Wedding Wednesday: My Dress Shopping Experience

As I mentioned in this post, I went wedding dress shopping last month and figured I’d share a bit about my experience for anyone who is curious or is about to do the same during the pandemic! As a little background, we’re doing both a traditional Indian ceremony one day, and a standard “western” one the next day, which is how I always figured my future wedding would go. This shopping trip was to get my white dress for the western wedding.

For a number of logistical reasons, I’d originally planned a late June NYC trip to buy my dress with my mom, future mother-in-law, and two close friends (S and L). Once we had to cancel that plan, I’d sort of mentally pushed off the idea of dress shopping until S mentioned that mid- to late summer may be a good time to shop due to uncertainty around the virus in the fall. The original NYC plan switched to Connecticut (more on that below); both moms were unable to travel, so S and L–who are luckily in the NY area–and I made two appointments on a Saturday. If I didn’t find “the dress,” I was going to make appointments back in DC. Since our travel plans changed, it was easy to make the ~2 hour drive from Long Island to Connecticut, where I’d been given a couple dress store recommendations. Unfortunately L had to cancel last minute but she, the moms, and my bestie from home all Zoomed in for the appointments.

Onto the stores we we went to! My coworkers and a few friends (including Emily, whose engagement + wedding timelines pretty much align perfectly with mine!) highly recommended A Little Something White in Darien. They were also one of the only boutiques to carry a brand I saw on Instagram and was really excited about, so that was the first appointment I booked; plus, I dug into some of the other designers listed on their website and fell in love with many of them…a sign I’d likely find something perfect there! Looking at the brands listed on the website of a highly-recommend boutique is a great starting point…there are so many articles out there listing designers that may not be available near you, so I appreciated being able to get a glimpse of what I’d actually be able to try on within my budget. Another recommendation was The Plumed Serpent, and I made an appointment there for later the same day. Pre-shopping research-wise, I probably spent 2-3 hours total over the past six months pinning and saving dress styles I liked. This allowed us to focus on the silhouettes I knew I loved vs. trying on one of everything (which is probably what I’d have done if I hadn’t done any research).

If you’re shopping in the Fairfield County area, A Little Something White is amazing. I worked with Kim and she was incredible. She asked all the right questions, was attentive and genuine, and picked the best dresses for me to try on. I felt totally comfortable being frank about what I liked and disliked, she wasn’t pushy at all, and I feel like she took everything I said to heart. We just meshed, and it was great! I actually ended up buying the first dress I tried on that day–ironically, something I’d saved on my Instagram, but I didn’t realize that until after saying “yes” to it! So our day basically went: Morning appointment at A Little Something White, lunch on the patio at Little Barn (highly recommend–it felt very safe), early afternoon appointment at The Plumed Serpent, and back to A Little Something White to “say yes to the dress” before driving back to Long Island. Kim knew there was a good chance I’d come back for the first dress, and she was ready for me when I called!

Tips for wedding dress shopping in a pandemic

It was definitely an interesting experience dress shopping during a pandemic…face masks aren’t the first thing you’d associate with being a bride :) S brought her laptop, set up a Zoom meeting, and impressively juggled the video chat + taking photos of the dresses I loved the most. I’d say the most important thing having done the research…you don’t need to know exactly what you want, but if you’re trying to find your dress on a singular shopping trip, I think it would have been tough to try on a ton of different styles and expect to make a decision the same day. That’s probably a non-issue for most people who are shopping local to where they live, but is something I was grateful to have done since I wasn’t buying my dress in DC.

The other thing is keeping your budget in mind. I told Kim I didn’t want to see anything over a certain price and she stuck with that. Right before I said “yes” to the dress, I did end up trying on one more that was above my budget because there was something similar that I’d liked at The Plumed Serpent and wanted to see if A Little Something White had something like it. Kim told me she’d intentionally avoided pulling it due to the price point, but I opted to try it on. It was beautiful, but I still loved the first dress more!

In general, I’d say the whole experience was a great…it was fun but I’m definitely not someone who would have enjoyed drawing out the process for several days or visiting more than two stores. If you know what you like and are able to research boutiques to make sure the brands they carry align with your style, I think it’s totally reasonable to start with one or two appointments and go from there!

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or email me at monica@monicadutia.com. And if you too dress shopped during the pandemic–I’d love to hear how it went!

Photo by Kate Headley

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