Buying a wedding dress can be a very difficult decision. The style, material, and fit… the options are endless and the prices are varied! But apart from the actual dress is the whole process involved in buying it. Little did I realize, brides nowadays go dress shopping at least 6 months in advance. Dresses can take up to 8 months to come in in some cases! That meant I was 3 months too late… what to do? One option was to buy off the rack, but I in Spain I wouldn’t even know where to look, and in the US I’m not sure I could find something so quickly. The other was to cross my fingers and start shopping with an innocent “I didn’t know!” in all the stores. Luckily, the shops I went to all told me that I could still purchase a dress, but I needed to decide ASAP and order it now! I’ll also probably only have one fitting as opposed to the typical two or three.
Call me crazy, but I had NO IDEA that such a long time was necessary. I figured that in the worst case I’d have to pay extra for rush shipping, but in most shops less than three months was a deal breaker no matter what! Thank goodness I went when I did considering that I hadn’t even planned to buy the dress here in Spain. I wanted to buy something in the US when I go to visit in April so that I could go shopping with my mom and sister and I was also hoping that the dress might be less expensive there.
Luckily I changed my mind and started looking here. I now have a dress and won’t have to spend time and stress during my vacation in the US looking. In the end I went to three bridal boutiques here in Spain. The first was one of Spain’s most famous: Pronovias. The dresses were beautiful and the staff was attentive and really nice. I went alone, which was a bit sad at first, but in the end it was nice to be my only critic. Since ultimately it’s MY dress, I think my opinion is the most important!
In Pronovias I found a GORGEOUS dress. Beautiful lace, a tight fit, and with the veil… it was perfect. But, it was also close to $4,000… and since I earn $1000 a month it just seemed like A LOT to spend on a dress. So I decided to keep looking…
My next stop was a small family owned boutique in Nervión called Sotto Voce. It didn’t have many dresses to choose from, but the owners were nice and we tried on three different dresses. They were pretty, but nothing really popped out at me. The quality just wasn’t the same as the first store. The prices of the dresses were definitely less, around $2,500 plus veil etc. But I wanted to keep looking.
So on Friday Alejandro’s parents came to Seville and took us to a famous bridal shop in a small town in Cordoba, about an hour and a half away. The town, Fuente Palmera, is in the middle of NOWHERE, and Higar Novias is its main attraction. The shop is so popular because it has beautiful dresses at much more reasonable prices, mostly due to the fact that the factory where they make the dresses is right next to the shop. Their success has lead to the town to open many other wedding related shops, and it’s basically become a wedding planning mecca in the middle of Cordoba’s countryside… definitely strange!
We got there early and Ale tried on suits in another shop before everything closed for lunch. We ate at a small restaurant where I ordered the menu of the day: salmorejo to start followed by fried calamari, and finally rice pudding for dessert. It was your typical Spanish lunch and probably not the best idea before trying on skintight wedding dresses!
Finally, at 4:30 my suegra and I arrived for my appointment. My consultant Nuria showed me at least 7 binders full of dresses. There were too many to choose from! By the end I was saying no to everything, since I knew that the more I chose the longer I’d be there! I finally ended up with 16 dresses to try on. I thought it was too much, but Nuria said it was okay.
We went to the dressing room where I undressed and waited for the first dress. In the meantime, my suegra decided to fix my hair… despite the fact that I would be trying on 16 dresses and it would ultimately fall out after the first one. But, being a good sport, I let her play with it, and when Nuria came in with the first dress I tried to keep my patience as she continued to fix it, ignoring the fact that I needed to start trying things on!
After 5 minutes and a lot of bobby pins, I had a strange updo and the first dress. The next 2 hours are a blur of dressing, undressing, waiting, and getting my hair fixed. After the 16 dresses there were 3 contenders. One was silk and slimming, a mermaid cut, with spaghetti straps and a small train. The next was lace, and very similar to the Pronovias dress but a lesser quality. The third was… a surprise!
I wasn’t positive that day if I was going to buy my dress there; I wanted to think about it and return once more to Pronovias. I mean, Pronovias had the dress I’d been imagining… classic, lace, expensive…!!! But the dress I found at Higar Novias designed by Manu Garcia was also gorgeous. It’s more modern and not at all what I’d imagined wearing, but it fits my body perfectly and is really stunning. Also, it’s about $1,500 less. That’s a BIG difference!
In the end, I decided to go with it because I think spending $4,000 on a dress is excessive! Above all when we are spending our money on other “extras” like live music during the ceremony, a bus to and from the wedding for our guests…etc. I’m happy with my choice and really excited to try it on again closer to the wedding.
For brides to be my advice is shop early! Save yourself the stress I went through and buy a dress well in advance. Also, don’t be afraid to go alone. It’s not that bad, and ultimately your opinion is the one that really matters!