If you’re the kind of person who routinely changes outfits three times before finally settling on something that feels just right on a normal day, wedding dress shopping can be a particular kind of hell. I had a less-than-stellar dress shopping experience, but I never actually expected wedding dress shopping to be fun. Shopping for a purpose has never been fun for me. (Ask my poor mom, who I tortured throughout high school with the most persnickety of homecoming tastes.) It’s more like car shopping, but with a prettier outcome. So wedding dress shopping meant that I sort of had an idea of what I wanted, I knew what I definitely didn’t want, and through gritted teeth, I hoped to work hard and come out on the other side with at the very least a satisfactory product and my life savings still in tact.
But if being married to Michael has taught me anything, it’s that with enough knowledge, car shopping can be empowering instead of simply bearable. And I think the same can be said for wedding dresses. What made wedding dress shopping difficult for me was a lack of knowledge. The wedding dress industry does a marvelous job of hiding the ball (when you’re a research type, this is the nightmare). Sure, you can find a zillion websites that tell you about boat necks vs. v-necks and taffeta vs. lace, but what about the part where dress sizes are wildly different from street sizes? Or the fact that most manufacturers expect you to do a significant amount of tailoring on your dress?
The lack of information about wedding dresses made the whole prospect so daunting that I didn’t even want to go into a wedding dress store. (I did, eventually, begrudgingly go to the Nicole Miller store in SoHo, which I loved and could not afford.) I just figured any dress I would like I couldn’t afford and any dress I could afford would be something that felt like…not me. The sad part is that a great affordable dress did totally did exist, if only I’d known where to look and how to ask for it.
So today’s open thread is part one of two. Step one: You give us all your questions. Step two: We go find the answers. This month we’re supporting the Ford Fiesta Movement, which means that we’ve been given the opportunity to make our answers way better. As part of the Ford Fiesta Movement, agents (aka, You Tube stars) are sent on monthly themed missions, and make videos of the outcome. (While we’re at it, you should watch all of Lisa Schwartz’s Truth or Dare Fiesta Movement video, because the staff is collectively mad that she’s not our BFF.) Since October is the Fiesta Movement’s “Style” month, we decided to send ourselves on a mission. Our mission is to help you guys avoid the pitfalls of wedding dress shopping by arming you with as much information as possible. Much like what we did with my interview with Meg a few months ago on new motherhood, our plan is to take the dress shopping questions and concerns that you leave in the comments and then bring them to a local indie wedding dress shop owned by APW sponsors, and report back in a few weeks with all the good insider information (and pretty pictures). So go for it; the floor is yours! What are your questions and fears around wedding dress shopping? What problems did you have that you didn’t know how to solve? What headaches do you wish you’d avoided? Give us all your best questions, and we’ll make it our mission to give you the best answers possible.