My Matron of Honor did not like hearing that I went bridal gown shopping alone. I understand why she feels that way, as it is a special moment to be shared but at the same time it was incredibly hard for me to think about going at all.
To be completely honest, I was scared that sharing such a special moment with others would be painful. I was worried I would miss my Mom and sister too much and that would make the experience memorable for all the wrong reasons. I wasn’t at all worried about feeling insulted when trying on a dress that didn’t flatter me but was scared to encounter an experience when I really wished my Mom and sister could be there with me.
So after reading some advice in A Practical Wedding, and crying a lot of tears over how it stinks that my Mom won’t be there to help me find the dress, I decided maybe it was best to go on my own. I figured I could control my emotions a little better if I was on my own and could keep things short if I didn’t have to try on things to appease anyone else. I knew I was sacrificing that shared experience of shopping with my friends and family but knew once I found “the dress” I would show them all before I purchased it.
Why am I glad I went alone?
- There was no pressure to buy because all of the consultants knew I would need to show someone else before I made the final purchase.
- I went on multiple trips to multiple stores in the middle of the day. This allowed me to be given more attention by the consultants and not have to work it into my schedule and theirs.
- I was a little more open to letting the “professionals” choose dresses that would flatter my body after telling them about the general features I wanted or was interested in.
- I didn’t have to be extra polite about not liking something that was picked as an option as to not hurt the feelings of the person who pulled it. I didn’t know the consultants and no consultant will have their feelings hurt if you don’t like a dress. One of my consultants even said “I didn’t design it! You won’t hurt my feelings one bit” when I tried to nicely say it wasn’t my taste. She expressed that she was just trying to make me happy and has gotten pretty good at simply reading the expression on her bride’s faces to know they aren’t happy or something is missing.
- I felt more open to ask what might have been “stupid questions” because I was the only one there to ask them.
- Lastly, (and perhaps most importantly) I got to see which bridal boutiques made my appointment a priority and saw me for what I was–someone who was going to spend $1000+ in their store versus those who seemed to treat me as more of an inconvenience to their schedule.
The store I ultimately purchased from was one of only two stores where I actually had fun with the bridal consultant. I visited about 6 stores in total and 4 of them did not give me an experience where I felt special. The two I enjoyed are also the only two where I tried on “the dress” that I ended up purchasing…so maybe that’s part of why I had a good time 😉 ? (For all stores I went later in the afternoon on a mid-week day in March).
I did however choose to save my first experience with a veil for when my bridesmaids and Stepmom Dorothy got to see me in the dress. I did my hair and makeup similar to how I think I might wear it for the wedding so I could see the full picture! It was so exciting to share this with them and to try on a veil to see the full look! It made us all tear up!
Did you shop with a group or go on a solo search for the dress of your dreams?