Guys, we’re going to be really honest right now - as much as we LIVE for wedding dresses and talk up how magical the experience of saying “yes” to the dress is, for a lot of brides, it just isn’t. It definitely wasn’t for me, that’s for sure (I wrote a lot about my own experience here, if you want all the details). And for a lot of other brides, even ones who happily consider themselves “basic” brides - lovers of TLC wedding shows, girls who’ve dreamed of their wedding days since they were littles, and women who’ve acknowledged just how important they thought finding their dress really was - the fact of the matter is, somewhere along the way, the wheels fall off, the disillusion sinks in, and what was supposed to be a banner moment for the bride, becomes all but a bad dream.
And we want to avoid those nightmares at all costs, because life is hard, marriage is tough, and struggling to get through the wedding planning process or having so much anxiety that it precludes you from enjoying anything along the way is just not cool. No bride deserves that.
We’re going to share a really poignant and refreshingly bold and brave story with you from a bride who just recently got married and had the opposite of a happy, fluffy, all rainbows and rosé kind of shopping situation - but before we get to that. We’re going to give you one of the sharpest pieces of advice we’ve ever given on wedding dress scouting: don’t do it too early. And when we say early, we mean, don’t make a decision before a year out. In fact, you really don’t even want to start shopping until 10 months prior to your wedding date.
If you go too early, here’s what can happen (not always, but often):
Consultants might make expectations.
As in, instead of asking where you and your husband or wife-to-be met/fell in love, where the wedding will be, who you’ll be sharing the day with, they’ll use your wedding date as a countdown and ask if you plan on losing weight for the big day. Not such a great way to kick off a dress shopping appointment. And that’s all it takes, for the happy/good vibes scales to take a nosedive.
You might get swept up into style disenchantment.
This was kind of a huge detriment to me, because I found the dress I wore to my wedding in June of 2013 and didn’t get married until September of 2014. I had always imagined myself in a ball gown, something soft and tulle, and completely forgot about that when I tried on my first fit-and-flare (something I never thought I’d be a fan of) and was so taken aback by my boobs, my butt, my hourglass figure that I never felt comfortable with. Yes, I was blown away - for a hot sec - but when I went for my first fitting a one year+ later, it just was not me. And I was heartbroken.
You can easily forget what you even loved about it (or let the FOMO destroy you).
The first time you go dress shopping will be overwhelming, chaotic, amazing, supportive, all of the things, truly. And yes, you might very well step into something that just gives you crazy-in-love feels, the feels that nearly have you showing your fiancé pics of the salon try-on when you get home (and if you do, more power to you!). That said, deciding on something so far out from w-day can backfire if you don’t allow yourself enough time to shop, consider a variety of silhouettes, and/or satisfy your desire to dress shop in general.
Impulsivity can be troublesome, and you don’t want to find yourself stalking Insta feeds in a few months, forgetting what your ‘dream’ dress looked like (and how you felt in it), and feeling like you’re trapped and in need of something else to hold your attention.
Also, let’s not forget that life as you know it doesn’t slow down when you’re planning a wedding. Unfortunate things happen at work, relationships can change with some of your nearest and dearest confidants, people close to you can get sick, you and your partner can start the ‘for better or for worse’ and go through your own growing pains, as well. You never know whether these circumstances might impact the way you’ll feel in your dress or your own skin. So, having some flexibility and fluidity is freeing. Not saying that you can’t go dress shopping, nope not in any regard, but there is some merit in ready-to-wear shopping or shopping for gowns off the rack.
You can try things on and shop for your current shape (which can be so much less stressful).
You can participate in fashion that’s now and literally ‘of the moment.’
You can avoid any+all turmoil that wedding dress shopping can have on your emotional health, body image, and well-being (once it starts, it sticks, and keeping yourself out of that black hole of self-doubt and scrutiny is everything).
In a post she titled “Are Your Going to Lose Weight for Your Wedding,” Florence Battersby, a PR professional, storyteller, and newlywed wrote about her wedding dress journey and how body image pressures made shopping for the perfect dress a dually traumatic and stressful time in her life. We read through her account and couldn’t help but feel like she was #allofus at various junctions in time. There is always a way to get through the grey areas, but it can feel pointless and impossible when you’re wading through a sea of white [wedding dresses].
Definitely have a read to learn how Florence made it to her wedding day where the sun shone, the day was filled with joy and happiness, and she felt beautiful ― as every bride should on her wedding day.