How Real Brides Found Their Dream Dresses

With so many gorgeous wedding gowns out there, how do you find "The One"? Here, 12 real brides share how they did it.

By: Kristen O'Gorman Klein
  • Danielle in Alfred Angelo
    1/12

    Danielle in Alfred Angelo

    “It was easy! I went to the Alfred Angelo store in Tampa, FL after work one day, tried it on, and knew right away that it had the vintage feel that I was looking for in my dress.”

    Photo Credit: Carrie Wildes Photography

  • Jackie in Allure Bridals
    2/12

    Jackie in Allure Bridals

    “Trying on dresses at Jinny’s Bridal Center in Huntington Beach, CA was how I discovered what I really liked — and what I didn’t. I tried my particular Allure Bridals dress on in silk and loved its classic beauty and elegance. It made me feel beautiful and sexy, so I knew it was the one! I ended up ordering it in the satin to save money, and it was just as beautiful.”

    Photo Credit: Rose Street Studio

  • Jaime in Alvina Valenta
    3/12

    Jaime in Alvina Valenta

    “I went to a boutique near my house, Be Unique Boutique in Mt. Kisco, NY, with my mom and sister. The woman there was very helpful, and she picked out about ten dresses based on the very vague description I gave. I believe the second dress I tried on, by Alvina Valenta, was the one I chose!”

    Photo Credit: Casey Fatchett Photography

  • Christina in Amsale
    4/12

    Christina in Amsale

    “I never pictured myself wearing a ball gown on my wedding day — I always imagined I’d wear a fit-and-flare style. My bridal consultant at Nitsa’s Apparel, in Winston-Salem, NC, had me try on the Amsale gown as a ‘wild card.’ I am so thrilled that she did! It was so beautiful and unique; I immediately fell in love. I loved the detailed skirt. I also loved that the gown was not the traditional white, but an oyster hue called cafe.”

    Photo Credit: Ashley Gillett Photography

  • Dawn in David
    5/12

    Dawn in David's Bridal

    “I don’t really dress up a lot — I owned just three dressed before the wedding. I wanted something simple, beachy, and not too expensive – and definitely no frills. I put my matron of honor in charge of the wedding dress search. We ended up at David’s Bridal, where I could try on multiple affordable dresses. We picked out about five, and the winner was number three — I was done after trying it on. I never even tried on the fourth or fifth dresses!"

    Photo Credit: Minerva Photography

  • Kimberly in Essense of Australia
    6/12

    Kimberly in Essense of Australia

    “I remembered hearing about "Running of the Brides," an event where brides get a chance to run and grab dresses worth thousands of dollars at huge discounts. I looked it up and found that the NYC Running of the Brides was only a few weeks away, so I decided this would be perfect for me. It’d be fun, and if I found ‘the dress,’ it would be a great story. Along with my pregnant sister and mom, I traveled 20 minutes to Filene's Basement in NYC in the early hours of the morning to wait in line. When the doors opened, we ran in! My sister grabbed the last bunch of dresses left, while I was on the floor after tripping on a hanger from another bride’s pile of dresses! It was such a fun experience, and after hours of trying on dresses, I found my dress: an Essence of Australia champagne silk gown covered in Swarvorski Crystals on the bodice. It has a subtle sweetheart neckline, pick-ups throughout the bottom of dress (with more crystals at each pick-up) and a beautiful train. It was in perfect condition; my mom made sure it had every crystal. It did not need to be cleaned or even hemmed. My dress cost $500 and was valued at over $3,000! I had never even been able to even try on such an expensive gown before, so this was so exciting!”

    Photo Credit: Timecut Photography

  • Katherine in Henry Roth
    7/12

    Katherine in Henry Roth

    “I knew I wanted to have the experience of shopping at Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City, since it is so close to my house and is an iconic dress boutique. When I went into Kleinfeld, the dress designer Henry Roth was there helping people select dresses. The second I met him, I knew he would find the dress for me! I tried on a few other dresses, but I loved the way my dress fit, as well as the whimsical, romantic, flowy feel – it was perfect for my beach wedding!”

    Photo Credit: Maria Angela Photography

  • Eve Michelle in Mori Lee
    8/12

    Eve Michelle in Mori Lee

    “I’m really more of a shoe person, so I primarily wanted a dress that showed off my purple Betsey Johnson pumps!” Eve Michelle found the perfect fit at Bowties Bridal Boutique in Las Vegas, NV, who helped customize her Mori Lee dress with a bow and bustle.

    Photo Credit: Infiniti Foto

  • Melanie in Paloma Blanca
    9/12

    Melanie in Paloma Blanca

    Melanie’s husband joined her while she visited several boutiques in northern Virginia. “It was very important to me that he loved the dress I chose, so I paid close attention to his reactions to each gown. The very last dress that I tried on was the Paloma Blanca gown. I immediately loved it, and it fit me (and my personality) perfectly. I did have that ‘wow' moment.” After taking some time to think about it, she visited another salon closer to home (Pure English Couture Bridal in Virginia Beach) with her mom and sister and found the same Paloma Blanca gown. They all agreed it was the one!

    Photo Credit: David Schwartz Photography

  • Dana in Pronovias
    10/12

    Dana in Pronovias

    "I went with my mom to Pronovias in NYC. I tried on a few, but when I tried on this gown, I knew it was the one. It fit and flattered my figure beautifully, and I felt it was different than almost any other traditional wedding dress I had seen."

    Photo Credit: Abby Rose Photo

  • Annie in San Patrick
    11/12

    Annie in San Patrick

    “Because we got married at a plantation, I was going for a vintage feel. I loved the lace and the beaded belt on my San Patrick dress, and when I checked the price tag at Ellie’s Bridal Boutique in Alexandria, VA and saw that the dress was on sale, I knew it was fate!”

    Photo Credit: Brendon Pinola Photography

  • Rachael in Watters
    12/12

    Rachael in Watters

    “I wanted something classy and traditional with a little southern touch — something that would be classic and timeless 30 years down the road, so my daughter could wear it if she wanted to. I found the perfect fit, by Watters, at The Bride’s Room in Nashville, TN.”

    Photo Credit: Evin Photography