06/18/2014 06:37 pm ET Updated Jun 18, 2014

How To Find A Wedding Dress: 21 Things I Wish I'd Known - Style -

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Some people call me dramatic. I like to say I exaggerate for effect. But everyone admitted my freak-out was warranted when, three weeks before my wedding last October, I found myself without a wedding dress.

I want to blame the downtown boutique that sold me my first dress (traumatic details on that below), but looking back, I realize that every predicament I found myself in was actually preventable — it’s just that I didn't know what to expect. Allow me to spare you from making the mistakes I made.