DIY Wedding: The RTW Dress

For most brides, the dress is–and will always be–one of the most important factors of their wedding. For me though, I’m not big on the couture wedding gowns that cost an arm and leg, beads-and-sequins-to-last-a-lifetime kind of outfit. Once we’ve decided to go for a garden wedding, I thought I should go for a loosely-flowing gown, no train (because nobody needs that IRL, unless you’re royalty, me thinks), one that suits my body type, and doesn’t look tacky with the beading and all that. I also wanted a dress I can re-wear, in its original form, or if I have it altered shorter after the wedding.

I checked with my fiancé, and asked him what he’s imagined his bride to wear. He said, “A white dress with something like an intricate crocheted layer…like the usual Filipino mom table runners.” Huh? In case one of your eyebrows is raised, he meant a white lace dress. 

As someone who hates shopping (I must have been a guy in my past life) the first thing I did was, of course, to Google “white lace dress Philippines.” Ding! Zalora to the rescue!

It proved to be tricky though, as my idea of a dress was in between a wedding gown and an evening or cocktail dress. Browsing through Zalora for days, I learned that I should be looking at–wait for it–bridesmaid dresses! (Quick link for Bridesmaid Dresses on Zalora.) It made so much sense. The bridesmaids usually wear floor-length gowns that aren’t ballroom-y so as not to upstage the bride, with embellishments kept at a minimum, too. Awesome, that should be easy, I thought.

Seven or so dresses on my wish list, and my fiancé frowns at me and declares we’re gonna go shopping instead. Sigh. Fine.

So online shopping got scrapped, and we headed for the mall.  We went to Glorietta in Makati, and the SM Fashion Forum. Nice cuts, lovely textile and lace textures…but they’re mostly not white. They’re meant for attending a wedding, and none of the dress-wearing guests usually wears white to a wedding unless it’s an all-white event. I also went to Apartment 8, but most of the white dresses were made of a neoprene-ish stretchy fabric that didn’t feel suitable. From my research, I also visited Karimadon, and there was only one white dress which didn’t make the cut.

Two hours in, and I decided to go to the Landmark right behind it. I had an ounce of joy when I saw the Ivory and Lace section of Landmark–it’s full of white gowns! But…they’re actual wedding gowns. Also, the bridesmaid dresses were all too tacky. Some felt very Divisoria. After a tiring and unsuccessful day, I went back to browsing online.

There was this cold shoulder bridesmaid dress that I liked on Zalora, but it had small prints of blue flowers on it. I wanted to get it but the fiance replied with a stoic, “all-white,” when I made him choose between a blush pink lace dress, or a printed white dress. Traditional, eh?

Hello, shopping. We meet again.

This time, I wore cross-training sneakers, put on an easy-to-take-off dress, and brought a bottle of water with me. I’m ready for this. I told myself, I have to find a dress today. I do not want another day for shopping. I told the fiance to stay put in a cafe, because I want to shop at my own (fast) pace.

I spent four hours scouring Every. Single. Shop. in Trinoma. I knew I can still make my way to SM North Edsa if I cross the footbridge, but I was exhausted! I started to accept defeat (and the fact that I will need to allot another day for shopping); teary-eyed, I started to make my way back to the where my fiance waits. I went inside Landmark to take the less-busy escalators, when I saw this:

I kid you not, I felt like it was sent from the heavens as a peace offering gift. I stared at it like a kid in a candy factory, carefully analyzing what’s happening, and at the same time marveling at what’s going on.

The cut was right up my alley, and without even taking it off the display, I called my fiancé to come meet me to see the dress. He asked me if I’ve found the dress, and I said, “Maybe, but I need you to look at it, because I may also just be that desperate.” No, we’re not superstitious about the groom seeing the bridal dress; after all, it also had to match his vision for his bride.

The giddy saleslady ushered me to the dressing room. I tried it on, and smiled.

Have I found the dress? Yes. Am I desperate? Yes. Was I buying the dress because I’m desperate? No.

I hate shopping because I don’t buy stuff until I know for sure what I wanted, or felt I’ve found what I’ve come to shop for. And that definitely happened with this dress. For P3,600! (See our complete breakdown of expenses for our P103,000 wedding.)

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