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

Updated Mar 15 2021
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 The dress was an out-of-date sample, and on clearance, marked down over 80% — which was important because my fiancé and I are on a very tiny budget — which also meant that if I didn't get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?

  1. I was the same way. I didn't cry or feel overly emotional. I liked the dress and I looked really good in it so we got it. I later found out my future sister-in-law was the one who picked it out for me and the design of the dress was Celeste which is my oldest sister's name. There is an awesome connection to my dress now. Every time I look it up online to look at it I just think to myself, "that is MY dress." Still no tears but I am more in love with my fiance than any piece of clothing.

  2. I didn't actually feel like a bride in my dress until my final fitting. I non-emotionally chose it for all the right reasons, but was (needlessly) worried it would somehow end up disastrous. Finally, once all the alterations had been made and the custom touches added and my vision was reality, I really fell in love with it. I DID cry at our first look. "Its exactly what I was hoping for" he said… and I felt the same.

  3. I found my dress almost by accident…there was a bridal salon going out of business and having a big sale about a month after I got engaged, so my mom and my best friend and I went out for an afternoon so I could try on some dresses and just get a feel for what styles looked good on me. I didn't really intend to get a dress that day. I tried on about six or seven dresses. There were two that I really loved, but one was an all-over lace gown. As I'm very very short, I would have needed to have it hemmed about a foot, which would have required me to sacrifice way too much of the dress. The other one, which had a very heavily embellished bodice but a plain silk skirt, would be relatively easy to alter, and looked amazing on me. It's also very unique and insanely beautiful. None of us cried, but we were all very excited that the dress looked so nice on me, and my mom and friend both agreed that it was very "me". I'm THRILLED with my dress and I can't wait to wear it 😀

  4. After telling her that I found my dress, my future mother-in-law asked multiple times if I had cried. When I replied that I just got an inexpensive dress that I didn't hate, she immediately stopped talking, and hasn't brought it up since. I can't help but feel like I totally disappointed her, but I'm not sorry for being honest about my feelings.

  5. I had a very similar experience. I was in my third of fourth dress shop and I was tired and sweating. (It should be an arctic in those stores; those dresses are like miniture saunas.) My cousin, who was with me, said she thought it was the dress, and it did have many of the attributes I was looking for (lace, ivory, a little quirky). But I didn't tear up or feel instantly like a bride. I did feel my best in that dress compared to the others. I liked it; I even maybe loved it. And it was more than 50% off. In the end, I wavered between it and another. I went with it because I liked it the best out of all that I had seen that day. And if anything, I've actually fallen more in love with my dress since we've gotten closer to the wedding.

    David's Bridal, where I bought the dress, has a tradition of sorts where you ring this bell when you find THE dress. So when I decided on the dress, they handed me the bell and instructed me to close my eyes, make a wish, and ring it. I questioned if the dress was my dress because I felt to awkward ringing that bell in a store full of people. Now, I realize that the bell is just an awkward situation, no matter what dress you're in.

    It may not be THE dress for me out of all the dresses in the world. But it is definitely the dress for me in my budget in Louisiana, where I was shopping. I love my dress, but I'm also sure I could love other dresses out there. And I think that's the case with everyone.

  6. No tears. Overall the experience was anti-climatic, even a bit tiring. I tried on a lot of dresses. Most of them were pretty, but not flattering for my body type or my style. At the end, there was only one dress than 1) made me look good and comfortable in my body, and 2) appealed to my sense of style. So that's the one I went with. Very pragmatic. After I had decided upon it though, I imagined myself walking down the aisle in that dress towards my partner, and that certainly gave me chills! Not because of the dress, but just because "omg I'm getting married to the love of my life!!!! I can't wait!"

  7. I tried one dress on and it was MY dress. I knew it and I didn't try any other dresses. I was just teary when I saw my mom. She had this look on her face like "OMG my daughter is getting married!!!". And then I felt the same way. It made me realize that I'm actually really getting married. I was overwhelmed. I knew it was perfect for me because it felt like a pyjama. Comfortable and soft. I felt pretty and awesome. It was the first thing that I had in my hands from my wedding. Of course there will be food, music and party but it will come together on my wedding day and the dress gave me the glance of it. And after I tried it on I saw no reason to look for more dresses. Easy.

  8. I didn't have the moment but then again I have never actually seen myself in my dress. I went to a bridal salon that was having a trunk show of a designer that I liked. Part of the trunk show was that they had the sample dresses from their runway show. I tried on quite a few dresses but could not fit into the sample of the one I really like because well I am much bigger than the size 4 or 6 (don't remember) that it was in. I tried on a similar dress by the same designer to make sure the cut would look good but other than that I ordered it blindly. No opportunity to have the moment, but I guess that's something you have to do if you are a bigger girl. I'll finally get to try my dress on in 2 months but I don't think I'll cry then either.

  9. This article couldn't have come at a more perfect time. I've been having some anxiety due to worrying about a dress I will see in a few days that is also out-of-date sample so it's a love it or leave it deal. Even if I don't get that ah-ha moment, I think I'll be ok.

    • I ordered my dress back in April and it comes in from the designer in December. At this point, I don't really even remember what it looked like on, and all I have is one picture on my phone of the back to remind me so I'm in the same state of anxiety about my dress. The shop I ordered from required half the cost be paid up-front so if I get it and hate it, I'm already committed financially to it but I just keep telling myself that I loved it once, I can love it again…I'm sure you'll be okay!

  10. I didn't buy a bridal gown, so there weren't any of the traditional dress shopping moments for me. As a plus-size bride, I didn't expect to enjoy the shopping experience anyway. I came across my dress while browsing through a local thrift shop. Since it caught my eye on the rack, I showed it to my mom & daughter. They both thought it would be good to get for the wedding, even if it didn't work out, it was a pretty cheap chance to take! I didn't even try it on first.
    When I got it home and tried it on, despite the fact that it was just a bit too small, I loved it! Simple, flattering, it totally suits me! I'd been working on weight loss even before I got engaged, so it almost fits me now.

  11. I didn't cry either when I chose my dress. I tried on four other dresses and then one of the sales ladies pulled a dress that was a blend of styles that I liked and it just worked. It wasn't what I envisioned at all, but then I realized my dress didn't have to follow the theme (sci fi) or the venue (a library). It was marked down 50% and it was a designer I hadn't heard of, it couldn't be ordered and it was almost exactly my size. It felt like it was meant to be even if I wasn't bawling my eyes out. I figured I would be a wreck on the big day anyway.

  12. I am definitely in the same boat as the writer. It was more of the situation where I kept narrowing down the dresses at the one shop with lots & lots of plus size dresses, narrowed down to 3, then down to 2, and chose between those two. I told my mom "this is the dress", we ordered it, and that was one more item crossed off my list.
    Sometimes I wonder about that other dress, but I know that I was beautiful when I married my husband, and I really do love my dress. I just never cried over it.

  13. I had a 'Wow that looks surprisingly good!' moment, but no tears from anyone! The dress I went with was totally not what I expected as although I love the 50's look I didn't think it would suit me. I was looking for a slim fitting red dress and got a pouffy 50's ivory one, because it was flattering and the bridal shop were willing to sell me the sample.
    I've had a few gasps when showing pictures to family, but mainly because they are in shock to see me in an ivory puffy thing.
    Of course now I own it, it is 'the dress', because it's what I'm wearing… If that makes sense. But without the drama.

  14. I went to one shop and only one shop. I had plans on looking around more but I found my dress at the first place I went. I didn't want to spend more than $100 but ended up spending about $400. Still well below what most wedding dresses cost so I feel I did good. I tried on four dresses that were cocktail dresses (and under the $100 mark) and then for the hell of it I tried on ONE wedding gown. It wasn't the right size but we cinched it up and it looked pretty on me. It is a simple gown and I didn't cry or feel any crazy "THIS IS THE ONE!" things that you see on tv or read about in wedding articles…I just felt warm and satisfied. I didn't have any expectations about how to feel. I mostly was focused on it not costing a crazy amount of money and I didn't want a super fru fru dress. I'm very happy with it 🙂

  15. So glad I found this blog post, and I'm not the only one! After trying on what felt like hundreds of dresses in many shops, I was frightened to admit it, but I was BORED of dress shopping! I felt like a fraud of a bride to be! Ended up going for one of the four or five dresses I liked, mainly as I didn't have the energy to try on any more. Have to admit, am really excited about the thought of wearing it now :-). I think I went for the one I chose because I spent the longest twirling around in it. That must mean something!

  16. I didn't have the tv show moment when I found me dress either. What I did have was a "OH MY GOSH A DRESS THAT ACTUALLY FITS ME!!!" moment. I am what I call a healthy size with curves that I am proud of (Aussie size 12), and when I went dress shopping I found most shops only had floor stock to try on up to a size 8-10. I felt horrible when the zip/buttons/corset wouldnt do up and they would need to get the comically large clips out to strap me into the dress. How was I supposed to get a clear picture of the dress and if it suited me if the darn thing doesnt sit right on me? I felt ugly and awful in each and every one of those silly dresses. Heaven help the brides who are a larger size than me who try on those tiny dresses!! (What is the wedding industry playing at, making brides feel awful about themselves?!) Thankfully I found this shop/warehouse that had dresses of most sizes on hand in most styles. I picked a dress that made me feel beautiful, comfortable, and didn't need an army to get me into.

  17. My yes moment wasn't in the shop. Yes, I did love the dress, no I did not have a "THIS IS IT" moment right then. I think the matter of looking through hundreds of dresses and playing barbie doll, trying so many on, I was so overwhelmed with options to ever have that moment. My moment came later when I was showing my bridesmaid some photos of the dresses I'd tried on (I only took my mum shopping), and flicking through, she had a few dampening things to say about one dress, it really upset and offended me. That's how I realised how much I loved that dress, I just hadn't allowed myself to see it before, and having someone say that it wasn't their idea of a wedding dress made me realise that. So I went and bought it, knowing that I loved it and not caring about what anyone else thought!

  18. I am so glad this article came out when it did.
    I bought my dress yesterday. I went with my two nanas because my mum stays too far away. It was the second shop I'd been to. In the first one I'd been really put off the whole dress shopping experience but I'd seen a dress I liked online and found out that a shop relatively close to me stocked it so I decided it couldn't hurt to try it on.
    I picked it out and tried it on and there were no tears from me or my nanas but after remembering this article (and a quick picture message to and a reassuring phone call from my mum) I bought it. It's exactly what I was looking for and it turns out the sample was a perfect fit so it's been ordered in that size and hopefully won't need much altering once it gets here. As a bonus it was 15% off too.
    I did kind of think that I would end up having a "moment" because I get super emotional over a lot of stuff, but I think I'm just saving them all up for the day.

  19. The dress I bought, I tried it on, and my first reaction was: Oh my god, my boobs look amazing.

    No crying for sure though. I do cry over really random stuff, but clothes? Clothes. Eh.

    To be honest, though, the first time I tried it on I wasn't actually looking to buy a 'wedding' dress. It just sort of happened, later, when it kept playing on my mind. That might have dulled the crying? I just think women on those shows are prone to tears. Must be why they show them!

  20. I cried over a dress I knew I didn't want (even though it was flattering), but was my mother's favourite. I cried because I was concerned about caving to someone else's vision. The shop-lady helping me the dressing room was great, and reminded me that it's my wedding to plan.
    A few days later, I dropped my mom off at the airport and went dress-shopping without her. I bought a dress neither of us previously experienced because I loved it. I didn't cry. Instead of making me feel like I compromised, I feel like a winner. The dress is fun, fabulous, me, and I look pretty. Definitely, no tears. Just joy.

  21. I was adamant about not making a big deal about the dress — after all, it's the marriage that's the important part (even if you lose sight of that in all the wedding prep sometimes).

    I went to David's, gave them some parameters, tried on a few things without any family or friends around, found a couple I liked, picked the one I'd be able to dance in, and then went back a couple days later and bought it with my mom and a friend, just for a second opinion.

    They have a stupid "tradition" there manufactured to get young girls all in a tizzy over a dress, wherein once you've found "the one" you ring a bell and make a wish and your true love hears it. I told them, politely, to take their bell and stick it where the sun don't shine.

    I'd like to think of my husband, more or less, as "the one," not a dumb (though very pretty and flattering) dress.

  22. I didn't have that moment, of course I tried on a bunch of dresses I liked, but I ended up getting one designed. I did feel a little emotional once we were done designing the dress and agreeing upon everything. Then it really felt real. But I think it's because I wanted something unique and didn't find anything on the racks that fit my needs. But designing one, was awesome!

  23. The first one I tried on I thought was the one. I had put it on layaway. Then after a few months I realized it wasn't going to work. I was going to have it custom made in China and that fell through as well. Then I called my sister cause she had been telling me all along I could have her's. I was sceptical cause she is an odd duck. I was pleasantly surprised. Her gown is my ONE. I almost had the crying thing but still didn't. Maybe after it's altered to fit me better maybe.

  24. I was SO sure that I would simply find a dress, try it on, and it'd be in my budget and wahay, sorted 🙂 FOOL!! I naively assumed that the dress decision would be as laid-back and easy as every other one we had made about the wedding. But when you are on a tight (and small) budget, options seem to disappear. I can't stand the thought of having silk or satin, and tulle and lace immediately hike the prices up. I've searched through all my local – and not so local – bridal boutiques (in the UK) and every dress that I thought was close to what I had imagined is way (and I mean WAY) out of my league!! It seems that here in the UK if money IS an issue, you're expected to want one of two things: a) a 1990s white satin strapless pintuck creation or b) a vintage/vintage styled shorter dress. Neither or which appeal/suit me.

    Ultimately it looks like I'm running a risk and order my dress online from the US. I've seen the dress both in photo and video form, and the movement is exactly what I was looking for, the design not quite what I had envisioned, but I've come to realise that in reality you don't get a 'OMG this is the one it's PERFECT' moment. Like with every other part of the wedding there's compromise and at the end of the day, as I keep reminding myself, it's just. a. dress!!

  25. I am also a designer and have made literally thousands of wedding dresses. I adore making them and I love the ritual and specialness of the occasion, however as someone who is not emotional in any way, I get really freaked out when clients cry after putting on their dress. It's just like, "nononono, don't do that! why are you doing that? please stop that, please don't hug me" lol!

  26. I didn't have the tearful this is it moment either. DH and I got engaged and planned to have the wedding six months later. I knew I couldn't afford to dress shop for weekends on end, and I knew that I had a very tiny dress budget.
    I was silly and went to the more expensive place first… the only bridal dresses in my range were the clearance dresses that were the only ones left of that style… and none of them fit my very short and rather round figure.
    My consultant then suggested looking at bridesmaid dresses because I wanted a short dress that was not stark white. The second one she brought in from the bridesmaid collection was the dress I chose. I never went to Davids Bridal. I chose my dress on the first dress outing.
    No one had tears (well, maybe my mom a little bit). I didn't freak out and have the "holy shit I'm getting married" moment. But I loved my dress none the less and it was perfect for our wedding 🙂

  27. I tried on probably 6 or 7 dresses before I decided on my dress, and it took two times of trying it on to decide that it was the one. The crying moment happened the second time around and only after I thought to myself that my fiance would absolutely love the dress…then I cried and declared that I was done. I didn't think it would happen for me and it almost didn't. None of my party cried but they certainly told me that I was being dumb to try on anything else and they ultimately were the ones who forced me into trying on the dress a second time…I think we all want that absolutely positive moment because your wedding day is the biggest day of your life and the dress is supposedly the most important part but as long as you feel beautiful and you can afford to eat afterward, then hey, you got it. There aren't any more rules to dress shopping then there are for weddings in general.

  28. Late to the party, I know, but since this site came up in the top five for what I was searching and this particular post up in the related links, thought I'd add something in from a bridal consultant's (I'm not one, but I have several family members in the business and I grew up playing in the alterations room) point of view.

    "Say Yes to the Dress", while entertaining, is probably the worst show to watch for soon-to-be-brides on the hunt for the dress. I can't say for sure, but I personally suspect that a lot of the tears you see on the show aren't totally genuine. It's a TV show, the brides-to-be know they won't get their ten-fifteen minutes of fame if they don't make it interesting. This puts a somewhat unrealistic expectation for brides-to-be that when they find 'the dress' they'll break down crying… and also that they should bring a half-dozen (or more) spectators.

    As a lot of the people who commented here already said, they didn't break down crying. That's totally normal. You know when you've found "the one dress" when you put it on, smile, and feel both pretty and comfortable. And let's face it, if you're feeling pretty when you put it on, then your husband-to-be is going to think you look stunningly beautiful (that's the nice thing about husbands, isn't it?). Sometimes you do have to shop around a bit, but don't wait for that moment where you burst into tears. If you're waiting for the tears, you'll likely exhaust yourself and then feel like you're just "settling for a dress", when you've already tried on and passed over the dress that really was for you.

    When you go shopping, bring one person. Bring your mother, sister, closest cousin or aunt, grandmother, best friend… but only bring one. One person is all you need to give you support, morale, and constructive criticism. Two, if you've got a pushy person who absolutely insists on being in on the process (but don't take their opinions too close to heart. You wanted someone else's opinion for a reason, and if this person won't respect your wishes they'll likely shoot down the right dress for you for something that -they- like), or if the person buying the dress for you insists. Anything more than that is just setting you up with a whole line of Hecklers (from the Muppets) and that'll just drain out your energy having to listen to all their arguing. Also, don't bring someone who's been married in the past year or is currently planning their own wedding… unintentional (and, unfortunately, sometimes deliberate) sabotage happens.

    Your budget is important. Know what it is, understand that there's always alterations, add-ons, veils, shoes, jewelry… many things that can make that expensive dress that you're not entirely fond of suddenly out of your range, but that pretty dress that was half the price suddenly, undeniably, The Dress. And don't even look at (nevermind try on) dresses that are completely out of your budget. It's an energy and focus drain for you.

    Don't stress if you don't find the right dress the first day. Often the hunt for the dress is more of a marathon, sometimes you just need to take a break. Go have lunch, go sleep on it for a day or two… or better yet, go look at bridesmaid dresses. Personal story here: I grew up playing in the alterations rooms of some of the higher-end bridal boutiques in my part of the country, so when it came time for me to get married you'd think that'd give me an edge in finding The Dress… nope. It took me months of looking, only to get so frustrated one day that I started looking at bridesmaid dresses just to cool off. And that's where I found The Dress. It was a simple A-line halter-top bridesmaid dress… and it was chocolate brown. It was perfect. I didn't cry when I walked out of the dressing room, I just looked at my reflection, turned to my mom, and said "This. This one." That's all, and I never regretted it.

  29. I am so happy to read these comments and to know that I'm not the only bride who has had this experience or one similar.

  30. I knew when I had found my dress that it was the one I was going to wear on my wedding day. It was more than I wanted to pay, but it was beautiful and I could put it in layaway. I began to research the designer and fell in love with his work. I never had a teary eyed OMG this is my dress moment. It was more like a declairitive moment of clearity, like "Yup, this is my dress alright. I don't want to finance it, tell me about your layaway!" I didn't realize how much I loved my dress until I had come close to not being able to pay it off and thought I was going to have to switch it for different dress. There were some tears then. Thankfully my Grandma's came together and help me pay it off. I was able to get it.

  31. I did have the 'this is MY dress' crying moment. It wasn't over the top like in SYTTD sometimes can be, but it was emotional for me. I was without my mom and was so overwhelmed with crazy emotions. Thankfully, my future mom-in-law recorded the moment and it really was simply beautiful. I was just so happy! …Blessed to be married this April!

  32. I most definitely did not cry and I never really thought I would. For the most part I'm a pretty practical person. But I did think I would finally try on one and somehow "know" instinctively that this was "the one". But then a wedding consultant told me… "If you're generally a practical person you will probably make this decision in that way too. And that's Okay!" In the end I went with the dress that everyone agreed looked the prettiest on me and went well with my vintage Halloween theme. Now that I've finally made the decision I am very happy and looking forward to wearing it!

  33. This is exactly what I was thinking, I love that I found this article today. I didn't get a teary/overwhelming happiness moment when I tried the dress on, I didn't realise the lack of "moment" until my maid of honour saw the picture I sent her and said " aw your mum must be in tears" I mentioned it to my parents and my dad said "no tears, but I farted, does that count?"
    I know that's the dress I'm going to get married in, its the first one I saw ( of about 7 ) and it goes with me, simple, beautiful, drama free 🙂 and my friends said it looks like Princess Leia's formal dress. Perfect

  34. Thank you!!

    I didn't cry when I saw my dress either. In fact, my dress was totally not what I was envisioning for myself. I went in thinking I wanted a non strapless, Great Gatsby type mermaid dress (having a garden, vintage type wedding). I ended up with a strapless ballgown. I went home the night I tried the dress on, checked online, and found out that since I went shopping during the weekend of Black Friday/Cyber Monday, the dress (which was already on sale) was an additional 50% off. Went back the next day to try on more dresses and kept going back to that ballgown-y dress and finally decided a) I looked and felt awesome in it, b) It may not have been Gatsby, but it still fits my theme (the Garden aspect), and c) it was only $450, which was WAAAAY under what I was expecting to pay.

    Best. Decision. Ever. But I did feel weird that there were no tears. . . .

  35. Oh thank goodness I found this article. I seriously went through the same thing (no tears, no OMG I FOUND THE ONE) and I've been questioning my excitement since. I didn't cry. I felt good in the dress. I could imagine myself wearing it at my wedding and it's a beautiful dress. The most indicating reason for me that this might be it was when I came out of the dressing room and my mom gasped. That pretty much told me the type of reaction others will have and that was good enough for me. But I am really excited to wear it again after it comes in (I actually had it on a few days ago dress shopping with my bridesmaids and I really liked having it on again).

  36. The bride in the dressing room next to me was obnoxious about me not crying. I appreciated her input about how much she liked my dress and how great it looked and when I said I was going to go with that one, she kept asking, "are you going to cry, is that a tear, I think I see a tear?" I wanted to snap and say, "some of us don't care about the dress, I just want something I feel comfortable and beautiful in and don't need to try on 100 dresses or cry"

  37. I think the problem is the expectation that this has to happen while standing on the dressing stand in a boutique while you're wearing £5000 worth of beads and lace.

    Eureka moments are not just about aesthetics (money apparently being no object) but about finding the dress that meets all of your needs, including the more practical ones.

    I tried on two dresses that day that I really liked. The second one was a gorgeous lace dress, long lines, beautifully finished edges, tiny buttons, the elegant late victorian dream dress. Four figure price tag. My mother wept.

    The first one was a dress from a high street store that was marked down to £70 (originally £220). It had nowhere near the construction quality and only a fraction of the beauty of the other. But this was the one that gave me the "aha" moment, because I realised I could get something that was 90% what I wanted style-wise without the added stresses and guilt of paying for an obnoxiously expensive dress.

    It was fun to try on better dresses but I'm much happier in a dress I don't have to freak out about staining!

    My advice for people still shopping would be to cast off other people's expectations about what a wedding dress is supposed to be. Look in high street stores, online, or at independant creators. I've seen great wedding dresses in charity shops more than once, that would be very serviceable after dry-cleaning. Look at white dresses that don't say "bridal" on the tag. Look at dresses that aren't white.

    My freind is getting married in a champange satin pencil dress from Coast. Looks spectacular. Was not sold as bridal wear.

  38. I did have the crying in front of the mirror and friends moment but it was more about the fact that getting married finally felt real. Up until that point it was a lot of talk and signing a contract or two but when I put the dress and veil on, in front of those I loved, the water works started. I didn't buy that dress even though I was overcome with emotion which I'm glad I did because 5 dresses and two shops later, I found THE one that made me feel beautiful AND like a bride.

  39. I only went to one bridal shop to try on dresses. I thought I would cry as I am emotional anyway but I didn't. I liked them dresses and felt like I looked amazing in one of them but I felt I couldn't justify the price. Even with my mom offering to pay I just did not want a dress over £1000 (and I thought that was quite a bit!!). I then found a dress I like online and bought it as it was £100 but it doesn't make me feel 'bridey'.
    Then last week my mom and I went to visit my grandmother (we live in the UK, my grandmother lives in Alabama) and we found my mom's wedding dress (that my grandmother made for her), which I have decided to wear now. We are going to a seamstress to get altered and updated but it feels so much more special and for the sentimental value I am willing to pay more for my dress. Maybe once I try on my finished dress with the veil my aunt is making I will cry but it's not happened yet.

  40. same for me. i tried on several dresses at several places and kept going back to one that i couldn't get out of my head. it is fairly plain but i fell in love with the fabric (feels like starchy cotton), the bow, and the low price. everyone thought it was too simple but it really felt like "me." so the next day i went to the bridal shop by myself on my lunch hour, tried it on, and bought it without any fanfare. i didn't need anyone to love it but me, and i didn't need bells rung or tears to know it's the right choice.

  41. I found mine online and never tried on a single dress. It fit our idea great and looked amazing. The dress was not even close to be the most important part. Plus had to keep it budget friends. I love SYTTD but definitely TV made.

  42. i saw my dress in a movie, liked it and thought it fit the idea of what I wanted to wear. So I found it online for cheap ($125), ordered it and will be getting it altered to fit (shortened and bust taken in) next month. No moment of any kind, since I just saw it online and bought it. It doesn't matter to me what I am wearing as long as I'm happy. Who cares what anyone thinks, since I get to marry someone so amazing…. I'd be happy to do it in my jeans and tshirt….. 🙂

  43. I had a similar experience. I found a dress the price was right and I really love it. After alterations maybe I'll have that moment but it's ok as long as at the end of the day I'm married 🙂

  44. I looked at a ton of dresses online, I had ideas and back-up plans and I went into the boutique knowing three things:

    1) I wanted a short dress, thick straps for a real bra, not fucking strapless, x-straps so I can show off my tattoos is great but not required, something that shows off my boobs because they're my favorite part of me without inciting my mother's wrath, full enough skirt to put a colorful petticoat under, adjustable at the back with elastic or lacing because I bloat when I get stressed, and not fucking white or anything close to it I was getting black or a COLOR.
    2) I was already looking at rush fees for formal dresses online and a few other places that I'd otherwise rejected, but I was not paying a thousand fucking dollars on a dress.
    3) I was going to keep an open mind and not reject anything out of hand, mostly out of politeness and also out of wanting a fun dress-buying experience (I figured if they were awful it would be fun to laugh about)–and thus if I didn't find anything I liked that day, I had an appointment for a custom dress for the next afternoon.

    I tried on the dress with almost all the characteristics I had in mind. I HATED IT. I mean, I felt old, frumpy, ugly, awful, it was a color I'd considered and was allllll wrong. it was a beautiful dress on a manikin one size smaller than me but on me, it looked horrible. And thus, my "I'm going to try to keep an open mind" suddenly became "Fuck it, I have nothing in mind, show me everything you've got. No, no, ignore my no strapless bras caveat from earlier, nothing is off limits but white."

    The other thing was that I had this niggling feeling at the back of my mind. A foreboding, a voice in my head that piped up every single time the topic of dress buying came up. Nothing with words so much as this feeling: SOMETHING is going to happen to my dress at the first wedding, and because we only have a week until the second one, I won't be able to get the dress repaired or cleaned or even replaced with anything similarly tailored, and that I'd end up wearing a homecoming dress off the rack of JCPenney's. And don't get me wrong, if that happened Im sure I'd end up in a dress I liked well enough and was happy with. But it would be SUPER stressful. And so I kept hearing that little voice saying, "Buy two."

    The first one I tried on was a short strapless chiffon dress. As she was getting me into it, she discovered it came with wide straps that can be put on in tailoring to cover a specific bra, so it could be x-strapped. I loved it, I was sold, and giggling that it was breaking a couple rules but still cute. The second one was the one that was basically everything I wanted, but didn't show off my tattoos–and it was awful, as I mentioned. That's when all my caveats except Not White went out the window. Third was satin, floor length, way more formal than I was planning on getting, corset back, and definitely strapless. Suddenly I felt absolutely bridal. I was surprised, and I didn't think that I was going to go for that dress even then, I just thought that maybe I was more open to strapless and form-fitting than I'd originally believed. So we put me in a few more dresses in ranges of strapless, one-shoulder, floor-length, form-fitting, but none of them made me feel as good as that satin one and first chiffon one did. We put me back in the chiffon and hung a dress in the same color around my waist so I could see it long, and it was like, yeah, I like that too.

    My helper hung them up in front of the couch and I sat there with my partner, my friend who'd come along for support, and the color swatches and started dreaming. Did I want satin or chiffon? What colors was I looking at? I like this one for these reasons and that one for those reasons and what if I just bought them both? Yep, both. Everything in my brain is screaming yes, and every time I say "IF I buy them both" I tense up involuntarily but when I say "Then I have options and a backup plan" it's like soothing everywhere. The shop owner tried to get me to just buy one, by saying "if I told you you couldn't have one of them, which one would you be disappointed about?" and I said, "BOTH! I mean I know which one I would put back because the other is a little more practical, but I'd be sad."

    And that's how I ended up buying the first and third dresses I tried on which barely meet any of my original requirements AND a blingy rhinestone sash that cost as much as one of them, at my very first dress appointment. LOL. I liked them a lot, they are very different and I like them for very different reasons but they both look fabulous on me. The blingy sash takes them from pretty to beautiful, it's handmade in America, and the quality is guaranteed (so if I get it and have any issues with loose rhinestones they will replace it). The one is too formal for any non-formal event, but the other is in that nice in-between space where I could legitimately wear it without the bling to someone's backyard wedding and not be too terribly overdressed. I didn't have any tearful "this is it" moments, but I did have that moment where I was ever so grateful that I was having two weddings so I didn't have to choose in the end after all.

    For practical reasons, because everyone who's heard this story has asked, I'm wearing the more form-fitting one to the first wedding. It will be slightly less comfy, and thus wearing it earlier in the two stressful weeks is a good idea. The more casual one will also travel better, so if forced to save one for the second wedding, it's the better choice all around.

  45. I went through the same thing. No tears, and I had been watching shows like "Say Yes to the Dress" for months. I know I will love my dress the day of and I will look beautiful but I also know that the wedding isn't about the dress, it is about the commitment. Thank you for posting this article.

  46. I went to loads of different dress shops and tried on loads of different dresses and eventually wound up buying my dress online, like you I was restricted by budget and the dress was on sale. And I never felt that moment at all even in my current wedding dress, It is beautiful and I am happy with it but I was expecting the moment you see on the television, kind of like a beam of light from the heavens and harps playing and everyone crying including me but I still don't feel that. It is really reassuring to know I'm not the only one and you are completely right, on the day the only thing that matters is that I am marrying the man I love and that is what I will always remember.

  47. I knew when my mom cried, which made me cry. She picked up the dress at a flash sale here in town and I felt a punch to my gut. I knew it was my dress. I have my doubts, but I go in and put it on and know in my heart I made the right choice.

  48. Ive always been a tomboy. I NEVER pictured myself in a huge wedding dress, actually I never pictured myself in a wedding dress at all. We went to the bridal shops and I didn't see anything I felt comfortable trying on. Finally we went to a really small, local bridal shop and since no one else was there my mother-in-law shoved a dress into my hands and made me try it on.. It was white and purple and had a corset top with a poofy skirt. I was terrified and felt claustrophobic.
    So we went to look at Deb. I tried on 4 dresses. I found a white dress with rhinestones and pearls and a flowy skirt, it wasn't gaudy like some of their dresses are, and it wasn't big like at the bridal shops. I went home and thought about it and the next day I bought it. Every time I tried it on after alterations I almost cried, because I could picture us saying our vows and I was so excited and happy to be getting married to my partner.
    I don't think that buying your dress should be purely emotional or purely logical. It should be what fits you and your day, and what makes you excited. It doesn't have to make you cry BUT you should be able to see yourself getting married in it.

  49. Yup. I actually ordered my dress online because I already knew that I was unlikely to find a dress that suited my tastes and requirements in a typical bridal shop.

    I wanted a green dress to go with our "colors" because I had no interest in a white gown or a floofy one and given that anything labeled bridal is immediately marked up as a result (my parents offered to pay for my dress and they don't have a ton of financial assets), I knew I was going to have to go the evening gown route. I found a lovely and sophisticated green Tadashi Shoji evening gown from a couple of seasons ago that was already reasonable by wedding dress standards, but was marked down to only $200-something dollars.

    It was a no-brainer. I ordered it, tried it on, and although I loved it, no tears. Mostly just a profound sense of relief because everything had worked out just as I'd hoped, I knew I could feel beautiful in it on the day, it looked great, and it was one less thing to worry about over the next 9 months of planning.

    I saw it as just one integral part of the whole planning experience.

  50. I tried on quite a few wedding gowns and declared 4 different ones "the One"- the first I fell in love with was a clearanced sample that was a few sizes too small that I was convinced I could make work with a little sweat and alterations (and I'm still not sure that I should have given up on it….) but was told no way by my grandmother's seamstress friend. So I continued shopping, found 2 others, the one was way below budget and was very light- the other was dramatic but kind of heavy and right at max budget. I shopped with my best friend a few times, my mom and grandma another time, then with just my mom. The irony of the dress I actually bought is I tried it on when I was with my mom and grandma at one salon, but the sample was very small and looked terrible on me- I had been drawn to the drama of the ruffled skirt, the detailed bodice, and the shape (a fitted A-line) so we moved on. My mom and I went to a small salon (across the street from where I first tried on the dress) and I pulled it from the rack simply to see if she recognized it. I put it on and felt good, but not necessarily better than some of the others that I'd been in. There were no tears, no OMG moment- it was a "oh, that's pretty" agreement between us and the other entourages in the building, but I think I said yes mostly because I was just tired of looking. My father passed away a month after my husband and I got engaged and I was struggling with that loss; I'm definitely a full figured woman and had a smallish budget and felt like I had exhausted all my options. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my dress and 2 years later still pull it out of the bag to bask in its glory, but my experience was just not the glory hallelujah chorus and tears that I had been brainwashed to expect. I stood at the counter at the bridal salon calculating and thinking "do I really want to keep looking?" And that made my mind up to order the $1200 Christina Wu gown. I could have literally walked across the street and probably saved a couple hundred dollars, but I was just so ready to have that aspect of planning complete I didn't care. I felt good in the dress, it wasn't super heavy, but it was really detailed and had aspects that reflect my personal asetheic. Don't get hung up on having the "bridal experience" because at the end of it all you get to marry the person you love 🙂

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