Sweetheart necklines, empire waists, tulle skirts, corset bodices. There’s so many different things to choose when it comes to a wedding gown, so many that it could get overwhelming. And overwhelmed I was.

Usually a bride would pick a wedding dress 5-6 months before the big day to leave time for the dress to arrive and be fitted. So it’s safe to say that with my 3 month timeline, I have not a moment to spare. In Columbia, SC, where I’m planning my wedding, there are a few small boutiques where I looked for a gown that would fit my small time frame as well as my tiny budget. Needless to say, I ended up at David’s Bridal, the only place, it seemed, that I could satisfy both needs.

I went with my mother, three cousins and, gasp, my fiance. Most brides usually leave their significant other out of this part of the planning process for whatever reason be it the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride in her gown until the ceremony or just wanting to have some element of surprise. I chose to have Paul come with me because he’s been the one person through all of this that has been keeping me from blowing up and calling the entire thing off. Stress has never one of those things that I dealt with easily and he knows how to keep me calm.

Now, this is my first time being in a bridal shop. There were dresses (and women) everywhere! I had no real-world idea how many cuts and fabrics and colors there were to choose from. And thus began my hunt for a wedding gown.


My lovely sales rep Tanisha, sat with me as I sifted through the catalog trying to pinpoint things that I liked and those I didn’t. She was very patient and knowledgeable which really put me at ease about the entire situation. I told her about my short timeline and she informed me that it would not be a problem (thank the heavens!).

I tried on mermaid gowns and A-lines to determine what looked good on my petite 5’2” frame. Ivory and lace complemented the subtle golds in my skin tone wonderfully and we also needed to determine which neckline would fit my natural afro which is how I planned to wear my hair. And after nearly two and half hours and one very tight corset undergarment, I finally found a dress that not only looked extremely flattering but would be back in time for alterations. But there was one small hiccup: the price.

I originally budgeted $400 for the dress and the one that got a resounding Yes! was double that. I was on the brink of panicking and right before the tears came, my mother volunteered to buy the gown for me. So, of course, the tears came anyway. My mother and I have a very close relationship with her being a single parent for the vast majority of my life. We relied on each other for support both emotional and mental so it meant a great deal that she was willing to do this for me.

Now, at David’s Bridal, there is a tradition that when a bride finds her gown she makes a wish and rings a bell amidst great applause. So, cloaked in exquisite lace with beaded detail, more tears threatening to fall, I gripped the shiny silver bell, held my breath and shook it as hard as I could. Then, I smiled.

Next up: the perfect menu.