Shopping for your wedding dress can be one of the best experiences throughout your wedding planning process. To keep that magical experience from turning into an overwhelming, daunting, and dreadful task, follow these 10 pro tips to buying your dream wedding dress.
1.) Limit or eliminate your entourage. We know how excited you might be to share your dress shopping experience with your entire bridal party, but this can often lead to an overwhelming experience. Everyone will have their vision of what they think you should wear or look like on your big day, and this can be both confusing and a waste of your often timed appointment. So keep your entourage small and remember your voice is the only one that truly matters. Trust yourself and go with your gut. Often the most successful days include the person paying for your gown and your most trusted advisor.
2.) Allow 6-8 months for your dress to be ordered and delivered. Designers and dress boutiques don’t often carry large quantities of gowns in-stock, as bridal gowns are typically made to order. Unless you plan to buy a dress ‘off the rack’ and take it home that day, your gown will need to be ordered, made to your specific measurements, shipped to your store, fitted, and altered all before you can take it home. So do yourself a favor and allow enough time for these steps to take place so that you do not become stressed about whether or not your dress will be ready in time for your big day.
3.) Don’t overload yourself by visiting too many shops. The phrase “too much of a good thing” definitely applies when looking for your dream dress. More than two shops in one day can quickly turn into an overwhelming experience. Combine that with multiple options, and after a while, all the dresses will start to blend, making it near impossible to distinguish between them. We get it; trying on an endless supply of beautiful gowns is every girl’s dream come true, but all good things must come to an end. Start by narrowing down your search according to your budget and location. Once you make your appointment, Don’t try on the entire store. 3-5 dresses at a time is plenty. The minute you put on the dress that gives you all the bridal feels, TRUST YOUR GUT, and don’t be afraid to say yes! Don’t be surprised if your dream gown ends up being the first one you try on either.
4.) Make an appointment. Most bridal shops are typically appointment only. Shops do this because they want each consultant to give you their undivided attention as they help you find the dress of your dreams. While most walk-ins are welcome, don’t expect to snag a consultant and try on gowns right away without an appointment. If you plan to go on a weekend, secure your appointment at least a week in advance, especially during engagement season. To add a little more magic to your appointment, ask the salon if you’re allowed to bring champagne or treats to share afterward to celebrate the occasion.
5.) Have an open mind. Wedding gowns are not like any other garment you will try on or wear. The fabrics and adornments are delicate and intricate, and each dress is structured to fit uniquely. While you may walk into your appointment with a completed vision of what you should look like on your wedding day, allow your consultant the opportunity to show you a range of different styles & fits. Think of your consultant as your dress whisper, whose job is to listen closely to your wishes as they simultaneously flip through their mental Rolodex to pull the ideal dresses for you to try on…some of which may be unexpected. A successful appointment takes a little bit of patience and a whole lot of trust in both yourself and your consultant. Once you know your ideal gown shape, the rest will fall into place. Who knows, you may even surprise yourself and walk out in a style you never knew would look so good on you!
6.) Do not, we repeat, DO NOT get hung up on the dress size! Wedding gowns run at least 2 sizes smaller than your regular street clothes. If you wear a size 12 in pants, you shouldn’t be alarmed if you fit a 16-18 size wedding dress. Who thought that was a good idea? We don’t know, but we offer you this advice. Allow yourself the mental space to move past the numbers you see and focus on how each dress makes you feel instead. There is no mistaking that oh so magical ‘bridal feeling’ when you slip into the gown of your dreams. Don’t allow arbitrary numbers to dictate your overall experience.
7.) Don’t be afraid to say YES to the first dress at the first store…it really can be that simple! Will it be disappointing to your entourage, more than likely, however, as cliche as it’s sounds- when you have found the one, you know. You don’t want to take it off! If you keep coming back to a particular dress, that’s the one! Don’t second guess yourself, and don’t ponder committing to your dream dress longer than you did your fiancé.
8.) Move on. Once you’ve said yes to the bridal dress of your dreams, move forward with the rest of the planning, Resist the urge to continue looking at wedding dresses unless it’s pictures of you in the gown you already picked. There will always be something to love about other dresses. If you’re having second thoughts about your dress, note that as an industry-standard, wedding and special occasion gowns are non-refundable and can not be exchanged. So fall in love with your gown, take it out and look at it and
9.) 45-60 days out from your wedding, have your dress altered. Don’t expect your gown to fit perfectly once it arrives from the designer. Even though your consultant took your measurements when you ordered, alterations are the final step to make your wedding dress a custom fit. 99.9% of the time, you will need at least a hem on your bridal gown. Don’t forget to bring the shoes and any undergarments you plan to wear on your wedding day with you to your alterations appointment. These will be crucial in ensuring the seamstress tailors your gown to be just the right fit!
10.) Rock that gown and never look back! Shopping for your wedding dress can be one of the best experiences throughout your engagement and wedding planning process. The most important thing to remember is that when it’s all said and done, your voice is the one you should trust the most. So before you say YES to the dress that everyone else loves, take a moment and choose the gown that makes you feel like the best version of yourself! Our rule of thumb is, if you feel good in it, it will show! Rock that gown confidently, and don’t look back.
And there you have it. After years of experience in the bridal industry, we hope that you’ll take these tried & true tips with you as you search for the dress that gives you that oh so special bridal feeling. No matter what dress you choose, we’re willing to bet your fiancé’s going to think you’re the most beautiful girl in the room!