I am very picky when it comes to shopping so something as big as a wedding dress I wanted to make sure I saw it all! I went to a ton of wedding dress boutiques in the Atlanta and surrounding areas. At first what I wanted was something with a low back and fitted, I found a bunch of dresses with that requirement but I found that it looked much like what every bride I’ve seen wear and most were very elegant with a lot of lace…then I realized I’m more of a sparkle over lace gal and ended up liking something completely different than what I imagined.
I must have tried on over a hundred dresses and went to 13 bridal stores…I mean it when I say I wanted to try it all to pick my favorite option. I went to a couple with some members of my bridal party but most with just my mom so I wouldn’t have too many opinions (I’m easily swayed) and obviously everyone has a preferred style that isn’t necessarily yours.
My tips for seeing it all and choosing a dress:
- I made multiple appointments in a day giving myself an hour at the bridal store and an hour to get to the next one ( or to stop for lunch) that way I didn’t have to take up 13 saturdays
- Try on all types of dresses , even if you don’t think you will like them…you might be surprised
- Take pictures!!! I had my mom take a picture from the back looking into the mirror so I could see all parts of the dress when I got home to see how I would like my wedding pictures
- Go glammed up! Do your hair like you think you’ll want it on the day…wear some fancy earrings, do your make up. This is your preview of pictures in the dress!
- Wear an adhesive bra and light colored underwear at every appointment
- Try some over skirts! Even if the dress isn’t supposed to come with one…you can borrow from another. This way you can have the best of both worlds a fancy , bigger dress for the ceremony with a train and a fitted, sexy dress for the reception without having to buy two dresses! This was definitely my favorite thing to do, take pics with and without the skirt.
- Follow bridal boutiques on instagram. They often post trunk show dates and you can see which styles/ designers they have. Otherwise it’s almost impossible because most don’t offer online inventory.
- Do not feel pressured to buy that day…they will absolutely try everything to get you to do this but I suggest you say you’ll come back , go home, look at the pictures deleting ones you don’t like and make a decision that way
- Believe in signs…if you feel good with your consultant, with your boutique, and your dress there is a reason for it
My consultant had the same tattoo as me, the boutique was friendly and just my style ( also they had a cute dog there) and the dress was on sale for exactly my already upped budget. I tried on a bunch of dresses and as I was leaving my consultant said she had an idea of one dress she wanted me to try on before going to my next appointment and there it was! THE dress…the only one I didn’t send back only to like the pictures when I got home…the only one my mom had an emotional reaction to and the only one I felt comfortable in. Classy yet so much “wow factor” and the best part was I wouldn’t have to suck in the entire day or zoom in on my stomach in the pictures after.
Here are all the boutiques I went to and what I thought of them.
Anya bridal– this is where most people I’ve seen have gotten their dresses. They have a ton of options but no higher end designers. (I really liked JLM designers) the appointment took a lot longer than I expected since everyone and their second cousins were there and they definitely pressured to buy right then and there. No mirrors in the dressing room. Price was very average for all gowns…nothing super cheap, nothing super expensive. I saw like 3 people I went to highschool with so that’s kind of awkward them seeing you before your closest family and friends see you in a wedding dress. Also my consultant brought all the dresses that everyone else liked despite it not being what I wanted 😶
Bridal sense– the only place with an online inventory!!!! Man did I love that, I had the dresses picked out before even going there. Also loved that it was not packed, my bridesmaids and mom got to walk around the entire place and pick out gowns they liked rather than a consultant forcing some on you. There were pictures on every dress of what it looked like so you didn’t have to guess from a bag if you’ll like it and that had a whole room of suuuuper clearance dresses. Perfect if you are having a destination wedding . Price point was great because 1. Basically everything was on sale. 2. There were expensive dresses, average priced dresses and super cheap ones 3. If you bought that day they give you a discount. Mirrors in the dressing room and walk in appointments available. I think this was probably my favorite place experience wise although I did not buy from here.
Bride beautiful– average prices and a lot of selection. They had the most two piece dress options , mirrors in the dressing room and they didn’t pressure me to buy which was surprising. Very difficult to get an appointment though , this is probably because they don’t have much room for stage display so I think it was 2 brides at a time could be trying on and showing their friends. Only allowed to bring two guest that can sit on a Saturday but I mean they didn’t kick my 4 out so whatever lol
Davids bridal– I went to the kennesaw location…the most options in the Atlanta area I think and they have the clearance selection. It is a Macy’s of wedding dresses , no unique dresses …sorry Vera . Speaking of Macy’s there are cheap wedding dresses that are beautiful at the Macy’s at Lenox…I would have gotten one from there if I was budgeting better lol. Anyways davids bridal ..nothing over $1500 , pretty dresses but like I said nothing unique it’s like 15 dresses in every size. They have really cute accessories though and like shirts for bridesmaids or honeymoon. Also would be good for finding a dress for rehearsal dinner , bridal shower or eloping . Mother of the bride dresses were pretty too. Lots of pressure to buy which I didn’t like.
Wedding angels– they had a toooooooon of dresses. Probably the biggest selection out of all the places I went. They definitely have the designer/ Pinterest dresses. Was a bit difficult to get a lenient appointment but I did really like this place. More expensive side
J Andrews– much like wedding angels but with a better name they had the designer/ Pinterest dresses. Hayley Paige was my fave. They had a bunch of jlm designers and the try on process wasn’t a nightmare. No mirrors in dressing room. More on the expensive side unless you want a basic lace gown. Also good bridesmaid and mother of bride dress selection.
La Raines– this is where I bought my dress from. Loved all the consultants there and they had a great selection. Also on the expensive side but they do have a room of clearance . They have designer galore there, all the dresses I tried on were over the top extra…just like I like it. Mirrors in the dressing room. The store layout is very easy to maneuver through.
Bravura– prom galore….surprisingly they did have a really large selection. Lots of mermaid style dresses that were beautiful so if you want that, this was a great place. Lots of pressure to buy and expect some emails after.
Prom USA– another prom based store but they have a lot of cheap dresses wedding dresses too. Well not a lot but some. Mostly lace dresses, nothing with a wow factor but I did try on some allure dresses that were about $400 cheaper than the same dress at the other stores.
Bel fiore – if you want the movie bridal dress shopping experience this is it. They put flowers out get you a little gift the whole 9. Big selection and good price points. They had a bit of everything. Cute flower wall to take a “I said yes to the dress” picture . Appointments are taken very seriously here.
Atlanta bridal couture – more expensive boutique for pretty basic dresses. Wasn’t too impressed by this place mostly because it was the most pressure boutique. They definitely wanted to make a sale and called me proooooobably 8 times after my appointment . No means no 😂
Formally yours– lots of options, average priced and pretty bridesmaid dress selection. They had a bit of everything and no pressure to buy. I’d say fairly basic .
White Magnolia bridal boutique – this was the one I was most excited about but ended up being dissapointed . Not a wholeeeee lot of pressure to buy but the selection was small. They had designers but none of the styles I really wanted from them. Have to put your credit card on file to make an appointment which was ridiculous. It is a house and the rooms are the bridal “suites” strange “dressing room” which was just a curtain in the same room as the people you bring…probably prepare for your mom /bridesmaids or whoever to get a peep show. Definitely on the expensive side.
So there is my babble on wedding dress shopping stress . Although it’s annoying to be this picky and go to so many places. Any time someone gets engaged and tells me what kind of dress they want I can send them straight to where they need to go. My positive Polly spin on all those hours of searching 😂