I have begun and abandoned several entries about Wedding Dress shopping, mostly because they started getting very preachy, and that's not what I want to do here.
Suffice it today, I went shopping at two different places, and my experiences were very different. The first place I went to was a large national chain, like Shmavids Cridal or Blalfred Blangelo. Only real, and not ridiculous. My mom and I made an appointment about a month in advance, and showed up early, with an iPad and a Pinterest Account full of dress ideas, all pinned directly from their website.
We had to wait about 20 minutes for a consultant, who ended up being the person who greeted us in the first place. She asked me about the dress I pictured. I mentioned that I had gone through their website and pinned every dress I liked in their collection. She glanced at what I had, asked me more questions, and took off to find my dress.
A couple of caveats that should be mentioned:1) I'm a costumer, and a picky one.
2) I'm a big gal (I range betwee 12 and 16, depending on how much I work at it)
3) I'm a people pleaser
When our consultant came back, she carried three dresses, none of which were on the pinboard I had showed her. Remember the part where I said I'm picky? Well that goes double for my wedding dress. Even when I was single, I always researched wedding dresses. Because of reasons. Important not-at-all girly reasons.
Long story short, I hated every dress she brought me, and eventually settled on maybe liking one that I kind of didn't like at all. I told her I'd think about and we left. After thinking about it some more, my mom and I decided it was not a good experience overall. We felt rushed, they asked my mom to move several times while I was dressing, and the fact that we had to wait 20 minutes when we had made an appointment was frustrating.
Contrast to the place I ended up buying my dress: Jinny's Bridalin Huntington Beach.
I am not in the employ of or being compensated by Jinny's Bridal or any of its affiliates First, if you weren't absolutely certain there was a bridal shop in the stripmall down and across the street from Bella Terra, you'd probably miss it. And from the outside, it's not quite as glamorous looking as some of the salons I've seen in Pasadena and Los Angeles, or even Downtown Fullerton. However. I arrived, and was immediately greeted by a friendly associate. Every person in the store made it their business to assist me however they could.
My consultant was an adorbable recent High School grad who was practically dwarfed by the dresses she carried, but she was helpful and thorough, and showed no signs of irritation when I asked to try two dresses on a second time.
My mom found my dress, and I'm kind of mad about it. I had this picture in my head of the dress I wanted to wear, and my mom picked something completely the opposite. Wanting to make her happy (people pleaser!), I tried it on. And I cried. This dress was so beautiful, and I felt beautiful in it. We both turned a little paler when we looked at the price tag, but we gulped and put down a deposit. I was so happy and pleased that this piece was done.
About a month later, I got a call. It was Jinny herself, the owner of the store. My dress had been discontinued. I was heartbroken. Not just because I had loved that dress so intensely, but also because darnit, I thought I was done! She offered to help me find a similar dress, and I told her I understood, having worked at a Bridal Salon years previous.
After I hung up, I cried. I called my mom. I called Scruffy. I thought some more. I called Jinny back. Would she sell me the floor model at a discount? Why yes, yes she would, I just needed to come back and make sure it fits.
I went back with most of my girls this time. We put me in the dress, we tried on veils and tiaras and all manner of things. And at the end, we got a $1300 wedding dress for about $800, and the store will split alterations with us. I was elated, not only to be done, but to have such a beautiful dress, at a great price, and to purchase it from such an awesome store.
The moral of the story (for me): 1) Shop Local
2) Try the weird dress your mom picks out
3) Be Flexible. Stuff happens with Weddings, sometimes you gotta roll with it.
So there you have it, my first in-depth planning entry. How'd I do?