Wedding Wednesday: Dress Shopping & Finding THE Dress

**Wedding Wednesday is a feature on my blog documenting our wedding planning process – thoughts, reflections, ideas, milestones. Follow along as we plan a wedding in our home city of Cincinnati while we live in Denver.**

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Part of me hesitates to post photos and my experience dress shopping – I won’t be posting photos of the dress I purchased but it feels strange to post photos of non-winning dresses – it feels vain. However, I do want to remember and chronicle my experience and this time in my life so photos and experience are blogged.

The main reason I scheduled my trip to Cincinnati was to look for and hopefully order a dress. I  gave myself 2 weeks ‘post-crutches’ to ensure that I’d feel comfortable walking and standing all day for dress shopping. 6 months is on the shorter side of the dress shopping timeline but given my surgeries, I didn’t have much of a choice.

I chose to dress shop in Cincinnati because it was important to me to share the experience with my mom and sisters (Trisha, Lexi) and because I figured if I bought my dress in Cincinnati, I won’t have to fool around with shipping or bringing it from Denver to Cincinnati.

I’d looked at a few bridal stores before coming to Cincinnati, called to see if I needed an appointment to try on dresses but really, had no idea what to expect.

Fortunately, Cincinnati has a well-known bridal district in a nearby suburb to where my family lives, the Reading Bridal District. It is a few block section of Reading dedicated to all things weddings – dress shops, alterations, lingerie, slips, shoes, flowers, photography, cake. You name it, there’s a store for it.

We started at Wendy’s Cincinnati Bride shortly after it opened, 10 a.m. We were immediately greeted by Barbara who was our consultant. She asked about my style, what I was looking for and soon told us to pick some dresses out. I ended up with 7 dresses in the fitting room with me.

Unsure what my style was, I had a wide range of dresses – straps, strapless, satin, lace, jeweled, plain.

The first dress I tried on, I LOVED instantly. It fit exactly perfect and looked incredible – it was going to be tough to keep an open mind about any dress after.

I tried on a few others but knew they weren’t my dress.

Ensuring I can dance…

Too shiny, to blingy

I (unknowingly) broke rule #1 of wedding dress shopping, as taught by Say Yes To The Dress, and fell in love with a dress outside of my budget. Dress #1 was $600 more expensive than my limit. Shoot.

Our consultant took down the dress name so if I wanted to come back and purchase the dress, I could do so easily.

We then walked across the street to Bridal and Formal. It was a lot more hectic of a store but our consultant, Norma, directed us to dresses within my budget. Between the 5 of us (4 family, 1 consultant), we ended up with about 12+ dresses to try.

Rather than having my own changing room, all brides tried dresses in 1 common room. The room had about 10 ‘stations’ for girls to try dresses in front of the mirror. We weren’t able to take any photos in this room for obvious reasons – other girls changing in and out of dresses. In fact, no photos were allowed in the whole store unless I’d purchased the dress. Needless to say, I have no photos which means Bridal and Formal did not have my dress.

We girls needed a break from dress shopping and desperately needed fresh air so we walked up the street to a local bar for lunch. Foley’s was decent food, nothing to write home about, but I was very surprised that it wasn’t a bit more ‘girly’ or classy. I appreciated the casual atmosphere but for being in a bridal district, it was very much ‘neighborhood bar’ than ‘dress shopping lunch break.’

After lunch, we were ready to brave the stores again. This time we headed to David’s Bridal, outside of the bridal district. I know I want to use David’s Bridal for bridesmaid’s dresses since my girls are all over the country so I had my sisters peruse bridesmaid’s dresses while I scouted wedding dresses.

I found my dress at David’s Bridal. It was within my price point, contains all of the pieces I liked of previous dresses I’d tried on and made me feel great. I knew right away that the dress I had on was the one – doubly confirmed after seeing my mom’s and sister’s reactions.

I tried it on with a veil, with a hair piece and while holding a fake bouquet. I stood next to my sisters, wearing potential bridesmaid’s dresses.

Holy cow. This is REAL.

I got emotional – I saw myself walking down the aisle with my dad, him lifting my veil, meeting Alex at the end.

THIS is the dress I will get married in.

This is what I’ll be wearing as I commit my life to my best friend.

This is what I’ll dance our first dance in, celebrate my first night as a wife in.

Wow.

We bought the dress and it should be delivered to the Cincinnati store 6-8 weeks before our wedding. I’ll be back in Cincinnati around that time to wrap up last-minute things for our wedding (menu, cupcake flavors, wedding band shopping, etc) so the timing will be perfect.

Leaving Cincinnati on Sunday, I had butterflies in my stomach. All of the big pieces are coming together – we have a photographer, hair/makeup, cake, ceremony and reception venues (and I’ve seen them both, now!). It’s so easy to envision the day, the happiness and love.

6 short months.


Comments

Wedding Wednesday: Dress Shopping & Finding THE Dress — 13 Comments

  1. Wow, if those dresses are the rejects, I can’t imagine what the winner looks like! You look absolutely stunning in all of them!!
    How exciting! I think it’s an awesome idea that you are documenting everything with your wedding planning. It will be so much fun to look back at when it’s all over. I really wish I had been blogging before I was married- but I do kinda reminisce looking at your posts. :)

  2. yeah! i can’t wait for more wedding things to happen!

    when you walked out in your dress, i had my own little moment of ‘holy moley, my sister is actually getting married!’

    then i thought, ‘no fair, she gets to do all the fun stuff first!’

    but for real, i’m glad you were able to come home so we could all share in that moment with you :)

  3. I’m so happy for you!!! It took me all day to find my dress and it was the same thing: david’s bridal. I was so surprised I liked something there when I really thought it would be “cheaper” than the other places! It’s really happening girl and I can’t wait for you!

  4. Hurray on finding THE dress!! Based on the pictures above, you’re going to be a stunner. And what will make you most beautiful of all is the smile you have on your face as you say ‘I do’ to your best friend.

  5. Awww congrats on finding THE dress! I got mine at David’s too – it was the second one I tried on, and I wasn’t even shopping for ME that day, I was with a friend for her dress shopping, and she INSISTED that since I was engaged I should try some on too… Success!

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