Not wanting to miss out on an important and seemingly exciting wedding tradition, I asked my mom to go to David’s Bridal in Eugene with me to try on wedding dresses. I had done some browsing online at David’s Bridal’s website, as well as Nordstrom’s Rack, Etsy, and Macy’s, but I felt that shopping for a wedding dress is more than just obtaining a dress, it’s an experience where you get to try on beautiful, expensive gowns and really begin to experience what getting married will feel like. Plus, you can bring you girlfriends and they gush all over you, and who doesn’t like that?
I was greeted at the front desk and given a goody bag full of coupons and samples, a promising start. I was told to look at some dresses until my stylist, who was also helping another bride, became available. Shortly after, a hot mess greeted me and we began our search. My stylist was sweating profusely, had wild, unwashed hair, and wore garrishly patterened socks with her ballet flats. Don’t get me wrong, I admittedly dress pretty slovenly sometimes, but it was evident she took minimal time grooming herself for work that day.
I was then informed of David’s Bridal’s policy of dress shopping:
- You can touch the dress through a tiny slot in the plastic cover, but you cannot take a dress off the rack.
- You cannot put on or take off a wedding dress without the assistance of a consultant.
Both policies are understandable, as they are responsible for some very expensive dresses. I’m sure some crazy bridezillas have ripped some $1000 gowns trying to stuff their size 10 asses into size 6 dresses. However, both policies are extremely annoying when you are sharing a consultant with another bride. Some of those dresses take a good 20 minutes to lace up, so I found myself waiting for 20-30 minute intervals just to have her pick up a dress for me and walk it to the fitting room.
I noticed my consultant getting more agitated, and she was obviously overwhelmed with her 2-3 brides. I sympathized with her until she admitted she was hungover. I’ve certainly been hungover at my job, but there’s something particularly off-putting about seeing a hungover bridal consultant. It’s an atmosphere so formed around beauty and tranquility, that Jaegar sweat really ruins the ambiance.
None of the gowns really stood out, and I decided to call it quits after only trying on 4 dresses in a matter of 2 hours, not necessarily because of the experience, but merely because I didn’t find anything that I liked. I had a set price-range of $350-$400 maximum, and was hoping to spend even less, and at DB that pays for their lowest quality dresses. As an avid thrift store shopper, I feel like I’m skilled at seeking out quality pieces for good prices, so I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of spending that much on a run-of-the-mill white dress. They certainly had some beautiful gowns, but they cost double or triple my dress budget.
This is what upset me: When I made it known that I would not be purchasing anything, a manager interferred. I pointed out a gown I liked in their catalogue and instead of helping me order it, or listening to me at all, she began grabbing random dresses off the racks that she felt were similar, but were not, or she would find one that was close but in a size 4 (not my size), which is just depressing. On top of that, I consider high-pressure sales to be on par with being kicked in the vaj. They knew I had already been there over two hours with my mother and my 8-month-old, who was really losing his patience. That was my mistake entirely, as David’s Bridal is not an appopriate place to bring a baby, but it was my only option that particular day. I quickly got dressed and headed towards the doors. When I waited 30 minutes for my consultant to help me earlier, she was nowhere in sight, but when she saw me leaving empty-handed, she darted towards me to book a follow-up appointment. I declined and my mom and I went to a nearby bar and got some wine to talk shit about David’s Bridal – coining it the Wal-Mart of bridal shops.
Luckily, I was able to walk away from that awful experience with some useful information. It was really helpful to be fitted for a dress, any dress. I was able to determine my size and what types of dresses were/were not flattering, which would prove helpful for online shopping. For instance I noticed the majority of bridal gowns are strapless, but I didn’t find that flattering on me, so that also helped me to narrow my search. Also, I went into DB in a frumpy outfit and a ponytail, my usual look, while most of the other girls had their hair and makeup done, and were well-dressed for the occasion. They tried on tiaras and sparkly wedding jewerly with their gowns, and I’m not judging any of that. In fact, that was one enjoyable part of the fitting – talking to other giddy brides and watching them spin in their dresses. I just realized that I’m not that bride, I’m not comfortable in a poofy dress draped in sparkles. I’m low-key, and prefer a simple, clean look. Plus, I’m far too particular of a shopper to deal with a consultant. So, while I left disheartened by the experience, I was armed with good ideas.