My Journey to the Perfect Dress

I didn’t really have a dress in mind. There was no “perfect dress” in my head. I had looked on Pinterest and definitely pinned dresses I liked, but being the logical person I am, I knew that there was no way I would be able to find the same dresses or afford it.

I didn’t really know where to start looking or even when. There was still a dark cloud hanging over us. We were planning a wedding but at times it didn’t feel very joyous. My best friend Maddie lived two hours away and I didn’t have anyone else to go with. I couldn’t go look by myself, so I waited till she was home for a weekend.

One rainy day in October Maddie was home so we met up at a near by consignment shop. It was there that I tried on my first wedding dress. It wasn’t really my style but it spurred a thought.

I knew there was a wedding boutique just down the way. I had looked at prom dresses there before and I had remember that they had a whole selection of wedding dresses.

We drove to the boutique and ran inside dodging the rain. I was instantly overwhelmed by the amount of dresses that were packed into the shop and the personal service. We were immediately greeted at the door and inquired about.

The lady motioned toward the wedding dress collection and gave us a quick tour. The dresses were sorted by designer name—not that that meant anything to me or Maddie.

We looked around and pulled out some dresses we liked. There was no one else in the store so we took our time. Once we had pulled all the dresses I was interested in, the attendant helped me into each dress. (Something most wedding places do just an FYI)

Let me just paint this picture for you, I was trying on my FIRST EVER (real in a wedding store) WEDDING DRESS, with just my best friend, on a rainy day, on a whim, with a lady I had never met. No one else was there. No one else knew this was even happening. Not my sister, not my mom, not anyone except B. That was this time in our lives.

Looking in the mirror at myself dressed in white was not a magical moment. I could hardly even believe I was going to be a bride. It was hard to think about when there was so much turmoil and opposition.

I remember looking into the mirror and thinking “Huh, I’m in a wedding dress.”

They were beautiful, but they were completely out of any price range I would be willing to pay. We ran back to our car, through the rain and I returned back to school.

The second time I tried on wedding dresses Maddie and I went to a consignment shop. They had a whole wall of wedding dresses. I tried on a bunch of different kinds. It was a lot of fun, but again it was just us. No one else (except B) knew we were trying on wedding dresses.

I have always been a family person, the more the merrier kind of person, and a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of person, so it was really killing me to be trying on dresses under the raidar. I was sick of all the “sneaking” around. Although I still didn’t know where my parents stood and the rest of the world seemed uneasy about our life decisions, I decided to plan a date.

I invited Maddie, my mom, my sister, my aunt and B’s momma to go dress shopping with me the Saturday after Thanksgiving. 

I was really nervous. I didn’t know how the day was going to go. The waters were still uneasy but I couldn’t look anymore under the radar. 

We all drove to Sharon P.A. to The Winner. It is this cute charming building, in a small little town, that is filled basement to top floor with dresses. My sister and I had gotten our prom dress from The Winner and I had always imagined us coming back to get our wedding dresses.

It is a magical place, a place like none other. It feels like we stepped back in time, to a simpler time, a more elegant time. There are dresses everywhere, every style, every color, every type imaginable.

We got to The Winner pretty early that day and we made our way up to the bridal floor. Immediately we were greeted by an attendant. She kindly said good morning and asked if we had an appointment.

WE DIDN’T. I DIDN’T KNOW WE NEEDED AN APPOINTMENT. It didn’t say anything on their website. My sister and I had never needed an appointment before. I quickly began to fall apart as the attendant began to explain how we would have to come back another day.

We couldn’t come back another day. Maddie, my sister and I were all headed back to school after break. Everyone cleared their schedule for this day. And we drove all the way out here. I walked into a sea of dresses and wiped my eyes as my mom sorted out things with the attendant.

My mom eventually convinced the attendant to let us look around. She said that if we found something, that she would try to squeeze us into a fitting room, but no guarantees.

So we started looking.  I didn’t really know what kind of dress I wanted but I was against a train.  I think train’s are beautiful but I was much to practical to want a dress that would drag on the ground, that I would eventually have to hold all night or pin up, that I would most definitely step on or possibly trip over. That and I wanted something simple.

I think it was helpful not have an exact vision in my head. My mind was open as I tried on dresses and I discovered more things I didn’t want. I didn’t want a tight dress because I wanted to be able to eat, and I didn’t want to have to worry about my dress coming down too low.

Everyone grabbed a dress they liked (with no train) and we headed over to  the fitting rooms. There were not a whole lot of people there so there was a fitting room open and the lady helped me into the dresses. 

Some people say that you will know when you find the right dress. Well it wasn’t me that knew. Maddie, B’s momma and my aunt were all aware of the look on my face, apparently it had changed with this dress. I didn’t recognize a change, though I did like this dress a lot. I stood in front of this very mirror (pictured above) and really imagined myself getting married in this dress. 

It worked. I was sold. It was PERFECT. Perfect for me. In this moment (shown above) I finally felt like a bride-to-be. The cloud was lifted away and the sun came out. I was getting married and I had just found my dress!

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I love a good plain t-shirt, pizza, snuggling with my dog and hanging out with my husband. My mission? To speak truth and grace to help encourage other women to know they are never alone.

I'm Sarah Jean.

I’m the girl who came to realize the freedom in not being the author of my story.

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A mid-western girl who learned the freedom in letting go of my plans and walking in His. My goal is encourage others on that path and point them to Him.

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