How to Survive Wedding-Dress Shopping — According to One Bride Who's Been There, Done That

Wedding Dresses
Sara Haines Wedding Dress Shopping

Photo: Courtesy of Sara Haines

Meet our latest real bride blogger, Good Morning America anchor and ABC News correspondent Sara Haines! Whether it's how to throw a destination wedding from afar, picking a bridesmaid dress all of her 'maids will love or finding her dream wedding dress, Sara is taking us inside her wedding-planning process.

I'd always been told that you will just "know" when you put on the dress that you are ultimately going to wear on your wedding day. But it just wasn't like that for me. I can barely decide what to eat for dinner, so just hearing those words put unnecessary pressure on my indecisive self. I promise you now: I will never insinuate that anyone will "know" anything.

I am one of those girls who did daydream about getting married, but I never had a clear idea of what the dress would look like. So when my fiancé and I decided on a beach wedding, it at least gave me some parameters as to what I wanted. In my mind, I wanted a simple, flowy, Jenny-from-Forrest Gump type of dress.

A lot of friends said that they really enjoyed the hunt for their wedding dress. I am not one of those people. I don't know why I hadn't really processed that, just because it was a beautiful white gown, didn't mean that I wouldn't experience the same dressing room trauma I always do when shopping for clothes. Okay, "trauma" is a bit exaggerated (as I tend to be), but I definitely get a little stressed shopping for clothes and had let that minor detail slip by the wayside.

Aside from the definite "no's" (of which I found plenty), I did find several dresses that I could have worn, but they weren't accompanied by that "skies parting" or "angels singing" moment. When I came to terms with the fact that my moment just wouldn't play out like that, I was actually able to assess and make the decision a bit more rationally. You know, like normal people.

See More: 17 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Your Wedding Dress

I narrowed my search to three dresses. The first I found on Pinterest. And now that I think about it, even though I wasn't actually in the dress, it was the first one I got really excited about. I was able to track it down at a bridal boutique in NYC. The problem was that the dress was way too expensive, and when I put it on, I just didn't look like the gorgeous bride in the picture. The second dress was the first one I actually bought (yes, the first, not the last). It still fit that beachy vibe and I actually felt bridal for the first time. And, best of all, it was in my budget! Done and done, right? Not quite.

I went to one final appointment that I had booked a while ago with my mom, and I put on a dress that didn't exactly have that beachy vibe that I was looking for — but it actually looked sweetly simple on me. Even though all signs pointed to this being the dress, I didn't decide that day. In fact, I avoided thinking about it for at least another week. After ignoring a few follow-up calls from the different shops I had visited, I knew I just had to make a decision. I returned the dress I had purchased and said yes to my wedding dress — lucky number three.

For as difficult as the process can be, the huge sense of relief you feel when the decision is made is totally worth it. Now, as many of the other wedding details are still being sorted out, I at least know what I will be wearing when I fantasize about that day. Wedding dress — check!

Catch up on Sara's wedding-planning journey here!

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