Big Wedding, Small Budget

Wedding Dress Shopping – What I Learned

on March 12, 2012

Wedding dress shopping was surprising in so many ways. I learned way more about myself and this wedding planning process than I had expected.

  • I never expected to have that feeling they always talk about when you find a wedding dress. I know not everyone has it. I told myself not to expect. But I totally did. I actually got a little choked up once I made the decision, although I recovered myself quickly. I am an emotional person, but I didn’t ever think I would get emotional about the traditional things. I’ll for sure be adjusting my expectations for the wedding day, planning to surprise myself, as contradictory as that sounds.
  • Sometimes the experience is more important than the cost. I hadn’t planned to buy a dress that day. I thought that if I found one I liked, I would shop online and see if I could find it cheaper. Frugality is the name of the game, after all. I knew I would be going back the next week to show it to Emily, so I’d have another chance to purchase. But when the time came, all of that went out the window. I loved finding my dress, and actually purchasing it completed the process and took a big item off of the to-do list. Also, my consultant was fabulous and she deserved the commission. So, my money-saving plan disappeared, and I went with the emotion of the moment. I should note that I was only able to do this because I stuck to my planned budget while looking. So I knew that even if I bought the dress in the store, I was able to afford it. And it was totally worth doing it this way.
  • “Perfect is the enemy of good.” I started out this wedding planning process with a few rules for myself. One was that I had to squash my perfectionist tendencies. If we found something we liked and it was within budget, than the search was over. There is no reason to waste time looking for the absolute best option in everything. All I would do was drive myself crazy. Good rule, right? But I doubted my ability to follow it. There was definitely a moment during shopping that I thought, “Well, maybe I should go to some other stores and see if I can find something better.” But I loved my dress! Why look anywhere else? Luckily, I was able to push that thought away and remember my advice to myself. Choosing the dress made me happy and relieved, and preserved the experience as a positive one. I’ll have to remember this lesson when we start looking for photographers.
  • There is a place for tradition in my heart. Even though this wedding is offbeat-lite, untraditional to most of the people reading this blog, that doesn’t mean that everything has to be untraditional. I ended up with a dress that is way more wedding-y than what I expected, and that quality was one of the reasons I chose it. In a different, casual atmosphere, it will be nice to have some touches of tradition, something to ground us and our guests to the wedding experience. It’s not just a family reunion, after all, even if that is the general vibe we’re going for. The truth is that while I may be fairly radical in my beliefs, I connect to tradition throughout my life. Getting married is traditional in and of itself. It connects us to the generations before, to the families around us. That is super meaningful to me, and it’s one of the reasons I believe in marriage equality so fervently. Having some traditional touches, including the dress, honors that part of myself that has been fairly quiet throughout this process so far.
  • The people in my life are AWESOME. My friends and my mom were so supportive at the store. The ones I told over about the dress over phone and text were just as excited and happy for me. It’s always nice to have a reminder of how lucky I am. It makes me even more excited to celebrate with those I love around me next March.

One response to “Wedding Dress Shopping – What I Learned

  1. obpearson says:

    I’m so happy you found your dress! I found mine there and on my first visit too. When you know-you just know. 🙂


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