Wedding Dress Shopping!!! – Wedding Planning Episode 3

I have been so excited to actually go gown shopping, because since I was little I have been sketching ideas of what my dress would look like. When I was a pre-teen it was more of a ballgown, with a corset back. A decade later, my tastes are more relaxed. (I would love to wear a huge tulle princess gown, but I know that it’s too out of character, so I’d regret it later.)
Originally I had been looking on Etsy for dresses, because they’re often a lot cheaper. Unfortunately, every time I fell in love with a dress (and it was usually around $100 + shipping) the sketchy Chinese Etsy store would disappear, and so would the listing. I realized I was going to have to shop in a real store so I knew that gown wouldn’t go away.
I also had a smaller budget than many brides, so I looked at designers that sold long bridesmaids gowns in ivory. I knew I wanted chiffon, a-line to highlight my waist, and some sort of sweetheart neckline. I found a few Jim Hjelm dresses I wanted to try, and found out that the only Ottawa store that carried them was White Satin Bridal in Bell’s Corners. I made an appointment.
For my entourage, I took my Mom, and my best friend from childhood and maid of honour, Kelsey. I knew I could trust them to be honest but gentle about their opinions on how the gowns looked on me. I also knew that Mom would not let me spend or try on something out of my budget and try to justify it (especially since my gorgeous Badgley Mischka shoes were a leeeetle more than I had planned on paying for-but they’re stunning, and I’ll wear them for years).

Looking through the bridesmaids racks
I posed with some bridal gowns so it would look like I was actually wedding dress shopping, even though the gown I ended up buying was a sample in blue. It was a little hard to envision it that way, but the Ivy & Aster gown I bought is also a bridal gown, so I could at least see it, with a slightly different fabric.
Kelsey and I, happy after I “Said Yes”

I was a little surprised that I didn’t cry when we decided on the Ivy & Aster bridesmaid gown, but I think that might be because it was blue, and not ivory. I’m sure once I get it in the right colour and it is sized to me, it will be more emotional.


Wedding Dress Shopping Advice:
  • Make an inspiration board, either online on Pinterest, or in a binder. You’ll see which characteristics you like
    • Look in your closet for what necklines, waist details, fabrics, etc. you are drawn to, and are most comfortable in.
  • Make a budget, and remember that taxes on expensive things are really big, and you will also have some alterations. (With my 4″ heels, the length won’t be a problem, but I’ll probably need my bust done, and they said that would be about $40, but it could be up to $100 for some brides)
  • Choose an “entourage” you can trust. If my other two bridesmaids were in town, I probably would have taken them, but it felt very comfortable with Mom and Kelsey. They both understood my vision and could be more critical.
  • Stick to your guns- I didn’t have a problem with this, because Kelsey and Mom were right about which one looked best on me, but too often on wedding shows the bride crumbles under critiques. The dress is yours, and you’re the one who has to live with the pictures. (I’m glad I’m not an 80s bride with a bustle and bow on my butt.)
  • Relax and enjoy the experience.

My first red cup of the season!

Afterward, we went to Starbucks to talk about the experience and some other things. When we got out of the cars, Kelsey ran up and said that it had hit her then that we had just bought my dress, and I agreed. I hadn’t gone into the appointment expecting to buy a dress, so it was nice that I found something flattering and flowing that I could see myself walking down the aisle in. It was also cool to have Mom and Kelsey hang out like that, because they are two of my favourite women,
226 days until I get married to Nic!!!!

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