The 6 Stages of Wedding Dress Shopping

Day 429: Wedding dress shopping can be the most exhilarating and taxing part of the entire planning process. This is what you will wear on your big day. The dress you’ve been dreaming about since you were a little girl. The doors will open, everyone will stand, and your husband will lock eyes with you and see you standing at the end of the aisle in this dress. It’s kind of a big deal.

For some future brides, it will take countless appointments and dress shops to find The One. For others, they choose the first dress they try on. Whatever the situation, all brides experience some of the feelings from the 6 Stages of Wedding Dress Shopping. You’re not alone in this emotional rollercoaster.

Stage 1: Grandeur

You walk into the first bridal shop and, instantly, you’re in a fairy tale. You are walking on air when you stride through those dress shop doors with your bridesmaids and mom (maybe still a little tipsy from brunch) to suddenly be surrounded by the most gorgeous, luxurious dresses you’ve ever seen.

If it’s your first time looking at dresses, the shop will have you try on all the traditional styles of wedding gowns to see what is the best fit for your body shape. It’ll be then when you realize you look great in everything. These dresses are made to flaunt your best features, but one or two styles will stand out more than the others. You’ll know which ones they are.


Stage 2: Indecision

You, your friends, your mom and the shop girl are all pulling dresses from the rack. You’re trying on dresses left and right. It’s getting a little exhausting to haul giants bundles of tulle over your head. You keep trying on dress after dress. Suddenly they all start melding together in your mind and you’re not so sure which style looks the best anymore. You start to get self-conscious.

Whether you start to feel indecisive after trying on a few dresses or after trying out a few dress shops, you need to take a break. If you continue to push through to find the prefect dress, the next stage will start creeping in to the back of your mind: Panic.


Stage 3: Panic

I will never, ever, ever find the perfect dress. None of these dresses are The One. How can I even get married without a wedding dress? These feelings of panic will be enough to send the calmest of brides into an emotional meltdown.

Stop. Take a deep breath. This is supposed to be fun, remember? Remember strutting through the dress shop in that giant, fluffy Vera Wang ball gown? Let’s go back to that.

Before you freak out, remind yourself that there is a dress out there for you and you will find it. Remind yourself the most important thing is to just buy something white to wear while you can marry your best friend and love of your life.


Stage 4: Lucidity

Hey. Hey, guys. This one… is really, really pretty. Like, really pretty. In fact, there’s nothing I would change about it. And wow, I look gorgeous!

You have found your dress.

Just like when you realized your fiancé was The One, you start to think back on all those other dresses you tried on. The dresses you thought may be The One, but only if you changed that one little thing about it. You realize, there’s nothing you would change about this dress. It is, essentially, the perfect dress.

Maybe you cry. Maybe you hug your mom or jump up and down with all your friends. You are so excited to have finally found it that you order it there on the spot. You and your friends and family go home and dream of ball gowns, relieved the search is finally over.

Welcome Stage 5.


Stage 5: Skepticism

You wake up next to your fiancé, feeling like you have a little secret. You’ve come back down from your cloud, open up your phone gallery and swipe through some of the pictures your friends sent of you in your new wedding gown. Your stomach sinks. How were you so sure this was The One yesterday?

In the photo, the horrible fluorescent lighting of the dress shop makes you look pale and, simply put, unattractive. How could you have felt so beautiful in that dress, when now, looking at photos, you look like a fat little marshmallow?

You exit out of that screen and launch Pinterest. Pinterest always makes everything better. You scroll through some gorgeous and unique wedding dresses you never saw in the bridal shop, fitting perfectly on a tall, skinny model.

Stop it! Your dress is perfect, I promise. Once you find your dress, do not look at other dresses. There’s a reason you chose this dress and it made you feel beautiful enough to spend a month’s worth of rent on it. Take more deep breaths and remember how you felt while wearing the dress. Go to the designer’s website and notice how the dress you chose pops out at you on the website. Yep. It’s The One.


Stage 6: Acceptance

You did it! You bought your wedding dress!

You’ve accepted that this is the dress you will be wearing when you marry the man of your dreams. It’s the most beautiful and most expensive article of clothing you’ll ever wear in your lifetime. Your children and grandchildren will point at this dress in your wedding album and laugh about how silly and out-of-style it looks. And you’ll just smile to yourself, knowing you’ve never felt more beautiful that you did in that dress.

You are going to look like a princess walking down the aisle. Be extremely proud of yourself. You came, you saw and you conquered that bridal shop.



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