Wedding Dress Shopping, Round One

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

I must have done something good in the world, because when I went wedding dress shopping for the first time this weekend, I got the kindest loveliest woman to help me with the dresses. She didn’t talk even once about “my big day,” she told me that whatever I wore would be bridal and look beautiful, because I was the bride. And my mom got all teary the first time I cam out in a wedding dress.

That said, most of the dresses I saw looked like they were designed by a four year old girl. The little tiny designer clearly kept stamping her foot and saying “More ruffles! Longer train! Add some bows! Poofy-er! And I want a BIG tiara!” And then they sent in a 13 year old girl to bedazzle the dresses (and the veils, and the shoes).

What I learned: while I feel really traditional in the offbeat bride world because I want to wear a white dress and a veil, I feel wildly offbeat in the traditional bride world. I’m looking for a dress that 1) Isn’t strapless (impossible!!) 2) Does not have and sparkly things on it or any appliquĂŠ 3) Is not poofy 4)Does not have a big train 5) Does not look like a negligee or stripper wear. Apparently I might have better luck if I asked for the whole ocean in a jar.

I’m going to go back to looking into getting a dress made.

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit

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  • Obviously you are asking for too much. Glad you didn’t break-out in hives, though.

  • Maybe look into Nicole Miller, they have lots of dresses that seem to fit your criteria. Just found your blog and I love it.

  • I’m not sure what all you’re going for and you may have already heard this by now, but check out dresses made for Latter-day Saint (Mormon) brides.
    Just a quick google search for “modest wedding gowns” should turn up some good stuff.
    Good luck!

  • Oh you took the words right from my mouth! I finally found my non-poofy, non-strapless, with just-a-hint-of-a-train dress. And for such a great price that no one here believes how much it cost. (btw, came to your blog via Offbeat Bride. And I absolutely love it! Thanks for all the practical advice.)

  • enilorac

    Dear Meg, Just skimming through archives because I love-love-love your site so much. Your dress requirements (and yes, I know you found vintage in the end) sound eerily similar to mine, although my first dress shopping experience was less than stellar. I would love to write about it for the blog at some point. ~Caroline

  • That’s what I want, too! Why is this so difficult!?