The Bride: Kerry Flanagan, a 28-year-old, nonprofit program director
Her Gown: David's Bridal, style V8587
Her Story: "I only had one requirement for my gown: It had to have sleeves, since I don't like my arms. For my first gown-shopping trip, at David's Bridal, I was completely unprepared—which was a bad idea. But I ended up coming across a dress that was on sale—only $99! It was very modest and went all the way up to my neck, but it fit, so my mother-in-law (whose taste is very conservative) encouraged me to buy it. I thought, hey, it's only $99.
At home I took pictures of myself in the dress and hated how I looked. I knew it was not what I wanted at all. Since it was on sale, I couldn't return it though (I actually still have the dress in my closet, and I'm planning on donating it to charity soon). My next stop was the Bridal Building in Manhattan. There were so many dresses and so many people that it got too chaotic. I felt so overwhelmed that I ended up leaving after trying on only a few dresses.
I decided to go back to David's Bridal with my sister-in-law, and I found a dress that was much more casual than the previous one I had bought—it didn't have a long train and it was cream-colored. It was a beautiful dress, so I bought it. Unfortunately, I later chose black-and-white bridesmaids' dresses, which meant I couldn't wear the cream-colored gown. So I needed to find a new dress—again!
My husband thought I was out of control. Around this time we were thinking about having an Indian-theme wedding to celebrate his cultural background. So I found a wedding dress online from India: It had a short train, lots of beading, and I thought it was beautiful, so I ordered it—my third wedding dress purchase! But two weeks later, I got nervous…they were creating this dress halfway around the world. What if I didn't like how it looked? I canceled the order.
I ended up going back to David's Bridal with my sister-in-law and the cream-colored gown, which I was able to return. While I was there, I found 'the one.' It fit me beautifully, and had gorgeous beading and the perfect train length. I loved it. It felt comfortable and everyone in the store said, 'You have to get that dress!' Four wedding gown purchases later, I finally had the perfect gown. Even though it didn't have sleeves, it ended up that my bridesmaids' dresses were strapless too, so it helped us look coordinated." —Lauren Matthews