On the hunt: The White Dress by the Shore

2 October 2012

About a month after our Charleston vacation, John and I were scheduled to be in Connecticut for our engagement party and a weekend of wedding vendor meetings. Exciting! Since my two sisters were going to be in town for the festivities, I decided to take an appointment at The White Dress by the Shore, a bridal boutique down the road from my hometown. I had heard great things about the shop, and so even though none of their designers were high on my priority list (Amy Kuschel, Anne Barge, Augusta Jones, Coren Moore, David Fielden, Ivy and Aster, Jenny Yoo, Modern Trousseau, Rivini, and Amsale, who I do love), I went in with an open mind.

Our appointment was late on Saturday morning, and the small shop was bustling. After a short wait we were matched with our consultant and led to a prime fitting room (score!). Our gal was very nice, though I did feel the environment was slightly more formal/stuffy than Maddison Row. My sisters and mom and I looked through the racks and pulled a few dresses, and our consultant pulled a few as well. Here are a few I tried:

Let’s start with my least two favorites. I did not want anything with sparkles, which the gown on the left had (interestingly, it was also too plain for my taste). The skirt of the gown on the right, by Anne Barge, didn’t feel very refined.

This one I kind of wanted to like, but it was wayyyy too big for me, and since it was Priscilla of Boston, only the sample was available.

The one on the left was too black-tie, not enough wedding for me. The one on the right was quite pretty, but lacked oomph. The top was also not soft enough for my taste.

Now this one, the “Lauren” by Amsale, I quite liked. Ultimately, though, it didn’t feel like me (though it did remind me of my friend Katharine’s gorgeous Amsale gown!).

In the end I guess you could say it came down to these two, but I honestly wasn’t seriously considering either of them (by Augusta Jones on the left, and the “Melina” by Amsale on the right). In fact, I left the White Dress surprisingly disheartened about my dress search. (If we’re being honest, I might even have shed a tear or two in the car — the frustrating kind, because you really don’t want to be crying, and you know there’s no reason you should be crying, but you can’t help it. Yuck.)

I think the pressure of our whirlwind weekend (five vendor appointments in a row on Friday!) and of making important decisions got to me in that moment. Since I thought this was my only chance to buy a dress with my mom at my side, I was also sad that I hadn’t found “the one” on this trip. Speaking of “the one,” I think I was also disappointed because I hadn’t even come close to feeling strongly about any of the dresses I had tried on thus far, and I had assumed picking a gown would be fairly easy for me. Ah well. Things look up from here!

Tell me: Did your dress shopping experience turn out how you thought it would? How many shops did you visit before finding your gown?

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October 2, 2012 7:42 am

I went shopping a couple months after we got engaged. The shop where my mom bought her dress from when she was getting married to my father was having a sale so I set up an appointment. It was the 2nd or 3rd dress I tried on. I was in LOVE with it!! I quickly ran over to a couple other shops and tried on what they had to make sure it was “the one”. Then we went back to the 1st shop and they let me put it on again. Then came the tears. My mom and future MIL got a little teary too. Can’t wait to see it again! And finally wear it for real next October!

October 2, 2012 9:00 am

I started out looking for a dress with straps and a v neck and the dress I actually wore was the complete opposite, strapless with a sweet heart neckline. I ended up going to about eight different places to look because I couldn’t find anything simple and “plain”. The hardest part I had though was figuring out who to go with.

October 2, 2012 10:45 am

I love these posts. They are so honest! Wedding dress shopping is rarely presented as a journey on blogs and I think the way you describe the fear or pressure you felt was very relatable. I can imagine I’d feel exactly the same way if my mom was with me and might not be for other appointments.

October 2, 2012 11:32 am

I went to five shops with various configurations of family and friends. Since I had a “you never know until you try it” attitude, I probably tried on 60-70 dresses (possibly more), and started feeling like they were all the same and that I’d never find the ME dress. Luckily, my sister pulled one out of left field, and it ended up being THE ONE. I almost didn’t choose it, because I still had two more appointments that day, and I didn’t have the teary emotional response that everyone wants to have. After the second appointment that day, we cancelled the third and marched right back to get that dress.

October 2, 2012 10:31 pm

oh em! i felt exactly the same way.. tears and all. i didn’t think it should be a disappointing thing, i thought it should be fun and happy but there’s so much pressure sometimes to find the right thing and some stores just don’t have something that’s “you” at all. i went to about 5 stores and it took me a while. i finally decided on the lauren at nitsa’s when i went shopping by myself so i could clear my mind! then brought mom back for a final decision! so weird to see it above! eek!

October 3, 2012 9:23 am

Since I found my dress at a consignment store – which was the first place I went, I had quite the opposite emotion. I was really sad to have missed out on the ‘bridal experience’ like I had always dreamed of (thanks to that silly show, SYTTD!). I really wanted to spend a lot of money on my dress – but still being in school limited my options and I was 100% dependent on the $$ my parents were willing to spend, which was still a lot! Needless to say – I ultimately ended up being so incredibly happy and overwhelmed, regardless of what store I was at and how much I spent. The tears I cried were the realization that WOW, I’m marrying the man of my dreams, and he will LOVE this consigned dress as much as I do! And for the record, you’ve looked amazing in every dress you’ve shown!

January 7, 2013 5:29 pm

Hi Em! I just found your blog in a roundabout way- it turns out that a picture of you in your wedding dress is already on my pinterest board for my wedding! I love the sleeves on your dress and was thinking of having something similar added to my dress- which happens to be the Augusta Jones dress with the floppy flowers you tried on above! Funny how small the internet can be! And I was extra surprised to see my dress on you because I have seen very pictures of that dress that aren’t the one promotional shot. Anyway- your post made me smile. And I clearly love the dress you ended up with!