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Saying Yes to the Dress | The Journey to Finding My Wedding Dress(es)

I was going through some old photos from this time last year, and I stumbled upon a few from my wedding dress fittings! I thought it would be fun to take a stroll down memory lane, and have a little girl talk about the process for finding my perfect dress(es), and give you some guidance on choosing the one if you're in your engagement era.


Let me start this by saying, last year was hard. I've talked about this on Patreon and on Instagram at length. But let's just say, when Jan. 1, 2024 rolled around.. I almost cried tears of joy.


My wedding planning experience was absolutely not what I thought it was going to be. And that made a lot of elements of the wedding simply not enjoyable. (You can watch the Patreon video I did on that here.)


A lot of people had a lot of demands, which made it hard to please everyone.


I always imagined that shopping for my wedding dress would be a magical experience, but it was actually pretty far from it. I was stressed, picking my body apart, dealing with family drama, and ultimately I felt like I was really alone in the process.


I say all of this because that will hopefully explain how I ended up with not one, not two, not three, but FOUR wedding dresses in my possession. Two of which I used, two of which are still hanging in my closet waiting to be sold on StillWhite.



My husband and I got engaged at the beginning of 2022, and I started the dress search soon thereafter. I knew a few things about the vibe I was going for, but I didn't have a specific look in mind for said vibe. I just kept saying, I want it to be "Bridgerton meets Twilight".


My first few mockups of our wedding look quite different to what it ended up being in actuality. The color scheme I started with changed, and instead of wearing a forest green suit, Cain ended up in a black tux. But I digress.


I started my search at a French Modiste in San Francisco. I had worked with this specific designer previously and the idea of having a one of a kind wedding dress felt exciting to me in the beginning.


I tried on a few of her pieces, and then we decided to sketch something up together.


I was beginning to be very drawn to a look that would be something similar to Ariana Grande's wedding look. I loved the sleekness of her dress, the dramatic dropped back, the bow veil, all of it. (Side note - I can't believe she was actually married, that feels like a fever dream).








So when I started working on the designs for my dress, that was what I was going for. But ultimately, the idea of not really seeing my dress prior to paying a lot of money for it, was not appealing to me. I already felt so out of control, I needed to know exactly what it was going to look like and be 100% good with it, if I was going to be spending that much money. So we nixed the modiste and moved on to more traditional avenues.


Which led me to Bhldn.


If you're unfamiliar, Bhldn is Anthropologie's wedding and bridal collection. They're known for very whimsical, relaxed, beautiful dresses.


The first time I went to Bhldn was in 2019 to go wedding dress shopping with one of my best friends for her big day. It was such an intimate and fun experience and I'm forever grateful that I was with her when she found her dress!


I, however, went alone. And yes, it was as sad as it sounds.


But I wanted to make sure I crossed all my t's and dotted all my i's and tried on as many dresses as possible. So even though I didn't have anyone to go with, I still made the appointment.


After trying on a few dresses, I fell head over heels in love with a dress that was the polar opposite of what I was looking for. It had beautiful ruching on the top and layers and layers of flowing tulle on the bottom with floral appliqués all over the skirt. I was in love. But also SO confused.



This was not at all the image of a dress that I had, and now the salesperson was telling me that this was the last one in stock in my size. Both in store and online.


I felt a little pressured and a little trapped, and I didn't have anyone there to help me make the decision. I facetimed with my mom, but she didn't like it as much as I did, which made me even more confused.


So, out of fear of not getting it and regretting it, I purchased the dress on the spot.


I was so excited in the following weeks waiting for it to arrive at my house, and when it did, I couldn't wait to try it on.


But when I stepped into the dress at home, I absolutely hated it.


Maybe it was the lighting in the store, but the dress looked completely different. This one made me look boxy, and honestly just frumpy. It even looked like a different color!


I knew this wasn't the dress for me, but I waited a few weeks to see if it would grow on me, and begin to look the way it looked in the store. But it didn't. And unfortunately for me, I missed the return window. Which meant I now had a thousands of dollars worth of tulle sitting in my closet.


I put the dress up on various wedding dress resale sites, but it never sold.


And that's the story of dress number one.



There had been another dress I had my eye on that I saw on Pinterest, and had saved to my wedding album years before I was even engaged. But every time I envisioned my wedding day, this dress came to mind.


It was very Bridgerton-esque and it really felt like it captured the essence of who I am.


With beautiful flowers, lace detailing, and an a-line fit, it really was so beautiful. The problem? It was all the way in England.


In fact, I was so in love with this dress, I was panic calling my friends weeks before the wedding so they could help me decide if I should wear this one, or the one I ended up wearing.




Even though it was across the pond and would take awhile to ship, I felt confident that this was my dress. And when it came, I was in love! The dress was made with my exact measurements, so it fit perfectly, and I just loved everything about it.


But, there were other opinions that came into the mix about how maybe the flowers on it were too distracting, and I should opt for a plain white dress. And ultimately, I was persuaded to believe that this was not my dress. I was still so in love with this dress, I knew I'd use it for something. And that something is happening this year (!!). I can not wait to step into it again and live out the fairytale of my dreams.


Finally, the two dresses I actually ended up wearing.


I didn't exactly plan on wearing a ceremony dress and a reception dress, but who am I to question fate?


In between going to ateliers and bridal shops far and away, my mom kept suggesting that I revisit the place I used to get a lot of my pageant dresses back in the day.


For whatever reason, I really didn't want to.


I think I had this idea in my mind that I needed to have this exotic experience when I got my dress. And if I wasn't going to be able to fly to New York and go to Kleinfeld's, then I should find an alternative here. Something equally notable, and fabulous.


But after awhile of not quite finding the right one, I finally caved to my mother's wishes and we went to that dress store. And that was where I ended up finding my ceremony dress.


I'm keeping to my word of not posting my wedding photos, or photos of me in my dress just yet. But I'll do my very best to describe it.


My dress was a stunning off the shoulder all white fitted gown, with a train and buttons going down the back. It was so simple it shocked me how much I loved it. It fit like an absolute glove, and something about it just made me feel like I was glowing.


I opted for a dramatic, floor length, tiered veil which created a cascading waterfall effect and outlined my dress perfectly.


This was the dress that brought my mom to tears and when I stepped into it, I immediately knew it was the one.


There tends to be a lot of pressure on finding the perfect dress for your wedding day. Heck, there's a lot of pressure for your wedding day to be perfect.


But I found that much like my relationship, I just had a sense of knowing that this was the one.


Then came the second dress.


I started to feel like I wanted something less traditional for the party element of the wedding. Something that represented my glamorous, pageant-y, full face of makeup side.


I've long said that I have two separate aspects to my personality: one side that's incredibly traditional and clean cut, and one side that's free-spirited, wild and a lot of fun.


I felt like my first dress represented the traditional side of me. All white, classic & modest. But I wanted to showcase the full spectrum of who I am on the big day. So I set out looking for something shimmery and fun, but that was still full length to go with the black tie attire of our guests.


I found exactly what I was looking for in a halter, floor length, fully beaded gown with, you guessed it, beaded floral appliqués.


This dress fully embodied the glamour I was looking for. It glistened in the golden hour lighting and I was getting compliments from my guests all night!



 

When choosing a dress for your wedding, there's just an unnecessary amount of pressure. For me, that pressure was completely internalized and coming from a place of wanting to feel a sense of control in an otherwise stressful time in my life.


But when it was all said and done, I didn't even care that much about what I was wearing.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with my dresses and they looked absolutely stunning. Our photographer did a brilliant job capturing how beautiful they were. But at the end of the day, what I really remember from my wedding weekend, was the day after the wedding.


When things had quieted down and I had a chance to just be a wife.


I mentioned this in that Patreon video I linked earlier. But the days after the wedding when Cain and I went on our mini-moon, were arguably some of the best days of my life. I say "arguably", only to avoid sounding hyperbolic.


But truly, I don't think I've ever felt happier than when the hustle and bustle of the wedding was over. The stress was gone. The drama was done. And it was just us.


My advice to brides right now, is to try your best not to stress over the wedding day. I know, I know, that sounds so dumb and it also sounds much easier than it is in real life. But my best advice is to pump yourself up for the day after the wedding day.


When it's just you and your spouse, starting your life, beginning your own little family together. Getting to know each other on a deeper, more intimate level, and basking in the joy of newlywed bliss.


Don't get me wrong, the wedding day is important. But it's just one day in the entirety of your life. What's more important, is that you're happy with the choice you made in a partner. And that the two of you are excited to begin life together.


It can be so easy to look on Instagram and Pinterest and want these magazine worthy weddings, trust me I get it! But when I look back, none of it really mattered. What mattered was that I got to marry my best friend.


If you're stressing about your wedding day or choosing the right dress, just remember that when it's all said and done, all that will matter is the love between the two of you. And that's far more important than what you're wearing.




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