Why I Broke the Golden Rule of Dress Shopping

It’s a good thing I was decisive when it came to finding Corey, the man of my dreams—choosing the dress of my dreams has proven to be much more challenging. 

Mori Lee Dress, Style 1808

Let me start by saying that I’m a very practical person, which makes me a very tough shopper. Seeing veils for $200 and finding a dress that I loved, only to learn that alterations would cost $400 - $500, is pretty hard to compute. Wedding dress shopping by the numbers: Thousands of gowns (priced between $100 to tens of thousands of dollars), only five to ten dresses that you actually get to try on (if you're going by the standard recommendation), just one dress that’s “The One.” In a sea of white, there's a whole lot of green! 

Pronovias "Pampa" Dress

That being said, the budget issue is not why I’ve tried on 20+ dresses (a huge no-no according to this article) and have yet to commit, althought it has been the reason why some styles didn't even make it into the dressing room. On the contrary, the problem is that there are TONS of gorgeous dresses that fit into my budget: Feathery ball gowns with sparkling bodices, body-hugging mermaids with flowing ruffles, vintage lace with delicate beading...how are we BG brides supposed to pick just one? My fellow real bride bloggers have struggled with this problem, too; after all, if you've picked the right man, you'll only wear a wedding dress once in your life. How can you try on just a few dresses?!

"Edie" Dress by Sottero & Midgley

To those of you who haven't tried on dresses yet, I would recommend deciding on the feel you want your dress to have ahead of time, even if you don't know which shapes will complement your body type yet. Perhaps you'd prefer something simple, classic, and elegant, or even sexy. Or maybe you want something more unique that you would be okay with 20 years from now. Think about all this before you step into that shop; in my experience, it's easy to get swept away in all of the poufy skirts and bejeweled details.

Casablanca Dress, Style 1995

Also know that it's okay if you're the type of gal that needs to see many different options and you don't fall in love with a dress during your first store visit. Plus, it's kind of a blast shopping for a wedding dress! I've found a few contenders (pictured throughout this post), but instead of getting teary-eyed and blissful, I find myself getting very serious and even nervous when I try them on. (Read about Crista's quest for happy tears here.) When I think about putting on the dress I might wear when I marry Corey, it makes me very intense and emotional. 

I plan to take the next two weeks off from shopping to really think about what it is that I’m looking for in a wedding dress and then get back at it! 

Tell us: Did you break any of the top 10 rules of gown shopping?


—Nikki Stroud



Nikki Stroud is a real bride who is learning every step of the way when it comes to wedding planning. She and her fiancé, Corey Allan (both Ball State alums), will be married in September of 2012 in front of their friends and family in Indianapolis. Glittering ivory lights, exposed plumbing and sleek wood floors depict their romantic yet rustic venue in the Downtown area. The couple hopes to incorporate personal touches to make the celebration truly reflect their relationship.

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