Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Bridal Industry Confuses Me

So as you all are probably aware, I am scheduled to be married on January 5th, 2013. This should be one of the happiest times of my life. I am planning my dream wedding. Heck, the man let me get the photo booth that I wanted. This is my time! Well, turns out my time is not as fun as I had originally thought it to be. What is the one thing that every bride thinks will be the most amazing and inspiring experience? That's right... trying on and choosing her wedding dress. Unfortunately, I am off to a really rocky, and defeated, start.

The Breathtaking Bride
I am just like any other bride. I have been pouring over bridal magazines and of course, The Knot. I had a great idea of what dresses would look good on my figure and what styles that I really thought would fit my rustic vintage themed wedding. I made my first bridal appointment at a salon that carried two of my favorite (and more importantly, affordable) lines, Eden Bridal and La Sposa. The salon looked to have a boutique feel and since it was run by a Mother/Daughter team I thought it seemed like a sweet and special place to book my first appointment. Well, as I have learned many times in my life: Never judge a book by it's cover.

I brought 2 bridesmaids and a friend to the appointment with me, which I later learned just made me more nervous about the way that I look. Being a busty size 12, I usually rock self confidence because well, it is the better option. I am perpetually on the quest to be thinner but I don't let myself get caught up in the drudgery of it... until I realize how important my wedding dress is/was to me. I carried with me a list of all the styles that this salon carried that I wanted to try on. The consultant had about 25 to choose from so I thought I would get a good sampling. I was wrong. Sample size is an 8, didn't you know that? And didn't you know that actually mean size 6?

My consultant seemed friendly and considerate at first but later I would describe it as indifferent. The ONE dress that this salon had from my list, she carried into the fitting room. She said it's a size 8, sorry its our sample size. I looked her in the eye and said "That is not going to fit me.". She seemed to think I don't know my own body. "Let's just try to pull it over your head." to which I replied, " I know that dress is not going to fit me." She didn't care. We put that dress, multiple sizes too small over my head and proceeded to get it stuck on my shoulders. In the process of trying to YANK it off of me, the hooks in the beautiful corseted back, got stuck in my hair, which she also pulled in the process. I could immediately feel myself welling up with tears. Here I was in just my underwear with a woman I didn't know, yanking me out of the first dress. OK, Amanda. Settle down. Pull it together. You are tougher than this.

Since this was my first appointment ever, I agreed to try on multiple different styles. Consultant brought in all different kinds. The next dress would be better. The next dress she put on me, legit made me look like something out of princess horror film. It had to have been 30 pounds of dress, all taffeta and HUGE. I told consultant that I did not want to go show my friends this dress, that it was too too bad. "But you have to show them, they came here to see you in dresses". This was when she whipped the curtain open and pretty much made me show my friends. Friend 1 said "next." As you can imagine, my self esteem was plummeting at a rapid rate, which I know is partially my own fault. The next few dresses are better. She whipped out some her plus sized samples, I mean we are talking a size 20 to clip me into. We decide fit and flare looks best on me. Consultant keeps tying jeweled belts around my waist when I have told her multiple time that I do not like that aspect of dresses. She doesn't care. It's her wedding after all. The last dress I tried on was absolutely gorgeous. It was simple, it was sleek and I could totally imagine myself getting married in it. My friends agreed. Consultant couldn't leave it at that. She tied a jeweled belt around my waist. I started crying. This, at the time, was a most miserable experience for me. I felt fat, like my consultant wasn't listening to me AT ALL and like I would never feel that special feeling you are supposed to when trying on a wedding dress. We left and I wrote a seething yelp review. I will not be buying this dress from this salon. It was decided.

J.Crew Dresses I LOVE
Fast forward to this week. I decided after perusing some dresses online, that J. Crew had some sweet, simple, affordable options that I could accessorize the sh!t out of. I called to make an appointment for when both our mothers are up next week. On the initial phone call, the consultant asked me what size I was. Since I just tried on their bridesmaid dresses last week, I confidently said that the 14 was more comfortable. The seemingly young sales associate says "Oh, well our sample sizes are only 8's... I guess we just won't be able to zip anything up." *Cue self esteem taking a hit.* "Ok, that's fine, I just want to get a good idea of what it will look like". She instructed me to email her the styles and she would look to see what they had even available. At the end of the day, another associate found my styles and told me ahead of time what sizes they had in store but instructed me to actually purchase dresses in my size if I wanted to have them for the appointment. I only had to purchase one, because they actually had a 12, GASP, in my favorite, which will be easily returned if not the one but I am left feeling so confused about this whole industry.

Admittedly, I am not the thinnest woman out there but I can confidently say that I represent a great number of women in the 10-16 size range that would love to see a dress on their body in a remotely similar size. Also, when working with brides, I would like to think that I would have some compassion and overall more intensified sensitivity to the pressure of the situation, you know? Most bride's are paying the most they hav ever spent on clothing, on this special dress... My friends tell me that I just need to try another salon, that the experience will be better but at this point, the excitement is gone and I just kind of want to get it over with. That's not exactly how I am supposed to feel, right? The man says I'll look gorgeous no matter what, which is nice. Here's hoping the J.Crew appointment next week goes well and one of the dresses work because if not, I will just go to David's Bridal, where expectations are low... therefore I won't be disappointed.(Side Note: I have friends who have gotten lovely dresses at David's Bridal. It was the service I have experience being iffy)

Am I the only one who has felt this way?


  1. I will say this: Jen had a great experience at David's Bridal in Framingham and ultimately bought her dress there after a few disappointing visits to boutiques.  So don't necessarily look at David's as defeat.  It's just another avenue to pursue what you want.  And when you ultimately find that perfect dress for you (which you will), you won't care about the name on the building it came out of. 

  2. I have gotten bridesmaids dresses from David's Bridal and it's always been a cluster but I have a couple friends that have gotten their dresses there no fuss, no muss. I think I might end up making an appt there when our Mom's are up so that we do make a decision. I just needed to vent! PS. I though Jen looked beautiful ;-)

  3. You madam, are a beautiful woman, whether you are a size 2 or a size 20, you are a good person and you will look amazing in your dress. I'm sorry this experience has been so frustrating for you.  

    And I went to David's twice for my dress, the first time the consultant straight out sucked and didn't even help me into any dresses, but the second time, the time I actually got my dress, the consultant was amazing, despite it being close to closing time and there being a thousand people there. If you decide to try David's let me know and I'll give you her name. 

  4. I purchased my dress from Davids Bridal, and had a great experience with the associate helping me. She actually suggested the dress that I bought based on the other styles I was looking at. Don't be discouraged, you are a beautiful women, and you are going to to look stunning on your wedding day. It sounds like the first salon doesn't know how to make a bride feel special about the most important purchase! You will find your dress! Good luck Amanda! I'm so excited for you! <3

  5.  I just made an appointment at David's Bridal <3 too many people just immediately told me to give them a chance haha!

  6.   I just made an appointment at David's Bridal <3 too many people just immediately told me to give them a chance haha!

  7. I bought my dress from Alfred Angelo, they had samples in all sizes no one was judgey at all it was a pleasant experience. I am not sure where the closest one to you would be but it doesn't hurt to look them up. I was not wowed by the stuff I saw at David's Bridal

  8. I think it's important to go to a salon that will cater to YOU and really listen to your needs, or else it's going to be defeating and you may have a really hard time finding what you want. The first bridal salon I went to was Kleinfields (of Say Yes to the Dress) and the consultant didn't listen to me at all and I also wound up in tears. I purchased my dress at a smaller store where I was the only appointment and they waited on me hand and foot. I also suggest going to appointments with as few relatives/friends as possible...the less opinions, the better! You'll find your beautiful dream dress,  no worries!

    The Tiny Heart

  9. Amanda, 
    Try Temptations.....I am the same size as you and when i was there trying on dresses they had alot more than size 8's to try on and the girls they are so extremely friendly and nice and really make it a wonderful experience. I tried on dresses at David's and felt rushed. It could have just been the consultant I had. Good Luck and as stressful as it is planning a wedding it all works out in the end! 

  10. You just have to have the right person! That second time I had the assistant manager and she was amazing. I didn't initially think I would, or even wanted to get my dress there. 

  11. Nathalie HirschtrittMay 10, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    Hang in there lady. I've told you before and I'll tell you again - you're beautiful and amazing inside and out so don't let some half wit bridal sales consultant make you feel any different. You're going to be a gorgeous bride! Muah!

  12. My daughter went to David's Bridal for a prom dress and while she didn't end up buying her dress from them, the service was great, they were very friendly, brought out tons of options and listened to what she voiced as her preferences and concerns.  I'd certainly give them a shot...

  13. so sorry this was such a stressful experience for you. i had many of the same awful experiences when searching for my dress and it sucked, big time. i was a size 16 and i searched for 6 months here in az by myself since my family was all back in ny. it was awful. even if you were a little embarrassed with friends there beleive me, it's so much nicer to have people you care about around then to be looking alone. i ended up finding my dress at an unlikely shop where many people buy prom dresses while on vacation in ny when my family was with me.  the key was they were a buy off the rack shop so, they had dresses in all sizes and that made a huge difference for me and my confidence. when you find your dress it will be magical! just as you hoped it would be. hang in there beautiful lady and bridal shops suck, big time.

  14. Oh Amanda! I'm so sorry you had such a negative experience. But honestly, what the other ladies here have said is true. You are a beautiful woman and you will find your perfect dress that makes you feel amazing. I do find your experience interesing because when I went with my sister to a local, small, bridal salon, most samples were between sizes 10-14. There were a few smaller ones but I feel like those were the most common. It must depend on the shop.

  15. I loved this post, it was super real.  I was a size 12 (Size 14 in wedding gowns) when I was getting married and had the SAME types of situations happen to me.  I didnt even want people to go dress shopping with me at the time because the whole situation was humiliating.  And I totally laughed at the belt thing.  They did that to me with tiaras/veils.  (Belts werent QUITE as popular then as they are today).  And like you, at the time I was getting married, I didnt care about losing weight for the wedding.  I actually GAINED right before.  Oops.  Whatevs.  I found that Maggie Sottero's fit my body type well (curvy, busty).  And I ended up buying from a boutique in Arkansas called Low's Bridal (one of the largest wedding dress shops in the US, its an old hotel turned boutique) after flying down to go dress shopping with my mom.  I wasnt very lucky in Boston. I really hope you find a better experience.  I say DONT QUIT until you DO have a great experience. 

  16. It sounds like that store was attended by idiots that day. I am so sorry you had to go through such an unpleasant experience. I would not sell yourself short though. Have you considered other smaller stores? My problem with JCrew is that they are so done. Everyone has seen all of the dresses. Accessorizing is fun, but what about a special fit and flare from a nicer brand with better quality? I would say you should try Casablanca Bridal. My dress from them was $2000, $300 for a detachable portion, and then the veil. They have a ton of styles and are quite affordable! Fit and Flare is so sexy on a curvy woman!

  17. Oh Amanda : ( This makes me really frustrated for you, and I totally know where you're coming from. I think it's a crapshoot wherever you go. Honestly it depends on the time of day, what associate you get, and what kind of mood they are in. My personal experience with David's was only ok, but my circumstances were a little odd. I know you already made your appointment, but I'll still suggest going on a weeknight when there's no one in the store, and avoiding the cluster. You're dress is out there just waiting for you to find it!

  18. bestdressedinthenestMay 10, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    I fully understand what you just went through b/c I went through it too (over 10 years ago, but nothing has changed about the way bridal shops work). I was a voluptuous size 16-18 and the samples were all size 8-ish. I ended up buying a dress that just fit me b/c I couldn't even get NEAR getting into the samples. My dress wasn't awful, but it definitely wasn't my dream dress. Very frustrating for sure. :(

  19. My fionce is in the same situation...

  20. Check out some beautiful wedding dresses we have for inspiration!

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