I went wedding dress shopping this weekend, and it was the first time I felt like a bride.
I went with three friends, one of whom is getting married in December, to a discount bridal store in Lynchburg. Church Street Bridal gets unsaleable wedding dresses from boutiques up and down the East Coast and sells them for as little as $200. Dresses that would retail for $8,000 or more are $300.
The catch? They often require repairs, cleaning and serious resizing. But if you know what you’re doing, you can find a steal. And the best part is the sales go to benefit the local YWCA.
(If you want to visit Church Street Bridal, it’s at 626 Church St. in Lynchburg.)
Since it wasn’t a boutique, it was good we had two recently married friends along. They helped us lift the heavy gowns, zip up, fluff the tulle and cinch the extra fabric. Ladies, we couldn’t have done it alone.
I walked in with a vague idea that I wanted something with lace. Eight gowns later, I had fallen in love with Monique Lhuillier, white satin and V-necks.
But most of all, it was just weird to be the one wearing white, the one everyone was staring at. When I was dating, I never let myself think about weddings. I never imagined dresses or receptions or flowers. I wanted to make sure I focused on the relationship, not the super-fun party I wanted to have some day. So I never thought about what it would be like to be a bride. A wife, yes, but never a bride.
It felt … bridal. And kind of cool.