Monday, June 8

Finding a Wedding Dress {part 3}

((Also not "The Dress"))

1. Your reaction to "The Dress" will depend on who you are.
I never cried over the dress or had this big sappy moment; I just giggled a lot and got bouncy and excited. I didn't have an "ah-ha!" moment. I had to think about it, but the more I thought about it, the more I knew that it was my wedding dress. I knew because that entire day, I kept looking at pictures of myself in it on my phone and smiling. J would ask me what I was smiling about, and I would say, "The dress." After this happened about ten times, I think we both knew this was it.

All those wedding tv shows (though very entertaining) make it seem like if you don't have this specific reaction, then the dress isn't "The Dress." I worried that I was missing something, but when I thought about it, I'm not the kind of person to bursts out crying unless it's a sad video about a cat or I'm hormonal. When I think about marrying my best friend and getting to hang out with him for the rest of my life, I get excited and I get giggly. What better reaction could I have in a dress than to feel happy and stunning and giggly?

2. Trying on dresses is exhausting.
I heard about those women on "Say Yes to the Dress" who didn't want to stop shopping because it was so much fun, and I think they are literally insane. I probably tried on 40-50 dresses, total, and that was more than enough - and this is from a girl who actually loves shopping. I don't know how many calories I was burning, but it's exhausting in a myriad of ways. You're stepping in and out of dresses every few minutes, some are really heavy, some are tight, and all the while you're trying to emotionally wrap your head around the idea that you might get married in this dress.

I tried really hard to try on a lot of different kinds of dresses, but by the end of my last appointment, I was making an active choice to not try certain dresses on because it just wasn't worth the effort to get in and out of them.

3. Bring snacks!
My mom brought granola bars along to every appointment, and I was so grateful for her foresight. Granted, eating them during the appointment probably isn't a good idea, but eating something before or after (or both) is a lifesaver. I was completely wiped after every appointment, and I desperately needed fuel. Going out to lunch or dinner after is a great option if your appointment ends around that time (you'll be ravenous), but if you're not that lucky, having those snacks will keep you going and make sure you're not getting hangry.

4. Keep an open mind.
I came into dress shopping thinking I had everything figured out: I wanted a tulle, sweetheart, A-line dress. It was what I liked all over Pinterest, it's what I liked on wedding shows, and it's what I was drawn to. I thought that because I had figured that out, dress shopping would be more about finding THAT dress than opening my mind to new styles. I was wrong.

Of my two favorite dresses (including "The Dress"), neither is tulle. Neither is sweetheart. It just so happened that A-line was a flattering shape on me, so I lucked out there, but neither dress is something I ever pictured myself in. And while one or two of my top four choices were tulle, sweetheart, A-line dresses, if I hadn't been open-minded enough to continuously say, "Sure, why not?" every time someone asked me to try on a new style, I never would have realized that maybe I wanted (needed?) something different.

The dress I bought isn't at all what I pictured myself in over the past year or so, but it's absolutely perfect and absolutely me. I'm so glad I gave it a chance!

5. Make your own decisions.
The first time I went shopping, I went with my mom and grandma. The second time, in Iowa, I went with my mom, J's mom, and J's sister. I was the most stressed out when I was trying to please other people or when I felt like they wanted me to like a dress that I just couldn't like. I want to please my family, so it was hard for me. When I finally tried on "The Dress," I was still trying to figure out if I liked it better than the other dress in Boston, and I wasn't ready to let go of it. My mom, Jeanna, and Jill all told me how much they loved it and that it was their favorite, even over the prior dress... but they didn't force their opinion, and that was really important to me. They ALL let me think it over, gave me their opinions when I asked, and let me make my own decision about whether or not it was "The Dress." It meant so much to me, and when I did make the decision, I knew it was because I loved it - not just because my family loved it.

6. Have fun!
It certainly doesn't need to be a stressful experience! Sure, I got overwhelmed once during shopping, and that's okay. Despite what J might say (hehe), the dress is important. At least it was to me. But just because it's important doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself when picking it out - in fact, you should! You're picking out what you're going to wear when you vow, in front of your friends and family, to love, cherish, and be true to your partner for the rest of your life. I was so excited the whole time, because I got to think about marrying J over and over again.

People sometimes make "The Dress" out to be more than it is, because yeah, it is just a dress in the scheme of things... Is it the end of the world? Nope. Do I still wanna look good on that day? Of course. It's just about finding a balance - a balance between understanding the importance of what you're actually buying, and understanding that it's okay to relax and enjoy yourself during the process!

Do you have any tips for dress shopping? Did I miss anything?

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