Buying a wedding dress is one of the most emotional purchases a woman will ever make in her entire life. We all envision that moment when you put on a wedding dress, look in the mirror, and hear angelic voices serenade down upon you as you realize that this is THE dress. We all envision that moment where everyone is crying as you say ‘yes’ to your dress.
This inevitably puts a lot of pressure on the bride to get it ‘right’. Just like with your spouse, you never want to settle, but you also have to be open to knowing that not all brides get that weepy moment…and that’s ok. If you are expecting that moment and will not say yes to any dress until that happens to you, then you are setting yourself up for failure.
So we decided to go to the experts and asked local bridal gown shop owners for their insights into helping you find THE ONE.
To find THE dress, keep an open mind and trust your consultant
Before even stepping foot into a bridal shop, brides will do research online or look in magazines, pulling pages or saving photos to Pinterest of gowns they like. In each of these clippings, there’s something about that particular dress that catches the eye of the bride – either the silhouette, the detailing, the designer’s name.
Often times the biggest disappointment comes when the bride tries on the dress she loved in the magazine or online and it doesn’t look the same on her. While it’s great to come in with ideas, as it helps to narrow down the focus, it’s also important that you shop with an open mind, for such an occasion.
Tina Pomarico, owner of Lady Gray Bridal in Beacon says when a bride comes in “They tell us what they are looking for. We’ll pull out what it is that they’ve asked for.” However, she says, as the women start trying on the dresses they came in thinking they wanted, and start sharing what they like or don’t like about the dress, that’s when you need to start trusting your consultant.”
At that point, Pomarico will usually say “’You know, I have something that I really think would work beautifully for you, would you be willing to try?’” She says, the brides-to-be usually all agree “…Because they trust in our expertise and all that we offer. So they’ll put something on and be pleasantly surprised and think ‘Wow! I didn’t really think this would be the silhouette I would really choose.’”
Your consultant is also helping you by empowering you to make the decision on your own, by ironically, saying nothing at all. Laura Howard, store manager of Chamonix Bride in Rhinebeck says consultants try to say as little as possible when the bride is on the floor in front of the mirror and in front of her entourage. She says “We don’t ever say ‘Oh, I love that on you!’, ‘I love this detail.’ We just let them kind of figure it out and we can tell if they need guidance. We say ‘Well this one has the lace that you were looking for’ or ‘What don’t you like? What aren’t you loving?’ …and we just have that dialogue to help them figure out themselves.”
Here’s a tip. If you have a dress on and the longer you have it on, the longer you find ‘issues’ with it, it’s not your dress. Take it off and move on. If, on the other hand, you have your dress on and the longer you have it on, you are just finding more and more things you love about it, chances are, that’s a good sign it’s a keeper.
To find THE dress, don’t try on anything that’s outside your budget
I can’t stress this enough that it’s so, so, so important that you do research on what you like and the price point you’re comfortable with, and that you go into the dress shopping appointment with that budget in mind, and that you NEVER go over budget. Why? Because it’s almost guaranteed that the minute you start trying on gowns that are out of your price range, you are going to fall in love with one that you can’t afford.
If budget is no issue, then, by all means, go for it. But for many brides, a budget is extremely important. Now, that being said, it’s also a misconception to think that lesser priced gowns are poorly made. The average wedding gown will cost anywhere between $1,200 and $3,500. In that range, you can find beautifully made, beautifully detailed dresses with all the bells and whistles you can think of.
But, be wary of the too-good-to-be-true-find-of-the-century dress deal that you find online. Never buy your gown online. Always go to a reputable salon to make sure you are getting what you pay for.
To find THE dress, trust your gut and don’t wait for the waterworks
Finding THE dress is a remarkable experience. Pomarico says “It’s really great when you see that moment when they actually try THE dress. You know, when they put that gown on and that emotion comes through, that’s not something you can make up. And after 34 years…I still get the goosebumps.”
However, the biggest factor many brides use to determine if they’ve found THE one is whether or not they cry, or their mom cries, or their whole entourage and consultants cry. The reality is most brides DON’T cry!
You might be asking yourself “Well, if I don’t cry, how will I know it’s the one?” Pomarico says “You will know. It’s an emotion I cannot describe. But when you experience it, you’ll know.”
“Sometimes you get that very emotional bride,” says Pomarico, “And she’s crying and so is her mom, and then we get those who… don’t get that flood of emotion, but we can still tell. They have that look in their eye and that look on their face, and they stand there and they say ‘I don’t want to take this off.’”
Howard sees the same thing in her store. “We have people that are crying, then I’m crying, mom’s crying. Then we have girls that are just focused and analyzing. Nine times out of 10 you can tell immediately. They (the bride) stand up straighter, their posture is better, they’re playing with it, they’re sitting down, they’re giving it a full test drive.”
Betsy Wise, stylist at Lambs Hill Bridal Boutique in Beacon and owner of Betsy Wise Bridal also in Beacon says everyone is different. “You can tell when someone feels really great, you can see it on their face,” she says. Not everyone has the experience you see on tv. She says “people do find the dress and cry, but that’s not everybody’s experience, and I think it makes people (brides) feel insecure like, ‘Oh I’m not doing it right! I didn’t cry! I didn’t have that experience!’ Everyone is different, and everyone is going to find their right dress in their own way.”
Guess what… I was a bride who didn’t cry. Not one tear, but I knew, deep down, it was the one. I didn’t want to take it off. The longer I had it on and started twirling in it, and dancing in it and picking up on all the details and nuances, I knew it was the one and didn’t want to try any more dresses on.
So, if you’ve found your dress already, what advice do you have for brides who are still looking?
Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography