I waited a bit to purchase my dress because I was crazy enough to think I’d drop a ton of weight before the wedding and because I fully intended to try to buy “off the rack” the entire time. I finally made an appointment in February for April 20th (yep – 2.5 months before my big day) with David’s Bridal thinking I’d “for sure” find something that day! Yeesh! A few of my favorite gals came with – my sister (Matron of Honor), my friend Courtney flew in from Texas (bridesmaid), my friend Mary came (bridesmaid) and my cousin Stephanie. So, I had a mini-entourage and felt all glam with my team! (disclaimer – I am so completely awkward in all of these photos, so please be kind).
When we got to David’s Bridal we were paired up with consultant Jasmine who was super sweet and brought me as many dresses as she could find that fit my criteria – short and non-formal and white. Believe it or not, there aren’t many options and many times I had to dive into the bridesmaid area to find a dress because apparently, most brides do not wear short dresses. If you have ever gone wedding dress shopping, it can be a humiliating experience if you’re not a size 10 or smaller. Plus, many of the dresses are a few sizes smaller than normal. My wedding dress that I finally bought was actually a size 18 according the tag – I’m not an 18, not that there’s anything wrong with that size. But they do not really set up the experience to make you feel the best you as you can be. We did have some fun though and I was able to try on a dress I’d never wear – the biggest, poofiest dress ever – you can call her “Scarlet O’Hare.”
After trying on all of the gown’s at David’s I found one that was “ok”. It was a flowy dress with a lace cut-out back and I LOVED it in black but when I tried on the white I was grossed out. It hugged me in all of the wrong places, showed my bulges everywhere and the size I tried on was slightly different than the black version. Keeping that dress in mind, I decided to trudge on to our next stop – House of Brides.
We got to House of Brides – which I was forewarned that their selection was pretty dismal after two good friends tried to find their tea length gowns there and struck out. When we walked in there were definitely a lot of long gowns in the front but I sucked it up and tried to find a dress for me. Unfortunately, all of their “short” dresses are from their bridesmaids section which most of them can be ordered in white. I sent my bridesmaids out to pick dresses and even scooped up a few of my own and went to a dressing room. After hobbling around in the room and trying to get the dresses on I began to get super frustrated. They were mostly size 8s and 10s (I’m a true 14 – always have been) so I couldn’t even get into them. Depressing. Verge of tears. Frustrating. Then I realized the entire store wreaked of cottage cheese and I wanted out of their immediately! I pretty much ran out of there after the saleslady took me to the plus size area of the store to look at dresses that looked absolutely nothing like I wanted to wear.
Defeated and near my wits end, my cousin started looking up local boutiques, hoping we could find somewhere, anywhere else that sold dresses. She located a place called Jasmine Bridal in Lombard, IL that I had never heard of. We figured “why not?” and quickly headed over there (it was only a 10 minute drive). I was a bit blown away when we entered. It was fannnnncy and boasted not only gowns for sale, but had cake decorators, wedding planners, and anything you could imagine in terms of full-service wedding. The gal at the front counter was rude when she realized I didn’t have an appointment but said she could squeeze me in if I returned 2 hours later. I first thought to myself – wonderful, this place already rocks and has a angsty teenager attitude. So after keeping ourselves busy, my bridesmaids and I returned and were quickly greeted by our sales lady – who we found out was Serbian, like me! We quickly forged a Serbian sisterhood and the appointment took off from there.
She was so very helpful and found a bunch of cute options for me. We eventually settled on a bridesmaid dress that could come in white. The moment I put it on and walked out of the room, everyone’s eyes popped open. I felt FANTASTIC as it hid everything and I could move in it. It was perfect and knew that I found my dress! We put a rush on it – and it actually came in two weeks before it was due which gave enough time for alterations, but I actually didn’t even need any! I do think I lost a tad bit of weight before my wedding though, because it wasn’t as snug as I wanted it to be – but it still looked beautiful.