As you know, yesterday I started a series on my dress shopping experience. I wish I had photos to document my journey- but sorry, I was already self conscious enough. I wasn't the bride that had "clips" in the back of the dress. So there was no way I was taking photos of myself in the dresses...but I have posted photos of the dresses I tried on while at HOB.
I made an appointment at House of Brides because it was close and I heard it had a really great selection. They carried Enzoani dresses, which I def. wanted to try on. I had called them a few times and they were over the top nice and said to come in, it didn't matter what size you needed or wanted and that they thought all brides were "beautiful" because they were old ladies. I thought that was funny and quirky so I made an appointment.
The shop is big and clean. It is a blast back to the 70's but you would almost think it was modern since all that retro chic stuff is coming back in- good thing they didn't renovate. Everything that was in style, always comes back. I thought it was funny that it was so blast from the past and my mom mentioned that in 1972 she bought a bridesmaid dress at the shop. She was sure the only thing in the shop that had changed was the carpet.
There are some sale dresses and MOB and Bridesmaid when you walk in, but all the wedding dresses that are full price are held in the back. You tell the sales person what you are looking for and she heads in the back and pulls you the dresses. I didn't mind that kind of experience because I had been through something similar when looking for prom dresses years ago at La Botega.
I went looking for a specific Enzoani dress that I had seen online. When I showed the sales women the dress she said its nothing they would "ever carry". I asked why and she said "too much going on, too big of a belt at the waist, stupid sleeve". It kind of hurt my feelings that she felt that way (I loved the dress in the photo) and I wish she wasn't so honest. Her honesty did not end there.
I showed her photos of what I did not like. I was not looking for something generic. this means different things to different people, but most of all, I didn't want to end up in a dress 1,000 other brides had worn.
The first 3 dresses she pulled were exactly what I wasn't looking for. I said I was going to be honest, so I will be. Maggie Sottero is the largest dress designer in the US. They supply to almost every private bridal salon and her prices range from $600-$2500 for her dresses. I would say that 70% of brides in the US may wear a Maggie or Maggie look alike. They make nice dresses that are quality. The majority of their dresses however, are in a style I was not looking for. I didn't want to totally exclude any designer but I knew if a designer's line had a majority of dresses in a specific style I wasn't interested in, then it was best to just exclude that designer.
Once I made it clear that I wasn't a "Maggie Bride", things went easier. There is nothing against Maggie dresses and some girls beat down the doors of a bridal shop to be a "Maggie Bride" but it just isn't me. We all like different things and that's what makes the world go round, right?
I tried on a few more dresses that were pretty and nice but just ok. Then I tried to explain further what I was looking for. The consultant came back with two more dresses. They were Marisa's. She said she didn't bring them out originally because they were beyond my price point. This is true, they were, but only by a few hundred dollars. I appreciate her not bringing them out at first since they were over the budget. But I wish she mentioned she had a dress exactly what I was looking for that is slightly over budget. I would have asked to have seen it about 10 minutes into my appointment, not an hour.
Overall the sales woman was nice and she was concerned for me. She sat me down at one point when I was almost in tears and told me I wouldn't have to settle for anything and not to feel that way. Then she talked to my mom, and said that sometimes being supportive is the best medicine for someone that feels self conscious. Instead of bringing up my flaws (which is what made me upset in the first place), its best to ignore them. After all she said "we all know our flaws and we don't need to be reminded of them." Which I thought was really applicable to everyone and anyone. We all know our flaws, we do the best to work on them. Be them physical or personality flaws etc, we don't need daily reminders from others!
After I looked at the Marisa dresses I asked for something similar. She said she didn't have anything. But I felt like "what" if there was something in that back room that she had that I didn't see. So she allowed me to go into the back and just as she said there was nothing else there that was similar.
I made an appointment to go back to the store the next week because I did REALLY love the Marisa dress. The Marisa dress is totally beautiful. It is all silk and hand sewn flower detailing. My mom doesn't love the flower details but I think they look pretty and soft and elegant. It just flows really nice. It was sooo soft to the touch and the material was draped beautifully.
However, this dress did not end my search. I was ready to see more dresses, feeling confident I finally found one that was similar to the style I was looking for!
Overall, I give my experience at House of Brides a B+. At times the sales woman was a bit harsh but she was overall pretty nice. I never did try on an Enzoani like I asked to a bunch of times..but, they did have a nice selection and I appreciated them letting me go into the back to peek. I also thought the decor was kind of a fun trip back in time- while still being insanely neat and clean.
My next step, I was onto Helene's Bridal in East Providence.