Problems with Wedding Dress Expectations (WW#5)



Since the going is still slow on the wedding front (Although I did put down a deposit on a wedding photographer and signed the contract with them! YAY! ONE BIG THING DONE!!!) I figured that I’d push this back to being a once a month update, because I’m bad at talking about weddings and I’m not an expert in any sense of the word. As the day creeps ever closer, (The Knot informed me that there are 350-something days until the wedding….cue incoherent shrieking) I wanted to talk a little about the biggest hurdle I’m currently facing, which is wedding dress shopping.

I’ve been out about 3 times so far, the most recent was at the beginning of October. I’ve tried on a lot of dresses, I know the silhouette that I like, and I know the kinds of fabrics I like and don’t like….but I still haven’t really found something that I like like, if you know what I mean. Maybe it’s because there is this thing that everyone continuously says, which is something along the lines of “When you put it on you’ll just know!” So here I am, putting on all these dresses, looking at myself in the full body mirrors, people coo-ing behind me, but I just don’t feel anything, at any point. I liked some of the dresses, but I never felt like myself. Or scratch that, I just didn’t feel like I was actually putting on wedding dresses, to me it just felt like I was trying on a nice white-ish dress. But that also doesn’t completely encapsulate the feeling. More like, I look at myself in these wedding dresses and can’t fully envision myself actually wearing it on the day itself. I’ve never envisioned myself in a wedding dress before in my entire waking life.

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I could see myself wearing an engagement ring, though I never really had thought much about it. I could never see myself in a wedding dress though. I think that’s something I still struggle with, even now with the date looming ever closer. (LESS THAN A YEAR??!?!?) With every dress I try on I can’t help but wonder if maybe everyone is exaggerating this “Oh you’ll just KNOW, it’ll be SO overwhelming and you’ll just KNOW it’s the ONE.” thing. Will I just have to pick the one that I like a little more than the others? Or hell, maybe I’ll wear a tailored white suit. In fact, I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t already had a few friends tell me that I’d look smoking in a good fitted suit. Might as well give a try, right? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. One of these days I’ll try some of them on too, see how it feels. I’ve never been too conventional anyways.

I also realize that some of my hesitation towards the dresses is that I still don’t really like my body all that much. I know I can “fix” that with exercise, but for me, no matter what I’ve done, I’ve never reached that moment of “Wow, okay I look great now!” and believe me, even hitting 110 pounds didn’t do that for me. Every time I put on a dress, even the consultants at the stores say I look really pretty. In fact, the first shop I went into the girl told me, “You’re main problem is going to be that you look good in every one of the dresses” Which, I guess is a nice problem to have. I think going with a large group, it’s also easy to get swept up in what they like, while I’m constantly uneasy in everything I put on. You basically have to beat my feelings out of me with a stick and even then at most you get a “Uhm, well, yeah, I like it?” Fetch me a glass of wine, it’s too early in the morning for me to be so introspective, I clearly have a lot of issues to work out.


Basically, what I’m getting at is: Wedding dress shopping is the toughest thing about this whole wedding right now, and that’s counting the guest list building/cutting, the vendor searching, the phone calls to vendors that I’m terrible at, and everything else. Nothing is as emotionally draining to me as dress shopping. Which begs another question, can you go dress shopping alone? I wonder how I’d feel if I went by myself to try on dresses, would I have a clearer vision of myself without anyone else’s opinions to potentially sway my mind? If I don’t feel I have anyone to please but myself, could I envision myself in a dress more clearly? Although, even sitting at my desk I can’t pull up a mental image of myself in a dress (or anything for that matter) walking down an isle. It’s all hazy. I seriously envy all the girls who have had their dream wedding planned out since middle school. How did you manage to do that? How could you envision marrying someone so early in life? Maybe that’s the lone spinster in me talking. Perhaps that is why Alex always calls me a robot? (Lovingly of course)

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Will I ever find the dress (or tailored suit, perhaps?) of my dreams? Does that “THIS IS THE ONE!!!!1!!” moment actually exist in wedding dress shopping? Can you go dress shopping alone? Is anyone willing to fly down to Houston to help me shop for dresses? (Kidding, but not really) Help a lady out! I’d love to hear stories from ladies who found their dream dress, or from girls who don’t want to be married at all, or from the girls who have had their dream wedding planned out before a man was even in the picture. I want to hear stories from everyone no matter what their views on marriage, because I’m still trying to piece this whole experience together.


By Jess

A bookworm since the tender age of whenever I stopped chewing on books and started actually reading them. A cat-mom, graphic designer, and introvert originally from Pittsburgh, but now resides in the humid, hot, state of Texas. Cheers!

  • I’ve never gone wedding dress shopping, so I can’t speak to how hard it is, but I can imagine! Trying so many dresses in so many different styles is probably overwhelming. If you never saw yourself in a wedding dress, you could always try something different like vintage dresses or short dresses. I think you’ll find your perfect dress eventually! Keep looking! Don’t give up! 🙂

    • Maybe I could set a hipster wedding standard by making a elaborate dress of potato sacks? Hahaha! It is all a but overwhelming, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually!

  • Kay

    While I’ve never shopped for a wedding dress, I imagine this is EXACTLY how I would feel. Like you, I’ve never dreamed of my wedding. So I can’t imagine having that ‘feeling’ of knowing ‘my dress.’ To me, a dress is nice and all, but it’s just a dress. (Though perhaps it’s because I’m just not that into clothes…I just wear what’s comfortable.) I totally think you’d rock a tailored suit!!!

    And personally, I really like the idea of dress shopping alone. I think what YOU want, since it is your wedding after all, matter most. If you’re worried that you’ll be swayed by other peoples opinions, which is a totally legit concern, then leave the entourage at home and rock it yourself! 😀

    • I’m glad we are in the same boat here! 🙂 I think I’ll have to give dress shopping alone a go, and see how it goes! I used to do everything alone, so I’m always more comfortable not feeling like I have to please everyone in the room!

  • Oh, girl, I have so many feelings about this post.
    1. Maybe the dress isn’t the most important thing to you? I mean, let’s be honest: It’s Alex, right? Alex is the reason you’re putting on that dress. In my opinion, people put way too much pressure on the dress. You wear it once. Alex is for life. I mean, you should love the dress, of course, but people act like the dress is on par with the person your marrying.
    2. That being said… Yes, you will know. You’ll know when you love the dress because you’ll feel good in it and you’ll know that Alex will love the way you look in it.
    3. As far as shopping alone, YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, IT’S YOUR WEDDING. Screw tradition. Screw what everyone else says. If you need to do this part by yourself, go for it!! Or bring just the one person who you trust to give you honest and loving opinions.
    4. Just take a deep breath and shrug all the pressure off those shoulders of yours. You have time!!
    All of this being said… I totally understand! I’m right there in the thick of wedding planning with you and AHHHHHHHH… SO MANY THINGS.

    • Ah, thank you! I needed all of this!! You are amazing and totally, 1000% right! I do feel like people put so much stock into the dress! The pressure is so high, I wish you luck in your planning as well! WE CAN DO IT!!!!