Today I’d like to share the story of one of my more unique travel experiences. The time I went wedding dress shopping in Mexico.
Like most women, I knew pretty much exactly what I wanted in my wedding dress. I wanted a lace dress, with minimal bling, flowy and not fitted, possibly with sleeves. But I had a surprisingly hard time finding this dress of my dreams.
I went to six bridal salons around the central Texas and tried on 70+ dresses before I found the one. The consultants kept trying to put me in silhouettes that I didn’t want. Apparently my body type is perfect for a mermaid or a trumpet silhouette, but I just didn’t feel comfortable in these styles. I felt so restricted, like I couldn’t breathe and I definitely couldn’t dance. So after 70+ dresses, I took a chance and tried on a dress that was waaaaay out of my price range but appeared to be perfect. It checked [almost] every box on my list. Chantilly lace. Minimal bling. Flowy. But no sleeves (which could definitely be fixed should I decide to go with that style).
As soon as I put it on, I knew it was the one.
But there was a huge problem. This dress was over twice the top of my price range. This dress seriously cost more than my wedding venue and catering combined. I was crushed because I knew the chances of finding a better dress were very slim. I offered to split the cost with my parents, but it was the principle of paying that much for a dress I would only wear once. After a lot of thinking and stressing, I decided to take some time and think about it. I still had more than enough time to make my order. Plus I still had a family trip to Mexico on the horizon and my mom kept telling me that I had to buy my dress there for the sake of family tradition.
So I packed my bags and flew to Mexico, where I met up with my crew. My mom, her sisters/my aunts, and my cousin.
We had a lot of family business to take care of, but we found a few hours here and there to go to Vallarta, a street lined with beautiful bridal shops. I tried on a dozen more dresses, none of which I was crazy about. Everyone was pushing me towards styles that I didn’t want. I tried on one satin dress that fit me very well, looked great, and was below my price range. I was tempted to just call it a day and settle because I was so over the process.
No matter what I tried on, I couldn’t get that dress from Fort Worth out of my head. So I pulled out my phone and went to the designer’s website to see if there was a boutique selling his designs in Guadalajara. And there was! Baracci Novias, right down the street. We headed over to the boutique, walked in, and immediately started searching the racks.
I couldn’t find the dress anywhere, and was about to have a serious break down. My mom showed the bridal consultant a picture of the dress and asked if they had the dress in the store. The consultant said they did but they stored it in the back since it was an older style and no one had ever wanted to try it on. She brought it out, and I tried it on. The sample was exactly my size, and it was perfect.
It was a little bit cheaper than at the boutique in Fort Worth, but it was still way over my price limit of $1000. We decided to just throw out an offer on the dress. They would never sell the dress if I didn’t buy it from them. No one had ever expressed interest in the style. It was either they sell it to me, or they take a complete loss on the sample and never sell it at all. So we offered $1000 for the dress and left for the day so they could get in contact with the owner about the offer.
The consultants called us back the next day to let us know the owner declined the offer, and that point I was ready to give up and just buy whatever dress I came across next. But my mom and aunts weren’t ready to let it go. So we went back to the store and I sat in the car as they went inside to “negotiate.”
At one point they even got my abuela on the phone. She was supposed to come on the trip with us, but due to some health concerns had to stay at home in California. My abuela told the consultants how she had always wanted her daughters to buy their wedding dresses on Vallarta, but they had all eloped, and now I might be the only granddaughter she’d be able to see get married and all that sob story.
I sat in the car watching them talk. I was so worried, I started sweating. Then finally my mom waved at me to come inside. She proudly announced that the boutique decided to give us the deal and let us take the dress for $1000! I was able to take my dress home to Texas with me. It all worked out perfectly. I was even able to purchase my veil at the boutique. It was extra special to be able to purchase my mantilla veil in Mexico as a nod to my culture and heritage.
It was a successful trip!
I decided to add sleeves to my dress much later because I kept looking at photos of sleeved dresses and feeling this pull towards that style. But that story is not nearly as fun to share.
Happy wanderlusting, and may your wedding dress searches be much easier than mine!