Why I'm glad I tried on wedding dresses before getting engaged – Insider

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Unlike most brides, I had already been wedding dress shopping when my fiancé proposed to me in May. 
I write about weddings for Insider, and in February, I got the chance to tour Kleinfeld, the New York City bridal salon featured on TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress.”
I also had the opportunity to see what it was like to have a bridal appointment at Kleinfeld while I was there. I worked with a consultant on staff, and she helped me try on three different wedding dresses.
It was of course fun to have an adult excuse to play dress up for a day, but as I look toward my own wedding, the experience feels invaluable. 
During my Kleinfeld appointment, I was surprised by which dress I gravitated toward.
I anticipated I would like A-line dresses with lace detailing, and I assumed a more expensive dress would likely make me feel the most luxurious.
But instead, I preferred a fit-and-flare Anne Barge gown, which was the most affordable dress of the bunch. I loved the gown’s structured bodice, its light fabric, and that it didn’t hide my figure, while the A-line dress and ball gown I put on felt heavy and cut my body in ways I didn’t like. 
Now, I can go to my actual bridal appointment with a better idea of what I want to wear, and I won’t waste time trying on shapes or fabric that I know aren’t going to be a good fit.
Plus, because I had my reporter hat on instead of a bride hat as I examined the gowns, I found myself thinking back to conversations I’ve had with experts about the importance of moving in a dress when you try it on and hanger appeal, which I don’t think I would have kept in mind if I hadn’t been working when I put the gowns on.
I can take that knowledge with me when I look for my wedding dress, ensuring I keep in mind my comfort on my wedding day rather than just how it will look in photos. 
I have often anticipated I would be more indecisive than the average bride when shopping for a wedding dress. I’ve seen so many dresses through my work that I feared I would have choice paralysis, unable to stop thinking about the other beautiful gowns out there. 
Plus, if you’ve ever watched “Say Yes to the Dress,” you know issues often pop up when a bride and her entourage have different opinions on what look is right for her wedding day. I’m a people pleaser to my core, and I can easily see myself struggling to buy a dress if the loved ones I plan to bring with me when I shop don’t like what I select. 
But getting the opportunity to try on dresses without my posse around, and without the intention of purchasing, turned out to be a huge relief. 
Because I knew I wouldn’t be buying a dress that day at Kleinfeld, I was more relaxed as I tried gowns on, looking at what I saw in the mirror instead of thinking about whatever dress I would try on next.
I also didn’t have to worry about what my family members would think of each gown I tried on, allowing me to really soak in how I felt in each dress. Thanks to the experience, I can set expectations with my loved ones about what I’m looking for in a wedding dress, ensuring we’re all on the same page when we go shopping. 
While I know it’s not realistic to say everyone should visit a bridal salon like Kleinfeld before getting engaged, I think anyone hoping to wear a wedding dress someday could benefit from trying on gowns before a proposal — even if that just means trying on the dresses available at local thrift stores or consignment shops.
You’ll get comfortable with the idea of wearing a wedding gown without the pressure of a real bridal appointment, so when it’s time to actually shop, you can just enjoy the fun of finding that dream dress.
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