Tuesday, June 07, 2011

THE Dress

I'd like to share some thoughts about wedding dresses. First, I'd like to say that the whole wedding dress industry is a bit of a racket. It makes me crazy that a dress made from the same amount and quality of fabric that is not a "wedding" dress is inevitably cheaper than a bridal gown. It also seems criminal that the $400-$1,000 dresses sold by companies like J. Crew and Ann Taylor are considered "affordable" -- that's a lot of money to spend on something you will wear once.

When I set out to find my dress, I didn't have strong opinions about what kind of wedding costume I would like. I knew I wanted it to be simple and elegant -- and truly affordable. So, I went ahead and bid on a J. Crew dress from a few season's past on eBay. I won it for $99 and it arrived looking great. The dress fits me fairly well: I could wear it as-is and be fine, or I could have slight alterations to make the bust fit a little better. I was pretty sure I'd wear this dress, as I liked it and I relished the idea of telling everyone I'd worn a $99 dress from eBay.

However, everyone said: You must go try on dresses, you'll regret it if you don't, this is your one chance, etc. etc. So, I booked an appointment at J. Crew. I tried to do the same at Ann Taylor, but they only sell online. My attempt to contact David's Bridal made me very certain I did NOT want to buy a dress there. My mother hearing of the appointment and of a sale on Jet Blue plane tickets booked a flight to NYC to see me try on dresses. So, suddenly, it was an event.

I went to J. Crew with my mother and sister on Saturday. I told them what my price range was and we started trying on gowns. The first few left me feeling confident that the eBay number was going to win, but then I found a few I liked a bit more. And then there were two dresses I really liked -- one of which I really love. But my gosh, it's $575 dollars (before taxes!) and that's more than 1/20th of my whole budget.

On the one hand, I feel like I should just go for it: I love the dress and in the grand scheme of things it's really not that much money, and well, it is my BIG day, right? On the other hand, we set a budget and I am determined to stick to it. If we start making decisions to spend just a little bit more on this and a little more on that, the overall budget will quickly escalate. I want to save money for our future house more than I want to wear that dress on my wedding day. However, I also want to look and feel great and I don't want to look back and regret not buying a dress I really loved. I know every woman will say buy the dress, but I am not sure that, that is the right answer. I could find a compromise and try to buy the dress on eBay for less than the marked cost, but I'm still uncomfortable with racing out to spend more money when I do have a dress that I like that cost only $99.

2 comments:

vulnerablepulp.com said...

It's funny, I just bought my wedding dress too. I tried one on that was absolutely gorgeous. It was super expensive, so I ended up getting one that was much less expensive, but still pretty. I think if you feel good in the dress, the ebay one is probably the way to go. I am sure you will look beautiful at your wedding!

Laura Fenton said...

Thanks for the words of encouragement! I am leaning towards the eBay dress, but I've still got a couple months to make up my mind.

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