The ultimate newbie mistake: The Gown

Monday, December 21, 2009 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , , |

Ok, I knew I would be making mistakes along this journey of trying to plan my own wedding, but I never thought -- or at least I hoped -- I wouldn't make one as bad as this. You see, it involves my gown--supposedly the most important decision I'll make during this process. I don't know if this is true, in fact I vehemently opposed this idea at the very beginning. I wanted to prove this position wrong by telling myself I would be happy with any dress, just as long it was white, wearable and won't blow our entire budget. I had this self-righteous, "I would never spend $600 on a dress!" attitude from the very beginning. Thus my $250 gown budget. Thus grabbing the first dress that fit me at $175. Thus my anxiety attack the morning after. And I was feeling the pressure. People kept telling me I had to buy NOW. So I did, and I completely robbed myself of the bridal shopping experience. No, I don't mean having a Say Yes to the Dress entourage fawn over you and criticize you to make you feel like a self-consious princess. I mean having the experience of really looking at the possibilities out there, trying them on and finding the dress that makes you feel beautiful, and waking up in the morning and feeling absolutely thrilled with your purchase.

You see, my original dress, in my opinion, was a good deal. It's a Mori Lee gown, originally retailed at $600 down to $175. It's strapless, satin, beading with a long train and very pretty--if that's what you want. But you see, it wasn't a style I really wanted. I was more enamored with the price than I was with the dress. I was so fixated on staying within budget that I sacrificed what I really wanted just to fit a specific price point. I tried to love the dress...believe me, I did. I kept telling myself that I was just being too self-conscious and insecure, the product of comparing myself to all the gorgeous gowns in the magazines and blogs. I kept telling myself that I loved the dress like some confidence-boosting mantra I repeated each morning. I hung the dress in my room and stared at it everyday. I tried it on and took pictures with me in it. I thought, "I look very pretty in this, so be happy that you didn't spend hundreds more dollars" but I didn't feel like myself. I didn't feel like I loved it. I didn't feel right. It fit my body, but not me, if you know what I mean. In the end, I knew I had made a mistake. I know now that decisions we make now doesn't always have to be about what's cheaper. You have to take into account the decisions that reflect you in the process, or the deal isn't worth the money you saved.

So, with regret and $175 poorer (actually $195 including the tax) I'm resuming my wedding gown search. I plan on selling the Mori Lee gown (e-mail me if you're interested!). But still, I actually feel so much better finding the dress for me. I know that I have time to find another dress, but barely. Sure, it blows my $250 dress budget, but in the end, I'll have a dress that I'll feel proud to have worn on my wedding day, and proud to look at years later when I remember that day. I still am working with a budget (I don't want to spend more than $500), but I'll listen to what my sensibilities are telling me along with my sense. No, I still don't think the dress is the most important decision of the wedding day...but it is important, at least to a style conscious girl like me--(here's a personal tidbit...I work at a fashion magazine).  Stick to your budget, but stick to your own sense of style as well, and you won't have any regrets.

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