Wednesday, March 9, 2011

help me choose a dress on a deadline

Dear ESB,

I just started planning for my spring 2012 wedding.  I live a plane ride away from home and want to get married in my hometown so on my last trip home, I tried on dresses at a great little shop with my mom.

After trying on like fifteen gowns, I narrowed it down to two vintage inspired dresses from different decades, so they look very different.  One is a 1920s glamorous, long silk silhouette, and the other is a 1950s cupcake puffy skirt with lots of volume.

Since my fiance and I haven't planned much yet, I thought I would have at least 6 months before I have buy the dress, meaning we could book a venue and set a time of day for the ceremony and reception before I buy a dress.

HOWEVER, I just got word that one of these two dresses will be discontinued at the end of this month, so if I want one of them I have to place the order before April.

So, my question is, how do most ladies pick their dress??  I've asked my friends and they have been various shades of helpful, but ultimately this is my decision.

I am not one of those girls who had my wedding planned or have a clear "vision" of what kind of bride I want to be.  I like pretty dresses and I love vintage styles, but BOTH dresses are vintage styles and they look totally different.

The prices are similar, and I don't like the "choose the dress your fiance would like more" advice because he will love me even if I wear the cat veil.



Don't let the store scare you into making a decision. If you haven't set a date, booked a venue, etc, YOU ARE NOT READY to buy the dress.

1920's glam says evening cocktails to me, while the puffy 1950's silhouette* makes more sense for a ceremony/reception earlier in the day. Neither one will work if you change your mind out of the blue and run away to Mexico to get married on the beach.

There are a kajillion options out there, and even if both dresses get discontinued you'll have plenty of time to find another one before the wedding.

(Photo: Rodarte via .v via j.fro)
*You can't MAKE ME say cupcake.


  1. agreed - I'm getting married at a summer camp and a lot of dresses I like would be really out of place there. with over a year until the wedding you have plenty of time.

  2. 100%. must book that venue.

    i was fairly certain i wanted a tea length 50's type dress, then we decided to get married in joshua tree.

    um, no.

  3. You can wait. Since you've found styles you like, it will make things easier - you can always take pictures of those styles somewhere else.

    Also, you may be able to find the dress online or buy a sample from another retailer once its discontinued.

  4. You may also be able to find one or both dresses on pre-loved wedding dress sites and save some coin.

  5. i say wait. if you are pushed (even if it is only a slight little nudge) into buying a dress without being 100% sure you L.O.V.E. it you are going to have far too much time to second guess your decision. it's not fun to second guess that kind of decision.

  6. If the store will let you, take a bunch of pictures of yourself in both dresses. If they won't let you, see if you can find pictures of the front and back online. If you still want one of them once you have your venue set and you can't find them anywhere you should be able to find someone to make something similar for you. Since they'll be discontinued I don't think it's a crime to knock them off.

  7. oh man...i HATE wedding dress shops. i haven't even really started looking yet because my first two experiences were so terrible! either they don't pay attention to you at all when you mention you're looking for something "semi-affordable" or they're all up in ya-grill telling you you have to decide today, "This is the THIS is the dress...they're all great, this one's more, so let's go with that one!"

  8. seriously...venue first. i thought i wanted a dress with a long train, uh yeah right. i ended up having an outdoor wedding on a mountain where mud was present. trains definitely need not apply to a wedding at a venue like that.

  9. If there is a dress you find that you try on and don't want to take off, there's no harm in letting the dress guide the wedding planning. It doesn't sound like either one of those is a huge winner, though. Maybe you are considering them at all because you are afraid of *not* having the option later? Like a scarcity thing. I say wait. There are plenty of dresses out there.

  10. If it's not mad LOVE (which sounds very much like it is not), from the advice of a gal on dress #2- WAIT.

    I've had what I think is too damn much time to plan (1 yr 7mos), and had picked a dress too soon, for a wedding that's been scrapped and replanned a couple times for various reasons. I got sucked into the strapless gown vortex and bought a big ass dress I ended up selling, because I changed my mind, and just had TOO MUCH TIME with.

    As someone in the thick of it, I strongly suggest you give it some time, and wait until some other plans fall into place.

    I have since found a vintage dress that I fell head over heels for, for $175 at a flea market. I have faith that you can find something you absolutely LOVE too.

  11. one more thing: the same thing that happened to dominique happened to me. And I only had 3 and a half months to plan and I STILL changed my mind three weeks before the wedding. Dress number 2 was the winner and ps, our photographer said he should have the pics up on Friday, so I'll shoot you an email with them, ESB. :-)

  12. i smell a scam on the part of the bridal store. maybe i'm just a bit jaded, but really? the two that YOU picked just happen to be discontinued in a super short time frame? i just don't believe it. they are trying to close the deal. pick another store and wait on the dress...

  13. I love esb, and jamie, but bullshit. You can wear a cupcake to a wedding on a mexican beach, at city hall or in the californian desert. Your dress does not need to 'match' your venue any more than your invitations need to match your bridesmaids' shoes. You just need to love your dress. And your venue.

    It's your wedding, not a photoshoot. I believe I read that *somewhere*....

  14. @Peonies - thank you. I agree 100%. My dress didn't match my wedding venue. I actually bought my dress early on in the planning stages, because it was cheap ($200). Then I felt pangs of regret, thinking "this-isn't-the-right-dress" for months leading up to the wedding date, especially after we changed our venue. Our original venue was a 1920s church, and it was going to be an evening ceremony by candlelight. Then we changed our plans entirely and decided to marry outdoors in the afternoon at a family's plantation home. I momentarily freaked out about WHAT DO I WEAR NOW?! Then I said "f*** it; this is what I bought. This is what I'm wearing," and I wore it anyway, and it was FINE. I don't believe anyone was thinking, "oh, an outdoor wedding; hmm, she should've worn a short dress." What I learned: The dress isn't the most important part of your wedding day despite what the Wedding Industry tells us.

    P.S. Photos of the dress here, if you're curious: