Continuing with our wedding series, today we are gonna do a little show and tell of wedding dresses I’ve tried on to date!
Barely a month after announcing our engagement to our friends I began the exhaustive search for my wedding dress. I knew I would be wearing two: a South Asian look and a “white dress” look. The idea was that I would wear the South Asian outfit for an intimate City Hall affair, and then wear a bridal gown for a larger celebration later on. I tasked my mother with the procurement of the perfect outfit during her trip to Bangladesh. Having passed along a list of what I was looking for, I moved on to finding the ideal “white” wedding dress.
I started off with Loversland. I love the vibe at Loversland, love that it’s two badass local womxn who own this business and love the cool staff they employ. This was a great starting point for me. Before visiting the boutique, you are supplied with a questionnaire and some recommendations of how to go about dress shopping; an effort to get to know who you are and what your bridal style is.
In total I had four appointments with Loversland over the span of six months. Each visit, I got to meet a new staff member who helped me get that much closer to what I was searching for. Between these visits I also went to Sash & Bustle, David’s Bridal and White.
I have to say that I was treated the best by the staff at Loversland, which is a huge reason why I kept returning. There is no expectation or pressure for you to buy a dress, but they try to help you figure out what you are looking for. David’s Bridal really did not have styles I was interested in, and I felt neglected despite having made an appointment with a dedicated staff member. White was the fanciest and most luxurious out of the boutiques I went to. This makes complete sense, as they have extremely expensive gowns and cater to a more financially privileged clientele. Despite that, the staff were very friendly and helpful. I have to say, Sash & Bustle was a disappointment. They made our group wait for 30 mins with no explanation and the staff were not welcoming.
Dress shopping should be fun, and you shouldn’t buy a dress that you are unsure about. These four shops are only a handful — there are literally so many more around the city. Not to mention independent designers. Often designers are more easily found through wedding shows (along with any other kind of wedding vendor you can think of). Don’t be afraid to reach out to designers through Etsy or Instagram if you’re looking for a custom dress, or even customization. It never hurts to ask!
Over the course of six months, with seven appointments at four different bridal boutiques, I tried on numerous dresses. If we count the three South Asian boutiques I visited, then we’re coming to a total of TEN VISITS! Of course, I only tried on a handful of outfits at one of the South Asian boutiques, so my dress count doesn’t increase by that much overall!
We got engaged in April and shared the news with our friends in June. My first visit to Loversland was shortly thereafter, in July. I didn’t have any specific dresses I wanted to try on. So I tried on various different styles. On this first visit I only brought one friend.
I returned to Loversland after a few months and this time I had three friends with me. One from the previous visit and two others. Two of these friends had very distinct tastes when it came to dresses, often at odds with each other. After trying on a few dresses with no general consensus, we went to our next appointment at Sash & Bustle.
As I said before, I was less than thrilled with their service here. However, they know how to do a dramatic veil effect. This is when a bride thinks she likes something, but isn’t hundred percent sold on the dress, so you put a veil on her. Think Say Yes to the Dress episodes. The veil helps a bride better envision the full effect of walking down an aisle. I have to say putting a veil on really levels up a dress. I left feeling conflicted as I liked dresses my friends didn’t and didn’t feel as impressed with the dresses they did like.
I went back to Loversland a few months later because A La Robe was doing a trunk show and oh baby was there a silk bias-cut gown I wanted to try on! There was a photographer I was interested in booking with who had just gotten married in a A La Robe gown. Her wedding was so cool and really inspirational for my own planning. Unfortunately, no one really liked this gown on me and it didn’t make me feel as fabulous as I had hoped.
At David’s Bridal the next week I was feeling almost positive about a Vera Wang creation, but the feeling of neglect at the hands of the staff kind of spoiled the whole affair. This dress was a lot more fussy than I had previously been leaning towards, which also made me re-evaluate and re-analyze what I liked and/or didn’t.
Monique Lhuiller was definitely out of my budget (if I had really set one), but I still wanted to try on some of her heavenly creations. So we visited White just before the year ended and I have to say, if you’re looking for a fancy bridal boutique with a bigger dress budget, this is the place to be.
Early in January Loversland had a trunk show, as they often do. This time I visited solo. I tried on only one dress — the one I made the appointment for as soon as I knew this trunk show was happening. And I immediately knew. It felt right. It was as if all the vague ideas I had about a mountain and an ocean had finally come together. I didn’t have details; even today, I don’t. That’s due to COVID, naturally. Despite not having any finite plans, I knew this dress was the one I was supposed to wear. I finally bought my dress and went home giddy. I still haven’t told any of my friends (or even Roman) the exact dress or shown them any pictures — after all, I do like surprises.
Recently I was scrolling through Instagram and I saw that my photographer had shot an intimate wedding where the bride was wearing the same dress. I immediately felt a little sad that I wasn’t the first bride she shot in this dress. A little despondent that our plans didn’t occur as we had imagined and that we have no idea if any part of our plans will remain the same next year. Then I looked up and saw Roman getting a snack from the kitchen and I felt better. Cheesy, I know, but I’m just thankful that we’re happy and healthy. I will get a chance to wear this dress and exchange vows. It may be vastly different than what we had originally planned, but that’s okay. We will be where we are meant to be, together.