Wedding gowns to me have been a mystery up until I myself got engaged. I often wondered how a wedding gown, even a simple one, could transform a woman into a stunning bride. During my wedding dress search, I tried on a little over three hundred dresses.
You’re probably wondering how anyone in their right mind ends up trying on three hundred plus wedding dresses. I got engaged in September of 2015, and set my wedding for June of 2017. That gave me plenty of time to search. Knowing myself and the love affair I have with gowns, I knew this wouldn’t be a simple shopping trip. To make matters more interesting, I also work as a fashion stylist professionally. Meaning that I have gotten to experience first-hand custom gowns, not to mention hundreds of intricate gowns for celebrities.
For months when I went shopping I felt the need to constantly express that this wasn’t a casual thing for me. There was no need to “just pick a dress”. It wasn’t a toaster. I wasn’t going to settle for something that didn’t give me that bridal glow. At times, I even found myself apologizing for not buying something I didn’t want. I wanted a dress that brought an enormous smile to my face and made me want to never take it off. Not to mention, I find it hard to purchase anything I don’t love whether it be $5 or $5000. Many bridal salon sales associates meant well, but I felt pressured to try on things I really didn’t like at all. Just like many other brides, after about six months of constant searching I began to have deep anxiety that my dress didn’t exist and I was never going to find it. Even though I work everyday of my life with beautiful clothing, I still wanted to have that “bridal moment” where I said ‘YES’ and me and my posé danced around with champagne. One particularly low moment included me feeling so pressured at a salon that I said “yes” but then realized in a huge panic alone in the fitting room it didn’t feel right, and the bridesmaid who accompanied me that day bailed me out by pretending to be sick when I texted her that I couldn’t do it. The dress I had said yes to was 90% and “not going to be here for long” but it just didn’t feel right. This gem a friend should have won an Emmy award because she was so convincing to the staff that we had to leave right that minute that nobody even batted an eye that we dressed and ditched. Afterward, we went to a Starbucks and I drank my weight in Frappacinos.
Here are some of the honorable mentions…
When I *finally* found my dress, I was in my bathroom attempting to apply a face mask. I saw the dress on Christian Siriano’s Instagram feed. As if in a cartoon, my jaw fell open, and I dropped my jar of face mask to the floor, getting it everywhere. I fell absolutely in love. It wasn’t white, but black. This is the video I watched! That’s right…my wedding dress wasn’t originally even a wedding dress. But I felt that it would be perfect in white.
I immediately got in contact with their showroom to see if a custom dress could be made (in white of course). Then I stared at my phone for the next fourteen hours waiting for a response. When a happy reply of yes came through, I was beyond ecstatic. I tried it on in a mint green color in the showroom (which I found out was walking distance from my apartment?!)When I told my mom she was so sure too, that she flew in from North Carolina to New York just for the occasion. Before I tried it on, I knew without a doubt that it was the gown I was going to buy. I lost count on how many bridal salons, vintage stores, thrift stores, and sample sales I visited. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that in some places, they knew my first name. It took me almost exactly one year to find my dress. But none of that mattered, when I saw that gown, I saw myself in it marrying the love of my life. I was totally overcome with emotion, I didn’t cry (my mom and bridesmaid Christine did though), but I did scream loud enough that the entire garment district probably heart my shrieks of joy. Through all of this, my bridesmaids and friends were incredibly patient. At times when I had lost patience with myself.
After I ordered my dress I dreamt of it almost every conscious and unconscious moment. Creating a custom gown takes time! When it finally came time to try on the finished dress I practically refused to take it off. That’s how I knew it was meant to be. I didn’t feel FOMO looking at other brides trying on their gowns, as I previously did while at bridal salons. I felt this attachment that I didn’t know could exist with a garment.
So whether you try on one dress, or three hundred, you will still be wearing the perfect dress on the day you marry the love of your life. Is there anything more romantic and wonderful? A bride doesn’t radiate with beauty because of her dress, but because of the joy she will experience on the day she finally gets to wear it.
I would like to express my deep gratitude to the entire Christian Siriano team. They greeted me with open arms at every appointment. Especially Ewa Johansson, she deserves an award. She answered my trillion emails, and made sure my mountainous gown was hand delivered so that Bren wouldn’t see it the night before my wedding. Thank you SO much for everything. It was the best experience I could have asked for. Every time someone asks me about my wedding dress, I gush about Siriano. I can’t recommend him enough.