Wedding Dress Shopping: What To Actually Expect

Planning for ‘the big day’ has been moving right along, and after doing my research (aka stalking Southern Weddings) I found a few local wedding dress shops! I went ahead and booked appointments with each a few weeks apart, to give myself and my bridal party some time to breathe. Two weeks ago I had my first wedding dress shopping appointment, and I’m going to be totally honest with y’all: it was NOTHING like I expected.

I think the world/Disney/Pinterest hypes up wedding dresses to be some magical thing that you put on your body and instantly birds start chirping and you are transformed like Cinderella. And while wedding dresses most definitely hold a certain magic (I’m a total romantic at heart!), trying them on is almost guaranteed to take a little effort and you may not find ‘the one’ at your first appointment!

I had a ton of expectations going into this first dress shopping appointment, which led to a LOT of nerves and anxiety. I want to share what I experienced while wedding dress shopping with y’all!

Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

Get fancy, girl!

A tip that I found during my shopping research was to make sure I do my hair and makeup before the appointment – and I am SO glad I did! I went by Blasted Blow Dry Bar in Greensboro (NC gals – they’re new so check them out!!) and got my hair ready. I fixed up my makeup,  but made sure to go easy on it because I don’t think anyone wants a bunch of makeup smeared all over their sample gowns!

Blasted Blow Dry Greensboro

It definitely made a really positive difference feeling all dressed up! I wasn’t at my bridal hair/makeup level, but I had a much easier time actually seeing myself getting married in the gowns.

Do your research, but be open minded

I think that one of the best things I did for my first appointment was to be completely open minded! I went to David’s Bridal first, not because they had a particular designer or gown that I wanted, but because they had EVERY TYPE IMAGINABLE. Wedding dresses are like nothing else you’ve ever worn (unless maybe a pageant gown) and are structured totally different.

I told my consultant that my goal for the appointment was to figure out what shape I wanted, and then go from there! So we tried ALL the dress types, and I left with a really clear sense of what dress shape I wanted and what types of detailing fit my vision for the day.

Stock up on snacks

Maybe this is a personal problem, but I quickly get hangry if I don’t eat every few hours. I wrongly assumed that David’s Bridal would provide water bottles (side note: David’s Bridal, you really need to provide brides with water…) so be sure to pack water and snacks just in case the store you go to doesn’t provide anything. Wedding gowns are HEAVY and getting in/out of them can be sweaty work!

It’s okay if you don’t find ‘the dress’ right away

Trying on wedding dresses was an amazing body-positive experience for me! Before the appointment I had nightmares of the drama that goes down on shows like Say Yes To The Dress, when really (and as expected) my family and friends made me feel like a rockstar! They were so kind and supportive and offered constructive criticism about the DRESS, not my body, and made me feel way more confident in my decisions.

After leaving the appointment, I felt pretty confused and VERY VERY VERY overwhelmed. The type of dress that I fell in love with was very different than what I had expected, and for some weird reason I felt like I needed to leave with a dress… even though I went in to the appointment with the intention of only trying on. I definitely got caught up in the moment (and they totally get you when they add the veil!) and I forgot that it is 110% okay to leave with no intention of buying. So make sure to take a deep breath mid-appointment, and don’t feel like you HAVE to make the decision right then and there!

I’m REALLY freaking excited about my next dress appointment in a couple weeks and I would love to hear from y’all – what was your dress shopping experience like? What do you wish you knew in advance?


San Francisco – Part Two

Continuing our San Fran journey (read part one here), we got up bright and early to explore Alcatraz Island, which I kept calling Azkaban. Common mix-up right? The sun decided to show it’s face and honestly we couldn’t have asked for more gorgeous weather!

Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Alcatraz Island, San Francisco

We did the audio tour and it was awesome! Semi-creepy, but very cool hearing what actually went down where you were standing. My favorite part was the story about the guys who buried out and hid their escape by making creepy fake heads (which they have on display in the gift shop #casual).

Alcatraz Island San Francisco Alcatraz Island San Francisco

After touring the prison, we decided to air out and explore the pier areas! It was fun but insanely touristy (nothing like our beach walk/hike the days before) and SO COLD AND WINDY. Which, naturally, meant that we needed to bee-line it for the warm chowder.

San Francisco Bay

San Francisco Bay San Francisco Bay San Francisco Bay

In a post-chowder-coma, we wandered through the tourist hot-spots and got some lovely souvenirs, then hit up Ghirardelli Square… because there’s always room for chocolate. After a god-awful long wait, we jumped on a cable car and rode around for a little while to give our tired feet a break.

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