When I became engaged, shopping for a wedding dress was towards the top of my wedding to-do list. Unlike most girls, I didn’t previously have a Pinterest board filled with millions of wedding dresses until Alex asked the big question. I wanted to enjoy every moment of being engaged while being engaged.
It turned out the dresses I pinned weren’t anything like the dresses I found myself drawn to in the bridal shops. I thought I wanted a lace dress with 3/4 sleeves, something Grace Kelly-esque… but I ended up doing something completely different! Fortunately, I only looked at two places before finding “The One.” While you won’t get to see “The One” until Feb. 17, 2018, you can check out my dress shopping experience with my bridesmaids and family below, from New York to Tucson!
Kleinfeld– New York, New York
I remember being in high school when I first watched an episode of “Say Yes to the Dress.” I was in love with all of the dresses (well, maybe not all of the dresses) the brides-to-be tried on in hopes of finding “The One.” Fast-forward to September 2016, I found myself being one of those girls inside the iconic Kleinfeld with two of my best friends, Gabby and Stephanie. When we walked into the lobby we saw the several other women with their best friends, sisters and mothers, waiting for their appointment. My appointment was at 11:00am but we weren’t seen until 11:20am, however I was just happy we were able to get an appointment.
At this point, I had already moved back to Tucson from New York. For whatever reason, I didn’t think to make an appointment until I had arrived. When I wishfully called the shop they at first said they didn’t have any appointment openings until the following week. I desperately said I lived out of state and if there was the slightest chance they could squeeze me in somewhere. She paused and then kindly told me she could fit me into a timeslot and that I was allowed to bring two guests. I cheered and graciously thanked her over the phone! Gabby and I were at Bar Prima when the call took place and cheered our frosé.
When a consultant called my name, the three of us gleefully walked through the brides standing on a podium at their stations. We arrived to our station in the back of the floor and walked into a room where I would be trying on each dress. We went over the budget and what I wanted. Then the excitement began: we went around looking at each dress with our consultant making recommendations.
Gabby and Stephanie were as excited as me– they told me when they loved a dress and also when they flat out didn’t like a dress. I knew I could expect honest reactions from both of them ha ha. I probably tried on ten dresses or so, which extended my appointment from one and half hours to two hours.
The consultant was lovely with helping me into the dresses and giving her opinion when she could tell I was undecided. She even styled my hair in a quick up-do and grabbed accessories she thought would match. She was lovely to talk with and helped in every way possible.
Eventually I tried on a tulle ballgown I with a sweetheart-bodice. The consultant and my best friends loved it. I definitely felt like a princess in it. I was in love with the dress.
Although the dress was clear out of my price point, I took down the information. I was shocked for how far in advance I would need to order the dress. At the time Alex and I were thinking of setting a date in April 2018. To have my dress and alterations completed, I would need to order no later than December 2016 to ensure everything could be done by our wedding. That was over a year just committed to the wedding dress!
We were hungry and sought out a well-deserved brunch at Cafeteria. Yum! (P.S.: The mac n cheese trio is to die for!!)
Suzanne’s Bridal Boutique– Mesa, Arizona
Suzanne is one of the kindest, God-sent angels you will ever meet in your life! I first met her as a college student when I competed for Miss Arizona 2013. I was one of three girls in the same dress and all contestants had to have their wardrobe checked in the next day. Suzanne presented the idea of gifting one girl and myself with dresses from her boutique store. I initially said the gesture was far too generous, but after much convincing I soon found myself with a beautiful, designer dress! She made all of the alterations in a 24 hour time period so I could have my dress checked in on time. I felt absolutely stunning on the Miss America stage; I placed within the Top 10 and was a Quality of Life finalist. I’m not the only one she has helped, Suzanne has performed these selfless acts for several other girls as well!
Anyways, I knew immediately where I wanted to look for a dress in Arizona: Suzanne’s Bridal Boutique! I wanted to buy my wedding dress from Suzie since she gifted me a beautiful dress I never would’ve been able to afford in college.
My first appointment at Suzanne’s Bridal was actually a combined appointment with one of my besties, Mo. Our bestie, Shelby, was moving to Texas and we wanted her to be at both of our fittings…so we decided to combine the appointment. It was such a fun and unique experience trying dresses on together and reacting to each other!
Our consultant said it was pretty rare for double appointments to go this well since a bride usually gets jealous if she doesn’t get enough attention haha. But Mo and I had a fantastic time and Shelby helped us make the final decision.
Shelby actually had picked my dress as soon as we walked into the door (it won’t be seen until the wedding)! It was on a mannequin and she pointed it out saying it would be perfect for me. I wasn’t sure if I could pull off the style but as soon as I tried it on, I was in love and felt it was “The One.” I was twirling and doing silly things like princess curtsies. Some consultants on the floor even told me they loved me in this dress. While I was spinning in the dress, Shelby captured photos, and in the background was another wedding group who were all smiling at me in what they also thought would be “The One.” I hadn’t noticed until later when I went back to look at the photos. I was enjoying every minute of this dress!
I came back with my family and dear friend, Victoria, to help make the final decision between two dresses at Suzanne’s. To them, it was easily the one Shelby had picked out. I was hesitant because of the price difference. For our wedding budget, I told Alex I didn’t want to spend more than a certain amount for a wedding dress. One dress was in the budget, and the other dress everyone loved wasn’t in the budget. I honestly felt like the one outside of my budget was “The One” but I was willing to settle with a different, but still beautiful, dress to stay within my restrictions.
As I pondered on what to do, all eyes looked at me waiting for me to make a decision. Meanwhile, I was oblivious my mom had sent some photos of me in my dream dress to my dad. While reassuring myself the budget dress would still be equally lovely, my mom called me over away from the group. She told me how she spoke with my dad about the “beautiful, wedding dress his daughter found” and it was “The One” I was meant to walk down the aisle in. She said he said I looked absolutely beautiful and needed to wear that dress for my wedding. So, they agreed to buy my dress for me! I couldn’t believe it. My eyes welled with tears of joy, and I embraced my mom with the utmost gratitude a daughter could! I felt incredibly blessed and happy to be getting the dress I wanted.
After wiping my eyes, I walked back to the group with the widest smile and I told the group I was saying “Yes to the dress!”
My family headed back while Victoria took me out for a celebratory brunch! We went to one of my favorite wine bars in the Valley: Postino. She also treated me to Sprinkles cupcakes he he.
My wedding dress experience was wonderful with all of my friends and family there to help me make the decision. I never imagined wedding dress shopping to be this lovely or emotional. I’m incredibly grateful for these thoughtful individuals in my life. It truly means everything to me to have the support of my loved ones.