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

Updated Dec 15 2017
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 The dress was an out-of-date sample, and on clearance, marked down over 80% — which was important because my fiancé and I are on a very tiny budget — which also meant that if I didn't get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 in a very similar situation…the wedding shop in my town is going out of business, and they had a beautiful, retro-inspired tea length dress, for 75% off! I tried it on, and thought, "This is great" if it was my size and had sleeves! I tried on a few more dresses in a few more shops…and even though my bridesmaid got teary…I didn't. Not once. So I thought to myself… I like the tea length, it can be altered easily, it's an absolute bargain, and I can dance the night away in it, which is super important! So, I bought it, even though my wedding is a year away! If it feels right, do it, don't let the industry tell you you HAVE to cry when you try on your dress, or you HAVE to spend lots of money on something you're going to wear once!

  2. I found my dress via pintrest. I showed it to FH as a "what do you think of this one, isn't it pretty?" and he replied with "that's my favorite." About a month and several other dress pictures later, I ordered it online. It was beautiful, but to big. I'm currently waiting for the smaller size to arrive. Other then the slight stress of waiting, I find this much preferable to going to a store and trying on a bunch of things.

  3. I didn't have that moment when I put on my wedding dress for the first time. Of course, it's beautiful and I love it but there were no tears. I did however almost well up when I put on my reception dress for the first time. It's a much simpler dress. Go figure.

  4. I had 2 custom made dresses. The first one – I chose my pattern and went to a dressmaker that I loved and asked her to make something vintage for me. I saw the dress 2 weeks before my wedding and felt like this was the cutest dress I've ever seen…The second one my mom suggested to be a crochet dress, so we asked a friend who crochets dresses if she could make it. She did, and it was too very cute and very ME. The sum for both of the dresses is 2/3 of the sum of the cheapest salon bought dress.
    Before that I tried shopping in bridal salons, but here they are awful and I just didn't feel the dresses to represent myself.

  5. I am currently having this problem. I was pushed into a dress by a sales women and bought a dress I hated. It was more than I wanted to spend and I tried to like it. Finally I gave up and I am looking for another dress.

  6. *happyjoygasm* WITH THIS DRESS shown on this article. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. so coolio.

    my dress experience:
    i live in a pretty big city – and maybe looked a shop or two – but ended up at a resale shop. Funny my sister told me she had a dream about me IN "the one" dress…and I just knew I wanted LOTS of tulle, and straps. (at the time i felt every single dress made was strapless and i did not have boobs or the desire to have something altered or wear spanx) So i ended up at the resale shop…and took my coworkers with me (because i had zero family there) and let us do happy dances and smiles and i plopped down the $99 bux to get that sucker. Did i cry? nope. Even on my wedding day i was just happy to be off the market and marrying someone i knew was IT for life. I didn't cry and I was just giddy. Overall, had a good experience already VISUALIZING what i wanted…and then finding what i wanted. I consider myself lucky….I still have no idea how I found it. When I showed my sister, she verified THAT was the dress in her dream. Yay. I still have it…and recently had a corset put into it so i can contract and expand all I want. P.S. even more so about the dress ARE YOUR SHOES………………I get so sad that within 5 minutes most brides are regretting their tall sexy heels. So i settled for comfy platform skechers. It was amazing. Now, go be you!!!! <3 🙂

  7. I only went into a couple of local stores with my mum. The first I looked, but never tried on the second store I tried on a couple of dresses (without an appointment – so no staff to help out) that were way too big – was sort of hard to be into it when I couldn't really tell what it would look like in my size. I didn't really love anything there, but it really helped me realise 2 things:
    1. That I didn't care much for the whole "experience" I was supposed to have trying on dresses – It really wasn't a special moment for me.
    2. That all of these dresses were out of my budget.

    A week or so later I was looking online at some Grace Loves Lace dresses, which I had seen everywhere on Pinterest before I was engaged. They weren't too dear (about $1.5K), but we're planning a super simple, non-traditional backyard weeding so I didn't want to spend that much.

    I ended up finding a Grace Loves Lace dress on eBay second hand in my size for 1/3 of the price. It wasn't the dress design that I loved most from the designer, but the one that I liked most seemed like it would be too hard to wear anyway (possible wardrobe malfunctions!), so I just took a leap of faith and just bought it.

    I received the dress today in the mail and I really like it. It's beautiful and I feel like myself in it. Plus no one on the day will even know that it's been warn before and I saved a ton! I didn't have a tears moment, but I really like the dress and I know that's the dress I'll be married in. No regrets!

  8. Found a beautiful dress at David's Bridal at the high end of my budget, in a style I hadn't considered previously, and fell deeply in love. Spent a few months figuring out how to afford it. Made an appointment at a different salon, tried on dresses for an hour and started getting tired. The consultant came back with COLORED dresses. I was overjoyed at the sight of bridesmaid gowns. I tried on a red one that had a beautiful silhouette. It was half the price of the fancy bridal gown with the Swiss dot tulle. I was so done looking at dresses, and it was *pretty.* Mom and I nearly cried, but mostly because we were exhausted. Ordered it in white and have money left for alterations ^_^

  9. I bought my dress at a wedding show with my sister. I hadn't planned on trying anything on; I had planned on making a day trip out of dress shopping with my sister, mum and mother in law to be. However, there was a gorgeous dress that my sister insisted I try which fit very nicely but wasn't really the style I was after. Encouraged, I nearly tried on two others at different vendors but the queues were too long. We rounded the corner and both my sister and I ran (seriously) towards an unusual floral number. It was there that I saw the most gorgeous dress…which I tried and loved! It was so pretty and the fit was awesome despite being two sizes too big. I couldn't stop smiling, everyone who saw me in it couldn't stop smiling. My sister looked up from her phone when she realised I had come out of the changing room and immediately said "get it". I am so indecisive I had to send pics to my mum to also get her approval (though secretly knew I really ought to get this one!). So…I ordered it. No tears. I cry when I'm sad or hurt, not when I'm happy. I didn't cry when I got engaged so I'm not sure why a dress would make me cry. There was much hugging and I think I let out a girly "squee", but no tears. We saw lots of other pretty dresses but I haven't regretted my decision, even after revisiting my Pinterest board to tidy up. I shoved all the dresses and flowers etc that I know I no longer need into a folder named "wedding research" as I know I don't need to look at them but have followers who would like to. Sure there are many other dresses that could suit me but I have made a decision and am sticking with it 🙂

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