Friday, September 6

Wedding Dress Shopping by Jana Richards

I recently had my own “Say Yes to the Dress” moment. But first, my daughter said no to a whole lot of candidates.

Me at 21 on my wedding day. The dress has a bit of a night gown vibe.
My daughter got engaged in March and she and her fiancé set the date of her wedding for August 15, 2020. So, this summer, one year in advance, she started wedding dress shopping.

Back eons ago when I got married, I didn’t go wedding dress shopping. In an effort to save money, I bought several yards of material and a pattern and my dear aunt sewed my wedding dress for me. She did a beautiful job. I think the whole thing, including pattern, fabric, lace, thread, zipper and miscellaneous sewing notions, cost maybe $100 in 1978 Canadian dollars. It was great to save money because we didn’t have a whole lot at the time, but I missed out on the experience of trying on wedding dresses and having that moment of falling in love with “the one”. And as nice a job as my aunt did sewing the dress, I don’t think the pattern I picked out really suited me. There was no way to really know that until the dress was finished and by then it was too late.

So, I wanted my daughter to have the full wedding dress experience and get a dress that really spoke to her. And maybe through her, I’d have a taste of the experience I didn’t have forty-one years ago.

I missed her first shopping excursion at the end of June because I was out of town, but I made sure to make it to the next (several) trips. I learned a couple of things along the way:

1. My daughter was pretty adamant about her budget. Some consultants are more respectful of a bride's budget than others.
2. A stunning train was important to her.
3. She didn't want a strapless gown.
4. I really like bling.

I didn’t see #4 coming. In my everyday clothing for myself, I’m pretty low-key and, let’s face it, plain. Jeans and t-shirts with few, if any, embellishments. But I found myself drawn to the dresses with sparkle. Who knew?

So here are a few of the runners up who didn’t quite make the cut:

I loved this one. It was sparkly, within budget and look at that train! But Rachel said it felt heavy and uncomfortable. Moving on.

Perfectly lovely dress. I can't remember what was wrong with it, but it didn't ring her bell.

Another dress that was close but no cigar. Next!

She tried on this dress several times at a couple of different stores. I thought it was going to be the one, but in the end it wasn't sparkly enough.

Waaay too much money. Remember that thing I said about being respectful of a bride's budget? Not so much.

Okay, it is possible to have too much bling!

And the winner is:
Can’t tell you yet. I don’t want to steal her thunder. After August 15, 2020 I’ll post a picture of my daughter in her beautiful dress. But I’ll give you a hint: it sparkles!

Since I shared my wedding dress, would anyone else care to do the same? I dare you!


  1. If I find a picture, I'll share it. I will say it was light blue, a mini-dress, and cost $13.99 at the Valu Shop in Peru, Indiana. I enjoyed seeing these. I love that one that wasn't sparkly enough, but can't wait to see the winner. Good for Rachel for sticking to her budget!

    1. We're a frugal bunch, aren't we? Or maybe that was our generation. Our wedding was in my hometown hall and my aunts and my mother and grandmothers made most of the food. None of this catering stuff! It was very much a homemade wedding. So different from what Rachel's wedding will be like.

  2. How fun! My pictures are stored away somewhere...maybe when I get a new house and have access to them again, I'll post one. Mine was $28 from Paul Harris--a cotton maxi sundress in ivory seersucker fabric with ruffles along the hem and around the shoulders.

    1. It sounds lovely, Nan! And just the right price.

  3. Beautiful...daughter AND dress selections. Suffice to say, my 1987 wedding picture is complete with big hair look. I tried to attach it but don't see an attachment icon to do so. Perhaps it's hiding from me so that I can't post the pic. and embarrass myself. Thanks for sharing such a personal, exciting time.

  4. Thanks Janie! I forgot you can't actually attach a picture in the comments, or at least I don't know how. I would love to see your 1987 big hair!

  5. Maybe we'll have to do a wedding dress theme some time!