How do you say yes to your dress when there’s no teary-eyed “this is it!” moment?

Guest post by Rachael Stanford
Dress by Miss Brache

Everyone who has watched “Say Yes to the Dress” knows about the expected “ah-hah” moment in the bridal dress salon. You know the one… after trying on dress after dress that she hates, finally — on the verge of having a nervous breakdown — the bride tries on the one perfect dress. She sobs at her beauty, as does the entourage, and maybe even the bridal consultant. Teary-eyed and aghast, she realizes that, out of the thousands maybe even millions of wedding dresses out there, this is her perfect dress.

As I sat in the bridal boutique, dressed in a gown, that I really liked, I waited for it… that moment of joy to wash over everyone in the store, and for me magically and tearfully to be transformed into a bride.

Nothing happened.

Everyone agreed, I looked pretty. But there were no tears, no declarations that I had to have this dress. I didn't feel anymore like a bride than I did the moment before I stepped into the dress.

I could picture myself in this dress on my wedding day, but, I also knew that I couldn't say for sure that this was “the one.” After all, there were thousands if not millions of dresses out there, which makes it very probable that there was somewhere out there a dress I liked better.

I didn't have long to make up my mind, though. The dress was an out-of-date sample, and on clearance, marked down over 80% — which was important because my fiancé and I are on a very tiny budget — which also meant that if I didn't get it now, I might not ever get it.

But without the cheers, shouts, and tears, saying “yes” almost seemed like a failure. Would I be doomed to a lifetime of regret and staring at pictures wishing, if only I had bought another dress?

Then I had a reality check. What did it matter if there were other dresses out there that I might like better? I liked this one.

And in the end, I reminded myself that I could wear a potato sack and would still be gleefully happy on my wedding day and all the other extra stuff, was just that, extra stuff. I wanted to marry my fiancé. I didn't care if I was a model, or a pretty-pretty princess, or whatever else TV told me I should be.

Don't get me wrong: months later I am still gleefully happy with my dress. I made the right choice for me. I didn't need some special moment to validate my decision. They might make for good television moments, but in the end some teary-eyed declaration of love for an inanimate object is the least of my concerns.

Did you cry when you found your dress? If not, how did you know it was “the dress” without the reality TV moment?

Comments on How do you say yes to your dress when there’s no teary-eyed “this is it!” moment?

  1. I tried on 6-7 dresses and ended up going with the first one I tried on. No tears, no ah-ha moment. There was sort of a quiet “oooh you look pretty” moment in my head, and then I went home, thought about it for a few days, and then went back and bought it.

    • Exactly what happened to me. There was no crying from me, only a wow I look good moment. I bought my dress 4 days later.

    • Same here! I was happy, but there were no tears… I only cry when I’m upset or distressed, anyways, so that would have been weird for me. Mine was the second one I tried on out of six and I ordered it a week later after quiet reflection. 🙂

  2. I recently found my dress and I didn’t have that moment either! It was more like a “wow i actually look good in this dress and I have a figure! It’s mine” — the tears came when she showed me the coordinating flower girl dress for my daughter lol

  3. I really liked the 3rd dress I tried on but because I hadn’t tried on any others I even kind of liked I couldn’t decide. I tried on some more and just felt exhausted. I realized I just needed to go and get some tacos with my mom- take a break from dress shopping- and when the food arrived my mom and I decided to call the shop and order it (over the phone!). It was a great moment- the eating good food and jumping up and down with my mom in our favorite taco chain. That moment was far more special than any of the actual trying the dresses on. In the store with other people trying on dresses that were beautiful but so far out of my budget, I couldn’t make a decision. But with hearty food and comfort I could. Sometimes the moment can come later.

  4. I TOTALLY relate here. I tried on about 8 dresses, then came right back to the first one. I kept thinking “But I didn’t cry over it, I didn’t feel an overwhelming rush or joy in it.. surely I can’t just be.. done already? It can’t be the first one?!?” 16 months later at the wedding and now a year post wedding, I do LOVE my dress, but I didn’t cry over it.

  5. I tried on one dress, liked it, and bought it then and there. There were no tears, but I knew the dress was right for me because it met the criteria for what I wanted in a wedding dress: v-neck, thick straps to allow for a supportive bra, defined waist, ivory color, zero beads or other embellishments, floor length but no train, a-line but not poofy to allow normal bathroom usage, and within budget. So yeah, maybe not the most romantic thing ever and certainly not a good plot for a TV show, but two years later I’m still totally happy with the results.

  6. I think it all has to do with personality. I still haven’t bought my dress but after having tried on a few dresses…two of them made me cry. Neither one was particularly, me, they were beautiful, just not me. It’s just the mindset that I’ve never actually thought I’d be getting married, and here I am in a wedding dress about to marry the perfect guy for me.

    Also, TV shows thrive on drama, those tears are just a portion of it.

  7. I probably had a more typical/mainstream/WIC dress shopping experience in general, but I still definitely didn’t have a crying moment or a rush of deep, unending joy when I put on THE ONE. I did feel giddy in one dress more than the other, and couldn’t wait to dance in it.

    What DID make me cry was when my mom looked at me and said, “You know, you look beautiful and I can tell you feel beautiful, which makes me happy. But what makes me happiest is that you’ve found someone who you love and who loves you so much, and who I know you’re going to have an amazing partnership with. And that’s what matters, right?”

    Ultimately, a dress is a dress. What matters, like you and my mom said, is that you’re blissfully happy with the one you love. And if you get to rock a great frock because you want to and it makes you feel good? Cool!

  8. I feel like this is an example of the wedding media really messing with people’s heads, and putting weird expectations into the minds of engaged folks. Sobbing “OH MY GOD THIS IS IT!” moments make for great television… but so do alien invasions and zombie outbreaks, and no one expects THOSE to happen in real life.

    • It’s so important to reality check reality TV: they film a LOT of brides that never make it on air. You calmly picked out a dress that was the smart choice for you, with no family drama or personal meltdown? Welp, you wouldn’t make good TV, but you ended up with a great dress that’s going to be THE dress once you’re getting married. Enjoy!

    • Thank you sooooo much!!! I am so sick of people thinking there will be this amazing moment when I try on a THE dress. THE dress is the one I will walk down the isle in, it’s THE man waiting for me who matters (and I’m sure he wouldn’t care if I showed up in a white trash bag). Don’t get me wrong I want a nice dress it’s just at this point I am completely frustrated with people equating reality TV to reality!

  9. I bought either dress 72 or 73 (I know, that’s ridiculous), and there wasn’t any tears or magical bride transformation. I was going to be a bride no matter what. What sold me on it was the fact that it felt like ME. It felt like something I could have had hanging in my closet amongst all my other favourite dresses, but it just happened to be white and black. My mum said she was sold on it, 100%, when I wouldn’t stop twirling around in front of the mirror and playing with the skirt. It was like I was five years old again, and that was also a great feeling.

    • I didn’t try on as many dresses as you did, but I think I picked mine because of the same feeling! I know that my dress actually comes in other colors and I’m considering purchasing from the designer rather than the bridal boutique just to possibly send it back and get another color to wear for everyday life after the wedding!

  10. I tried on 3 dresses at David’s Bridal and they were all ok but not awesome. The rep asked me what would make the dress awesome so I described what I had in mind and she said, “ok I think I have one dress that would fit your idea”. She came back with the dress and it pretty much fit and looked fine. I didn’t get all teary though, the dress to me wasn’t a big aspect of the total picture. As a matter of fact the only thing I kept from my dress was the corset strap. The rest of it was donated to Brides Against Breast Cancer.

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