I pinned a lot of wedding dresses that had a similar shape, but are any of those THE dress? Nope. The one I picked isn’t on ANY of my boards because I never even considered it until I put it on. Lesson: just because you like the dress on a super skinny model does NOT mean you will like it on your real-person body.
I had Mission: Wedding Dress well-planned. You see, my people live on the other side of the world (aka the West & Northwest sides of Phoenix) so I had to try to fit as much into one day as possible. The drive across Phoenix isn’t fun for anyone! So I made a map of the shops I wanted to visit: David’s Bridal, Group USA, Brilliant Bridal, and Suzanne’s Bridal. (And I had already researched what to wear to try on dresses, so I was super prepared — thanks to everyone that left advice in the comments. I have very helpful readers.)
Feel free to read more about my day, or skip straight to the not-it dresses.
My dress budget isn’t huge, in fact, our entire wedding budget is pretty small compared to what some people spend. So David’s Bridal was pretty much a must-visit because their dresses really are fairly affordable and you can see SO MANY of their dresses online (though it’s a bummer some are online only). While I had heard some terrible things about them and read some very bad reviews on their website, I still had to give them a shot. In preparation for stop #1, I printed out all of my photos from DB’s website to show my consultant, but they already had my “likes” printed out when I arrived (I don’t remember liking things, but it might have been from things I pinned…it was like magic though). I also showed my wonderful consultant the dress that some bad Pinner pinned without any information about where the dress was from and a few of the other styles I liked from the Dessy Group.
So we get to DB (me, V, and B) and while the nice woman at the front that greets you/signs you in was kind of rushed, everyone was incredibly nice. My appointment was scheduled for half an hour after they opened, but they were still super busy! They gave me some pamphlets, introduced me to A (my consultant), and explained how the process works at DB. Usually the consultants work with two brides and my experience was no different. This worked really well for us because V & B don’t mess around. Before A showed us to my fitting room, we grabbed a few from the racks and then we headed back. Their fitting rooms were SO LITTLE! There was hardly room for me in their with all of those giant dresses…so by the end, we pretty much kept the door open while I changed from dress to dress. I have no shame and really a strapless bra & underroos — it’s just like being in a swimsuit.
Then the crazy really started. I tried on every dress I had pinned, the random dresses we grabbed, the wild cards A suggested I try…lots of dresses. There were only two dresses left in the fitting room. One that I had tried & liked. One that A brought as a similar dress to the unknown Pinterest dress. And it was beautiful. I didn’t even need to put on the previously liked dress again. A brought one more flowy dress for me to try, but I knew. I left David’s Bridal with those last two dresses on my list and headed to the next stop: GroupUSA (but we had lunch at Joe’s Crab Shack first).
Group USA is nice because it’s just a big store in the mall. You can grab & try on as you want. So we grabbed and grabbed…and WHOA. Wedding gowns are HEAVY. Once my arms were ready to fall off, we headed to a HUGE fitting room. One where all three of us and the huge dresses could fit comfortably.
It’s here that I learn about Wedding Dress Sizing. Apparently dress makers want me to feel like a lardass because I had to try on dresses a size bigger than I would normally try. And at DB I was in a 14 in a lot of dresses…well, at GroupUSA I got stuck in 14s. Really. I was STUCK in more than one dress and had to carefully shimmy my way out of them (in more than one instance, I was assisted by Beej). There were some LOVELY options at GroupUSA, but since their dresses you grab yourself they were make-up covered and gross. No idea if you can order clean ones…maybe that’s a possibility? Anyway, I found a dress that I really liked and headed to stop #3.
Brilliant is an off-the-rack bridal shop so what you see is what you get…And we didn’t see much. There was one dress I kind of liked in my size and one beautiful Alfred Angelo in a size 20. I tried them both on and loved the Alfred Angelo, but it was a size 20 and while I might not be a size 2…I’m definitely not a 20. Onward!
Stop #4: Suzanne’s is one of those traditional wedding shops that has the pricier designer gowns and I really wanted to go there because their website said they had the After Six wedding gowns and a few of the Dessy Group’s bridesmaids lines. We arrived early and Suzanne’s was super busy. We stood around for a little while before anyone greeted us. There was a girl at the front desk, but she was obviously very busy doing something that stopped her from saying hi. Finally, one of the ladies asked me to sign-in and showed us around the store. They DID NOT have the After Six wedding gowns and that was a huge bummer. They did have a few of the bmaid dresses I wanted to try, so it wasn’t a total bust. We grabbed a few of those and eventually were shown into a fitting room. However, no consultant EVER introduced herself or asked me about what kind of style of wedding gown I was interested in. It was kind of disappointing. I understand that we were early so I’m not saying Suzanne’s is terrible, but my experience there kind of sucked. I only liked one of the dresses I tried on. It was a pretty dress, but it wasn’t anything special.
We headed back to David’s Bridal– that’s where the cars were. DB’s was kind enough to let me try those last two dresses on again. After all those stops and all those dresses, I knew that lovely dress from Stop #1 was IT. It just feels special and I look really beautiful in it (really, I do and I never think that about myself). My consultant wasn’t there, but another consultant helped us out and was just as nice as A. David’s Bridal gets a bad rap sometimes, but my experience was nothing by great. I mean, I AM going to give them lots of money over the next few months and I only do that if I really like a store.
For those curious:
Top Row – Left to Right
- David’s Bridal – Galina Burnout Chiffon Gown (I didn’t know what a burnout meant until I saw this gown in person. It was one of my favorites.)
- David’s Bridal – Galina Strapless Shantung Taffeta Sweetheart Ball Gown (super heavy!)
- David’s Bridal – Organza Gown with Print Waistband and 3D Flower (I really liked this ruched bodice thing, but it looked like I was pooping blue fabric. A note on the ruched bodice thing…I thought for sure it would look terrible on a larger than average girl like myself, but it was a lovely fit.)
- David’s Bridal – I couldn’t find this dress on their website. Again, I liked the ruched bodice, but what’s with those extra ruffles on the bottom? Not to mention, it’s WAY too ball gown for me.
- Group USA – No idea about the style on this one either, but it made my boobs look huge!
Bottom Row – Left to Right
- Brilliant Bridal – The is the beautiful but too large Alfred Angelo dress.
- David’s Bridal – Galina…Don’t know the style
- David’s Bridal – Galina Sweetheart Organza Gown with Pick Up Skirt
- David’s Bridal – Strapless Printed Organza Soft A-Line Gown (I really like that this one isn’t white, but is still neutral enough to be a wedding gown)
- Group USA – Strapless Shirred Chiffon Rossette Wedding Dress (Definitely a favorite and yep…I’m making a Zoolander face.)