Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wedding Dress Shopping at BHLDN

Hey peeps! Do people still call other people "peeps"? IDK but let's dive in to this super fun wedding post! 

I knew basically immediately that I wanted to get my wedding dress from BHLDN (said as "beholden". Only telling you because I said it wrong for months!). BHLDN is Anthropologie's wedding offshoot so it's got all the style of Anthro at a great price point. It's exactly my style and I would spend tons of time looking at all the gorgeous dresses on the website after getting engaged. I was very wary about ordering something online when I wasn't sure how it would fit me, and the closest store to me is in Chicago. I had resigned myself to ordering something online and having to return it a few times before finding the right dress or fit. Imagine my surprise when Jarrett was on board for a wedding dress shopping weekend! We managed to schedule it for the weekend of my 31st birthday and two of my best friends even flew in to go with me. I was totally prepared to go alone so I was insanely excited to have my bests there with me. I knew they would be supportive and honest and that is exactly what I needed. My appointment was scheduled for my birthday and I could not wait! 

And then the body anxiety set in. See, BHLDN does offer some plus sizes but not all dresses go up to size 16/18 (the highest size in most styles). I'm usually a size 10/12 but I knew special occasion dresses can run small so I was nervous that I would get there and nothing would fit me. I tried doing some research for blog reviews, but the only ones I could find were from women who fit into the size 0-4 range. It did help to read their experience but as someone who fits into larger sizes, I still had no idea what to expect. The BHLDN website said most dresses had a sample size in both a 4 and a 12, but the "most" thing worried me. I didn't want to only be able to try on 2 or 3 dresses and feel like I wasted this trip. I wanted a dress from BHLDN and would have been crushed if I couldn't fit into anything in store. I decided to document my experience as best I could and write the post I wish I had found before going. 

First up, the rooms are straight up gorgeous that they put you in! Huge rugs, a little changing room, cute couches, and they give you tiny cans of wine. When booking my appointment online, I was asked to list any dresses I was interested in trying on. I booked my appointment in September for December. Weekend appointments fill up quickly, so if you are making a trip out of it like I did, be sure to book way in advance. The only downside to this was that when I got there, most of the dresses on my list were either no longer available or not yet in stock in the store since they were just released (you could still find them online though). So while you do have the chance to add to your list when you confirm your appointment the week before, they still might not have some styles available in store yet. 

In the Chicago store, you walk in and are greeted by someone who asks if you have an appointment. There's a small amount of dresses downstairs, but they are bridesmaid dresses so we didn't spend too much time looking around down there. They take your name and alert your stylist you've arrived. You then go upstairs to the bridal showroom and have some time to look around at dresses they have in stock. I think we had about 10-15 minutes to browse before my stylist found me. She had a printed out list of the answer to the questionnaire you fill out when booking the appointment (wedding vibe/style, wedding date, wedding colors, the dresses you'd like to try on). She asked if there was anything I saw in the showroom that I wanted to add to my list of things to try on and I did end up adding two more things I think. Again, about half the things I found online weren't available, so in total I think I had 6-8 dresses total (from my list & that we added after looking in the showroom). She takes you into that beautiful room mentioned above and gives you tiny cans of wine to sip on while she gathers the dresses on your list.  

Guys, I was so pleasantly surprised by this shopping experience. The stylist made me feel super comfortable and my friends were ready to take all the photos and give me honest opinions. I did not have one issue trying on any of the dresses I picked out. Some of them were even looser than I expected, so all that anxiety about nothing fitting was for naut. The stylist also pulled some extra dresses that weren't on my list and she had such a good eye for things I would like. The only direction I gave her was that I didn't want to try on anything over $800 (since that was my budget) so everything I tried on was beautiful, flattering, and within my budget. No one wants to fall in love with a dress that falls outside of their agreed upon budget. 

Ok here we go! Let's look at some of these dresses that made me feel like Beyoncé. 

The Brisa Gown 
I would have guessed this would have been a front runner from my online research, but it wasn't even in my top 3 after trying it on! I didn't realize how big of a difference trying things on would be. Usually I loved things that I wouldn't have expected once I put them on. 

I loved this one online SO MUCH, but it didn't feel like exactly what I was going for when it was on. 

Originally my top choice. It made me feel like Christina Ricci in Casper (which is always #goals) and would have fit in so well with the boho vibes I was hoping for, but it just didn't hold up to how I felt when I tried on the one I ultimately got. I did try it on once more before making the final decision and I still love these photos. Can I have like 3 weddings to wear all the dresses I love? 

All these dresses were honestly so beautiful and made me feel so beautiful. Again, it just didn't hold up to the one I ultimately got but still. All the heart eye emojis. 

Ok this was my second choice and it was a HARD choice. The stylist picked this one out and it was not one I would have EVER picked on my own just from looking at it on the hanger. But once it was on, I could not believe how "me" it felt. So fun and cool and just a little different. I tried it on 3 different times I think before making my final decision. I still think of it sometimes because I really did love it! 

My headpiece that the stylist put on me and then everyone cried. 

I'm not going to show the dress I went with yet. It's basically the one thing I've been pretty traditional about since Jarrett won't be seeing the dress until our wedding day. I can't wait to show it off and literally every time I try it on at the tailors I get all swoony. Plus my friends cried when I put it on (and the stylist added a headpiece) so I knew it was the one. But really, I feel like any of these could have been "the one". BHLDN is just that good. 

Then we went out for celebratory drinks (I got kind of fancy with this larger than expected frosé)! 

My dress and headpiece arrived within a week of placing my order in the store, so the shipping was crazy fast. I did end up having to get it altered locally, but it was only another $150 so not too crazy. 

I had such an amazing experience at BHLDN. I spent so much time being anxious about not being able to fit in anything when my experience was the exact opposite. Not only did they have my size (or a sample size) in everything I wanted to try on, I felt beautiful in every single thing. My stylist was the sweetest person, who not only gave good advice (and up sold me on a headpiece), but had such a good eye for what I was looking for when she grabbed stuff on her own.

Not only was everything beautiful and flattering, but affordable as heck. Everything I tried on was $800 or less. That was the budget I agreed on with Jarrett, but the most expensive dress on their site is $2,950. I feel like that's a pretty good price range so no matter your budget, you are going to find something fantastic. When I was looking at dress shops locally, most of them said dresses started at $1,200 so it was great to find a place the fit my style and budget flawlessly. I highly recommend checking them out when wedding dress shopping. 


  1. I was so looking forward to seeing what you chose at the end! Dammit! ha ha You looked at a lot of the dresses I was considering and it is so true that they look different on to the photos online. I'm based in Australia and wish I could go have a look in store too!! Thanks so much for sharing and hopefully I'll get to see what you chose in the future!!!

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