Fashion Lifestyle Wedding

Musings on Finding “the One” (Wedding Dress, at least)

Last weekend, I spent more money on an article of clothing than I ever have before. And it was terrifying. It will probably come as a shock to most people, especially most people who know me, but I have not been excited for buying my wedding dress. In fact, it filled be with dread. I’ve even had a cry on the way home from shops a time or two. That’s definitely not what “Say Yes to the Dress” shows us. I’ve been overwhelmed by options, by choice. Short, long, vintage, modern – why is there so much to chose from? It’s not helped by the fact that I am extremely picky and critical of what I put on myself. 

lace dress

But here’s my big confession: I’m putting on about 10-15 lbs before the big day.  I’m on strict medical instructions to get my BMI up. Since end of July, I’ve gained about half of what I need to. It’s both terrifying and bothersome. Boo hoo – poor me right? Huge apologies if this comes across as insensitive to anyone who is struggling to lose weight. 

But it adds to my insecurities when it comes to picking a dress – with every appointment I have to explain the situation and the shop assistant and I have to estimate what it would look like if I was filled out a bit more, in a different size, etc. Let me tell you, shopping for a figure you don’t currently have is a stab in the dark. And of course, there’s the fear that once I start putting on weight that I won’t stop so all our estimates will be wasted. What if we’ve underestimated and I can’t fit into my dress? It’s haunted me.

And how do you know when you’ve found “the one”. Everything about weddings is blown out of proportion these days, but especially when it comes to dresses and bridezillas. My mom put it best into perspective for me when I asked her if she was going to cry when I tried on “the one”. Her answer? “Why would I? I know you’ll look beautiful in them all and it’s just a dress.” 

I found a dress that I thought was beautiful, that I could picture at our venue and that I thought would make Sam smile. But I wasn’t reduced to tears and though I liked it, I was equally sure that there was another beautiful dress out there that I would like just as much. This is clearly a problematic personality trait of mine. No matter how great something seems, I’m always on the hunt for something better. In a world of infinite possibilities, I don’t believe that anything is un-toppable. Which sends me in a forever dress hunting spiral. 

There came a time for me to throw in the towel. I think that there will always be one dress that is better for different facets of my personality or even different styles of wedding that Sam and I could have. Which means there are dozens of dresses out there that could be perfect for me. I’d say it was time to settle, but settling has such negative connotations. So instead, I’ll say this:

After all the trips to shops, and the dozens of dresses that I’ve tried, I actually chose the first one I ever tried on in London. I’m choosing one that I like. In fact, I love my dress and it makes me smile when I think of it now. But there weren’t tears of joy. A dress can’t and shouldn’t be the pinnacle of my insecurities. There will probably be another dress out there that would be more beautiful, but hey- Sam sees me in pyjamas with dogs on them every night so anything is a big step up from that! 

The moral of the story is this: don’t let anyone (friends, family, social media, movies) make you doubt your wedding dress choice just because unicorns didn’t gallop through the room while it rained glitter and gumdrops when you tried it on. Because sometimes, a dress is just a dress. 

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  • Your mom is absolutely bang on – and I’m glad you’ve chosen a dress you that makes you smile – all is as it should be xx

  • I can imagine it must be so overwhelming to choose your wedding dress, but it sounds like you’ve made a fabulous choice. I think I’d rather have a dress that made me feel happy and smile than one that reduced me to tears anyway!! xxx

  • I can 100% relate to this! I wasn’t looking forward to choosing my dress either as I went for a simple dress and I felt like everything was too much for me, but I was so pleased to find the perfect simple dress and be glad I didn’t have to look anymore!

  • Love your moms answer! I can only imagine how overwhelming it is trying to find your wedding dress. I am sure whatever you chose is going to look beautiful on you!

  • Angie SilverSpoon

    I’m so with you, I wanted something simple that would suit my figure…when I found the one I loved I certainly didn’t cry it was more like – yes this is better than the others. My mum later revealed she was too keen on it, she wanted me to have something really tight fitted but I tried those too and they weren’t right. I tried on about 500 – you have to ‘settle’ in the end.
    Lots of love,
    Angie

    • “Yes this is better than the others” is exactly how it felt! But by no means was it a “magical” moment where I felt like it was the most perfect dress in the world. Ha! Only in movies! x

  • I love how honest you are – as always. I’m sure your dress looks beautiful, and you have an amazing mum. I really dread the day when I have to get a wedding dress. I completely plan to get a white skater dress from Topshop or something. That will do me just fine.
    I would also gladly give you some of my BMI πŸ˜‰ I won’t even charge you for it!!!

  • Ala

    I love this post. At the end of the day, it’s a dress and yes you want to look fab in it and of course you my dear are going to look stunning whatever you wear, but really if the dress is the main focal point then I think there’s something lost there. Hooray to you finding a dress that you are going to have an amazing day in xxx

    • Thanks so much Ala! And now its YOUR turn! Except that you are way more stylish than me so I bet you don’t get overwhelmed at all! x

      • Ala

        I have an idea of what I like and don’t like material wise but the thought of actually starting that process is terrifying me, because a lot of the images I see of the dresses I like are not girls the same shape as me, but I do know one thing – I want to feel comfortable!! Xxx

        • I knew things I definitely didn’t want and that really does help. In fact, my list of things I didn’t like was quite long – starting at “no princess looks” ;D x

          • Ala

            Snap hehe xx

          • Hahaha princess dresses look lovely on some people but on me I was lost inside a ball of fluff. However, it’s kind of fun to try on dresses that you know in 100 years you’d never pick. I tried on a wedding dress were the neckline was cut open practically to my belly button and nearly died laughing. ;D x

  • Oh god, I remember a lot of this all too well from when I was wedding dress shopping. Fortunately, I didn’t have much room between when I bought the dress and the big day, so just worked with my size at that time and tried not to overindulge too much! I can only imagine how stressful it must be to plan based on how much weight you may gain :(.

    • Who knew how crazy the world of wedding dresses is though! It really is an alternative reality to most fashion! x

  • I really like how un-sugar-coated this post is. Growing up, I definitely thought (thanks to movies and tv) that there was only ONE dress for everyone. It blew my mind when I realized what you pointed out: that “the one” will differ according to the style of your wedding or the part of your personality you want to play up that day.

    I’m glad you found a dress you’re happy with πŸ™‚

    • Hahah thanks Gianni! I hesitated for a moment publishing it because a) I didn’t want to pop anyone’s magic dress fantasies with my frankness and b) I didn’t want to make anyone feel silly if they had had that feeling! In fact, if someone reading this DID have that “the one” feeling, then power to you! That is so awesome! They must be way more decisive than I am and I’m slightly jealous! xx

      • Your post is great b/c it takes the pressure off. I know for sure that a lot of brides-to-be feel pressured b/c they think they’re “supposed to” feel a certain way when they find the right dress (which then leads to trying on 5 billion dresses b/c you’re still waiting for gumdrop rain and glitter). Your post is a breath of fresh air. xx

  • My wedding dress cost Β£40. It’s just a dress. Cake, however, that shit’s important x

    • Cake was literally one of the first things we decided. We don’t even have real food yet. Or alcohol. But cake? Sorted! x

  • I’m sooo glad I didn’t go through the whole wedding dress shopping experience. Putting so much pressure on yourself (and one random item of clothing!) is a recipe for stress! I hope you found something you love and will be able to breath a little easier!

    • So much easier now. I ended up choosing something that I thought was quite “me” even if it wasn’t necessarily as bridal as most. x

      • As the girl with a short black wedding dress, I feel ya πŸ˜‰

  • I love this and your perspective on everything πŸ™‚ And also your mom’s awesome words of wisdom. You know, there is SO MUCH PRESSURE on dress shopping and really EVERY facet of wedding shopping these days, but in the end, you have the right idea. DO what makes YOU happy and leave all the outside influences where they are: outside. Thanks for sharing and excited for you!! XOXO

    • You’re right! There’s such crazy pressure of weddings theses days! Instead of keeping up with the Jones’ it’s very keeping up with Pinterest. Obviously, I want our wedding to look nice, but what’s most important to us is that for the first time ever, my friends and family from America will get to have an awesome time with Sam’s friends and family from England. Feeling the love and having fun. That’s the goal we are trying to keep in mind. xx

  • I didn’t love my dress when I first tried it on. I was still bummed that the dress I loved online wasn’t what I wanted after I got it on. And I would gladly donate 10 to 15 pounds to you if I could, haha.

  • Not many people have to put ON weight for their wedding! If you have ever seen How I Met Your Mother, it reminds me of all the dessert Lilly had to eat to fit into her wedding dress that she was forced to pay for because she accidentally ruined it at the bridal store!

    • Ha! Love that episode! Unfortunately mine is a medical thing so instead of getting milkshakes and cookies galore, it’s all boring (healthy) foods. πŸ˜€ xx

  • hahah I love how you put it– unicorns and gumdrops indeed are not always part of a package! And you are so right. Choosing the right dress is a personal choice; and it’s SO important to feel good about it.

  • Sometimes a dress is just a dress, love it!

  • I love this – saving this post for when I start trying dresses on! You’re right – finding the “perfect” dress is so built up these days, especially when you’ll look amazing regardless! x

    Sophie Cliff

    • My biggest tip is to find something that suits your wedding and your personality. If it’s a little less traditional, then so be it! x

  • I think to many people put too much stock in finding the so called perfect dress, some of us couldn’t afford a dress and had to make do with a borrowed dress, I wore my aunts wedding dress

  • amitygardens

    I’m really glad that you found your dress. I know what you mean about feeling uncertain- everyone acts like they have such an epiphany but mine didn’t feel like “the one”. It wasn’t until I had time to think about it that I knew it was the one that I wanted.

    I bet it look gorgeous on you, and Sam is going to be happy just seeing you come down the aisle with that beautiful smile on your face!

    • No that I’m out of the shopping situation, I know I picked a dress that suits my personality, but in the moment I was just awash in confusion. It’s just because I kept waiting for this stupid “Eureka!” dress moment that never came, because… it’s just an item of clothing! x

  • it’s been 6 years since I bought my dress but I can still relate. I went with my Mom and I thought I found the right one, but the sales lady actually talked me out of it. “that’s not how brides react when they find THE DRESS” so I didn’t get it. I went shopping again with my cousin, and after hours of dresses and not nearly enough to eat I put on this huge gown and my cousin and all the ladies in the store started up in raptures about how it was stunning, I looked like Grace Kelley, etc and I started to cry. I think mostly from hunger and exhaustion – but I ordered that dress. a few weeks went by and I went to another location of the store to try on my dress and came out and looked at myself and realized – it was so not me. so I ended up changing my order for that first dress. it wasn’t anything really special, but I felt comfortable and could move and be myself in it. would I get something different today? absolutely. but the dress I had was just fine for what was needed, and what I cherish most are the memories I made while wearing the dress. this is to say: you are right. a dress is just a dress and you are going to be lovely and make some beautiful memories. xo

    • Ah you’re story is so on point- it completely illuminates the weird pressure that’s put on you to be moved by a dress. But why? I’m glad you were able to change your order in time and wear a dress that felt more you! x

  • I agree with you – it is just a dress! I went the route of trying on dresses in a wedding dress store and was so frustrated by the experience that I ended up buying a short dress off the rack at Nordstroms. I like the dress and loved the day that I got to wear it on. If I ever can fit into it again (gotta love the post-baby pot belly and gigantic boobs) I’d wear it still. – Also, bodies changes and that’s okay

    • My mom wore a short dress when she got married in the 80s and though she never wore it again, I loved playing dress up in it when I was little! x

  • Well done on buying your dress!! I also ended up buying the first one I tried on and had the same concerns about whether it was the right one – there were grander, bigger, edgier, more contemporary, more vintage options all available! But my dress made me smile and feel comfortable and made me want to dance and twirl and that was perfect for me!
    Hannah x
    http://crafternooncabaretclub.com

    • It’s such a relief to hear that so many people understand! I think I also need to keep more away from wedding forums and websites where everyone talks about their “moment” finding their dress. But the style inspo is just too good! ;D x

  • OMG- you so needed me during this time because I was so the same! I don’t like shopping.. I don’t like trying a bunch of stuff on.. I also don’t like a huge fuss over me oh me. When I tried on my dress (first shop, fourth dress) I knew it was it.. but didn’t cry.. and get all choked up. I know that there were better ones but ya know what.. that beautiful dress is in it’s dress bag STILL dirty from my wedding day FIVE years ago.. and I don’t think of it barely ever. You are so right.. it’s not all about the dress. Don’t you dare let yourself feel bad or insecure about your body.. even though I KNOW.. it’s so hard not to. But remember- we all love you for who you are not what your dress size is or was or will be. The picture you have of a dress.. is that YOUR dress.. like a teaser.. or just a random? I can’t wait to see it Amanda!

    • Yes, I definitely needed your voice with all the things you mentioned above in my head! Maybe Alina will get your dress one day πŸ˜‰ Or at least get to play dress up in it when she’s a bit bigger. Hehe that’s not my dress at all, though it is very pretty. If there’s one thing that wedding dress shopping taught me it’s that I really like lace. However, my dress isn’t as “bridal” as that…. xx

  • What an up and down train ride! All of these things can’t make it easier, I agree with you though, sometimes a dress is a dress. Concentrate on making sure you’re healthy and happy and whatever you put on will look beautiful πŸ™‚

  • Aww I can so relate to this. I went through the exact same thing when I bought my dress. I was buying mine only six weeks before our wedding (poor planning on my part ha) so there was added pressure. It didn’t help that everyone at the stores were SHOCKED when I said my wedding was in six weeks! So that added more pressure. I ended up picking a dress because I got tired of shopping, honestly, and sick of wondering if I should cry, etc–I chose the one that was the most fun! It wasn’t the “dress of my dreams” and I knew it, but I liked it enough. THEN, I had one of the best days of my life on our wedding day and stopped caring about my dress and just had a fantastic time! And isn’t that what a wedding is about–having fun and being with the people you love most? πŸ™‚ I’m sure that you will look absolutely beautiful in your dress and I think that whatever happens with the dress, you two will have an amazing day and an amazing life! πŸ™‚

    • Yes, yes, yes. Those are exactly all my feelings! But maybe the “dress of my dreams” doesn’t really exist out there for anyone because it’s not a real feeling. And in the end, as long as Sam turns up, that’s all that really matters, right: πŸ˜€ xxx

  • I must admit I picked the first dress I tried on, it just feels so me! I did temporarily regret my choice as I saw it on someone else (GASP) but the dress isn’t an important part of the wedding anyway. Nobody cried when I tried it on but I did run around the bridal boutique like a boho bride haha!

    T x

    • I might has well have not tried on any others because I ended up buying the first one I tried on! (And I love that you had a run around πŸ˜‰ ) x

  • Awww I love this post, Amanda! I have the same problem with you. I’m always afraid there’s something better out there, but you’re completely right, a dress is just a dress and you’ll look beautiful no matter what! You’ll make amazing memories in it. I do kinda love that you ended up picking the first one you tried on. I can’t wait to see what you picked!

    • Ha, thanks Anna. It cause me a weird amount of anxiety. But I’m super happy with my choice now and equally glad that it’s over! x