Sunday, November 22, 2009

Finding MY DRESS Among the Clearance Wedding Dresses Racks

I looked online at a lot of clearance wedding dresses.  I even watched a little bit of Say Yes to the Dress.  I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted for a wedding dress, so I looked at a lot of photos online for inspiration.

One thing I was pretty sure was that I wanted a V neck wedding dress.  I look best in this style shirt since I’m pretty buxom, and have a comparatively small waist.  But I wasn’t sure what type of skirt I wanted.  Those mermaid and trumpet skirts look so sexy. But as I looked at photos, they only looked good on the skinny models, not on us short curvy girls.  So I decided that a classic A-line would be more flattering on me. 

I started shopping online for clearance wedding dresses.  It's amazing that I found some clearance wedding dresses for under $300!  There was one here that I really liked.  It’s simple, but the cut looks flattering.  Plus it has that bit of filigree embellishments that I love, and will use in the wedding décor.  And you can’t beat the price!  Under $400!  I decided that this would be a terrific back-up dress.  I still wanted to visit a physical Massachusetts wedding gown store David’s Bridal since it’s so close by, and have the experience of trying on several big and pretty white gowns, but I created another folder on my computer, labeled this one “clearance wedding dresses,” and saved this website.  Then I took my favorite Google images of wedding dresses to also put in the folder.

Then one day out of the blue I got an Email from a shop near my mom’s house called “125 Bridal.”   It said that this coming week, right before Thanksgiving, they’d have clearance wedding dresses since they were remodeling their store.  These gowns were going to be 60% off!  That’s a good deal on a small item, but on an item that normally costs over $1000, that was just too good to pass up.

I was nervous because that did not leave me with enough time to shop around at a single Massachusetts wedding gown store first, but I called mom up anyway, booked an appointment, and fought crazy traffic after work for my first bridal appointment.  This wedding planning was suddenly a lot more “real.”  I’ve never needed an appointment to buy something before, other than my house. 

The staff couldn’t be nicer and more understanding when I arrived late.  Mom was trying on Mother of the Bride dresses while she waited.  So after introductions I showed my consultant the inspiration page I’d slapped together in Photoshop the night before with my favorite Google images.  I annotated what I liked on each, what I did not want, and things that I wasn’t sure about.

  • V neck wedding dress
  • A-line
  • Straps or capped sleeves
  • Fitted waist
  • A bodice that goes straight across
  • Sleeveless
Not Sure:
  • Material
  • Beading or lace bridal gowns
  • Ivory or white bridal gown
  • wedding dress train
  • Halter wedding gowns 

So she encouraged me to go through the rack of clearance wedding dresses with her and pull any of the ones I’d like to try on, and she’d pull dresses that she thought fit my criteria also.

With that finished, she led me to the dressing room.  This was an experience I hoped to never go through again.  Being pampered is nice and all, but being a grown woman and needing another adult to help dress you was not in any way fun.  And the bodice undergarment thing they had me wear under each dress was awful.  First of all, it’s used: ew.  Second, though I got a slip to wear, it was just not a pretty sight standing there in the two garments.  I knew I wasn’t at my fittest at that point, but I’d never looked dumpier as I did in that getup.  And third, she let me know that wedding dresses run small.  So looking at the tag, it felt like I’d put on 10 pounds.  And sure enough, the dresses off the rack felt VERY snug; some didn’t zip up all the way.  All the while the skinny young consultant was cheerfully patronizing, saying “oh that can be altered, don’t worry.”  I thought trying on wedding dresses was going to be an experience that made me feel like a princess?  It was just the opposite.

Until I tried on the second dress.

That’s when I felt like Adam’s princess bride.

Now, this isn't me or the actual dress since it would be bad luck for Adam to see!  But it's pretty close :)

I tried on a few (/several) other clearance wedding dresses just to compare the waist, the bead work, how a halter wedding gown looked compared to a v-neck, and it was all a lot more fun now, because I knew I found the dress for me.  Even the price was amazing; not much more than the one I saw online.  But it was clearly a better quality gown.  It has a more subtle, elegant design to the bead work, the material is more substantial looking, and it even has a train, which I never dared to dream about.  I was so amazingly proud of my clearance wedding dress that looked like something out of a magazine.  I didn’t even care that I didn’t get to compare with a Massachusetts wedding gown store.
Photos courtesy of:

tokuriki                              Jakob Montrasio              avlxyz
timothyhorrigan        DeusXFlorida                    DeusXFlorida
Yiqun Ding                      e.t                                                blacksapphire
e.t                                                                    Ryan Smith Photography
spettacolopuro             dunikowski                          dunikowski
killrbeez                           corey ann                               jakob montrasio
pashmina                       flippinyank                          L8o


  1. I like the A-line dresses too. I've never liked the poofy wedding dresses. I thought Princess Diana's dress was so ugly. I didn't have a formal wedding, but if I had, I would have chosen something closely fitted or slinky. I was tall and skinny before it was fashionable. Oh, for those days again. I don't have wedding tips for you, but I do have a book suggestion. It's by Dr. Laura, who I was never crazy about, but had this book been available when I got married, I'd probably still be married. The book: "The Care and Feeding of a Husband"
    Hope to see a picture of your wedding dress after your wedding. Keep us posted.

  2. Congrats lady! I love this story!

  3. @ Brenda: Thanks for the tip! I bought a few books on marriage, a little more suited to our needs and situation, but I'll look into this one too :)

    @ Dognbird, thanks :) That was the good news. Part 2 of the story is still to come however...

  4. Wow! HUGE congrats to you! Finding a dress is such an important part of wedding planning. I love that when you tried on "the" dress, you suddenly felt like a princess! Great story!

  5. Girl, you are tearing down my fantasies left and right! As someone who is trying to lose weight and who is going in expecting to try on a dress that is two sizes larger than the pants I wear (A used wedding gown site I've visited showed that normally David's Bridal dresses are bought a size or two above what you wear.), I'm expecting to feel fat. ;-)

    I'm like you too. I don't like being fussed over in any way. I would much rather my consultant just bring out a large rack of dresses and leave my mom, maid of honor and I to it. But I understand that it's complicated to put some of those suckers on, so I'll grin and bear it.

    Congrats on finding a dress you love! I'm sure planning will go much more smoothly now that that is out of the way.

  6. This is great! They always show wedding dress try-on days to be fun, a little fiesty, fighting over a dress, etc...but I had a feeling it wasn't this way. That dress is beautiful, and good luck!

  7. Well, it might be that way for some people, but not us :) But I love my dress, and I'm glad it was an easy decision.


I love comments, so please let me know what you think of my finds, or if you have any additional wedding tips for me!

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