The Wedding Dresses I DIDN’T Choose!

Oh my gosh, here we are, one month before my wedding!

Consider me officially STRESSED!

Holy cow, this morning I had a total and complete break down on my morning jog. I was full on sobbing, sunscreen running down my face, that girl who was a hot mess while running in public. But it’s okay. Sixty percent of our guests still haven’t received their invitation that we mailed three weeks ago and the wedding is less than five weeks away. IT’S OKAY!

Anyway. I thought it might be fun tonight to share with you some of the dresses that were my runner ups!

I went wedding dress shopping in NYC with my mom — we went to Kleinfeld, Lovely Bride, Wedding Atelier, Bridal Reflections, Grace Loves Lace, and let me tell you it was an adventure! I tried on 18 dresses!

I went to the top bridal boutiques in #NYC. Sharing the wedding dresses I DIDN'T choose! (Don't worry, I'm not showing my fiance!) #bride #bridetobe #wedding #weddingdress #style #fashion #engaged #engagement #kleinfeld

First of all, THIS is the dress I THOUGHT I was going to choose when I was just dreaming on Pinterest right after my engagement. I thought I wouldn’t even have to try any on: I envisioned myself in this sleek, sophisticated number, and I actually scheduled to try this exact dress on, and I did…and it was just nothing special. So much so I didn’t even take a picture!

I went to the top bridal boutiques in #NYC. Sharing the wedding dresses I DIDN'T choose! (Don't worry, I'm not showing my fiance!) #bride #bridetobe #wedding #weddingdress #style #fashion #engaged #engagement #kleinfeld

This is so my style that it felt like something I already had in my closet, or like something I would wear to someone else’s wedding in another color.

So keep that in mind as you see the vastly different style of dresses I ended up loving! (Hello ROMANCE!)

I’m going to save the dress that caused me the most heartache — AKA the dress that I was *THISCLOSE* to “saying yes” to…even though it was the FIRST dress I tried on. So we’ll table that for later…

I started out at Kleinfeld…and if you recognize that name, it’s because it’s the store where they film Say Yes to the Dress.

And yes, the owner of the store hung out in my try-on bay the entire time, because he wanted me to try on all these new dresses they just got off the runway from Paris.

Like this first one here…all the way from Milan, and yes…you’re seeing that correctly: it is GOLD. (And those are tissues that they put in my bust because it was waaaaayyyy too revealing, and we would have had this altered to be more conservative up top.)

Anyway. It was fun to try on something so “out there” — especially since it had been on the runway the week before during Fashion Week and they had just got it in that morning.

But it was a…NO! (Oh, and this dress was incredibly HEAVY! Holy cow…all of that intricate beading weighed probably 15 to 20 pounds, I’m not even kidding.)

I went to the top bridal boutiques in #NYC. Sharing the wedding dresses I DIDN'T choose! (Don't worry, I'm not showing my fiance!) #bride #bridetobe #wedding #weddingdress #style #fashion #engaged #engagement #kleinfeld

After such a voluminous ballgown, I decided to try on a mermaid dress…and this one was just…meh.

I went to the top bridal boutiques in #NYC. Sharing the wedding dresses I DIDN'T choose! (Don't worry, I'm not showing my fiance!) #bride #bridetobe #wedding #weddingdress #style #fashion #engaged #engagement #kleinfeld

So that was all…because like I said, I thought I had found “The One” at this point, so I didn’t try any else on at Kleinfeld!

ON TO…Lovely Bride.

Honestly, I didn’t like anything from here seriously. This was where I went to try on “The Pinterest Dress” that I thought was going to be it, and just like that dress…the other ones from here just didn’t give me that “IT” factor. They are GORGEOUS, don’t get me wrong, but when it came right down to it…they just left a bit to be desired. (I mean, it’s hard to follow the Pnina Tornai dress I almost said yes to at Kleinfeld the day prior, which you will see at the end…)

I went to the top bridal boutiques in #NYC. Sharing the wedding dresses I DIDN'T choose! (Don't worry, I'm not showing my fiance!) #bride #bridetobe #wedding #weddingdress #style #fashion #engaged #engagement #kleinfeld

I did love this one with the pockets…but again…it was just not “it” for me.

I went to the top bridal boutiques in #NYC. Sharing the wedding dresses I DIDN'T choose! (Don't worry, I'm not showing my fiance!) #bride #bridetobe #wedding #weddingdress #style #fashion #engaged #engagement #kleinfeld

And this one was super chic…but felt too casual. Like something a person would wear for their second wedding… (sorry, being super brutal here!)

I went to the top bridal boutiques in #NYC. Sharing the wedding dresses I DIDN'T choose! (Don't worry, I'm not showing my fiance!) #bride #bridetobe #wedding #weddingdress #style #fashion #engaged #engagement #kleinfeld

This next dress, is from Wedding Atelier. It was an interesting dress because it came with a cape!

I went to the top bridal boutiques in #NYC. Sharing the wedding dresses I DIDN'T choose! (Don't worry, I'm not showing my fiance!) #bride #bridetobe #wedding #weddingdress #style #fashion #engaged #engagement #kleinfeld

This is the dress without it…

I went to the top bridal boutiques in #NYC. Sharing the wedding dresses I DIDN'T choose! (Don't worry, I'm not showing my fiance!) #bride #bridetobe #wedding #weddingdress #style #fashion #engaged #engagement #kleinfeld

and this is the gorgeous train that trails behind, which…as I am getting married in a Cathedral, would have been fitting. 🙂

I went to the top bridal boutiques in #NYC. Sharing the wedding dresses I DIDN'T choose! (Don't worry, I'm not showing my fiance!) #bride #bridetobe #wedding #weddingdress #style #fashion #engaged #engagement #kleinfeld

But I ultimately ended up not going with it because the dress itself without the cape felt a little…matronly.

Then there was this one….sweet and cute…but not it.

I went to the top bridal boutiques in #NYC. Sharing the wedding dresses I DIDN'T choose! (Don't worry, I'm not showing my fiance!) #bride #bridetobe #wedding #weddingdress #style #fashion #engaged #engagement #kleinfeld

There was also this dress…which was their attempt to replicate the Pnina dress I almost went with that you will see next….

I went to the top bridal boutiques in #NYC. Sharing the wedding dresses I DIDN'T choose! (Don't worry, I'm not showing my fiance!) #bride #bridetobe #wedding #weddingdress #style #fashion #engaged #engagement #kleinfeld

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the dress. Not THE Dress, but the dress that dang near was The Dress…until I found THE DRESSwhich was the last dress I tried on at the last store! (Bridal Reflections)

This dress I thought was the one. And I went back and forth, and back and forth, over and over. I even went back in and tried it on again after they had closed. I shed tears, I consulted my best three girl friends, I made to-scale, side-by-side comparisons of the two dresses both front and back, but it ultimately lost to THE Dress — which I am beyond obsessed with and cannot wait to share with you.

I went to the top bridal boutiques in #NYC. Sharing the wedding dresses I DIDN'T choose! (Don't worry, I'm not showing my fiance!) #bride #bridetobe #wedding #weddingdress #style #fashion #engaged #engagement #kleinfeld

This dress is a Pnina Tornai from Kleinfeld. She is their premiere designer, and as you can see…she creates true works of art.

I went to the top bridal boutiques in #NYC. Sharing the wedding dresses I DIDN'T choose! (Don't worry, I'm not showing my fiance!) #bride #bridetobe #wedding #weddingdress #style #fashion #engaged #engagement #kleinfeld

I cried when I tried on this gown. I felt like a true princess.

I was thinking about all those years during my anorexia that I was so hopeless that that was it for my life. That I would never be able to come out of that pit of darkness, never be able to love, never be able to let a man into my life — into my past. And looking at myself in the mirror in that gorgeous wedding gown, I just thanked God for delivering me, and giving me such an incredible partner in Steven. And it was just the perfect full circle moment.

I went to the top bridal boutiques in #NYC. Sharing the wedding dresses I DIDN'T choose! (Don't worry, I'm not showing my fiance!) #bride #bridetobe #wedding #weddingdress #style #fashion #engaged #engagement #kleinfeld

And it had a gorgeous train to boot, that also would have gone stunningly in the Cathedral. But alas, I did not choose this beauty. During my back-and-forth deliberation, I showed my father, and he took one look and said…decision made: you’re not walking down the Cathedral in a sheer corset.

I went to the top bridal boutiques in #NYC. Sharing the wedding dresses I DIDN'T choose! (Don't worry, I'm not showing my fiance!) #bride #bridetobe #wedding #weddingdress #style #fashion #engaged #engagement #kleinfeld

And he was absolutely right.

Though this dress was absolutely beautiful, it was too revealing for church. After all, marriage is a covenant between Steven and I in front of God. And my attire should reflect that reverence…and this one did not. And come that day, I would have felt really…exposedwalking front and center down the aisle in front of my parents’ friends and Steven’s family.

I am so glad I went with the choice I made. THE Dress that I am wearing next month is truly ethereal! I put it on, and it was the most “Caralyn” dress I have ever seen in my life. It felt as though someone had designed it with me in mind. Not the sleek, chic, satin slip dress I thought was a “Caralyn” dress…but one that actually reflects my soul. One that reflects who I am, what I have overcome, and dare I say is “me, in dress form?”

Okay..okay…we’re getting a little lofty here…it’s juuuuust a wedding dress.

OOOHHHH I am so tempted to put a photo on here!

By the way, I told Steven he was not allowed to look at tonight’s blog post lol So no worries about him getting a “sneak peek” of his lady in white!

Alright, that’s it for now!

Thank you for checking out my wedding dresses! This was really fun! I can’t believe we’re getting so close!

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21 responses to “The Wedding Dresses I DIDN’T Choose!”

  1. You look so stunning in these dresses, Caralyn! THE DRESS must be mind blowing! I’m so happy for you both. 🙏🏻❤️☺️

  2. These dresses were beautiful but I agree with what your Dad said. I do not know you except through your writings so please don’t be upset when I say that, while beautiful, none of these dresses were “you”. Not even what you thought was “the dress”. I can’t explain it, just a feeling. I hope you post a picture of THE DRESS because it will be perfect for you.
    Don’t stress over things, it will all work out perfectly. Blessings to you and Steven.

  3. Oh, Caralyn, what fun to go wedding dress shopping with you! Thank you for sharing the excitement and the decision making! I can only imagine what that perfect dress is going to look like …

  4. Thank you for posting those lovely photos! And just a tip to any bride looking for their dress, any sheer part of a gown can be lined–Pnina is known for doing that to make some of her gowns more modest, especially for church weddings. The last gown was beautiful, so I can imagine the one you did choose will be absolutely stunning, just like you!

  5. Wow, tough decision when you look fabulous in all of them! I had no idea what this year’s brides are wearing…so glad you shared these runners-up! I wore my mom’s wedding dress, reinvented with 80s lace and puffery. Glad to see that lace is still in style. Blessings to you for your wedding day…you will be beautiful, no matter what you wear!

  6. You look stunning in all those dresses, but I cannot wait to see THE dress!

    I had the same invitation fiasco. I did the calligraphy myself on every single envelope and for a long time NOBODY got theirs because of the orientation of the envelope. Can you say NERVOUS BREAKDOWN ?!? In the end, and stress and tears later, people eventually got them. I text-harassed them about telling me when they got them! Haha! YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE IT TO YOUR WEDDING. Everyone will show up and it will be PERFECT. ENJOY THE LAST FEW WEEKS as best you can and do not let the little details eat you alive. They don’t matter in the grand scheme of things and don’t let the devil steal joy and lose focus.

    Remember, you got your answered prayer and ARE GETTING MARRIED and it will be PERFECT. Nobody is going to remember the table centerpieces and if they make remarks about them they have bigger problems. Congratulations and I AM SO SO happy for you… From, a stranger on the internet. 🙂

  7. Caralyn, you’d look beautiful in a burlap sack. Lol You’re just lovely, inside and out! This was so fun to see all your choices! Thanks for sharing 👍

    P. S. I had an ideal of a classy silk, no frills gown but ended up with lace, pearls Greek goddess look! You just know when the right one is tried on. ❤

  8. That was so much fun, thank you for letting us see all the dresses! You looked amazing in all of them. Can’t wait to see the real one. 🙂

    As for the stress, hang in there. ♥️ Pretty normal, I think. The night before my wedding I could only sleep like one hour, haha. Your day will be amazing. ☺️

  9. Great post Caralyn. Some of the dresses that you showed made you look like Morticia Addams on Opposite Day. LOL. #Justjoking
    Speaking as a guy who is not at all clued in on fashion styles or anything like that, I know aesthetics and I did see a couple on the list that look really good. The first one is actually the first one. LOL.
    With your explanation I do see why you didn’t choose it. Confidentially that girl in the picture looks very much like the person I’m talking to on a dating website.
    Back to the dresses. The second one is something that I believe the picture didn’t do justice. It complimented your skin tone, your figure, you face perfectly. Its the one that was below this phrase in your article – “Then there was this one….sweet and cute…but not it.”
    It made you look like a something out of fairy tale – beautiful fairy or a princess. Frankly speaking, when it comes to a wedding day, isn’t that what every girl wants..?
    Anyways, you know what is best for you. I hope you have an amazing day.

  10. Okay, so you and Steven should get married, or at least go through the ceremony about 10 more times so you can wear a different dress each time!!! 🤠
    Either that, or you need to hire out as a model for the shops where you tried these on!!!!
    ❤️&🙏, c.a.

  11. Lovely dresses. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your wedding dresses that you didn’t pick. lol You’ve got me curious about the one you picked! 🙂

  12. We had First Communion last Sunday at my church and the most amazing dress I have ever seen wws made from the girl’s mother’s train. It must have been a very long train, with lace and beads, and it made the most gorgeous First Communion dress. A great upcycle idea.

  13. So cool! I can now say I know someone who’s been to Kleinfeld! And I agree with you. The Pnina Tornai dress wouldn’t have been right, though she’s known for lining sheer dresses to make them more modest.

    If these weren’t THE dress, the one you ended up with must be stupefying in its beauty. I can hardly wait to see it.

    I’m praying that you’re able to make it through the next weeks until the wedding in peace and safety, trusting in the Lord, and keeping Him as your Center, regardless of how busy and hectic things get with all the acting jobs, etc. And I’m also praying that all those wedding invitations get to their appointed destinations NOW, in Jesus’ Name! God knows where they are!

    You will keep Caralyn in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because she trusts in You. ~ Isaiah 26:3, personalized.

    I’ve used this verse many times to get myself out of a panic attack, and God is so good and so faithful. He always fulfills His Word!

  14. Caralyn, I am simply tickled for you and Stephen. And I will think of you often throughout your wedding day; which will be easy to do as it is my birthday, as well!!😉 My prayer for you is that the ENTIRE day be a holy one – centered on Christ and the Sacrament you are about to enter into – not only in the Church, but even the reception dance floor where all the Joy HE holds for you will undoubtedly show itself just as David dancing alongside the ark!🤣 I look forward to seeing a picture of you in THE dress because I am certain you will look LOVELY in whichever “one” was chosen. Sending you all sizes of hugs & blessings as you continue to float toward your Sacred Day!

  15. I just saw that you were married. I hope you have a great marriage to your guy.

    When I read this some time ago I felt like Hugh Grant in the scenes with Andie McDowell in Four Weddings and a Funeral when she is trying on wedding dresses.

    • Thank you so much for sharing in the joy with us! hhahaha too funny! yeah, let’s just say we had a lot of fun trying on dresses! Hugs and love xox

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