Three weekends, six shops, and a few dozen dresses. If someone had told me beforehand how long it would take for me to find my dress, I wouldn’t have believed them. So often, you hear about the bride who “just knew” with the very first dress she tried on, her entourage standing by with happy tears in their eyes. It’s a magical moment—or at least that’s how it’s supposed to be, right? That’s how it works on Say Yes to the Dress! Admittedly, my experience was a bit different. However, after careful consideration and zero pressure from an audience, I was finally able to say yes to my perfect dress. Here’s how it came to be mine:
Right from the get-go, I knew that no matter where I ended up finding my dress, I at least wanted to start the dress shopping experience back in my hometown of Reedsburg, Wisconsin. Brides N Belles has been around for as long as I can remember, and is actually where I purchased my prom dress 10-plus years earlier. I always pictured myself trying on wedding dresses there someday, and with just my mom along, this is where I tried on my first 10 to 15 dresses. In the end, there really weren’t any that made me think “this could be it,” and we moved on to the rest of our day, knowing that the following weekend we would continue the search in Minnesota.
If there were ever a time where I really hoped that I would find my dress, this was the day. Along with my mom, I had also enlisted the help of my fiancé’s two sisters, mom, and stepmom. We started our morning at Posh Bridal Couture in Wayzata, where we were greeted with mimosas and shown to our own private sitting area. Note: If you are looking for the full-on bridal experience, you will definitely find it here. The shop itself is beautiful, and they really work hard to ensure you feel like the only bride in the store.
I tried on somewhere between 10 to 12 dresses here, but in the end, only two stood out. The first, a Blue Willow by Anne Barge gown, was in my price range and fit like a glove. I loved the way I looked in it—and enjoyed how comfortable it was (seriously!), but something didn’t feel quite right. The second dress had an even bigger roadblock—the price tag. At double the cost (and then some) of the absolute highest amount I wanted to spend, it immediately caught my eye as it stood on display in our sitting area. I asked the stylist if I could try it on, as up to this point, she had been the one selecting the gowns for me, based on my likes/dislikes. She warned me that unless I purchased it that day (which was during a 50 percent off sale), it may not be a good idea to try on a dress so far above my price point. Of course, I didn’t listen, and as I walked out of the dressing room in a gown that was exactly my size, I felt like this could be it.
Although I loved these dresses (particularly the second one), I felt an immense amount of pressure with having to purchase it that same day in order to stay in my price range. I left knowing that if it was meant to be, it would be, and we proceeded on to two more stops (Bridal Accents Couture and Our Shop Bridal) before calling it a day.
About five days after my experience at Posh, I received quite a surprise while scrolling through my Instagram feed. The Posh Rack, a sister store to Posh Bridal Couture that specializes in off-the-rack gowns, announced the arrival of a new dress to its store—and it was the one I had fallen in love with the previous weekend! Knowing that the price would be heavily discounted due to it now being off-the-rack, I immediately made plans to return as soon as my last two appointments (at Che Bella and a&bé bridal shop) were finished.
In the end, after nearly an hour of standing in front of the mirror with only myself to deliberate with, I finally said yes to the dress that really was meant to be. Although my practical side made it difficult for me to give in (even at nearly 60 percent off the original price), I ultimately knew that no other dress had made me feel that elegant, or more “me.” I walked away from the store with my dress in hand and a smile on my face. Although I didn’t have a cheering entourage with me, it felt right knowing that this decision was based on only one opinion—my own.