Sample Wedding Dresses versus The Real Deal

Blush Wedding Dress SketchYou go into a bridal salon, you try on dresses.  Some you love, some you cant get out of fast enough.  Eventually you find ‘The One‘  & your search is finally over with a major checklist To-Do now crossed off.  You wait close to 9 months to see the dress again, much like the amount of time waiting for a baby to mature & suddenly your filled with anxiety all over again about your dress.

Did you make the right choice?  Will you still like today what you liked so many months ago?  What if the vision of your wedding has changed since you started out and as such your dress no longer fits into that vibe?  What the hell does it even look like?!  Take a step back…..  BREATHE.  Its going to be O.K.  I know, I went through this too.

On the way to my first fitting I had a mild freak out moment very much like those crazy feelings I just noted.  It felt like forever since I had even worried about this white dress and the dressing room snap I took ages ago was no longer pacifying my decision making fears.  Not to get all tomboy on you, but it was now game time and I was about to come front and center with a decision made what felt like almost decades ago!  Once I saw the dress my fears were greatly reduced and by the time I was firmly pinned into it, I had already forgotten all that worry that I conjured up on my way over!  As I trotted happily out of the salon, I was really thankful that I had listened to my heart some 9 months prior and knew I was well on my way.

A few days after the fitting something kept nagging at me.  I pulled out the photos I snapped in the fitting room of my actual gown, now all pinned up to size for alterations, and something just seemed a bit…. odd to me.  As soon as I opened the photo I had taken ages ago of myself in the sample and compared it side by side with the fitting photos, I immediately saw it.

Sample Wedding Dress versus Real

*Sorry for the home pics.  Wasn’t planning on using these for anything but my personal reference!

While indeed they were the same dress, my actual dress looked wildly different from the sample I had tried on some 9 months earlier.  Can you see it?  The bodice doesn’t betray the sample so much as the skirt does.  The real dress as it turns out, was incredibly soft with free flowing rounded corners in the draping of the fabric.  To me, the skirt on the real dress began to resemble that of a cloud, giving off the effect of soft supple movement.  Fortunately for me, I MUCH preferred the billowy skirting over the samples harder edged folds!  After looking back on the photo of the sample dress, I really cant even understand how on earth I choose it to start off with based on that sample dress!  All the folds in the skirt, due to being smashed in between dresses time after time, had begun to press & sharply crease.  The skirt took on more of an accordion look vs the soft cloud that the actual design was intended to be.

Now understand, in no way am I faulting the bridal shop. I truly believe this is simply how dresses get to be after a time of being man handled, tried on and so forth.  Understand the amount of times that these sample dresses are pulled from the racks and then placed firmly back in place between the other dresses.  The weight of these combined dresses, over time, ultimately can cause fabric to slowly alter by sheer force.  Typically sample dresses are taken out for dry cleaning every so often, not just to clean them but to also fluff them, bringing them back fully into life.  However, one can never count on when in the life cycle of a sample dress, they may get to try it on, as was such in my case.

I don’t regret my decision of choosing this design at all!  In fact I adore it even more and am so much more happy with the actual dress’s skirt vs the harsh feel of the sample.  One thing that is extremely important to note, was the fact that I asked a lot of questions about what exactly the actual dress would look like, before I committed.  Knowledge is indeed power, & the best way to avoid unwanted surprises, is to fully understand what you’ll be getting.  I was specific about my concern for the creasing, the folds and draping of the fabric and did everything I could to understand how the true dress would be when I held it in my hands.  Suffice it to say though, even I was surprised in the end with how very different they turned out to be.

I knew when I was in the sample that the firmly pressed creases were not my thing and really wanted to understand if that was the design intent of the gown, or if something different could be expected.  I needed to understand if the free flowing fabric on the back of the dress was going to indeed cascade down or be a clump of material similar to the sample, and so on.  Design aesthetic is everything and it is extremely important when choosing your gown that you understand what the final product will be.

Please dont take this as a reason to fear or now to worry about what you will be receiving when your dress finally arrives.  Take this as a simple example of why you really should ask the right questions & fully understand the dress that will be showing up.  Also understand, not all dresses will be this radically different, it all depends on the design to start off!  I’d love to hear about some of your adventures in dress shopping, especially when you held your gown for the first time since ordering!  Did you find as big of a difference as I did, God forbid, worse?  Choosing your dress is an awesome experience, especially when you arm yourself with the right tools for the decision making process!  Happy dress hunting ladies!! Xo~ Jess

*Update* The Dress In Action

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 *Photographs by Sarah DiCicco Photography