I think it’s safe to say that I am a visionary planner.
By the time I was 15 years old I already knew what kind of church I wanted to get married in, the exact design of my dress, how I would do my hair, and the flowers. Yeah. My poor husband, and he hadn’t even met me yet! So you can imagine my frustration over the passing years when I would occasionally and for no reason go looking at wedding dresses online. Where was that elusive dress? I would wonder.
Page after page and searches reaching nearly to a Googol (that’s a nerd reference there for you that I know what a googol is), I began to truly despair. Finding the husband to marry me in it, was of course, secondary to this pressing problem. All the wedding dresses were sleeveless or had deeply cut v-necks or just weren’t deemed Princess-y enough by me. I gave it up for a few years. I had a feeling that my future husband somewhere was silently sighing with relief.
I found The Dress on Etsy!
Wait, isn’t that the site with just about every random adorable knick-knack on sale that was totally Pinterest before it started? Yep, that’s what I thought too. They have wedding dresses! And lots of them.
I typed in my dream wedding dress description (Off-the-shoulder wedding dress) and lots of results popped up that didn’t exactly match my vision of the dress. But then I came upon a shop seller who made my dream come true. They claimed to custom make, in any size, fabric and color, the wedding dress of your dreams. AND, the icing on the proverbial cake, if you couldn’t find it in their shop, they’d be happy to collaborate with you on what you’ve always wanted.
No problem there, though, because my jaw nearly dropped onto my laptop keyboard when I saw the exact dress I’d been dreaming about. And to top it all off, the back of the dress was even dreamier than I could have ever conjured up. With a long cathedral train! Ohhhhh. Pretty sure my brain kind of fuzzed out for a moment.
Okay, so my only problem now was that it was May and my newly minted as of March boyfriend hadn’t proposed yet. But I’d found The Dress! On Etsy!
Youch. $1,000-$5,000 is truly typical to expect to spend on most of the wedding dresses you’ve seen in magazines and on your friends at their weddings. Really? Even a $500 clearance dress at David’s Bridal is thought of as a steal by nearly everyone. And believe me, the prices can go a whole lot higher than $5,000!
As a single, working girl trying to make it on her own and my parents not being able to help out financially with a wedding, I knew years ago that I would have to fork over the wedding dress money all by myself. How was that going to be possible?
Don’t laugh, but at one time I seriously entertained the notion of renting my wedding dress to make it feasible. Sigh. Turns out, no one does that (Entrepreneurs, take note! The world needs at least one wedding dress rental place. It’s genius.) And that’s just money for the dress!
Weddings, even the smallest ones, can rack up a huge bill without even blinking. This pushed me even harder to find a reasonably cheap wedding dress that I loved, because I was only planning on wearing it once and I had very little money saved up at the age of 27. Would you believe that the dream wedding dress on Etsy not only offered free shipping, but it was a mere $199! SOLD.
Don’t panic for me yet! Don’t worry. I didn’t buy the dress until a month before being proposed to, and only because Mark, my now husband, had told me it would be happening soon.
I had to include a message with my order saying what dress, including a picture if I wanted it exactly like how they posted it (I did), what color, whether or not I wanted just a zipper closure or a zipper closure with a faux button closure over it, and my measurements.
A Word about Measurements
Here’s where it got tricky: I’m awful at taking my own measurements, and I was too impatient to wait another day and have someone take the measurements for me. I’ve only sewed a few things in my lifetime and I’m not very well versed at how much extra room to give or not give with measurements. I didn’t want it to be too small! I unwisely erred on the side of caution and added an inch to all my measurements, but wisely added two inches to the length of the dress because I wanted it long on purpose and was going to wear tall heels.
When the dress arrived about three weeks later via DHL from The People’s Republic of China (oh wow!), it was not surprising that the dress fit, but wasn’t as tight as I wanted it. But it was absolutely stunningly gorgeous and just perfect. I traipsed around the house in it several times, giggling and swirling around in it like Princess Diana. Then I carted it off to a local tailor to have it altered.
It turns out that I had to pay quite a bit for my error, sad to admit. But you live and learn! And the total price of dress and alterations STILL was cheaper than anything I’d ever come across.
So take my advice and do exact measurements if you’re planning on a very fitted wedding dress. Other than that, my interactions and expectations of the Etsy seller, was above and beyond wonderful and I recommend them to every engaged girl I come across.
Of course, as with any online purchase, it pays to check feedback, return policies, and all the fine print to make sure that the place you are thinking of buying from is actually legitimate and that you understand all the potential costs. But countless brides have found their dream gowns on the net, and you can too!
And hey, if you’re still, you know, single…maybe, just maybe, you could take a look at dresses on etsy too!
Because it’s never too early to be a visionary planner, I say.
About the Author
Allison Filkins Hagen is a newlywed Texan transplant and in her spare time writes, edits and puts together crazy outfits that she is positive will be a new trend. She is the author of the young adult fiction novel, The Amazings, and may someday actually finish the sequel. She also loves rock climbing, soccer, kayaking and watching old movies.