Thursday, May 27, 2021

My wedding dress - Pronovias Ariel

In my previous post, I shared photos of the 49 different wedding dresses I tried on during 7 visits to 4 different bridal boutiques. Were you able to guess which one I picked?

Buying the dress
During my first visit to Casablanca Bridal & Formals in November 2019, I had primarily focused on form fitting dresses. By the time I got around to going to Casablanca again in late December 2019, it was my 7th total wedding dress appointment and I was getting a little nervous about finding "the one". I told the staff the new direction I was going in which was ballgown all the way! I immediately requested to try on the Ariel again and also asked to see other dresses in a similar silhouette.

Pronovias Ariel (referred to as "CB Dress 9" in my previous post)

I had arrived at Casablanca by myself for the second visit since my mom and MOH couldn't make it to the last minute appointment, but my friend from CA who I was supposed to meet for lunch was able to stop by at the end, and I made sure to try on the dress for her!

I didn't feel like I was ready to make any decisions at that time, but just minutes after leaving Casablanca, the staff called to tell me that she forgot to mention their unadvertised year end sale - everything was 20% off but only until the end of the day (their last business day of 2019). That was enough to convince me and, after getting my mom's blessing, I went back to Casablanca after lunch to purchase the dress on December 29, 2019.

Definitely not a decision I would have felt comfortable making if it wasn't for the sale because I did really want to check out Bijou Bridal's a-line/ballgown selection, but I really couldn't pass up 20% off on a dress I really did like from a last minute appointment that I almost didn't have. If I had kept my original appointment with Casablanca (Jan 4), I would have missed the sale entirely but could certainly have ended up with the same dress either way.

Dress regret?
I ordered the Pronovias Ariel on December 29, 2019 for my (original) November 28, 2020 event, so I had a long, long time to wait before I would get to wear it. The owner at Casablanca told me to expect the dress to come in around June 2020 (6 months from ordering) for the first fitting, and I was very antsy for the first month following the purchase.
I did have quite a bit of apprehension about whether the Ariel was the right dress or not and whether I rushed into it because of the sale, but to eliminate chance of FOMO, I made sure to unfollow any wedding dress designer accounts on social media and did my best to resist looking around. I cancelled my Bijou Bridal appointment and really focused on looking at the photos of me in the Pronovias Ariel which really made me smile. It also helped that I had liked this dress from the first appointment, so I already knew that none of the secondhand websites had the Ariel for sale at the time in something close to my size for a reasonable price.

I feel like when I put the a-line/ballgown dresses next to some of the fit and flare/mermaid dresses, I think I might look better in the fit and flare.
But I reasoned it out in my head - my body might look good in the fit and flare silhouette (if I do say so myself). That's why I was so sold on that shape in the beginning. But despite all of the great choices I had, none of them really felt that special despite how I looked and how pretty the lace or the train was.

In the end, I think finding the right dress was more than just about what I "looked best" in with regards to my body and just whether the dress overall felt right, and I believe I made the right choice with all things considered with the Pronovias Ariel. Even if there was another dress out there, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the Ariel and there's absolutely no beating getting a brand new dress in the size that's expected to fit me (length aside) for 20% off!

You might disagree with my choice based on these photos and after seeing everything else I tried on in the previous post, and that's totally okay! I think it's not going to be worthwhile to point out certain things I didn't like about each of the other 48 dresses and why I didn't select them because these things are likely highly specific to me and what I'm comfortable with. Plus, what's wrong for me might be someone else's favorite thing about a dress. I think suffice it to say that none of the other dresses were the right dress for me for this occasion and that's why I didn't get them. It honestly could have been something as simple as "it didn't feel right" which you can't always tell from a photo.

Re-try on (March 2020)
This was right before things really started shutting down for the pandemic for the first time. I had gotten my hair and makeup trial done, and since my mom and MOH weren't there when I had pulled the trigger on the dress, I asked the shop if I could come back in for a try on (still in the store sample) so I could see everything put together. I had also gotten some cheap jewelry/accessories and a veil by this point so I wanted to see if they would work. 
I think it turned out pretty well and I'm glad I could reaffirm my choice of the dress!

I got the call that my dress had finally arrived on June 18, 2020 and scheduled a first "fitting" on June 30. This was during social distancing protocol and I was able to bring 2 people with me and everyone had to wear masks. This was the first time I was trying on the dress in my size + the dress that is actually mine. 
I have to admit that I was actually quite a bit underwhelmed. There were some things about the larger size sample dress that I guess I had liked (straps were a bit longer and bodice was a bit lower because it was overall bigger), but a lot of that was fixed when the boutique staff clamped the back so this dress actually hugged my body a bit more. But otherwise the lace and everything was just as I expected. We didn't actually take any measurements or pin anything this day because at that point there were still about 5 months until the actual wedding day and they prefer to do the alterations about 1 month out so it's more precise (and less pressure on the bride to maintain measurements for so long)! This boutique stores the dress for you free of charge, so I didn't go home with it. 

Alterations appointments
When I bought the dress, I was quoted for about max $300 in alterations if they needed to adjust anything more than just the length. (If it was just the length, I think it would have been about half that.) I know there are likely cheaper seamstresses out there, but my mom was willing to pay for the dress shop to just take care of everything and they would store the dress as well, so we decided to go for that. 
After the initial try on in June 2020, we made the decision to postpone our event until May 2021, so my first alterations appointment wasn't until April 2021 - about 6 weeks out from the wedding date (and 10 months after the dress had come in during which I would have had to store it myself if the boutique didn't offer free storage!). They ask that you wear your wedding shoes and undergarments (including any shapewear) anticipated for the wedding. 
1st alterations appointment - April 7, 2021
This one is the expectedly straightforward one. The staff did the initial pinning for the length and also marked how much to take in the dress at the waist. It did require a little bit of time since there's multiple layers of the skirt and it needs to be just right so it doesn't get underfoot when I walk, especially on grass. But overall, it wasn't too bad and I was lucky there weren't that many alterations required due to the shape/silhouette of the dress. We also discussed bustle style which was planned to be one hook in the back, hidden in the lace.

2nd alterations appointment - April 21, 2021
This one was to check/ensure that the hemmed length was appropriate (walking over different surfaces included) and that the waist was just right before tacking down the lace would be done (in its new place after making it smaller). And we also tried out the simple bustle that we had discussed in the previous appointment which turned out great! (The bottom button loop had to be reinforced so we didn't use it that day.) Again, fairly straightforward and also pretty quick. 

Final try on - May 12, 2021
This was the dress in its final form! Basically just ensuring that everything was correct and how we wanted it to be without any pins in it. It was really nice to walk around in the dress and everything felt right! I made sure to wear the accessories I had planned for including the veil this time (although the flower was just something I stuck in my hair before I left lmao). The staff showed my mom how the back fastened and how to look for the hooks for the bustle. We set the day for pick up as the day before the wedding (Saturday, May 22) and the dress was to be steamed, in a plastic bag for safety and then also in a opaque garment bag as well. 

The Pronovias veil that I had tried on with the Ariel while at Casablanca was made of matching tulle and was almost $400 (no lace or beading or anything). Based on doing a little research online, I knew that I could get something cheaper online and headed straight for Amazon. For my first order, I wanted to go simple and purchased a single layer raw cut tulle view with comb in ivory, 2 bejeweled decorative hair combs (one larger and one smaller since I didn't know which would work best) and a pair of earrings all for about $50. These were meant to be, at minimum, placeholders for me to do my hair and make up trial. From there, I'd know if I wanted something longer, bigger, shinier or the opposite, or, best case scenario, I'd love everything and would be done (which is what ended up happening). This was all purchased back in February 2020. 
I purchased the items from Amazon after looking on Etsy first and seeing some pretty similar ones. Ultimately it seems like Amazon was cheaper and since I mostly wanted to experiment with the size of the comb for my hair trial and get it in the mail quickly.
For earrings, I wasn't initially pleased with the pair I received because the post of the earring was way higher than it had been pictured in the worn photos from the listing. The seller was very accommodating when I mentioned that I was intending on returning them and issued me a refund immediately without further discussion and I ended up using them during my re-try on anyway. My mom and MOH didn't have the same issue with the height of the earrings as I did, so I ended up just keeping them but I still think it looks weird.

With that mostly settled, I knew I wanted a very simple thin necklace in a silver color, but didn't have one on hand. 
My intention was to purchase one on a Japan trip some time in 2020, but of course we didn't go to Japan in 2020 because of COVID fml. I ended up ordering one from Etsy after figuring out what I was looking for but I had procrastinated all the way until April 2021 for this piece haha. 

I wasn't necessarily set on wearing anything on my wrists but tried out two of my jade bracelets during one of the alternations appointments and ended up liking the look.
These were bracelets I already owned and I honestly have no idea where they came from. The solid jade bangle is one of my favorites - I prefer the softer colors (mostly smokey white with some hazy green and lavender coming through which is similar to our wedding colors!). The second bracelet isn't one I wear often because I don't find bracelets with clasps all that easy to wear but it seemed to match pretty well. 

For rings, I went with my Laurie Fleming sapphire OEC Daphne ring and the sapphire Beacen ring for my left ring finger (my favorite combination that I wear) 
and since I wanted something on my middle finger for my right hand, I chose my Laurie Fleming Asrai Garden Ring with lilac and magnolia branch for slight touches of purple.

We kept my dress a secret from my husband (although I think he accidentally saw this post while I was drafting it fml), so I didn't get his feedback throughout the entire process and I knew I had to be secure in my choice for myself. I can't wait to get back the professional photos from the photographer from the day of - you'll be able to see how the complete look came together then! Meanwhile, I hope this post with my "journey" to having my complete wedding look ready was interesting or at least nice to scroll through! Feel free to let me know what you think ♡ 

Sunday, May 23, 2021

My wedding dress shopping experience - Oahu, HI

I tried on about 49 different wedding dresses while I was looking for "the one", and I actually really enjoy looking back on some of the photos. Many of the dresses have such gorgeous lace, trims and details that I thought would be really great to share.

Oahu actually has a really decent variety of bridal boutiques, and I had never done any research on them prior to being engaged. Based on expos, word of mouth and just google searches, I knew I wanted to visit 4 stores/boutiques: David's Bridal, Masako Formals, Bijou Bridal and Casablanca Bridal & Formals.

I started wedding dress shopping about 13 months out from our (initially) planned ceremony date. **Please keep in mind that all photos/try-ons shown in this post were done pre-pandemic (October - Dec 2019). That's why no one pictured is wearing a mask and there weren't as many limitations regarding guests at each appointment.**
I didn't anticipate being able to buy a dress off the rack and wanted to be able to give myself enough time to make a decision without rushing + allow plenty of time for alterations as well. Some of the boutiques mentioned that their dresses could take as little as 4 weeks to get a dress in while others mentioned closer to 6 months!

At the beginning of the process, this is what I thought I was looking for in a dress:
- floor length/long dress in off white/ivory
- off shoulder sleeves or sleeveless (but not spaghetti strap)
- A-line or fit and flare silhouette
- lace and beading are okay but not mandatory
- material not too heavy
I know my body overheats pretty easily and wearing a long dress on a hectic day while the sun was out and interacting with a lot of people with attention on me would already be a lot. So I knew I definitely didn't want long or short sleeves and I didn't want a high neckline so at least that part of my body could breathe easily. For that same reason, I was hoping to find something I liked that was more light and airy.

Please note and enjoy all the really derpy faces and obnoxious posture that I have throughout all the photos in this post. I felt pretty uncomfortable for most of the appointments just having so much attention on me and having my photo taken. I'm really not sure why. Apparently I compensated by just trying to make myself look as weird as possible, so no one can assume I'm even trying to look decent. These photos were not taken at all with the intent to be blogged, but I hope they're still fun to browse through.

Unfortunately I don't know the names or designers of many of the dresses in this post because I just wasn't invested in many of them enough to ask or take notice during the appointments. I will provide designer/dress name when I could track them down by manually search through the designer websites myself, but didn't have much luck for some.

David's Bridal
Designers: David's Bridal Collection, Galina, Galina Signature, Melissa Sweet, Oleg Cassini, White by Vera Wang & more
We only relatively recently got this chain here in Hawaii and I had interpreted it to be the most casual of all the places that I wanted to visit. Since I had no idea what kind of dress I was looking for, I thought it might be the best place to start to get a good base for what to continue to shop for going forward.
I made an appointment online and filled out the online questionnaire as requested by email and also a phone call. On the day of, I arrived maybe 5 minutes early and was shown the selection of dresses I should look through and to identify any that I was interested in trying. My mom and I looked through the racks and picked about 5 dresses. My assigned stylist, Beth, then went to go find a sample that was closest to my size. Each dress was hung for me in the dressing room and then I changed in and out of each one myself. Once I was mostly in the dress, Beth would add clamps to hold the dress in place since many of the samples didn't fit properly. I stepped out of the dressing room to see what I looked like in the mirrored surface of the dressing room door.

DB Dress 1 (Oleg Cassini Beaded Lace Off-the-Shoulder Mermaid Wedding Dress XTCWG808)

DB Dress 2 (David's Bridal Collection Sheer Lace and Tulle Ball Gown Wedding Dress WG3861)

DB Dress 3 (Galina Signature Beaded Bodice Plunging-V Illusion Wedding Dress SWG837)

DB Dress 4 (Melissa Sweet Scalloped A-line Wedding Dress with Double Straps MS251177)

DB Dress 5 (Melissa Sweet Swag Sleeve Layered Lace Trumpet Wedding Dress MS251196)

DB Dress 6 (Galina Signature Sheer Beaded Bodice Lace Wedding Dress SV830)

DB Dress 7 (Galina Signature Plunging Illusion Bodice Lace Wedding Dress SWG772)
Dress 7 was my favorite from this first appointment when the stylist added just a small thin rhinestone belt which would just add a little detail to the front and emphasize my waist. I was really enamored with it and looked it up online that night, also searching through tons of "real brides'" photos! This was definitely the one to beat going forward.

Masako Formals
Designers: Antonio Riva, Basix Black Label, Christopher Paunil, Casablanca Bridal, Enaura, Justin Alexander, Karen Willis Holmes, Lillian West, Love Story, Nicole Miller, Palazzo by Jane White, Rembo Styling, Sincerity, Sweetheart, Tadashi Shoji, Victoria's Bridal
I felt like I had a pretty good experience at David's Bridal, but definitely wanted to try on more from different boutiques. I made my next appointment at Masako Formals about 3 weeks later just because some things came up in between.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by my stylist Zoe and she asked me what type of dress I was looking for after filling out a paper profile form. Based on my favorite from David's Bridal, I asked for a fit and flare silhouette, off shoulder sleeves or tank type straps, a low back and possibly a deep v neckline. She pulled all the dresses for me based on her knowledge of their stock and unfortunately I haven't been able to identify most of the dresses since they offer quite a few different designers at Masako. She would put 2-3 dresses in the dressing room and I would put them on myself and have her clip the dresses once I had them on. I then took a couple steps to an small elevated platform with a tri fold mirror.

MF Dress 1 (Casablanca Bridal Style 2306 Savannah)

MF Dress 2 (Lillian West Natural Waist Fit and Flare with Lace Details Style 66012)

MF Dress 3 (Sincerity Off the Shoulder Lace Gown with Open Back Style 3938)

MF Dress 4 (Casablanca Bridal Style 2201)

MF Dress 5 (Tara Lauren Farrow)

MF Dress 6 (designer and name unknown)

MF Dress 7 (designer and name unknown)

MF Dress 8 (Beloved by Casablanca Bridal BL219)

MF Dress 9 (designer and name unknown)

MF Dress 10 (designer and name unknown)
I left this appointment without a clear favorite. When I looked back on the pictures later, I realized that I actually really loved MF Dress 2 which my mom had a negative reaction to because of the sheer bodice. But since it could be lined, there really wasn't much reason not to love it because the neckline and lace placement were definitely A+ for me. I also ended up quite liking MF Dress 7 in photos even though I was pretty opposed to it during the appointment and only tried it on to appease my MOH and my mom.

Bijou Bridal
Designers: Chic Nostalgia Bridal, L'Amour Bridal by Calla Blanche, Lunanovias, Nicole Spose Milano, Maggie Sottero, Nicole Miller, WTOO Brides, Stefan Jolie, Willowby by Watters
This was the third appointment I scheduled and a boutique that was recommended by my coworker who recently got married based on their selection. I easily scheduled an appointment over the phone. I checked in and filled out an information sheet before being introduced to the showroom. The stylist, Pauline, allowed me to look through the dresses on the racks while she picked some herself as well. At this point, I was still looking for the same features in a dress that I was at Masako (fit and flare, off shoulder or tank neckline, etc). Pauline had all the dresses I was to try on outside the dressing room and handed them to me one at a time to step into myself. She assisted with clamps once I was in the dress and then I went to the mirrored platform area.
(Sorry I had so little luck identifying these dresses! It could be that by the time I looked, the designers transitioned to having only 2020 collections featured on their websites. Or I could just be shit at matching them to the photos.)

BB Dress 1 (designer and name unknown but Maggie Sottero Henrietta is similar)

BB Dress 2 (designer and name unknown)

BB Dress 3 (L'amour Calla Blanche LA9116 Gilly)

BB Dress 4 (designer and name unknown)

BB Dress 5 (Maggie Sottero Nola)

BB Dress 6 (Maggie Sottero Glorietta)

BB Dress 7 (designer and name unknown)
My absolute favorite from this appointment was Dress 5 and I was very close to thinking it was "the one" once the straps were changed from spaghetti straps to something softer like lace. Pauline had pulled two other brides' dresses to show me what it would look like in other colors and I knew I would probably want it in ivory versus champagne, but I still wasn't extremely sold. I did like the selection at Bijou but all of the samples were so much bigger than me that it was a little hard to picture some of backs and even some of the front necklines in my size.

Casablanca Bridal & Formals
Designer: Pronovias
I made an appointment by calling on the phone. Appointment was to be approx 1.5 hours.
Upon arrival, the stylist asked a few questions regarding what I was looking for and while she started pulling dresses based on what I told her, my mom and I looked at a catalog/lookbook of Pronovias dresses.We tagged any that we wanted me to try on and the stylist pulled those if she hadn't pulled them already. All the dresses at this salon are from the brand Pronovias so the style/vibe of all the dresses were very similar.
At this boutique, 2-3 dresses were placed in the dressing room and then the stylist would help clamp me in. When I was changing out of the dresses, I handed the dress back to the stylist directly before putting the next one on.

CB Dress 1 (Pronovias Imelda)

CB Dress 2 (Pronovias Rhea)

CB Dress 3 (Pronovias Eos)

CB Dress 4 (Pronovias, dress name unknown)

CB Dress 5 (Pronovias Emily)

CB Dress 6 (Pronovias, dress name unknown)

CB Dress 7 (Pronovias, dress name unknown)

CB Dress 8 (Pronovias Franca)

CB Dress 9 (Pronovias Ariel)

CB Dress 10 (Pronovias Aethra) (added sleeve)

CB Dress 11 (Pronovias Zaha) (added sleeve)
When I left Casablanca, I didn't feel too strongly about any dress in particular, but I did keep thinking about the Ariel (Dress 9) a lot and how it just seemed like a breath of fresh air amongst all the form fitting dresses that were starting to look samey. I bookmarked Dress 9 and 10 as frontrunners from this store.

I also tried on my mom's dress from my parents wedding in the 80s. Honestly it kind of almost fit perfectly for length and waist. If it weren't for the material, I might have considered just making a few alternations (definitely the sleeves) and wearing it lmao.

David's Bridal visit 2
Having a somewhat renewed perspective after visiting all the boutiques and not finding anything that really stood out, I realized that I wanted to go in a different direction with my dress search. Since I kept going back to pictures of the Pronovias Ariel (CB Dress 9), I realized that I might not have been finding a fit and flare dress that I loved because I was really meant to have a fuller skirt. Since I was essentially starting from scratch again, I went back to David's Bridal since it's the most convenient.
Beth wasn't available when I booked my second appointment, but the staff who assisted me were still very nice and helpful. I knew I wanted to start with the dress I had liked best from last time and work forward from there.

DB Dress 7 (again) (Galina Signature Plunging Illusion Bodice Lace Wedding Dress SWG772)

DB Dress 8 (David's Bridal Collection Lace and Tulle Ball Gown Wedding Dress with Ribbon NWTG3905)

DB Dress 9 (David's Bridal Collection Tulle Cap Sleeve Mermaid Wedding Dress WG3911)

DB Dress 10 (Galina Signature Lace Overlay Charmeuse Wedding Dress with Train SWG400)

DB Dress 11 (Galina Signature Floral Tulle Wedding Dress with Removable Sleeves SWG834)

DB Dress 1 (again) (Oleg Cassini Beaded Lace Off-the-Shoulder Mermaid Wedding Dress XTCWG808)

DB Dress 12 (Davids Bridal Collection Sweetheart Trumpet Wedding Dress with Beaded Sash V3680)
After this appointment, I solidly crossed off David's Bridal (in particular in terms of where I would go back to try on dresses) and knew that DB Dress 7 from earlier was definitely out. I did really like the tulle dress (DB Dress 11) but ultimately there were enough small things that I thought didn't make it perfect that I knew I would find something better elsewhere. I tried on way more fitted dresses at this appointment than I meant to, but liking DB Dress 11 best indicated to me that I was still moving in the right direction with an a-line/ball gown silhouette.

Masako Formals visit 2
Masako was high on my revisit list after David's Bridal because I did a little bit more research on the designers and was hoping I could find something from the Justin Alexander or related lines. Masako was also still offering 10% off because I visited based on an Open House, so a discount is always a plus. I worked with Zoe again and we basically started from scratch while also trying on my favorite from the first visit (MF Dress 2) to ensure that that was out.

MF Dress 10 (couldn't find the designer but this is the dress featured on the shop's IG)

MF Dress 11 (Victorias Bridal 8349 Ball Gown Sweetheart Neckline Sleeveless)

MF Dress 9 (again but unintentional)

MF Dress 13 (Chic Nostalgia Junie)

MF Dress 2 (again) (Lillian West Natural Waist Fit and Flare with Lace Details Style 66012)

MF Dress 15 (Casablanca Bridal Style 2394 Katalina)
I walked away with my favorite being MF Dress 11 with an added off shoulder sleeve and lined bodice. Potentially even removing a layer from the skirt. I really liked that it had pockets and the arrangement of the floral lace as well. However, since it required so many changes, I wasn't totally convinced and really wanted to visit Casablanca and Bijou Bridal again since I really hadn't had a chance to try on any a-line or ballgown dresses there during my first visits.

Casablanca Bridal & Formals visit 2
By the time I got around to trying to get a second appointment at Casablanca Formals and Bijou Bridal, it was the week of New Years. Both boutiques were booked until after Jan 1, but Casablanca had a wait list for Sunday Dec 29. I was lounging around the house Sunday morning when I got the call that they had an opening for right that moment. I don't exactly live close, but made it over there for the last half of the appointment. The staff promised me that it was fine and they shifted some others around, but because it was so last minute, my mom didn't make it to the appointment with me.

CB Dress 12 (Pronovias Cloe)

CB Dress 13 (Pronovias, dress name unknown)

CB Dress 14 (Pronovias, dress name unknown)

CB Dress 15 (Pronovias, dress name unknown)

CB Dress 11 (again) (Pronovias Zaha)
My friend who was back home from the mainland got to the boutique while I was trying on Dress 15 and then I tried on Dress 11 again so she could see a second silhouette and let me know her opinion.
She and I then left the boutique to catch up and have lunch having made no further decisions.

The dress I actually chose will be revealed in my next post which is scheduled to publish in a few days published now! (If anyone is actually reading these posts in real time lol.)

Feel free to leave your opinion on any of the dresses or let me know your favorite! I'm posting this more for fun and to remember my experience since I did try on quite a few different dresses, but I feel confident in my decision now even if I did waver a bit at the beginning.

My amateur advice for wedding dress shopping
- tell your stylist what you like (or what you don't like) about a dress before moving on
- take as many photos of as many angles of you in the dress as possible
- pick up the front of the dress when you try to walk in them. I now feel like this is obvious but I apparently needed to "learn" that after my first appointment and it's one of the reasons why I think I didn't like the a-line silhouette at first because I thought the skirt was too hard to move in before I learned to just...pick it up a little since the sample was just way too long.
- if you want a dress with a low or intricate back, wear a sticky bra or pasties to your appointment so you can get a better idea of how it looks without a bra strap. If you plan to wear shapewear, consider bringing that if you have it already as well. Nude underwear is also a good idea.
- in that same vein, if you know you want your hair up for your wedding, bring a hair tie at least! You don't need to have it in a fancy updo, but some of the necklines were much easier to see when I didn't have to keep moving my hair out of the way.
- bring shoes you think you might want to wear. It doesn't have to be the exact pair you wear on your wedding, but you may want to practice walking around with a full skirt or a heavy train and shoes can sometimes make a difference.
- definitely consider trying at least one dress suggested by your stylist during your appointment even if it seems like a little bit of a wildcard.
- i completely failed this one, but ask about the designer for dresses that might not be an exact perfect match for you but close! you can check their website and see if they maybe have something different that the salon didn't carry. or you can follow them on social media to find out when they release a new collection if you have enough time before your date
- if you're budget conscious and don't mind pre-owned, try on dresses in the stores, get the designer and dress name and your approximate size, and then check websites like or I almost bought one of my frontrunner dresses used before I decided to get my actual dress in store on sale. Sometimes dresses on these secondhand sites are even unworn.
- try on different veil (lengths and styles) with your selected dress and then look for your accessories including your veil on Amazon or Etsy if you don't mind the brand being different from your dress! The super simple matching veil to my dress was almost $400 at retail price wtf.
-if you appointment stops being fun, stop and take a break or stop and schedule a new one. This one I think is super important.

I honestly didn't have as much fun trying on wedding dresses as I thought I would since I felt a lot of pressure to find "the one", but I'm happy to share this post and the photos of all the dresses I tried. I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to identify all the designers/dress names, but since I was just blindly searching designer's websites, I'm actually a bit proud of what I did find after lots of squinting lol. I hope you had fun looking through this whether you're single, engaged or married!