I expected to burst out into tears when I found "The One," but when my tear ducts remained dry, I was discouraged. Isn't that what everyone said I was supposed to do? Like all of sudden, have this, "You had me at hello," bond with a dress? I didn't. But when I finally made up my mind on The Dress, I was ecstatic. Really. I actually did this goofy dance, clapped my hands and jumped. Nerdy, huh? But that was my reaction.
*Future Hubby, if you are reading this, DO NOT READ FURTHER!
Before I unveil my gown, I guess I should give you a rundown of my Dress saga. I knew when I set out for the dress, it had to be on a budget. I couldn't go blowing a hole on our limited funds because it's my day, I'm a princess, and all that wedding fantasy nonsense. When I saw the price tags for gowns, I nearly fainted. $2000? $1000? Even "cheap" and "affordable" ranges of $500-$600 was killing me. I never fathomed purchasing a dress for that much, let alone one I would wear for just a few hours. So I set a budget: $250. It was an idealistic price for a cheap person like me, but not realistic for my fashion sense. The more I shopped, I realized how elusive that budget was.
Then, out of impulse, I bought a gown. For a cheap $175. Then I realized, I made a huge mistake. The gown was going up on Craigslist...back to square one.
Sure, it's one day. The gown will see the light of day for a mere few hours. But those pictures are a lifetime. Yes, I should always consider my budget, but first and foremost, I should always consider my sense of style. So I headed back to the stores in search of the gown I loved. I even upped my budget to $700. The first store I headed to was Alfred Angelo where I found a gorgeous, off-shoulder, A-line gown. I loved the vintage, classic vibe it gave off, and, double bonus, it had a corset back! I could definitely rock this gown, I thought. How much? $599. It was under $700, but I couldn't jump at the first dress I liked. I had to keep searching.
I had a few moments where I thought, "Wow, I really like this dress." A couple times, I thought, "I LOVE this dress!" You might recall the incident where my first love was not to be, a gown that my FSIL had worn two years before. But I quickly got over that. I tried on gowns from David's Bridal to higher end designers like Maggie Sottero, Casablanca and Pronovias. I even considered a $1300 Pronovias gown, a gown that I adored and coveted. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. As much as I loved the gown, I knew I'd feel worse spending much more than I had intended. I didn't love it THAT much, and seriously, I've already forgotten how it looked.
The more I shopped, the more I got discouraged. The prices were killing me, but so were sneaky salespeople. BTW, I did file a complaint to the BBB on a shop that refused to tell me the designer of a gown. The shop never responded to the BBB and now they'll have that on their record. tsk tsk!
Then my mind went back to the Alfred Angelo gown. I even tried it on again. And again. And when I put it on a second time, my mind was made up. This was The One!
Simple, yet chic. Just what I wanted - ruching on the bodice and no beading, yay! I love the sleek look, like something out of a Grace Kelly movie. I already have a hair accessory to wear with it! Yes, my friends, this is The One! It was there all along!
Yes, it's an Alfred Angelo gown. No, I didn't buy it at Alfred Angelo. Yes the gown is $599, but no, I didn't pay that much. I ordered my gown through RKbridal.com. I know some people are leery of buying their gown online, so was I, but they offered a deal on the gown I couldn't resist. And when I read a number of positive reviews (including an A rating from the Bridal Bargains Handbook) and saw they had an overall clean record with the BBB, I decided to give the place a call. At first they quoted me at $320. Seriously? That's nearly half of what Alfred Angelo quoted me at. But they also have a program where they match and beat any price from an authorized online dealer by 5%. I called Pearlsplace.com and they quoted me at $276.
Because I had already tried on the gown several times, I already knew what size and how much length I needed. I know I'll need minimal alterations, so I felt confident ordering the size and length. So overall, with 3 inches extra length added, I purchased my dress for under $300. Since RKbridal is based in New York, I didn't have to pay taxes or a shipping fee. Yes! Sure, it's a tad more than $250. But I'd rather pay $50 more for piece of mind and satisfaction. The price is also much less than what I would have paid at Alfred Angelo. I'm sure there would have been all sorts of fees tacked onto their $599 price, and I would be forced to use their seamstress and pay an exhorbitant alteration fee. By ordering online, I bypassed the extra fees and can use my own seamstress (my aunt is a skilled seamstress and has offered to do my alterations for me!)
Moral of the story? Well, there are several:1) Buy the gown you'll love. 2) Don't forget your budget! 3) You don't have to pay full price for the gown you love! Do your research and look around!
So tell me, how did you find a deal on your dress?