I’ve gone wedding dress shopping 9 times. That’s not counting the countless hours I spent staring into my computer screen in an Ambien haze, clicking and clicking and clicking on dress websites……
A $200 ball gown made to order from China? Seems like a great idea at 3 AM!
A $600 satin halter dress on an Etsy page that will not accept returns under any circumstances? SURE!
A $140 prom dress made for that especially scandalous girl at your high school complete with high-low hem and ombre coloring? Hell yeah, I can make that work!
Here are the top five things I’ve learned about dress shopping:
1. Don’t shop drunk
It’s really tempting to get buzzed before your appointment (oh yes, I learned you need appointments) but let me dissuade you from getting hammered…
I am a girl who can’t resist a breakfast mimosa. A bottomless mimosa, even better. A bottomless mimosa where they just give you bottles of champagne and wish you luck? Be still my alcoholic heart. That photo was taken right before we plodded into our first stop of bridal fun(?), a cute vintage shop that specializes in wedding apparel. The apointment resulted in a lot of snort laughing, swanning around in dresses The Golden Girls would have approved of and almost peeing in the dressing room due to massive champagne consumption.
Also, don’t go shopping when you wake up from last night still drunk. As the booze melts away and reveals you to be a corpse clinging to a hangover, you won’t want to be elbowing small asian girls out of the way to get to the last dressing room at a bridal boutique event. But you’ll muster up your strength and bulldoze your way through those tiny girls and straight into that dressing room where you will sit, panting into a pile of silk and lace, hoping that your booze sweat won’t stain anything.
2. Everyone will see your boobs
Those who have never experienced the joy of dress shopping don’t know what happens in those little rooms before you make your grand entrance wearing a dress that could elicit responses from you friends like, “it’s pretty” to “Ugh” to sighing heavily and checking their phones.
You are assigned a helper. They have names…consultant? Dress guru? Incredibly patient college girl? Either way, you are assigned a helper and once you have loaded her up with dresses, you both squeeze into the dressing room. You undress and stand there clutching your bare breasts and swallowing the words you want to say, which are, “I’m sorry that you have to look at my boobs and my ass in this inappropriate black underwear. All I have is black though and I thought that would be better than none. God, I’m so sorry about my boobs.” Your helper doesn’t give two shit about your boobs, she’s seen it all.
Other people who might see your boobs include: the incredibly groomed and enthusiastic gay sales helper who whisks by the curtain when it’s only half closed, your best friends, your future mother-in-law, your own mother and the nice saleslady who offers help adjusting the torture bra they’ve strapped you into.
No one cares about your boobs. They just want to moosh them into a dress that you love enough to spend upwards of $1,500 on it.
3. What you think you want might not want to be on you
That’s what I imagine my dress saying, “I wanna be on you”. Because my dress’ spirit animal is Ron Burgundy. But sometimes you find out that the dress you’ve always wanted makes you look like a donkey carrying saddlebags full of cottage cheese.
Try on anything and everything. You’ll be surprised. And you’ll find that sleazy, magical dress that wants to be on you, just like Ron Burgundy.
4. This shit costs a boatload of cash
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a wedding dress but apparently, most broads do. There’s one shop in town whose website states, “Brides shopping with us should be comfortable spending upwards of $2,500”.
What they don’t say but should is this, “But girl, if you come in here asking for the $2,500 dresses we’re gonna judge you so hard for only going for the cheap dresses. Besides we only got one and it ain’t your silhouette”.
When I told the next shop that I wanted to keep it under a grand, my helper looked at me like I had just kicked a kitten. Horror, disgust, sadness. All blooming on her young face.
5. There is no squealing A-HA!! moment
Not for me anyway. I tried on over a hundred dresses and not once did my guts seize up and scream THIS IS THE ONE!! I felt beautiful at times. I felt like a lumpy troll at others. I had dresses that I would have loved to have worn if their price tags weren’t so high.
I was never giddy or excited about dress shopping. Perhaps because of low self esteem and body issues or perhaps because I’m droll and emotionless. I had fun, I enjoyed it. But it was certainly not the highlight of my year.
I don’t relate to the girls on Say Yes To The Dress. They are a different kind of woman. But we watch these shows and believe that their behavior is the proper behavior. That we SHOULD be squealing, weeping and hugging everyone. We SHOULD be finding dresses that fit our unique personalities to a T and we should pay the damn money to get one.
I know there are real women like that as well. They’re delightful women too. I wish I wasn’t such a robot somtimes………………………………………………………………………..So basically what I’m saying is that I should have done an eight ball before shopping. I would have been SO AMPED ON EVERYTHING AND REALLY, REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THE DRESS OF MY DREAMS!!!!!!
I missed the boat on that though. I got a dress, sober. Except for the incredibly strong anti-anxiety pill my girlfriend gave me before we went to the appointment.
Tales of that adventure come next!