Whether you’re following traditions or not, weddings are jam-packed with all sorts of them, including that gorgeous white dress. When you’re daydreaming about your perfect ceremony and writing your wedding vows, you know that, as the bride, the main focus will be on you in *that* dress. But now that it’s 2016, your mom’s wedding dress is officially a thing of the past, and said wedding tradition is up for interpretation. I put eight wedding dress shopping myths to the test as I headed to bridal boutiques in Washington D.C. to find the one and only for my upcoming nuptials. I saw it all: pure white dresses, long trains and undoubtedly expensive details. Scroll on to see what I discovered, and get ready to throw certain myths out the window for a chic, modern bridal look.


Myth #1: Your wedding dress has to be white.

Truth: This is hands-down the biggest misconception that I came across as I stepped into my first bridal dress appointment. Most people will tell you that your wedding gown has to be truly white, but this is far from the truth. Though the dresses I tried on were considered “white” by loose definition, more of them were actually some shade of ivory or blush. Don’t be afraid to try on blush, champagne or even a super colorful wedding gown. You’d be surprised at how good they actually look.

Myth #2: The prettier the wedding gown, the more expensive it is.

Truth: Not necessarily. Sure, there are lots of gorgeous wedding gowns that you’ve seen on the runway or in bridal magazines, but trust me when I say that there are also lots of options in all price ranges that will make you #swoon. It’s really just a matter of knowing where to look. PRO TIP: Know your budget before going in and trying on gowns, and *only* try on gowns within your range. This will not only save you time, but will also prevent you from the heartache and anxiety of considering going over budget.

Myth #3: You should know exactly what kind of gown you want.

Truth: Maybe. Going into my appointments, I had an idea of what I wanted and what I did *not* want. I even browsed their sites the day before to make sure I knew the names of my favorite ones, but once I was looking at them in person, 1) the dresses look VERY different in the store than online and 2) my perspective changed completely when I actually tried them on. The takeaway: While it’s great to have a general idea of what you like, be sure to keep an open mind. You might be shocked at what you love once you’re trying them on in person.

Myth #4: You have to bring your entire bridal party with you.

Truth: Of course you’ll want your BFFs, mom, sisters, aunts and grandmas during every step of the process, but there’s no need to roll eight deep to have a great time — especially since most bridal boutiques limit the amount of guests you can bring with you. I asked my parents, a friend and my future sister-in-law to come with me, and I was able to listen to what they had to say without getting distracted. Save the big party for your bachelorette weekend and only bring those whose thoughts you really trust, so your head’s not spinning when trying to choose between lace or tulle.

Myth #5: Floor-length is a must when it comes to wedding gowns.

Truth: Not at all. Though some brides opt for the more traditional look with a long train (lookin’ at you, Kim K), the boutiques I went to had a TON of styles to appeal to modern brides. Think: silk jumpsuits, two-piece and tea-length gowns — the options were endless. If you’re still trying to decide if something shorter is in your future, think about the style of your wedding. Going for something more casual? Opt for a LWD that makes you feel beautiful and comfortable all day long.

Myth #6: You shouldn’t pick the first wedding gown you try on.

Truth: Why not? Let me tell you something: If you know your style, you know your style. I tried on my *favorite* dress first and it’s still the one that I keep going back to. The other dresses were also absolutely stunning, but they just didn’t have the same effect. So if you already know what you want and the first dress you try on is spot on, there’s no need to make your shopping experience more complicated.

Myth #7: You will cry tears of joy when you find the perfect dress. If you don’t cry, it’s not THE dress.

Truth: Of course the happy tears are a good sign that you’ve found *the one* but don’t let your “Say Yes to the Dress” marathons brainwash you. The entire process itself is very emotional, so it might not necessarily mean that you’re crying because that’s the one. Everyone in my party was teary-eyed during every single dress — even the ones I didn’t like. Me? Not one tear until the drive home when I was able to reflect on the entire process. Instead of focusing on whether or not the tears will come, focus on how the dress makes you feel. If the answer is “absolutely beautiful,” then that’s all the sign you need.

Myth #8: You need to get all dolled up before going to your wedding gown appointments.

Truth: Kind of. There’s no need to go and do a full up-do for your bridal appointments, but it will help if you get a blowout or at least brush your hair. My first appointment was at 11am, so I made a DryBar appointment two hours before (I have a lot of hair) to pamper myself a little. This seriously helped me feel more comfortable — and *pretty* AF — as I tried on those gorgeous gowns. And if you have any accessories that you know you’ll want to wear on your special day (like a veil or a flower crown), bring them with you so you can see if everything goes together the way you want.

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(Photo via Melissa Paniagua)