Thursday, October 23, 2008

#406: "newbie mistakes" series, post #4: i robbed...myself.


so. i've sort of been avoiding talking about this because...i'm...kind of...embarrassed. (well, that and i had to get the fiance to swear up and down that he would not EVER, ever, ever be lurking around this here least not until after the wedding...)

if you've been following TTO for the past few months, you'll know that 56 posts ago i shared that i bought my wedding dress. i also 'fessed that i bought it at a designer sample sale.

and then i haven't said much about it since.

i feel justified in sharing this experience as a 'newbie mistake' because i honestly went to the sample sale thinking i'd just try on a few dresses and call it a day. i mean, that's what i did at glamour closet (the ONE other bridal store i've ever been to). tried on dresses. called it a day. so never in my wildest dreams did i think i'd walk out of amy kuschel's sample sale after having entered just 1 hour earlier, with dress-in-hand, having bore a 10% hole in my budget. i shocked my friends, i shocked my mom, i shocked the fiance, and i shocked myself. in fact, it's been a few months and i'm still shocked.

so listen up, newbies, mmmkay. there's this THING called the 'sample sale trap'. and uh, while i obviously wasn't prepared to deal with it and had to learn a $1000 lesson, i'm thinking maybe my experience could help you save a few bucks (and potential heartache).

first, go to the sample sale knowing how much the dresses retail for. the blunder i made in my research was two-fold. 1) i didn't do enough. 2) i assumed most of the sample sale dresses would be of the lower priced assortment. not so, my friends. and why did i make that assumption in the first place? i don't know. maybe it had something to do with this other THING called 'wishful thinking'.

on a related note and second, throw away all scale-awareness, newbies. 30% off $3000 brings the price down to $2100. which i knew was way out of my budget. but after a few of those in a row, i somehow ended up at the point where i was, i'm getting the deal of the century with 50% off $2000! what i failed to remember was 50% off $2000 still meant the dress cost $1000. which was much more than i was planning to spend.

third, understand that a wedding dress sample sale is DIFFERENT from normal sample sales. no really, it is. i thought a wedding dress sample sale would be like any other sample sale i'd been to.

and it's so not. (what can i say. i was a newbie. i made a mistake.)

a normal sample sale doesn't do 'appointments only'. a normal sample sale doesn't have a dedicated sales associate fawning over you, offering affirmation after affirmation that that ONE dress you thought looked awesome does indeed look (more than) awesome. a normal sample sale doesn't have said sales associate helping you in and out of silky smooth luxurious-feeling gowns (dear sales associate: sorry for exposing myself to you no less than 20 times. only my future husband should have to endure such evils). can you see where i'm going here?

the attention, the lovely lights, feeling so pretty and feminine (neither of which i feel on a daily basis), and the staring that goes on when a dress looks 'soo right'...can get the best of your sensible judgement. so unless you're prepared to have these emotions and talk yourself out of it within 15 minutes (which is about how long i had before i had to say yes or no), just don't even go.

at the end of the day though, i acknowledge that it's my fault for listening to my inner shopaholic self instead of taking a second to imagine how i'd feel being out 10% of our wedding budget on a part of the wedding that wasn't really a priority for either of us.

which is why i'm saying i robbed myself. oh, i guess you could also say that i robbed the fiance as well since he wasn't part of this decision (oops! but i only had fifteen minutes!!).

anyways, lesson learned. and just so you know, my intention is to either sell the dress or donate it after use.


moment of zen:
i was totally tacky and didn't bother to hold in my astonishment uponst learning how much the dresses cost (see first point in lesson learned). and i kept saying out loud..."wow. these dresses are way out of my price range! i re-e-e-e-ally don't want to spend more than $500!" the sales associate eventually and understandably got tired of hearing it and asked "...then what are you doing at a sample sale?"

good question.

to show you my boobs?

moment of zen II:
couldn't end this post without showing you my dress. ready?






hm. thanks amy.


maggie said...

Oh, so pretty!

For what it's worth, I still have major EEK moments about the cost of my dress myself. I never meant to spend that much, it just kind of happened. And I still feel guilty about it, even though I think I will LOVE the dress when I finally get my hands on it. But the months of waiting (at least with the sample sale you have instant gratification) mean that I have all this time to feel bad about it every now and then.

Our dresses had better look DAMN GOOD. And they will. :-)

Anonymous said...

that dress is gorgeous, it'll totally be worth it. especially once you can recoup some of the money by selling it afterward.

i had the $500 dream too... then i started trying on dresses. i've tried on so many that somehow $1200 seems SO reasonable now. it's crazy. outside of the store it's totally insane. but when you're in the store, and especially in the dress... so hard to think clearly.

$1000 isn't that bad, really on the scale of dresses in general, not so bad (and i'm on a budget too)

Eva said...

I'd take a deep breath...and say It's gorgeous. Because that is exactly what it is. Even though it wasn't what you originally planned to spend. It's beautiful you're going to look great in it and it's no use feeling guilty over it anymore.

Palila said...

Very pretty! I have to agree with maggie and notsojenny, I had a really low price goal ($300-$400) and ended spending twice that on The Perfect Dress. And then promptly had panic when I opened the budget spreadsheet and filled in the "actually spent" line. But when I look at the dress pictures, I'm ok with it (and also plan to sell/donate/otherwise rid myself of it after the wedding. And that definitely makes me feel better about it.)

Yours is gorgeous; enjoy the crap out of it!

ami @ elizabeth anne designs said...

it's stunning. really. if you're going to sell or donate afterwards, you'll really end up close to your budget! look at it that way. :)

a mindful bride said...

I think it's wonderful. And, who knows, this lesson may end up saving you money elsewhere. For what its worth, despite our budget, I am definitely not skimping on the dress--you deserve to look beautiful and feel beautiful on your wedding day. That's YOUR dress. And you should enjoy the heck out of it and make it worth every penny instead of spending one more moment feeling badly about it. Or, at least that's my two cents.

CA Food Blog said...

Aw, it's so pretty! I'm sorry you feel you robbed yourself, but at least you have a gorgeous dress to show for it :)

And seriously... I thought the same things you thought re: wedding dress sample sale. Thanks for shedding some light.

cats said...

It's beautiful! You didn't get robbed. You'll love it. And yes, you can sell it. (I sold my Lisette J Crew dress for the same amount I bought it for - after I wore it!)

Guilty Secret said...

Firstly, Greta is beautiful. I love her and she's just the kind of thing I would have gone for...

Secondly... actually you just inspired me to write a post, so I'll shut up here. More over at my place... when I have time!

Lissy said...

You only get one dress, just one. $1000 is not bad at all for a wedding dress. And you'll probably be able to sell it after, so really it's not so bad.

Everyone spends more on something than they intended to at some point in their lives. For me, it was my mattress.

It was the day we moved into our apartment and we had no bed. After hours of lifting and putting stuff into the apartment, we went out in search of something to sleep on. Sleepys was the cloest. Somehow, in my exhausted state, I let my FH with a back problem and the salesman talk me into buying a $2000 mattress and bed frame. $2000. I wanted to spend at most $1000. We had fights for a year over that stupid mattress until finally I decided I was being a baby about it, but I still regret spending that much.

Kelley at My Island Wedding said...

Don't stress out. What's done is done, and you are going to look fabulous in that dress! It's really beautiful!

Hope your fiance falls over when he sees you in it!

Brooke said...

That dress is amazing! Even if you spent more than you wanted to, it will be worth it on your wedding day when you put it on and feel beautiful in it!

Amanda said...

I've been lurking for a while and felt the need to comment on this hilarious post! Having just gotten engaged I appreciate your newbie adivce :) I totally would have been "that person" at the sample sale. I, too have a small dress budget (am hoping to remake my mom's dress, fingers crossed) but I must say that your gown is goooorgeous. It also made me laugh when on the website your gown is listed as only one "$" which translates to $1,600 to $2,400. Its freaking highway robbery.

lazybride said...

I feel you. seriously. I did the SAME THING. But you can't take it back and it is loverly, so best to just put it out of your mind and move forward. good for you to admitting it was a newbie thing (don't call it a m______) and bringing it to other brides' attention.

and don't look at any wedding dresses until you get married. it will cause anxiety.

my sister was a two-dress bride and i should have known better, but i went to the kleinfeld's sample sale innocently enough. not. so. innocent.

Chantal said...

Dont be so hard on yourself!! You got THE DRESS on SALE! That is all that matters. :) Budget can be all about perception. If you think of this dress as a GIFT to yourself, where you used your own savings... then it didnt take away 10% of your budget. :)
ps. if you tried to find a $500 dress that you loved enough to become THE DRESS, you would have killed yourself. Not that it cant be done but that is a seriously time consuming pain in the @$$ challenge! So what you would have saved in money you would have lost in time. ;)

Bridechka said...

Its lovely! I just wanted to let you know I fell into the trap too! I went to one sample sale and bought the one and only dress I tried on... however I was very lucky and it was very cheap (for a wedding dress) and totally within my budget, but I understand the shock/shame that comes afterward even though like I said mine was totally reasonable! I didn't tell anyone for weeks thinking they would judge me for the rash behavior but here is my confession...I bought the first wedding dress I tried on!!! Phew, I feel better...

Your gonna look beautiful so don't feel bad about the trap ... it gets the best of us.

Blind, Irish Pirate said...

That is a very, very awesome dress.

Blind, Irish Pirate said...

By the way, I just want to let you know that you will have regrets all over the place during the planning process. Sometimes I look back and said, "Man, I really wish we had ----". You really don't want to do that to yourself, so keep doing your zen thing.

{amy lynn} said...'s just beautiful. i know you cringe when you think of the price tag..but think of it this way...there will NEVER be another good enough reason for you to spend $1000 on a dress for yourself. ever. you are going to be absolutely breathtaking. i am so excited to see pics of you in that dress with a smile wider than the ocean. it will all be worth it in the end...and who knows...maybe you will actually want to .. keep .. the dress!! wouldn't that be fabulous?

Stephanie said...

I also went from the $500 budget to the $1000 when my nearest and dearest nixed the tea length idea. But I laughed out loud at the real experience of wedding dress shopping. Showing strange women your boobs! so, so true.

Anonymous said...

I did the same thing!!! but I turned around and sold it on craigs list and am starting all over again! so pleased that I managed to sell it because turns out it was so inappropriate for the wedding the way your dress does look beautiful!

ms. mindless said...

the dress is gorgeous. it reminds me of the wedding dress from the end of the wedding date with debra messing. don't feel too terrible about going over budget. it seems like most brides go over budget in one important area. at least you did it far enough away from your wedding to adjust other things in your budget accordingly.

vanessa said...

My comment may be a litle late, but here's my 2 cents. If the wedding dress was never a priority, I think you should sell your dress NOW, unworn, on ebay, and chances are you can get your full $1000 back.

Then I would buy this dress:
thats practically a replica, except it saves you (and your fiance) $700.

I, like you, said I didn't want to spend more than $500 on a dress. I found a dress I LOVED, but it was over $600. I wasnt budging on my original limit. I scoured Ebay, and found the beauty IN MY SIZE, and after shipping paid $223 for the same $600 dress in the store.

vanessa said...

Ack! The link cut off.

vanessa said...

Anyway, go to and under their wedding apparel, look at the Silk tricotine Sophia long dress.

Kelley at My Island Wedding said...

Vanessa! My sister just wore that Sophia dress! I was the maid of honor and wore the bright green sophia bridesmaid dress!

Absolutely gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

What is up with the guilt trip?! I've been reading this and other budget blogs forever and a repeating thread in all of them is that you CAN have expensive items so long as you compromise somewhere else in your budget.

Just because dress wasn't one of your big ticket items orginally doesn't mean you can't make it work with your budget.

What can be downsized or elimitated? Can you do your own hair or make up? How about a bridemaid size bouquet instead of a more expensive bride size one? What about carrying an item of signifance (grandma's necklace, dad's hankie...) instead of a bouquet? Wear shoes/jewllery you already own. No hair/make up trial if they cost extra.

Perhasp if you trade in a bride specific purchase you'll feel that you've earned your dress and get to enjoy that beautiful gown guilt free :)

- Molly

M said...

GASP! That's it! That's what I've been looking for!

Oh my, lady. It is bee-you-tiful. As someone who is also trying the 10,000 budget, I can reassure you that your 10% hit was so worth it....

i so have dress envy....

rebekah at elizabeth anne said...

Love the dress! Feeling the pain on the price/budget buster!

Anonymous said...

everyone has SOME sort of story about their wedding dress... if you can laugh at this... you'll be ok. And remember, it's just money ;)

Anonymous said...

I do love your blog but tbh love, I am not so keen on the dress. Most of those vintage ones you posted on here were just... jaw dropping. I know it's probably not very helpful to say this now. :/