this past weekend was a rare summer weekend off. i reserved it for my own wedding preparations and celebrations. my future mother in law, with the help of my matrons of honor and family, threw billy and i a wonderful engagement brunch in chicago. since key players were in town, i saw it as an opportunity to fill in the weekend with appointments to check off other wedding necessities. mainly, all day saturday, we were on the hunt for…the dress.

like most new brides-to-be, i had no idea where to start on the subject. there’s nearly as many wedding dress styles as there are brides in the world and the task of narrowing down your very own dress can be somewhat daunting. i’ll admit, however, that being in the industry helped a ton. i’ve taken mental notes of wedding dresses i’ve loved in the past, pinned a bunch, been to runway shows, knew the lingo- all because of my job. but even with all that i had seen, i had never tried any dresses on, so naturally i needed to start with that.

the david’s bridal experience. i started off saturday morning at david’s bridal. billy later asked how many i tried on there and when i replied with, “about 15,” he asked me if it was a wedding dress factory, pumping out dresses every few minutes. why yes. yes it is. and that’s how i felt.

i had made my appointment at david’s months ago. i thought by making my appointment so far in advance, i would surely have my own somewhat private area to enjoy trying on dresses with my entourage (mom, mother in law, and two matrons of honor). instead, they led us over to the dressing rooms and set up a couple of folding chairs for my mothers. already, we felt rushed and herded like cattle. i had printed off a favorites list off their site which i was told they would use for reference. no such luck. instead i was selecting dresses myself from the racks and still not lucking out on dresses that flattered me the best. after a long appointment of trying on dress after dress, i was finally able to narrow my sights on styles that looked best on my body, but still no luck on finding my dress. to be honest, david’s bridal did serve it’s purpose for me. i wanted to find the styles of dresses that made me feel like a movie star. but if i expected more from david’s, i would have been sorely disappointed. kudos to any brides who have had remarkable experiences with them. for me personally, i left feeling less than enthusiastic.


the weddings 826 experience.  after feeling a little bit discouraged with the dresses at david’s, i kept reminding myself of the positives. i was able to go into my next appointment with a couple of styles by name that i could share with the ladies at weddings 826. definitely the right move. it sped up the process of selection on their end and our time was spent far more efficiently than at david’s. but i also know that at weddings 826, they know their stuff. i could have walked into that gorgeous bridal salon (click site to know more about them) and they would have known exactly what would look best on my body. it’s that kind of place.

immediately we were offered champagne on a silver platter. the whole presentation of the salon was intimate, comfortable, upscale, and elegant. and the amazing thing is, they have dresses to meet any budget requirement. when we walked into our own private room, the dresses hand picked for me were already lining the walls. “we’ll start here,”  the weddings 826 employee tells me. and here’s where the rubber meets the road with david’s dresses and others – the fabrics make all the difference if you care about that kind of thing. i happen to be the kind of bride that does, i learned on saturday. i like to feel the textures and craftsmanship of an article of clothing. i never knew how much high quality fabric mattered to me on the dress i would pick until i felt the difference of the dresses at weddings 826. it’s a certain je ne sais quoi when it comes down to it but the good stuff feels like buttah on your skin and if you’re in that dress for 12+ hours on your big day, shouldn’t you feel like your skin is drenched in buttah- err something? ;)

anyways. at this point, i’m wondering if the whole experience is supposed to be like an episode of “say yes to the dress.” am i supposed to cry when i find the one? how come all of my ladies are liking some and i just don’t? will i “just know?” the answer is yes.

the second dress i tried on at weddings 826 was “the one.” almost as soon as she zipped me up i exploded into tears. dramatic, maybe? but true. and even though i felt a little ridiculous crying, it was a knee jerk reaction and exactly what i always thought it would be. i never wanted to get out of that dress. i just wanted to live in it.

my entourage forced me to try on others just to make sure. so i did. and even though i loved so many of the breathtaking dresses from weddings 826, i didn’t feel the same in any others. she even brought me a dress that was exactly what i had envisioned for my wedding (because the one i picked is nothing what i thought it would be). i tried it on and loved it. i twirled a bit and debated but the girls said, “you’re not crying.” i thought to myself, maybe i’m just done crying. let’s be real. wrong.

i put “my dress” on one more time and again, knee jerk reaction. waterfalls from eyes. needless to say, we bought it.


chicago brides, head over to weddings 826. check them out online here and like them on facebook here. it’s a completely lovely experience from top to bottom. as a bride, you want to feel beautiful, taken care of, spoiled a bit. and if you’re like me, you don’t know what you’re looking for exactly. at weddings 826, they’ll know. it’s a beautiful thing and i couldn’t be more thankful for the recommendation to go there from one of my brides, erica (see her knockout dress from there here).

and would i recommend david’s bridal? sure, but not for the reason you’d expect. i’d recommend it as a place to narrow down the styles that complement your body the best. i’d recommend it as a wedding dress factory, pumping out styles left and right, to get the job done. because even as a budget bride like yours truly, there are plenty of places to find gorgeous high end dresses without breaking the bank. you just have to ask around and think outside the box a bit. besides, i’m always a big fan of supporting smaller businesses as a small business owner myself.

now i just have to wait 10 more months before i get to wear it. would it be weird to just drop by whenever i’m the neighborhood to pay the dress a visit? goodness gracious, i love it so.

where did all of you brides and brides-to-be find your wedding gowns?  would love to hear from you!

the ladies at weddings 826.  the ladies at weddings 826.


Comments +

  1. Aly valentine says:

    Wow! Loved living this experience with you…..knowing that the dress is! WOW!
    And how wonderful to share it with your mom, soon to be mom-in-law and all the important girls in your bridal party – how magnificently wonderful!
    Can’t wait to hear more!

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