That time I bought a wedding dress

Last weekend was a pretty good one for me, gang. Friday officially marked the one-year countdown to our wedding day, which is pretty rad in itself. Also on Friday, I took a road trip down to Ohio to spend the weekend with my family and a few close friends...... oh, and to also shop for a wedding dress.

Which I ended up finding. 
And loving. 
And buying. 
And thinking about ever since....

I approached the weekend thinking I was just going to take the opportunity to gather my mom, grandmothers and a few bridesmaids and get some ideas of what wedding dress style may work for me. Last weekend was pretty much the only time until September that really worked with everyone's schedules. So although I know shopping for a wedding dress with a year to go is a bit early, it was important for me to have these special ladies there to share the experience. I didn't think I'd actually end up buying a dress; I was just hoping I'd find one or two that didn't make me look like a buttface

Out of the 20 or so dresses I tried on Saturday, I think I really liked about 18 of them. It was incredibly tough to narrow it down. I am not got at making decisions.

We started off at Splendid Bridal in Cincinnati's Reading Bridal District. I'd looked online and saw this shop had a couple designers I liked, so I booked an appointment in the late morning. When I walked in, I showed the shop owner some photos of dresses I liked, and he went to work picking out dresses he thought would work for me, and I also chose some dresses myself. Between the two of us, we chose about nine dresses to try on. Let's just say it was a little overwhelming. Especially because most of the dresses I tried were so very similar to one another. At the end of my appointment, I found two dresses I absolutely loved, but decided to think about them a little more over lunch.

After lunch, we walked down the street to Cincinnati Bridal and Formal, which is one of the largest bridal shops in the nation with more than 3,000 dresses in their store. I was met as we walked in by a very enthusiastic greeter who right away pegged me as a Claire Pettibone bride. While she was right in the fact that I am ga-ga crazy over Claire Pettibone, I'm not crazy about her prices. So, (spoiler alert!) needless to say I just "ooh'ed" and "ahhh'ed" over Claire's gowns and did not try one on. My super-bubbly bridal consultant also took a look at my pictures and pulled a few dresses for me, while I grabbed a couple, too. We then brought all 9-10 dresses into an open dressing room, where my entire entourage (all seven of them) sat in front of me as I dressed and undressed. It was slightly weird, but thankfully I was covered enough so no one got too much of an eyeful of my goods. It was hard to do so, but I slowly whittled my choices down to two at the second shop, too. I went back and forth between the two of them, trying them each on three times. Finally, I asked them to "jack me up" (as Monte of "Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta" would say...), and they walked me back to another area of the shop where I woman did my hair, placed a veil on me and outfitted me with earrings and a bracelet. I looked in the mirror after being "done up" in the dress and it all hit me: Whoa..... I'm going to be a freaking bride....  

I stared at myself in what would be "the dress" for quite some time. My bridal consultant took me over to "Twinkle Town," an area with large mirrors and natural lighting so I'd get a more realistic look at the dress. Then, they brought me outside to see how the dress would look in actual sunlight. I also got honked at by one of Reading, Ohio's finest passing by as I was out there. I'm not sure if it was the honk or the approval of my dress entourage, but I went back inside and, after a little deliberation (30 minutes of hemming, hawing and throwing up my hands), decided it was "the one."

Yes, I teared up a little. No, I didn't fully cry or squeal or jump up or down or wave my hands in front of my face. At the end of the day, I knew my dress was the perfect storm of everything I was looking for. I knew if I walked away and continued shopping elsewhere I'd never find a different dress that would top the one I chose. I never had that "oh my god this is the most amazing thing to happen to me" moment, but I know I made the right choice because I can't stop thinking about my dress. I keep looking back at pictures and can't stifle the big ol' grin that takes over my face every time I see it. I just want it now... I want to put it on and walk around in it at the grocery store. I want to wear it every day. At the very least, I just want it to be in my possession so I can peek in the bag and look at it every once in a while. But that day will come and I'll have plenty of time thereafter to take little peeks at it here and there.

So, my friends, I'm sorry to say I cannot share a photo of my dress with you. Heaven forbid Eric would ever stumble across the photo and then the big, fun dress surprise would be ruined! But you will see it approximately one year from now, and I hope when you do see it you'll think it's even half as beautiful as I do.

For now, take a look at my face as I decided it was the dress for me (don't mind the ridiculous cropping and feathering... I had to mask it somehow!).

I think it speaks for itself.


  1. What amazes me most is that there is such a thing as a "Bridal District"! Cincinnati. Crazy. ;)

    1. Haha, Mike you wouldn't believe it. There were probably eight different bridal shops on this one strip. Along with bakeries, caterers, accessory stores and more. It was a bride's dream and a straight man's nightmare.

  2. YAY! You will be BEAUTIFUL in it, no question.

  3. You look so very happy. Sounds like you definitely found "the dress", and I cannot wait to see it!


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