My daughter recently got engaged, and already a flurry of activity has occurred, especially choosing the date and booking the venue. I know the next months will be fun and exhilarating and special as we countdown to her July wedding.
Yesterday, we went dress shopping with one of her bridesmaids. She wanted to hit 3 different places so she’d be able to see a good variety, but she wanted to limit it to 3. No sense in getting overwhelmed. She could’ve gone to 17 more places, but I believe we would’ve seen a lot of the same, with very few different designs.
So going with the Rule of 3, we hit 1 place in the morning and after a quick lunch fuel stop, we visited 2 more. She tried on probably 10 dresses at each place, everything from modern to classic to vintage to traditional. We saw her in A-Line, Mermaid, Princess Gowns, and more. Strapless. With straps. With cap sleeves and without. No lace. Some lace. Some ridiculous amounts of lace. Some tulle, some not. No satin—that wasn’t her cup of tea.
Of the 3 bridal shops we spent time in, 1 had the best salesperson by far. She was friendly, knowledgeable, and asked questions throughout the fitting. She didn’t rush things, and she even brought over a couple of styles that hadn’t been considered that became real contenders. She did her best to stay within our price range, which I really appreciated.
One boutique (even though they served us champagne, albeit in a plastic cup) totally turned me off. I worked retail back in the day, so I get that many people are on commission. Especially in these bridal shops, I know that every salesperson wants to sell the most expensive gown possible to up the commission. But I had a problem with “Stella’s” reaction—yes, changing names to protect the so-called innocent.
Stella was all smiles, leading us back through a maze of a shop awash in gowns of white, ivory, champagne, blush, and taupe. She asked a few questions about the date and venue (I quickly learned in wedding dress shopping that you MUST consider the venue because of the all-important pictures of that dress IN that venue). That was all well and good, as she was getting to know my daughter and ask about her taste in silhouettes, materials, etc.
Then came the question that they all ask, and I believe they should. They NEED to know your budget. So Stella asked what price range we were looking at, and my daughter responded.
And Stella looked like she’d bitten into a sour lemon—and drank a swig of spoiled milk on top of it.
Okay—it’s one thing to be personally disappointed that your potential wedding gown buyer isn’t going with a $10,000 budget—but it’s another thing to visibly react that way to a young woman who’s starry-eyed about her upcoming nuptials, trying to find that perfect dress that her groom will be blow away by when he sees her gliding down the aisle.
But to show it? I’m not exaggerating here. She was visibly put-out by our price range. Such a physical reaction was in poor taste, IMHO. How could she be a downer on such a marvelous day? She even had the gall to snobbishly say, “Have you tried on any dresses? Were you able to find anything in that price range?” (in her haughtiest voice)
Couldn’t have been prouder as my daughter graciously smiled at her and said, “Yes, I have—and I’ve found quite a few that I liked at that price.”
Stella did pull several dresses. Dutiful Daughter tried them on. Bridesmaid & Mom studied, commented, and took pictures. Thanked Stella for her time and left.
And as we headed for home and began talking about it, we knew it was between 2 beautiful (and reasonable) choices at our very 1st stop. We headed back that way to our 1st pit stop, calling our wonderful, kind, and understanding salesperson named Sarah to let her know we were returning and which 2 gowns to pull as we made the final decision.
Daughter tried on both selections again. Both were a dream. Both made her look beautiful and feel special. I loved both, but one was that right dress. The one that created a beautiful silhouette. The one that was light and romantic and would photograph lovely. Sarah gave us space and time to decide. When the decision was made, we all felt happy, relieved, and most of all…EXCITED!
My hat is off to Sarah for being patient and making the dress selection such a wonderful experience. For taking the time to get to know my daughter personally in a short space of time. To glean enough from her figure and answers to pull what became The Dress. To smile and be genuinely happy for Daughter and her choice. To take pictures of the happy event, commemorating that special shopping day with a sign saying, “Alert the Town—I’ve Found My Gown.”
Now it’s on to other wedding-related things. There are photographers to consider, food & cakes to taste, DJ’s to think about.
But I’ll always treasure Wedding Dress Shopping Day. It was the best!