Things I learned when trying on wedding dresses, not getting married – Insider
I visited Eleganza Sposa, a bridal store in Glasgow, Scotland, on Tuesday to interview the store’s owner, Anna Cirignaco, about the bridal industry for Insider. Ahead of the interview, I was offered the opportunity to try on a few wedding dresses.
At first, I was unsure if I should. While I’ve been in a committed relationship since November 2020, we’re not engaged and it will likely be a while before that happens. But even before I met my partner, I liked to daydream about what kind of wedding I would have one day — especially the dress.
I figured this would be a cool opportunity to have a practice run at dress shopping without the added pressures of planning a wedding. And, I thought, I might even learn something along the way.
According to the company’s website, Eleganza Sposa was founded in 1992 and is Scotland’s leading luxury boutique specializing in couture bridal and evening-wear gowns.
Eleganza Sposa offers a range of bridal designers to choose from, including Eleganza Iconica, the store’s in-house designer brand. The gowns range in price from £1,499, or around $1,790, to £8,000, or around $9,500, according to the company’s marketing manager, Angela, who told me that most women end up spending more than the budget they initially set for themselves.
According to a survey conducted by the wedding website Hitched, women in the UK who wed in 2021 spent an average of £1,300, or around $1,550, on a wedding dress.
Angela said she started out at the company as a stylist before becoming a marketing manager; she knows everything there is to know about dresses. She showed me to a private room that had racks of wedding dresses, a couch, a full-length mirror, and a dressing area.
She said that two of the most popular features on dresses right now are pearls and 3D floral embroidery. But when it comes to the style of dress, Angela said brides are enjoying a variety of styles, from soft A-line, ballgown, to fishtail dresses.
This appears to be the case with American brides, too. This was evident during New York Bridal Fashion Week in April, according to CNN, which reports that collections for 2022 and 2023 are “flush with different silhouettes, details, textures and colors” rather than leading with trends.
The store doesn’t sell any white dresses, according to Angela, who told me that white dresses appear harsh and can look almost blue in some photographs. She recommends brides opt for ivory as this is a softer color.
Over the years there has been a decrease in demand for white wedding dresses in favor of more flattering shades, and experts predict that the color will continue to fade in popularity, Brides reported in July 2021.
The first dress that caught my eye was the Lucera dress by Eleganza Iconica, and it cost £3,699, or around $4,400, Angela told me. The skirt had multiple layers of sparkle and tulle, and I loved how flowy it was as I’d never been a fan of dresses that cling to my body.
The dress comes with detachable sleeves, and when I tried them on they were too long for my arms. Angela said this is common and that most brides will have to get their dresses altered.
However, she said this isn’t included in the price of the dress, and there’s a separate alteration business in the same building where prices usually start at around £150, or around $180, depending on how much you need altered.
I was surprised to learn that some brides have to pay extra for this, considering how much money they may have already paid for the dress.
Angela said that jumpsuits are a modern choice and they’ve become particularly fashionable for wedding receptions, where it’s become increasingly popular to wear a second outfit. I tried on Eleganza Iconica’s Castro jumpsuit, which she said costs £3,199, or around $3,800.
I’ve never been a fan of jumpsuits, and to be honest, I just didn’t like the way this looked on my body. I also can’t imagine spending money on a second wedding outfit. If I end up spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a beautiful dress one day, you better believe I’m going to wear it for the entire wedding day and not change into anything else.
I’ve never been intrigued by the idea of spending a lot of money on a wedding dress. But then I tried on the Galilea gown from the Martina Liana Luxe collection, and I may have just changed my mind.
Angela wouldn’t allow me to try on the store’s most expensive dress, which she said cost £8,000, or around $9,550. But at £6,500, or around $7,760, the Galilea gown was a close second.
I never would have picked out the fishtail dress for myself, since I didn’t think I would suit a gown that hugged my curves. But Angela encouraged me, saying that most brides who try the opposite of what they originally wanted end up having the most success — and I ended up loving it.
The final dress I tried on was Essence of Australia’s Veronica dress, which Angela said was the store’s least expensive gown at £1,599, or around $1,900.
I was surprised by how similar it was to the most expensive dress. It was the same fit-and-flare style as the Galilea, although it was made with different a material — stretch crepe — with illusion lace at the side to highlight the bride’s curves.
If I had to pick between the two gowns (and if I had unlimited amounts of cash), I would choose the first one. Even so, this dress is a fantastic alternative in my opinion, and more than $5,800 cheaper. It’s also simpler, which I imagine would appeal to brides who prefer the “less is more” look.
Around 90 minutes had passed by the time I had finished trying on the dresses. I couldn’t believe it, but Angela said this is normal and that they can reserve up to two hours per customer.
It was an enjoyable experience, but this was mostly because I wasn’t actually looking to buy a dress. It didn’t upset me if I tried something on and it didn’t suit me, because there was no pressure there. Equally, I found myself more willing to take chances and try on dresses that aren’t my typical style.
I now believe that every woman who wants to get married one day should go wedding dress shopping, regardless of their relationship status. You might just learn something about yourself.