thanks so much! We had such a marvelous time and I can't wait to come back for our other appointments. You're now reminding me I need to make a bridesmaid appointment for January! =) Have a great holiday season!


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