Carissa Loethen's Bridal Blog: I Finally Found My Wedding Dress!

How "the dream dress" became a reality after all

By Carissa Loethen Oct 02, 2015 8:30 PMTags
Carissa Loethen, Bridal BlogDiana Marie Photography

After nine wedding dress stores, dozens of gowns and one crazy sample sale, I'd nearly given up on the whole "this is the one" feeling ever happening.

Really, I had made peace with the reality that I may just be content with my wedding gown. My friends kept telling me, "It truly doesn't matter what dress you wear, you're going to look beautiful!" Even though that is a sweet sentiment, the truth is, the dress does matter. It's something I've thought about my entire life, and the idea of settling for a nice dress was, well, depressing.

But I was running out of time. Every bridal salon was warning me about getting into the "you're going to have to pay rush-fees" zone. I needed to make a decision quick, and I only had one more shop left to visit. If I didn't find anything there, then one of my top-tier picks—though none yet "the one"—would just have to do.

I got up super early on a Thursday so I could make the hour and a half drive to Irvine to quickly check out Love & Lace Bridal Salon before work. I was by myself. Not ideal, but it was a weekday. My friends have jobs and my mom lives in Missouri. So solo was the only way to go.

Diana Marie Photography

Well my mood instantly lifted when I walked into Love & Lace. It was clean, bright, open and well-decorated. I didn't feel the energy of frantic brides or stressed employees. The store owner, Ramona, greeted me with a kind smile and started inquiring about my wedding. I showed her pics of the current top contenders, and we began to go through the shop to see if any gowns could beat the ones on my list. At this point in the game, I'm well aware of what I like and don't like, but Ramona must be a mind reader—she weeded out the "no way" options before I even said a word. We gathered a handful and headed to the dressing room.

The first one was pretty and different, but didn't feel like me. The second one was to merely show my mother one more time that a square neckline does not compliment my figure. The third was elegant and unique. I actually liked it a lot, but by the time I got my mom on FaceTime I'd already talked myself out of it. (You never realize how fast "I think I really like it," can morph into "I can't look at this" hate until you start bridal gown shopping.)

Diana Marie Photography

There was one more beautiful gown still hanging in the dressing room. On the hanger it was gorgeous, but would it be just as gorgeous on me? I stepped into the dress and Ramona helped fasten the back. I turned to the mirror and…Wow. There it is. The perfect gown. Without giving any details away, I'll say it hits every checkmark I was looking for: the neckline, the back, the material, the little details, the fit—everything.

Yes, I felt beautiful but more importantly, I really felt like myself in it. I FaceTime my mom. She loves it! I send pics to my maid-of-honor. She loves it! This is it. I've finally found "the one."

Did I cry? Not at that moment. However, during my long drive to work, I couldn't think about anything but the gown. I found myself glancing at my iPhone photos at every stop light. I started to picture myself walking down the aisle in it, and imagining my groom-to-be's reaction when he sees me. Then, yes, tears filled my eyes. I was so happy. I immediately called Ramona and confirmed the order.

And that's how I went from hopeless to hopeless romantic all in one day.