My first blog about the wedding is about my experience – as a plus-sized bride – with dress shopping. This was legit my first real experience even trying gowns on. My friend Sheena had helped me into only a couple of gowns she had at her shop a few years back, but they were both quite tight, and it made it difficult to imagine what gown type was right for my body. But she did teach me this: you may think you’re about to rip the dress apart, but most are generally very well made, and can handle the tugs and pulls from someone who knows what they are doing! And also, that awful sound that makes you think you’re popping seams? Usually just the zipper going back down!
I started my search by asking local shops if they had a section that would fit anyone over a size 12, and although most had a few gowns in that category, it was just that – only a few. When I spoke to Erin at Paige & Elliott, she straight up assured me she had my back. No question about it – she would have my gown. I immediately made an appointment, and then quickly asked if anyone would be available to go with me. To my great surprise, my mom, sister, and Chad’s mom were all free, and then I found out my BFF Christina was also free! Also, they said Molly could totally go with us. WIN. We headed out, and got to the shop, and got the sweetest welcome – not because they know me, but because that is how they treat every single bride that walks in the door! Both moms and my sister had started wandering around to look at the different options. One dress caught my eye, but it was 100000% NOT my size. The ladies had everyone gather, they offered us sweets, treats, and everything in between, gave us the walkthrough of their showroom to explain how it was set up in sections, and then let us loose to hunt for THE dress. I saw one that drew me in, and knew that’d probably be the one I would order. Then my sister and mom both said they had called dibs on that being the winner too, and I was excited to get to try it on! Any gown we wanted, they pulled for us. The coolest part was that they had plus size gowns ordered in EVERY fit a dress can come in, so even if you don’t like the design, you get to at least see how that style FITS.
Dress #1 was not one I ever thought I’d actually be able to wear. A mermaid type of gown almost… I had absolutely no faith I would get it on, but then Danielle, their Bridal Expert, came in, pulled allllll the layers down, and opened the curtain for me to show everyone! AND IT FIT. Whaaaaaat! I was seriously overjoyed and in complete awe. That gown immediately became a top contender, but my only concern was that my stomach area may have the fabric bunch slightly, which is something that I can not stand. Everyone swore to me that it was totally fine, not showing, but having that eye that knows how things photograph, I had my doubts. Then they put me in dress #2. It was instant love. INSTANT. I walked out in this perfectly fitted gown, and had nothing but all smiles from everyone. I loved this gown too! I had doubts I’d even be able to find one that fit that I liked, but now I was stuck with TWO that I liked! What is this dark magic?! To be safe, the girls continued to put me in different fitting gowns, but I couldn’t stop debating in my head about the first or second gown. They fit. Everyone loved both of them. One was more sexy and definitely a 2018 kind of gown while the other was very classic and elegant. Two totally different feels, but each could easily match the theme we are going for. I tried both on again, and was more feeling #2. To make sure, I called my sister-in-law Emily in Boone and my other BFF Katia who’s in Italy. Emily was totally thumbs up, and then Katia had tears in her eyes! I said YES to that gown, but asked Molly for her choice between the two (bark once for the one I was in, or twice for the other), and she chose the one I was wearing too 😉
All good, right?! Well. As we walked out, that other gown that had captured my eye at first that I knew wouldn’t fit ever caught my eye again. And as we left after paying, I started thinking a little about if I’d chosen the right gown. That thought stayed in my head, and it grew with each day. I was now feeling sick to my stomach that I’d jumped to a quick decision simply because a gorgeous gown fit me perfectly, and I was content with that. And I hadn’t cried. The next week, I went to a dress fitting for my dear friend and her girls since she would be modeling for me, and we needed to find the gowns that fit her while also matching the theme of the session. That gown I had been wondering about was there staring at me. And these girls I was with? They are basically family. I asked them their choice of which gown they loved more, and they chose the one I had my eye on rather than what I’d ordered. *Cue more sickening feelings* I let it go, and tried hard to focus on Tanesha and the gowns we wanted her to wear. We found the gowns for her, and then my heart melted as the littles asked to try on gowns themselves! (please excuse the cell phone uploads 😉 )
On the car ride home, I cried. I cried the entire way. I just knew I’d made the wrong decision at that point, but still had NO idea how that other gown would fit, so obviously there were major doubts all around. I called the shop, told them, and they were able to pause my order! My mom and I made our way to the shop early one morning, and I immediately went straight to THE gown. I knew. Erin laughed, and told me to hold my horses, asked me to look around to be SURE this was actually THE gown, and I had no doubts at all. Well, except that I knew it wouldn’t fit. I was very open with this fear, and told Erin. She assured me that one way or another, I’d see how it’d fit. I put the gown over my head (big booty over here can’t get anything on by pulling it up), and then did my call for help to get someone to start yanking on the layers. And then it happened…. This gown that was basically a size 6/8 in regular clothes actually fit minus the zipping portion! I was ecstatic to see it on, and omg. It was that moment I knew. Totally knew. We compared the gowns, but I knew.
Soooo yea, that was my experience! Things to take away from this:
1. Go in with an open mind and no expectations
2. Don’t freak out
3. Make sure you KNOW that dress is THE dress before saying yes prematurely
4. Go to a shop that you feel a connection with – that is still an experience that you’ll always remember
Oh, and PS – if you can’t wait until Christmas to see what dress I chose, be sure to check back in July to see the very special dress I have chosen for our engagement pictures in France 😉