When we turned into the parking lot, we assumed we had made a mistake. “Could this be the bridal shop?” we thought as we gazed at the quaint two-story home. But my sister, Vicki, and I had come all this way, so we had to at least give it a try. We spotted the One Stop Wedding Shop sign on the lawn as we approached the front door.
When we walked in, we were greeted by Sue, who asked how she could help us. Taking a quick inventory of the shop and seeing no dresses, I was worried she wouldn’t be able to. But when we told her we were looking for bridesmaid dresses, she grabbed a huge binder from behind the desk and told us to write down the style numbers of any dresses we liked marked as samples, and she would pull the ones we liked best to try on. It’s a different set-up than most bridal shops—but what I think might be a more efficient system than sifting through overloaded racks.
We carefully paged through the binder that featured primarily Dessy dresses, which I was excited about, as Dessy was the one bridesmaid dress designer I had found online that I seemed to like. We filled a page with style numbers and then handed it to Sue.
She walked us upstairs to the dressing room, which appeared to be a former bedroom, where we proceeded to try on around 25 dresses. I joined in this time around to speed up the process. There weren’t many we disliked, which was a nice surprise. And in the end, we narrowed it down to three. All were floor-length chiffon with some ruching at the top. One was one-shoulder, while the other two were strapless—despite my best efforts to avoid it.
I wasn’t quite ready to narrow further and make a decision. I wanted to get the opinions of my mom and my other bridesmaids before I made a final call. But as we left, Sue kindly pointed out that there was a 20 percent off deal running through the end of the following week. I definitely wanted to take advantage it, as the dresses were not in the price range I was targeting. So the pressure was on.
I went home and emailed my bridesmaids right away with links to the three dresses and asked them to send me their measurements. Because they’re awesome, I heard back from all of them before my appointment the following week. No one necessarily offered a preference, which I think was a very kind attempt to not confuse me further. My mom shared her favorite, which was actually mine as well.
I returned to the One Stop Wedding Shoppe the following Wednesday with my sister and best friend Emily. I had them try on the three contenders, as well as a few others just to look at color. We eliminated the one-shoulder dress quickly, as no one seemed to be heads over heels for that one.
The dress that looked best on my sister and Emily was my least favorite of the three, which I felt really bad about. It looked so beautiful on both of them, but the style was just not quite what I was looking for. It seemed too princess-y, and while it incorporated some bling through a broach on the side (which added some pop), it didn’t have the modern feel I was hoping for.
So that left the final Dessy dress: a chiffon gown with a sweetheart neckline, ruched criss-cross bodice, and slight chiffon draping down the back. It had the flow and movement I was hoping for, which I think will look gorgeous during the outdoor ceremony. And I think/hope the chiffon material will be flattering on everyone. I sadly did not achieve my non-strapless goal. But I hope the dress will fit/stay up better than perhaps a more slippery fabric like satin. Here’s to hoping!
So I chose the dress! I made that decision. But then it came down to color. Fortunately, Dessy dresses are offered in a huge array of color options, particularly purples. But as Emily and Vicki continued to try on more Dessy purples and I fastidiously examined the swatches, I determined that my ideal summer purple (not too eggplant and not too lavender) simply might not exist and that I might have to stop searching for it. Meanwhile, Vicki and Emily had tried on a dress in a deep pink with a purple sheen that was a standout. It looked stunning on both of them, despite different skin tones and different hair colors.
After much deliberation, staring intently at the dress colors next to one another and debating pros and cons, I opted for the deep pink—a color called “American Beauty.” It’s not necessarily what I envisioned, but I think I’ll still be able to incorporate purple into the color scheme, especially through flowers. I think the shade of pink is unique; with it being a bit deeper rather than pastel, I don’t think it’s ultra-feminine; and I think/hope it’s perfect for a wedding in July: vibrant.
So I picked out the dress! I selected the color! One final obstacle: sizing. At the check-out counter, we attempted to match the measurements the girls had sent me with Dessy’s sizing chart: a nearly impossible endeavor. My petite bridesmaids were bizarrely measuring double-digit sizes, so I had to make some judgment calls using Vicki and Emily as a means of orientation. Here’s to hoping again that I didn’t make any mistakes!
I placed the order, and the dresses are due to arrive in three months! I was getting worried I was never going to find a bridesmaid dress I liked, and I was feeling pressured to make a decision as soon as possible since it affects so many of the other color decisions coming up. But I did it, and I’m feeling rather relieved! Dresses are ordered, fabric swatch is on its way. I hope the girls don’t hate it. And it’s one more decision in a seemingly endless stream of decisions made. Check!
How did you finally nail down your bridesmaid dress selection? Did you have to compromise on what you originally wanted as far as style or color?