I Said YES to The Dress! ...It Just Doesn't Exist Yet.
I’ve been obsessed with shows like Say Yes To The Dress for years. I have always imagined what dress shopping would be like, and what it would feel like when I tried on “the dress” for the very first time. Long before I even met Jerry, I had dreamed about wedding dress shopping, and had Pinterest boards filled with gorgeous white dresses. I always pictured myself saying yes in a bridal shop surrounded by friends, family and champagne. So if you had told me 5 years ago (heck, even six months ago) that I would order my wedding dress ONLINE of all places, I would have laughed in your face. I needed my “say yes to the dress” moment, and I obviously wasn’t going to get that by ordering a dress online.
So, I made an appointment to go try on dresses. I had fallen in LOVE with a certain Hayley Paige dress, and it was the ONLY thing I could picture myself walking down the aisle in. The only problem is, it was a $4,000 dress. Even if I could work it into my budget somehow, the logical part of my brain wouldn’t let me justify spending $4k on something I would only ever wear ONCE. But I decided to break the #1 rule they always tell brides on Say Yes To The Dress. I tried on the dress, even though I knew it was WAY more than I wanted to spend. The way I saw it, in order to let go of the idea of that dress, I needed to at least try it on. While that theory wouldn’t work for most, it actually did work for me. I think it’s different trying on a dress you know isn’t a possibility vs. trying on a dress and falling in love with it and then finding out it’s way out of budget after. So I tried the dress on, and let it go. I decided I was going to look around at other bridal shops for something similar that wouldn’t break the bank.
But then I discovered Anomalie. A friend of mine had used them for her reception dress and it turned out GORGEOUS, so I started searching the wedding Facebook groups I’m in to see if anyone else had had any experience with them. The few people that I talked to who had used them had LOVED their dresses, and couldn’t say enough great things about the experience. So I decided to schedule a consultation call. I figured it couldn’t hurt to just gather some information, it’s not like I had to commit.
The consultation call went well, so I set up the design call, and started looking back at all of the pictures of dresses I had tried on during my appointment earlier that month. I found bits and pieces I loved about multiple dresses, and realized that if I designed my own dress, I could take all of my favorite aspects of dresses that I had tried on and create a dress that nobody had ever worn before. A dress that was 100% me. The thought of ordering a dress without ever trying it on still terrified me, but the more I thought about it and the more I saw my design come to life in my mind and in their sketches, the more I couldn’t imagine myself finding something in a bridal shop that checked every box that this dress would. Especially not for less than $1,500. The final deciding factor for me was that if I got the dress once it was all finished and for some reason didn’t like it, I could send it back and get a full refund, no questions asked. I mean yeah, that would leave me without a dress like 3 months before the wedding, but it’s fine. I’d figure it out if worst came to worst.
So, now that you know what led up to my decision, let’s talk about the process!
First things first, if you decide that this is something you’re interested in doing, you set up a consultation call! Basically the consultation call is just you talking about your ideal budget, and them running you through the process. This is your time to ask questions and get to understand how their design process works and decide if the process is right for you! You don’t talk about your actual design on this call, you just kind of run through the basics!
Next, you set up your design call! Before your call, you’ll want to gather inspiration pictures and upload them to your look book so that you can show your designer what you’re going for— what you like, what you don’t like, etc. I recommend at least trying on dresses before you set up a design call so that you have a good idea of what styles you like on yourself! (EDIT because this has been taken in a way that I never meant for it to be taken, I want to clarify a bit. I am not encouraging anybody to go to a brick and mortar store and lie about their intentions in order to try on dresses. Since I originally went with the intent to purchase, I didn’t think about how this may have come across. I’m not going to remove it because I feel like removing pieces after publishing due to criticism seems shady, but I do apologize for any misunderstanding here!) Try to be as specific as possible, but if you don’t have everything 100% figured out your designer can help guide you a bit! After your design call, they will either put you on a brief hold or hang up and come back to you with a quote. Keep in mind, this quote is based off of your initial design, so if you choose to add anything after the fact that will definitely impact the price! They offer different payment options, but you do have to finish paying before they will send your dress into production. However, if you do pay for your dress in full, you get a 10% discount, so if that’s something that you’re able to do it’s definitely worthwhile! Also, if you have a promo code from another bride who has used Anomalie (hi, me!) you can get another $100 off! And when you use Anomalie, if you share your code and someone uses it, you get $50 once their dress is delivered (shameless plug, if you use Anomalie after reading about it in my posts, use my code! It helps me, it helps you, it’s basically a win-win situation.)
Once you’ve figured out your design and received your quote, they’ll come back to you with a sketch of your dress! This was the most exciting part for me so far, because you’re basically seeing your dream dress come to life for the first time! You go over the sketch with your designer and have the opportunity to make changes if there is anything that you don’t love.
After you’ve approved your sketch, they’ll send you fabric samples to choose from! I love this because it allows you to touch the actual fabric and see it in person. This really helped me to get an idea of what I liked and what I thought would look best with my skin tone. They also upload examples of each fabric sample you receive used in previous dresses so that you can get a better idea of what the color will look like once it’s all said and done! That was super helpful to me, because the fabric samples are small squares of fabric, so it’s hard to tell what the end result will be from the sample alone.
The one thing they don’t send you samples of is the lace, but that’s just because they have SO many options to choose from! They’ll upload pictures and videos of different lace options to your dashboard based off of the examples you’ve shown them! If you don’t see one you love, don’t be afraid to be extremely specific and ask for more options to look at. My poor designer probably hated me because I was picky AF and made her upload so many different options, as well as examples of all of them used in dresses. Keep in mind, they will place the lace to fit your vision (kind of like a collage), they won’t just sew it on as is.
One thing I definitely want to mention is that they have been amazingly accessible throughout the whole process so far! My designer (I have Lauren and she’s great!) and I have set up multiple phone calls during the process to discuss every little detail from exact lace placement to the order that I want the different layers of tulle to be used in. I’m seriously such a pain in the ass because I’m so weirdly specific, and she has been amazing at making sure to break down every little step to me and putting my mind at ease.
Once you have your design figured out, they send you a very specific guide on how to take your measurements. You can either take them yourself (do it with help, don’t do it alone because it won’t be as accurate) or you can go to a tailor and have them take them! I’m taking mine on my own because the guide does a great job of breaking it down so you know exactly what to measure! They also send you a tape measure when they send you your fabric samples! Once you send in your measurements and upload front, back and side full body pictures (in leggings and a tight tank top so that they can get an idea of your proportions) you have one final phone call to go over last minute details and make sure everything is perfect, and then your design is off to production!
I started this process in early October (my consultation call was on October 5th, to be exact) and my dress should be going into production within the next week or so! If all goes according to plan, I should be getting my dress in early May! I’ll definitely keep you guys updated throughout the process and will probably do another full blog post on it once I’ve received my dress, but that’s where we’re at as of right now!
Okay, wow this has gotten LONG AF! If you’ve stuck with me so far, THANK YOU! Since this is something I’ve gotten a ton of questions about from you guys ever since I’ve started talking about it on my stories, I thought I’d take a second to answer them all publicly since a lot of you have had similar questions.
Q: Designing your own dress sounds so cool, but isn’t it crazy expensive?
A: No! Surprisingly, my DREAM dress through Anomalie ended up being wayyyy more affordable than anything I liked in a dress shop! I literally chose to go this route because I have champagne taste on a beer budget. Lol
Q: How did you go about picking a designer?
A: I am sure there are other services you can use, but I honestly didn’t look around much after I found out about Anomalie! I just read a ton of reviews, stalked the heck out of their tagged photos on Instagram, and asked around in Facebook groups to hear from other people who have used them.
Q: Are you nervous at all about not being able to see it until it’s done? (this one was the most common!)
A: I was nervous at first, but they do such a good job of sending me updates, allowing me to make little changes here and there if I notice something I’m not loving and basically keeping me as informed as possible that I’m sure I’m going to love it! I’ll be receiving updates throughout production, too. So I’m sure that will help!
Q: Since the dress is custom designed, do you still need alterations?
A: The goal of course is not needing alterations, but obviously even though they’re making it based on your measurements, there is still a slight chance that you’ll need minor alterations, so definitely make sure to factor that into your budget, just in case!
If you guys stuck around for that whole post, thank you! I hope it helped answer any questions or address any hesitations you had about designing your own dress! And just for the recored, I am not working with Anomalie in any way. Even if I was, I would give you my 100% honest opinion as I always do, but I do want to clarify that I have zero incentive from them to write this post, and just decided to write it because I wish I had been able to find a post like this when I was initially considering using them!