REAL & Raw Thoughts on Wedding Dress Shopping

Hi all! Coming to you as the new Mrs. DeBellis ! So weird to say I am now a wife but because we are finally married, and I am officially done spending time wedding planning, I can now spend time writing some blog posts because god knows I have A LOT to share! Not gunna lie, wedding planning is a sick joke on the female humanity (that’s another whole post to come but I wanted to focus on one SMALL part of wedding planning in each post, so pull up a chair and get ready for the new series!

Today I wanted to talk about dress shopping! As some of you may know,  Joe and I went the non-traditional route with our wedding !  I’ve always dreamed of a bohemian inspired wedding that took place outdoors. We were originally going to do a last minute backyard wedding last year, but because we were still house hunting and had so much going on at that time, we decided to save it for this September. It wound up working out to my advantage because I truly had no idea how much planning was actually involved until I started doing it! I also didn’t know that you had to order your dress about a year in advance! So me, like the last minute person I am, didn’t start dress shopping until June, leaving me only 3 months to find something with hopes of being able to get my size and get it in time, and leaving time for alterations!

I waited so long to go dress shopping because I really wanted it to be a fairly simple process and I really didn’t want anything wedding related to take up TOO much time. I knew I wanted to make it quick and try to pick something out that was unique, not overpriced, and that I LOVED (of course).


Where I Shopped:

 1. Estelle’s

My first stop was at Estelle’s boutique in Farmingdale, New York. My mom, Jenn (sissy-in-law now) & Joe’s mom took a trip one Sunday. Good thing was you didn’t need an appointment to shop here because most boutiques you do! I would definitely recommend making a stop here, because they have so much to choose from with a wide range of prices! We spent hours here.. I could have looked forever but eventually I started getting HANGRY and I knew it was time to stop LOL. I fell in love with a dress by the  brand “Allure.” It was absolutely gorgeous, but it was also $2,500 (before alterations – would have come to about $3,300 with alterations) and honestly, besides the fact that it wasn’t in my budget, I could NEVER imagine spending this much money on a dress for ONE day. NOPE. I am such a practical person and feel I can do so much more with that money – vacations, home renovations, etc.

2. Majesty Bridal

As soon as I walked in, I knew I would be out of there in 30 minutes or less. First off, it was a small little boutique and the owner rushed me so much, I felt so unwelcome and uncomfortable. She tried to squeeze me into sizes that were half the size of me, that I literally almost passed out in the dressing room! I knew a small boutique like this would NOT work for me.

3. David’s Bridal

At this point, I was like “let me try them.” I went with my mom, sister-in-law and mother-in-law. When we walked in it was very formal and you needed to provided them with basically everything except your social security number. I am such a non-formal person, so for me this was just plain annoying because all I wanted to do was look around and by giving my information, in a way, made me feel more obligated to actually liking something. But honestly ladies, don’t ever settle! They had a small showroom… not much to choose from. I found about 4 dresses I was semi-interested in but nothing close to the bohemian style I was looking for. Apparently, it is not a common type of dress and David’s Bridal is more of your typical Princess looking gowns. Not that there is anything wrong with that style, it just wasn’t the look I was going for. Still, I tried on the few dresses and we were out of there within an hour. They were all over $1,700 and to me, it definitely wasn’t worth that price if it didn’t WOW me. I was still thinking about the first dress from Estelle’s but I kept my hopes up! I was also pretty much “over” the whole process because I went like 4 different days to go look at dresses (I know this isn’t a lot for typical weddings, but because ours was more laid back I really wanted to get it over with)!

4. White Runway

I came across their Instagram page when I searched the hashtag #bohemiandresses. I went to their page and saw they had a lot of followers, so I knew it was “legit.” I went to their site and I saw so many gorgeous dresses and was SHOCKED at the prices! To my disbelief, I found they were located in Australia and automatically was like womp, womp, womp. I searched a little more and saw they had a pop up shop in NYC. I made an appointment right away and I knew from the beginning that this is where I would find my dress! My mom and I took a trip down to the city and at first my mom was skeptical -but that’s because she doesn’t like buying anything online to begin with. The lady who met with us was so welcoming and they had a lot of dresses to choose from! I tried on about 10 dresses and as soon as I tried this one, I knew it was it. She measured me for sizing, but also said I was between two sizes. The company was sweet enough to let me order both sizes to have delivered to my house and then return the one that didn’t fit. This was the best option because I was able to try on both dresses in the comfort of my home when they arrived and see which was the better fit. I did have to pay for both in advance before returning one of them but it was still the best deal around and I paid ONLY $350 after using a 20% coupon that they had going on with the designer at the time. The shipping was super fast and the package arrived to my doorstep within 5 days. I could not have been happier with the customer service that I received and I will definitely be using White Runway in the future!! They made the wedding dress process so simple and fun!

My Tips & Hacks

1. Give yourself enough time

Always give yourself enough time. Sometimes the weeks pass, and you aren’t able to dedicate a certain time to going and looking at dresses, so it’s always a good idea to start the year before because it can take up to 3-6 months for the dress to come in once it is ordered and when you do find a dress, sometimes the designer may not make it in your size.

2. Know your budget

This may sound pretty obvious, but knowing what your budget is BEFORE you walk through the door of a boutique will save you lots of headaches and even some heartbreaks. I knew what my budget was, but I did still try on dresses that were way above. I honestly would say this is really not a good idea because you can fall in love with a dress that really isn’t even a possibilty.

3. Make Appointments

I thought, at first, that I could just walk right into most places and take a peek at what they had in stock. This is incorrect. SOME places require an appointment, so make a list of where you want to do and depending on the location, make appointments for shops and boutiques for the same day that are in the general vicinity!

4. Pinterest ideas of what you like

It is ALWAYS a good idea to use Pinterest! Browse some styles you really love, and save them to a Board labeled “Wedding dresses.” That way, when you go to look in person, you can show the ladies who are assisting you what you like and they may be able to better direct you. Or if there is a specific dress that you really love and you know which designer it is, you can search via Google where this designer sells their dresses and add these places to your list! You can also keep the style number handy! Printing out photos may also be an option if you wanted to put them in a folder to take along.

5. Try on DIFFERENT dresses

I know that once you are set on a specific style that it can be hard to open up your mind to other ideas. However, some dressed may shock you once you try them on and see what they really look like! Always be open to trying on new styles and something you may not necessarily veer towards. Originally, I thought I wanted a long sleeve dress to give it the boho vibe I was really looking for. None of the dresses that were long sleeves really sang to me and I also had a hard time finding many dresses at all with long sleeves.

6. Don’t get frustrated

At one point, I was about to just wear my pajamas to my wedding (haha not really, but you catch my drift)! My mom and mother-in-law were getting more nervous than I was since the wedding was quickly approaching and still had yet to find a dress. I was ready to call it quits more than once, but I had to stay motivated and keep looking. Really, my advice is to truly try and enjoy the process, and soak up every single moment of wedding planning, dress shopping included. I’m sure for most females, dress shopping is the best part but I feel this is true only when you give yourself ENOUGH time and really take loads of stress off your shoulders!

7. Bring a support team

I LOVED that I got to experience this with my mom, sissy-in-law and mother-in-law. Having them with me was so much fun and I really appreciated their feedback and opinions. It is always nice to have someone to lean on when it can be an overwhelming process to begin with!

I really hope this post was helpful to all of my brides to be out there, or anyone who may be taking the journey with someone they know as a bride! You can bookmark this post to refer back to!


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