Why I Cried At My Wedding Dress Pick Up

I went Friday with my sister to pick up my wedding dress. I brought along the bolero I purchased from Etsy, a fake flower for my hair (for sizing & look since I hope to wear a real flower in my hair the day of), and my shoes. Getting the dress on was easy enough but when I put on the bolero, it just didn’t look right. The soft lace of the jacket did not match the more modern style of the dress. Disappointed, I took it off and thought “there goes $40 to waste.” We clipped the flower to my hair but I was just not feeling it. I felt dumb in all that white. I felt like I was failing at dress up.

When I stepped out into the communal mirrored space, I was already a little defeated. I have been concerned all along that I bought a strapless gown knowing full well I do not like my arms and am afraid I’ll have “back butt.” It’s a lot of bare skin up top and I’m distracted by it. Without a shrug to cover that part of me, I was obsessing on it.

The dress had been taken in at the waist and side plus hemmed and 11 bustle points were added. There was only one issue with one bustle that was a little too high along the hemline so I asked for it to be fixed. I also noticed that where the folds of the material along the chest/waist area was some imperfections. I pointed them out but the seamstress, who was meek and unhelpful, keep saying “that’s how the dress is.” She was offering no sympathy or support or helpful suggestions. She called out Bertha, a head seamstress, to look at it. Bertha was not any better. She fussed with the folds of the material and pinned here and there when I would point out an area where the material was puckering while softly muttering under her breath, “ayyyee, mmmm, hmmm” with no actual communication WITH me. I finally had to say “Am I being crazy? Or does it look bad?” I didn’t want to be a bridezilla or rude to anyone but they were not being encouraging or helpful at all. Their silence was unnerving. They claimed the dress was pressed but yet there were obvious wrinkles in it. Frustrated, I gave up after pointing out 5 areas I wanted fixed and went back into the dressing room to cry.

I didn’t feel pretty and my dress looked cheap (even though with alterations it’s now cost us $700).

My sister tried to comfort me but I just wanted to get out of there. The seamstress called into us asking if we’d like to wait why they fixed the dress. I said no and thought- how can they fix it that quickly? No wonder their work looks like crap. When I stepped out of the changing room she informed me that I’d have to pay $5 per tack. There’s $54 more dollars I didn’t plan on spending. She could tell I was upset but didn’t really offer any solutions. I had to pay in advance to get it fixed but I could call the manager to discuss getting it comped. I paid, rescheduled my dress pick up time, and left tearful and dejected.

I gave into a weekend of looking for new dresses on line and lamenting my dress choice.  I know we don’t have the budget or time for me to scrap this dress and get a new one. I’m stuck on what I will do about a jacket or sweater. It will be late October in Seattle and there will be a chill in the air so I’ll need something. I had such a hard time finding the first shrug, so I don’t know how I will find the next one. I don’t want to wear a pashmina/wrap because I don’t want to fiddle with it or have something so fussy on but I might just get one as a back up. I’d like a vintage, cropped, beaded cardigan but where to find it with only a month to go and in my size?

I hope I get over this feeling. I just hope I can feel beautiful on our wedding day. If I’m crying, I want it to be happy tears.


32 thoughts on “Why I Cried At My Wedding Dress Pick Up

  1. I agree with Amy’s statement- “You’d be beautiful in a burlap bag”…. or anything. Hang in there. It will all come around, and your beauty will outshine even the brightest star on your special day.

  2. If you still aren’t happy with the dress when you get it back, take it to another seamstress. Pay your money to somebody who is going to address your concerns and make you happy! Then try and remember who’s going to be IN the dress, and realize that everything is going to turn out great!

  3. As a guest of many MANY weddings, I promise you, I have no clue whether the hemline to the bride’s dress is even, let alone if there is a slight wrinkle here or there. I’m so focused on the couple, the happy energy everyone exudes, her tears, his tears, my tears, the venue, the decor, the music, the guy who tripped … there are so many elements to a wedding and the dress really is only one of them. You absolutely deserve to be disappointed with your experience the other day, but I hope you won’t let it weigh on you on your special day. You’re going to look amazing! And I agree with Dave – take it somewhere else if you’re not happy with the service you’re getting.

  4. OK, I can make you a shrug, we can match the color. I am sure you are feeling a bit overwhelmed and a lot of your concerns will fade away. My mother used to say to me when I pointed out a mistake I had made on a garment “it will never show on a moving horse.”

  5. It’s so hard when so many things seem out of your control. A promise from a stranger – you will be absolutely beautiful on your wedding day! (And, truth in fact, every day leading up to it and after it…even if you’re not feeling that way. You’re gorgeous inside and out.)

  6. You are going to look gorgeous! It seems the problem is not your dress, but the seamstress(s). You might want to take it to someone else. In any case, just make sure it fits right. I swear no one is going to notice the tiny little things that you do. Don’t fall into drowning into the tiny little things that go wrong. It gets to be really upsetting and I swear in the end, it’s just not worth it at all.

    I actually got a wrap for myself from Macy’s which was on sale and it worked out just fine (it was chilly that evening when we got married). Try looking at Macy’s, Nordstrom, Ann Taylor and some other clothing shops. Don’t necessarily look for bridal stuff. You’d be surprised what you will find for A LOT less.

  7. I’m so sorry, Sizzle. For what it’s worth (if anything), I had the same reaction to my own dress. I loved it well enough when I bought it, but once it was altered and ready to go, I hated it. I still didn’t care for it on my wedding day and still don’t care for it now. But it never really mattered. I wore my hair a way that made me happy, I had a strand of blue beads that made me happy. I wore my glasses, and that made me happy. But most important of all, I had so much fun and was so happy to be around my family, friends and the Modern Love Machine that I totally forgot how I felt about the dress.

    Remember that you can’t make your wedding day perfect and you can’t control every single element of the day and you’ll only make yourself crazy trying. You will feel what you feel, and it doesn’t have to be all sunshine and rainbows, despite what our culture wants us to think. You are lovely and wonderful, and you are building your life with Mr. Darcy who loves you no matter what you’re wearing (just like your friends and family!)

  8. I am so sorry that you have been ensnared in the spider’s web of bridal gown alterations. The industry thrives on taking advantage of your emotions, making you feel as though your body shape is the problem (not their crappy alterations), and tacking on extra fees. I swear they mess things up purposefully just to keep the alterations going.

    At this point I hope you’ll be able to get the dress to where it FEELS good and is comfortable for you to wear. That is what matters most.

    A pashmina shawl or light cape might be strategically pinned to the dress, or the shawl could be altered with hidden darts to conform to your shoulders and sit more securely. Something lighter weight vs. heavier is probably best, given that you’ll be sweating from excitement no matter how cool the temperature.

    See if you can find a skilled tailor/seamstress to help you. Those ladies at the bridal shop are unscrupulous sharks just after your money!

    My heart goes out to you.

  9. I agree with Nilsa wholeheartedly. Honestly, no one is looking at the dress. They are looking at you two. A beautiful couple who has gone through so much already and yet, here you are, together, united in love and happiness.

    This is what people want to see.


  10. I’m so sorry you had such a frustrating, upsetting experience the other day. I’m also not one of those brides that lives for this kind of stuff with the dress (honestly it makes me kind of anxious all together). But it’s too bad that you were unhappy with the work that you paid for on it. I know that you are going to look just lovely on your special day, but you deserve to feel lovely right now too, because you are! I would have been upset too. See what happens this time with the alterations, and if it doesn’t make you happy, definitely don’t hesitate to speak with the manager and go somewhere else.

  11. Hey sweet thang – I had the same issue as you. I had a strapless gown, but not the arms to go with said gown. The problem was that I was in Australia and had the dress flown in so I was out of options, too. Do you have a friend or relative that could offer to sew a bolero jacket for you? My mom sewed mine the day before and it worked really well. You have time to source the pattern and lace – If you find another seamstress who can handle your dress, they might even do it for you – I know this is our ‘princess day’ and we stress about money, and put a lot of emotion into the dress and the way we look, but six years later, I laugh every damn time I look at my photos. I can’t help it. My boobs were up to my chin and I have SO much makeup on that I look like a full-on drag queen!!! So know that it will all work out. People are going to remember the day and the love. I totally forgot about my dress until you posted – And if anyone can rock a dress, perfect or no, you can! You got this. Hang in there and enjoy each day as it comes. xo

  12. This sounds very distressing. Argh. There’s nothing worse than when a seamstress or someone who is supposed to help you with something so important argues with you. Man.
    I do agree, however, that no one will notice and you will look beautiful. I love the flower in the hair! (I wasn’t totally happy with my dress either and my dress maker argued with me and in the end it was fine and no one noticed but me.)
    What about a little cashmere cardigan? I feel like if you can find something to wear over it that you love and remove that stress, it might help with the distress of the whole experience. Obviously that’s easier said than done, but I could totally see a little cashmere cardigan in a fun color. Or a beaded vintage one from Ebay. I think a regular cardigan about two or three sizes down from your normal size works really well for over fancy dresses – I’ve had a lot of luck with XXL’s from the girls section of places too.

  13. Oof, that sounds so frustrating! But, no matter what, you will be gorgeous and radiant. It sounds like the seamstresses have no clue how to handle customer service, which is incredibly irritating. Just remember that you will look incredible, wrinkles or no wrinkles, uneven hem or not.

    (I stepped through and tore the back of my hem before the wedding even started. It was epic.)

  14. Well, blast. I was really hoping for tears of joy – like you looked at yourself in that dress and just knew that your life was heading the direction it is supposed to go. Because that dress said “Sizzle! You and me in this dress? We are going places!”.

    Instead I click in and find out your dress is talking all kinds of smack. Right. To. Your. Face. Of all the unmitigated nerve.

    Just so you know? I got married with a Justice of the Peace, our ceremony got postponed until after “lunch” because he was running late, and I ended up wearing a pants suit. It was pretty chic – for a pants suit. My best friend bought me a ready made bouquet because she refused to let me get married without any flowers.

    Fast forward umpty-bumpty years and the Hub and I are still married. And he still kisses me goodbye every time he leaves the house for more than a few minutes and I still love saying “I love you” to him as much as I love hearing it when he says it.

    So. Deep breathing. You will work the dress schnaggle out, you will find some sort of wrap and most importantly? You will have your wedding day with the man you love. Stupid smack talking dresses can’t mess with that.

  15. Ugh! I am so sorry, Sizzle! When you put that dress on, you should feel nothing but fab! Do you think all the stress of the last coouple of months was coming out then? Along with the idiot seamstresses who were not helping… sigh. I do hope you find a top you like better, because I loved the dress on you in the pic you sent me!

  16. How horrible and upsetting 😦 As everyone else said upthread, you really will look radiant on your wedding day no matter what, and no-one will notice an uneven hem or a few wrinkles. But having been there myself, I understand that knowing this doesn’t necessarily help right now – it is naturally to want to feel special when you put your dress on.

    I love the idea of a brightly colored cardigan and fab accessories – it sounds so you..! Also, it’s a bit late, but you could try looking on preownedweddingdresses.com in case there’s anything in your size and budget and also in your part of the country. You could strike lucky… (I had a friend find a really nice dress this way.)

  17. oy i can only imagine how frustrating all of this is. but i have a feeling it will work out and like several people have suggested you can search a few sites to get some ideas. don’t lose hope! you will be a beautiful bride in a fabulous dress 🙂

  18. Aw, honey, that sucks. The least they could offer is empathy. I mean, come on, you’re still the customer. If it helps, and I am sure you know this from going to many weddings, no one but you will look that closely. So what may seem monumental for your own, valid reasons will not make anyone else blink. You should feel beautiful and you have a right to ask them to make it right, but also know that there is no way you won’t look incredible.

    Can you do me a favor? Can you tell yourself that a lot up until then? Like, tell yourself that every day. I will help you, but if you tell yourself that about you I bet piece by piece, you will believe it more. I’m not talking about the logical part of you that “knows” it, that has never seen a bad-looking bride. We all know THAT. I am talking about the woman, spirit, all-the-power-in-the-Universe part of you that will be in you on that big day. She will be beautiful because YOU are beautiful, so time to start psyching that lady UP. Okay? 🙂
    Do it. I know, I am crazy and annoying. Do it anyway. Love and hugs, my friend.

  19. I had major dress regret when I tried it on when I picked it up … and then the day arrived and I loved it again! You will be beautiful no matter what – your happiness and love will be the only thing anyone sees. But it’s absolutely true you should feel comfortable and beautiful – is it a possibility to have another seamstress take a look/make suggestions (fresh eyes and all)?? xx

  20. Oh, this sounds so familiar! I totally cried over my dress. I had a snippy little Asian lady seamstress who shot my dress down all to hell and told me it just couldn’t be fixed (it was a J.Crew I ordered online and too small in the boobies), but she’d “try.” Well the first round of alterations was a disaster (with many tears) but we ended up making it work and even bonding over the experience in a weird way by the time it was finished.

    So I guess the moral of the story is to be persistent? I don’t know. But I’ve totally been there! And FWIW, I never really ended up loving my dress, but I did end up really loving my wedding, in spite of it.

  21. Sucks that some of the happiest times in our lives bring that layer of stress with them. I have no doubt you will be positively radiant on your wedding day. Here’s to those happy tears…

  22. I wish you didn’t have to experience such a stress overload during what should be an amazing time, but with the circumstances, there’s really no getting around it, and you’re still handling everything awesomely! I have to echo everyone else–you’re beautiful no matter what you have on. BUT, since I’m a girl, too, and I know that it doesn’t matter what everyone else says if you’re not feeling it–be persistent or have one of your most assertive friends come and back you until that dress is as perfect as it can be. Also, make sure you get some killer lingerie to wear underneath. That will give you another layer of confidence and va-va-voom!

  23. 2 weeks before my wedding i went back to david’s bridal and nearly exchanged my dress. so you are not unusual. everything else is fabulous, the dress will be (at the minimum “ok” and most likely WAY better then minimally ok!) great! you can find a new shrug/bolero/something and i am sure you look great strapless! heh

  24. I love what The Modern Gal said. Maybe there are things you could incorporate that you love and that’ll help with the bits you don’t love? I didn’t hate my dress at all, but I do remember liking it more the first time I tried it on – when it wasn’t my size and hadn’t been altered. If you really don’t like it, is there a place you could rent a dress? My cousin did that and totally loved what she wore. I don’t know how much it cost, but I know it was cheaper.

    I 100% agree with what everyone said above – you’re going to look absolutely beautiful no matter what. Darcy and everyone who sees you will be blown away, I’m sure. And frankly, every bride I know looks back on the day and wishes she could have done something differently. I think it comes with the territory (I hate the blush I wore and question my hairstyle and homemade shoes). What matters most is that you dance and drink and celebrate this amazing union you’re entering into.

  25. Sizzle, put the internet to work for you. There are a lot of sites (even here) where you could say “I want a vintage (color) beaded (cropped or not) cardigan in size ___” and people will find you an incredible amount of options. I offer up my google and ebay search skills to help out with the search. I can also post your request to the other clothing obsessed communities I’m a part of.. they can find just about anything. Just let me know!

  26. I’m sorry! I don’t think that asking for your dress to be fixed makes you a bridezilla at all. I agree with everyone who’s said that you’ll be radiant at your wedding no matter what, but you need to *feel* radiant too. I think that it will all work out.

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