It's the most-emotional, most-complex and potentially, the most-fun decision you will make while planning your wedding... finding THE dress! Our adorable Blogger Bride, Kristen from Maid of Henry, is sharing her wedding-dress journey and best shopping tips with all of you brides-to-be. And while you don't get to see the one she picked (come on, we're not going to run the surprise for Kevin!), you can see a few that didn't make the cut!
Over the years I have learned that what is important
in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.”
–Yves Saint Laurent
We all know that girl (or know a girl who knows that girl) who found her wedding dress on the first stop. She put it on and that was it, she just knew. Her entourage cheers, she screams mid-ugly cry “I’m getting married!”, bottles pop, confetti drops. I most certainly know this girl in many variations and met even more of them on my wedding dress journey. At one of the salons I went to, the two girls on either side of me said “yes” to the dress almost simultaneously. I looked at my mom and told her that I’m Rachel Greene during her 17 hours of labor where three women come in and go home with their newborns before she’s even 3 centimeters dilated. We ugly cried and popped bottles that day too, for different reasons.
Enter: patience and a good attitude. You must have both! Your dream-dress is out there, you just have to find her!
9 months out | Before you begin your wedding dress search, do some prep work! While pinning dress styles you like, take note of the gown-glossary terms. It is helpful to know the parts of a wedding dress before you sit down to speak with a consultant. Familiarize yourself with different types of silhouettes, necklines, waistlines, sleeve styles, and fabrics (especially the ones you love). Helpful resources are here and here!
Decide who you would like to come with you to your appointments! Do not undervalue how special the experience is. Remember: you want to buy the dress that makes you feel not only beautiful, but the most like yourself. After all, that’s who your groom fell in love with! Bring those who love you most and know you best! I brought my mom and maid of honor. ☺
I always knew I wanted a “simple” gown but wasn’t vision-committed to one particular style. Therefore, at my first appointment I let the consultant know that I wanted to try on as many styles as possible. After trying many dresses, I found myself growing keen on a certain silhouette, neckline, and fabric. I enjoyed my time in each style, especially the crazy ones and took goofy photos along the way! I knew this would be my last time wearing them because each appointment from then on would bring me closer and closer to my dress.
After my experience, I began booking appointments at different salons. I recommend making appointments during the week when it’s less crowded, either on your day off or on a work night! I booked appointments at quainter suburban shops like A Little Something White, as well as chic bridal boutiques in NYC with extensive collections including Wedding Atelier and Kleinfelds. When you put on a dress you like, don’t hesitate to walk around the salon! Check yourself out from all angles and see how well you can move + groove! It’s also important to be honest and specific with your consultant. If you’re in a dress and love the style but don’t love the fabric: voice it. It will bring you that much closer to your dress!
Throughout my journey, there were two dresses I really liked and thought “hmmm...could this be it?”. I loved the silhouette on one, but didn’t love the lace design. I loved the clean-simple style of another dress, but didn’t feel it had that “wow” factor that I wanted. I didn’t have that “moment” with either dress. Not that I even knew what that moment should be like!
After visiting many salons and saying “no” to many many dresses, I was scrolling through Instagram and came across a photographer who my friend had used for her wedding. He posted photos from a recent wedding shoot and I loved the simplicity of the bride’s gown. The designer was not tagged but strangely enough, the wedding salon commented on the photo. Flash forward to the next day at work: a teacher-friend was telling me about this salon that her best friend had such a wonderful experience with! She said the name. Ding-Ding-Ding: the salon in the Instagram photo! As a total believer in fate, I booked an appointment.
Immediately when my mom and I pulled into the parking lot, we looked at each other and both agreed on having a really good feeling. To be honest, my mom said that at almost every appointment but this truly was my first. Upon entering, we met our consultant, Stella, who I immediately felt connected with. She looked at me after I spoke about my vision and said “Kristen, your dress is here.” Just as she said that, I glanced past her and saw a girl in the far back of the salon wearing a dress I loved. Stella saw me eying it and smiled. She said “Let’s try that one last”.
When we finally got to the dressing room, I flew through the other dresses we picked in an effort to quickly get to the grand finale. I took a deep breath, stepped into the gown and walked outside to the platform. I stood in front of the mirror…but before I looked at myself, I saw my mom in the reflection tearing up. Her face said “yes” before I did. I then finally looked up at myself, smiled, and had my moment.