Image © Deidre Lynn Photography
Wedding dresses are one of my favorite things to talk about, and since I have a pretty unconventional wedding dress story, I’d love to share my story! About six months before our wedding I became the store manager of my favorite bridal boutique, Adore Bridal & Specialty. It was a dream job and I still can’t believe it was mine! Being a bridal store manager certainly contributed to my bridal gown story, but it all started when I was just a customer.
As soon as Adore opened its doors I knew I wanted to purchase my dress there one day. It was the charming, personal experience and the unique gowns that drew me in. My mom and mother-in-law took me to my appointment where we worked with Janice, the store owner – my future boss, and future friend. Looking back, I have to chuckle because I think I was actually a pretty challenging bride that day. Even still, Janice was able to find me a dress that I loved. And a hair piece I could never live without. Sadly, I had seen a dress online at BHLDN that I thought I just had to see in person. My mom didn’t like the dress in its pictures, but both my mama’s took me up to Chicago anyway. They’re the best.
BHLDN is the bridal sister to Anthropologie. Their dresses are in stock and returnable, so very low risk. Even though the dresses aren’t made to order, they still provide a very personal experience in the store. The dress that I wanted to see wasn’t at the store, but they did have the same silhouette in a lace fabric. Unfortunately, that dress wasn’t in my size and I wasn’t able to try it on. I ended up wearing a bridal gown, clipping the lace silhouette dress to the front of the gown I was wearing, and then I said YES to the gown I still had not seen. A few days later it arrived on our doorstep. I tried it on, and thought about the dress at Adore. After comparing the two, I realized that the unique elements of the Adore dress made me feel more like myself. We went back to see Janice early one Saturday morning and I knew that dress was the one.
Little did I know what a blessing it would be that I chose to return the dress to BHLDN. Some friends of our from pre-marital class got married a week or two before us. When I saw pictures from their wedding I couldn’t believe my eyes – she was wearing the dress I had purchased at BHLDN! We had the same photographer and were married in the same church, so I was so happy I chose a different dress. Not to mention she is such a beautiful woman and absolutely killed it in that dress – it was totally made for her!
I started working at Adore on my 22nd birthday. It wasn’t long before my brain was filled with all things bridal gowns – I had no idea there was so much to know. Helping brides find their dress still is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had. I miss it so much! When I wasn’t helping brides find the dress, I was helping Janice choose inventory and spending every moment studying the gowns in our store. I knew each gown inside and out.
One night Janice and I were both working at the store late. We got on the conversation of my wedding dress, and Janice suddenly proclaimed that I didn’t like my dress. I convinced her that I did, but then she told me we should try some on. Everything happened so fast, but within thirty minutes I was kissing my second dress goodbye and fawning over dress number three. I was over the moon excited, and also in disbelief! I love, love, love my wedding dress – still! It is preserved in a box, but sometimes I pull the box out of the closet and hug it. (You know what, I just did). I’m so grateful that Janice made that bold move. The third time was truly the charm for me.
During my time as a bridal store manager I watched a lot of women make the wedding dress process more difficult than it needed to be. I could write a whole blog series on wedding dress shopping, but ultimately I would just say: don’t overthink it! You could love one hundred bridal gowns equally, so when you find one you love just say yes. Don’t be like me – the girl with three wedding dresses. Although, I’m so very glad I walked down the aisle in the one I did.
You’re probably dying to know, so here is a picture of dress numbers one and two: