I Might Say Yes to the Dress, But Probably Not

I Might Say Yes to the Dress, but Probably Not

A few weeks ago I found a wedding dress that fit like a dream and was a steal at $600. Yet…I didn’t buy it.

I’m a month away from getting married and I still haven’t settled on a wedding dress(!).

The almost-dress was by Leanne Marshall. Remember when she won on Project Runway? One Sunday I was in my PJs scrolling through her Instagram and saw she was having a sample sale. That very day, and it ended in 2 hours. Crap. What to do? It would take 45 minutes to get there by train. I threw on some clothes and headed out. I decided it was worth at least a look .

I found three dresses in my size. Two were flowy and ethereal—not totally my style, but hey, might as well try everything on that’s my size, right? You never know. They both ended up being too big.

The third dress was different from all the others on the rack. There were so many reasons to buy it. It wasn’t flowy, but more streamlined. My style is “luxurious tomboy” so anything overly feminine is not gonna fly. This one didn’t have lace or ruffles or tulle or sequins or anything fussy like that. It was a sheath style, with a sheer bodice and pretty embroidery on the front. Simple, but with a little bit extra. It also miraculously fit me. How many times do people try on wedding dresses and it’s a perfect fit? Almost never. This dress wouldn’t need any alterations except hemming the bottom. And then there was the price. $600 for a dress that normally went for over $2,000. SEVENTY PERCENT OFF, people. So what if it was $300 over budget? People overspend on their weddings all the time. For someone who lives for finding amazing deals, it was like catnip.

And yet.

I stood in front of the mirror, and moved from side to side. The salesgirl looked at me, like, “Well, are you going to buy it or not?”

I smiled and said, “I won’t be taking it.”

Here’s why.

Because I couldn’t take a picture of it. You best believe there’d be a selfie picture to dress up this post if I did. The dressing rooms were open and there were naked ladies abound, so the salespeople said pictures weren’t allowed, not even of just you in the dress with the wall as a background. I get the policy but it still bugged me. If it’s a wedding dress, I need to make sure it’s going to photograph well from all angles! Lots of times the eye gets tricked into thinking something looks good by what you see in the mirror. Then later you see an actual photograph of you in it and wonder, damn, was I high?

Because my best friend wasn’t with me. My best friend is the only one person in the world whose opinion I care about when it comes to clothes. She not only has impeccable taste, but she knows me inside and out and can call me out on my BS when I try to justify things. I needed to run the dress by her first to make sure I wasn’t delusional.

Because I wasn’t 100% sure I could resell it. As someone who doesn’t like having tons of clothes, I’m dead set on selling the dress after the wedding. This means I have to choose the dress carefully, and not just based on what I like. It’s going to be a future business transaction, and the dress has to be a brand that brides will actually buy used. The Leanne Marshall dresses are lovely, but the brand is definitely less well-known than other designers, which could mean it could be more difficult to unload.

Because I needed to think it over. As I said before, the sample sale ended that day, in just 45 minutes after I got there. Yes, $600 is a steal for a wedding dress. But that’s still a lot of money for something I don’t value like the clothes I wear on the regular. Generally, if something’s over $100 I need to think about it. $600? I need a solid month to do my due diligence—looking at pictures online, checking out alternatives that might be better, investigating the pre-owned market to get the same item for less, etc. It wouldn’t be me to buy the dress right then and there.

One of the core values of this blog is shopping thoughtfully. Since I made the choice to stick to my values over convenience, the hunt for a dress continues. I’d be the absolute worst person to be on that TLC show, Say Yes to the Dress, because I’d never say ‘yes’ on the spot. But they should definitely call me if they ever have a show called, I Might Say Yes to the Dress, But Probably Not.

What do you think? Should I have just bought the dress to get it over with? How long did it take you to find yours?

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  • Your Average Dough

    Totally glad you didn’t say yes to the dress! When you know, you know and it sounds like you were a little unsure. Any bit of doubt and it’s a no because you don’t want to purchase a dress for your wedding that you’ll look at in regret, no matter what the price is!

    I spent a couple of weeks and went to just 3 bridal shops for mine. All 3 had this one dress that I tried on at each of them and I still wouldn’t pull the trigger until I thought it over for a while at home. I did end up getting that one, but definitely didn’t rush to make the decision!

    • Glad you agree with me! It’s so much easier to just make the more convenient decision, but harder to make the right one. Sounds like your decision making was pretty solid–just enough options to feel like you did your research, but not too many where decision fatigue kicked in.

      My mom and I were watching Say Yes to the Dress yesterday, and I was like, how can they make such a snap decision on something that costs soooo much?

  • Luxe way to stick to your values!

    As someone in the retail industry I will be looking forward to hearing more about your shopping experiences in the future!

    Take a man’s perspective for what it’s worth (probably not much) in this situation. Your fiancé will think you look like a million bucks no matter what! My wife spent $300 on a dress and I would have believed it cost her $5,000 or more. She was stunning.

    Looks like you aren’t getting too stressed which is a great thing! You will definitely find one and it will be awesome. Congrats on the big day coming up!

    • Thank you! Can’t wait for it to be over to be honest. Then I’ll have more time to work on the blog!

      It’s funny. I think weddings bring out parts of you you never noticed before. I’m spending the least amount of money and stress on myself, and the MOST money/stress on other people. I’m excited to do a recap report.

      My fiance is def one of those types who thinks I look good in anything, so he’s not a concern! But there is pressure to you know, look like a “bride”, which is bullshit, but the pressure is there, nonetheless.

  • Former new yorker

    Good call. I tried on my dream dress and then went home and bought a sample online for $385. Still kind of regret spending that much because it had to be tailored for an additional $300. It’s now still sitting in my closet, uncleaned, because I still haven’t found the time to figure out what to do with it since life (honeymoon, surprise baby) keep getting in the way. I loved wearing it on the day of but often wonder if I could have gotten something cheaper and off the rack! Or at least prolonged the dress shopping longer — it’s fun to try on dresses!

    • Alterations have this way of sneaking up on you, don’t they? $685 total for a wedding dress really isn’t bad, especially if it was a style you were already checking out.

      Lucky for me, all the dresses I was in love with were like, $6000+ so I didn’t even bother trying them on or anything. That’s about the total for my half of the wedding expenses!