How I Found my Wedding Dress + 9 Tips to Find Yours

Merry Christmas Eve, y'all! I hope you are eating yummy food, all nice and warm, with family and friends! It's been a year, so I thought I'd share my wedding dress story! So, here goes.

Nick proposed December 13th, 2015. (you can see it here!) A few days later, he flew to be with his family, in Seattle. That's relevant, because in January, we have been together for 3 years! And although we have "been together" for 2 Christmases, we have never spent Christmas together. So, not only is this our first married Christmas, but it is our first EVER Christmas! Anyway, back to the topic at hand!

Every year, the day after Christmas, my family and I go shopping! It is my FAVORITE time of the year to shop, because everything is on sale and I have just gotten Christmas money! Last year, my mom wanted to swing by Nordstrom, to see if they had a Mother of the Bride dress on sale. Spoiler alert...she found a dress there, but it wasn't on sale. I'm actually wearing her outfit, for NYE this year! Which is also relevant, because my friend Rhonda from The Skinny Arm, actually helped me find it (when she still worked on floor at Nordstrom Northpark!) and I'm going to her New Year's Eve party this year - it is called Beats and Bubbly. Okay, let's get back on track - Nick says I provide too much information, but I think that i what make stories fun!

So, back to the fact that my mom wanted to look at MOB dresses. The special occasion dresses just happen to be right next to the bridal section. Surprise, surprise! They had all the wedding dresses out and looking so pretty, so I was like what heck. Why not try some on! After all, my whole family was there. I grabbed a couple, but I really only liked one, so I tried that one on first. "That one" is the one in the low-quality i-phone pics and just happened to be THE ONE. Yep, the first first dress I tried on just happened to be the one I fell in love with. Of course, I tried on like 2 more and was done for the day. Now, because this was the first place I went, I wanted to make sure I loved it, so I decided to look elsewhere. I had time, right? It was only 2 weeks after my engagement after all... WRONG. The dress that I loved was a sample and was on SAMPLE SALE. I had to decide in the next 24 hours, or they would ship it back with the other samples. Last year, the day after Christmas was a Saturday, so I had to hurry and make an appointment, so I could let them know by Sunday night. I went to Gowns of Grace in Dallas and tried on probably 7 or 8 more, but didn't love any of them any more than the one at Nordstrom, and especially not for the price!

So that was it! About 3 months before my wedding, we began alterations - the first one was the longest, just because of how much fabric there was!  We had 1 more, then picked it up a couple weeks later for my Bridal portraits. We took it back 1 more time and had it pressed and cleaned for the big day, then picked it up the week of the wedding. Bada bing, bada boom. Because this day (not date) last year I found my dress, I thought today would be the perfect time to bring out these photos and give you tips for finding your dress.

1) Find out When Sample Sales Are. Okay, so if you're reading this, chances are you're not one of the brides who is getting hers custom made - nothing wrong, just wasn't my dream! In fact, I'm not sure I had a dream about my wedding dress. I lucked into shopping a sample sale, but make sure that you're just as lucky! Because my dress was so under budget, it created room for other things I wanted for my big day! I shopped the Nordstrom sample sale, but other places like Neiman's have them too! They are "technically" out of date, but honestly I don't think that whenever I see my dress. I think it's more of a need for different inventory, than that something is no longer on trend.

2) Keep an Open Mind. Not to toot my own horn, but i feel like I did a super good job of this. I honestly didn't know what I wanted and I certainly didn't think it would be a ball gown style! I kind of thought that I didn't really want a mermaid style, but wasn't really sure. By keeping an open mind, you are able to consider more options! Even if you think you don't want it, go ahead and try it on. You might love it!

3) What are you going to be doing at your wedding? Dancing? Standing up and Sitting down a lot? If you're going to be moving a lot, you probably don't want one that is really tight or restrictive. Off the shoulder styles and form fitting looks are super flattering, but I didn't think I really wanted that type, because I wanted to be as comfortable as possible!

4) Consider your Venue. Where are you thinking of getting married? It's your wedding, so you can do what you want, but generally speaking, you want to kind of match the formality of the venue / event. For example, if I were having a beach wedding, I would NOT have gone with this dress. I knew the venue I was considering / the overall feel that Nick and I wanted and it matched perfectly!

5) Remember your Budget. Please do not try on dresses that are out of your budget. Chances are that you will love it and then all other dresses you try will never be good enough. Now, I completely get the cost of dresses, I mean people have to make money, but please, please, please don't do go above your budget- usually it isn't overpriced, it is just that much nicer!  (Relatively speaking) Now, don't get a dress you don't feel good in or don't really like, but you catch my drift.

6) Don't forget the Veil. Don't forget this in your budget! The one I ended up liking was $300! I guess it could have been more, but it was still more expensive than I expected. Consider what kind of headpiece, if any, in your budget, so it doesn't come as a surprise.

7) What Season? Again, it's your wedding and you can do it your way, but think about what accessories you are wanting and what season your dress seems like. I knew I wanted a fur capelet, so I considered that when I was shopping. Are you wanting a flower crown or a super summery wedding? Just keep it in mind - your photos will look better because of it!

8) Which body parts do you want to accent (or not accent?) I knew I wanted to exact my waist and NOT my hips...kind of why I didn't want a mermaid look. If I was caught at the wrong angle, I would like HUUUUGE (said like Donald Trump). I love my dress, because it makes my waist look small at all angles.  Figure out what you want to show off and/or hide and go with that, because that will make you feel most comfortable and confident!

9) Be You. I can't emphasize this enough. When it comes to weddings, sometimes people will try to butt in and do things or try and influence decisions, but it's not their day. Don't bring someone like this with you, when try on dresses. At the end of the day, pick what makes you happy...within your budget ;) Don't be influenced by someone who doesn't know how to stay quiet during certain scenarios.

Here are some more of my beautiful bridal portraits, by Heidi Lockhart Somes. If you want to see more, I have some on my "11 Tips for Taking your Bridal Photos" post.

Dress: Blue Willow by Anne Barge, Nordstrom

Hair and Makeup: Grand Slam Glam

Eyelash Extensions: Amazing Lash Garland

Flowers: Lizzie Bee's Flower Shoppe

Jewelry: Elsa Peretti Diamonds by the Yard Necklace and Bracelet, Vintage Diamond Earrings

Engagement Ring: Fuller's Jewelry

Shoes: Tory Burch Holiday 2015 Satin Burgundy Pumps, Vintage Cowboy Boots

Photography: Heidi Lockhart Somes

Locations: White Rock Lake, Trinity Groves Cake Bar, Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Park Cities Baptist Church

Like what you read? Click here to subscribe and receive every post in your inbox!