Go Wedding Dress Shopping With a Fashion Blogger!
April 5, 2016
Hi SMP brides! Today I’m really excited to bring you inside my journey of finding “the one.” Not my fiancé, my dress, of course. Dress shopping for me was a bit painful and to be honest, it took me 7 months to find a dress and experience the connection that all brides talk about. You are probably wondering what in the world took me so long, or perhaps you’ve experienced a similar situation. The process of finding a dress is not always all smiles and happy tears. In fact for me, it was quite the opposite!
Prior to my first appointment I connected with a few married friends on what to expect and I did a tiny bit of designer research. Looking back, I was really clueless. I didn’t consider what styles would work best for my body type and I was very against certain silhouettes. Bad bride! How can you rule out a dress style if you’ve never tried it on before? It was about this time last year when my mother, sister, and I took our first trip into New York to dress shop. Funny fact? I envisioned leaving my first appointment with a signed contract for a dress. Turns out the process was not going to be that easy for me. I visited every major designer and wedding boutique in NYC. Too many to count. My mom and I traveled in and out of the city weekend after weekend. Nothing. We left with nothing! Actually let me rewind…I did say “yes” to a few dresses, but I quickly realized within hours the decision I made was wrong, wrong, wrong.
I took a few weeks off from the dress hunt to clear my mind. At this point, I was very certain about the gown I wanted. Now the battle would be finding a designer to help create it. This was the problem all along, too many bridal shops and designers were so quick to say “no” to customizations. Like most brides, I spent endless hours on Pinterest and other wedding sites. I discovered one of Mark Zunino’s gowns on social media and completely fell in love with it before I even tried it on. After doing some investigation, I reached out to his team to see if they would be willing to work with my budget and timeline. I heard back within 5 hours of the request. Mark’s team was extremely helpful and they even got on a conference call to walk me through the design process. I finalized my contract the next day and sent photo inspiration for my dream dress. There is so much more to this story, but unfortunately, I have to leave some details out so that my dress remains a surprise for my fiancé.
View as
At my first fitting I tried on the foundation of my dress, which is essentially the corset. It acts as the main frame for the rest of the design. So many thoughts were running through my head when I slipped into the corset. I envisioned what it would feel like to put my final dress on the day of my wedding. I thought of Rob's face when he would see me for the first time and nearly melted. Thankfully, Mark was distracting me by asking a ton of questions. This was my first time meeting Mark, and I have to admit I was a little nervous. Mark works with several celebrities and has designed pieces for some of the biggest names in Hollywood (Sofia Vergara). I highly respect him as a designer and to be able to work with him one-on-one for my wedding dress is an absolute dream come true.

After I tried on the corset we discussed the rest of the design and played around with various silhouettes. Mark even advised on what would look best for my body type. I can't wait to show you guys the final design after my wedding. It's so special to me. I promise to share the full story with you…no cliff-hangers this time ;). Best of luck to all of you brides to be out there who are currently on the dress hunt!

Tips on how to find your dream dress

Get inspired.

Compile photos of your favorite wedding gowns. Use it as guidance, but don't get overly bogged down with details by trying to replicate the exact look you've seen on Pinterest.

Sleep on it.

Do not feel pressured to sign a contract because "time is running out." This is a sales tactic! Make sure you go home and sleep on it.

Do not ask for opinions.

This was my biggest mistake. I was so overwhelmed and confused by others' opinions, I forgot to stop and consider my own feelings! Trust your gut, and if that isn't good enough for you then have 1-2 family members or friends weigh in at max.

Stop looking.

If you're feeling unsure and overwhelmed this is a sign that you need to take some time off from the dress search. This should be a fun process. You can revisit when your mind feels clear again.

Utilize photo collage apps.

If you're stuck between two styles create a picture collage or a side-by-side comparison of you wearing both dresses. This was advice given to me by my best friend, and it helped me make my final decision.

Follow the signs.

And finally, a few signs that indicate you've found your dress: the tears start flowing, your heart starts racing, you feel like a bride, you can't stop smiling, it's all you can think or talk about...it's an emotional connection. It's the dress of your dreams!!

Follow Jess's Journey:

Little Black Book Vendors
Back to Love & Light Photographs
What We Do
Find Even More Little Black Book Vendors
Additional Vendor Credits