There are tons of details that go into planning a wedding, but the one that brides are usually most excited about is selecting their wedding dress. Picking a wedding gown can be fun, but it also has a lot of pressure on it that can make it daunting and stressful. Here are some tips to follow to make your wedding dress shopping experience perfect and memorable!
Set a Budget
Before you even step foot into the bridal store, you need to have a discussion about the budget. Who you have this conversation with depends entirely on who is paying for the dress. Whether it’s you and your significant other paying for it or if you have a family member footing the bill, make sure you know what number they’re comfortable with. There is nothing more heartbreaking than finding the perfect dress, only to discover its way over budget. Don’t forget about additional costs such as alterations and accessories.
Shop on Schedule
In addition to budget, consider the timeline until the big day. Ideally, you want to start shopping 9-12 months before the wedding date, if possible. This gives you plenty of time to find the perfect dress, order it, and have time for any alterations. If you’re crunched on time, many bridal shops have express ordering with additional cost, or you may have to reduce your search to gowns that will arrive in time with minimal changes.
It’s always smart to have a general idea of what you’re looking for before you step into a bridal shop. Wedding dress shopping can be overwhelming. Until you’re there, you won’t realize just how many gowns there are. Knowing what styles and features you like ahead of time will help narrow it down. Search through bridal magazines, social media, and online to see what you’re drawn to. Make sure you analyze what about the gowns you like. Is it the color? The cut? The little details?
Don’t Box Yourself In
While it’s a good idea to research what styles you like ahead of time, don’t be afraid to try something outside of the box. You’d be amazed about how many brides we talk to that state the dress they ended up going with is something completely different than what they were looking for. You might think you want a sleek mermaid-style gown, only to discuss it’s the princess-style one that ultimately makes you feel like a bride.
Think carefully about who you’re including in your bride tribe. While it may be tempting to invite your entire family and bridal party, that also means a lot of opinions you’ll have to filter through. We recommend bringing a core group of people that you trust and feel comfortable around. Sure, your future mother-in -aw might like to be included, but if you feel awkward and shy around her still, having her a part of the dress shopping could just lead to disaster. You can always include more people later either by doing a dress reveal or bringing them along on a fitting appointment.
Come Made Up
What a lot of brides do is book a hair and makeup trial, or visit the spa, before a dress fitting. This helps complete the entire look so that you can truly envision yourself in each gown. Obviously, hair and make-up may change once you settle on your final look. Looking made-up can also help you feel beautiful and confident. Even if you don’t want to get all dolled up for dress shopping, we suggest you at least do a look that you feel comfortable in. The whole point is that you want to feel as relaxed and pretty as possible when trying on dresses.
Bring Proper Undergarments and Shoes
Bridal experts usually recommend wearing skin-colored underwear when dress shopping. A strapless bra and full-coverage underwear are best, as these fit most dress styles and are still modest enough. Remember, your bridal consultant will be in the dressing room with your helping you into gowns, so you want to feel comfortable around them in your underwear. You also ideally want to bring shoes similar to the ones you have in mind for the wedding day.
Forget About Sizing
Brides are often confused when it comes to bridal sizing. Unlike regular clothing, bridal fashion never jumped on vanity sizing, and bridal sizing won’t even come close to the clothing size you wear normally. It’s best just to forget about the size number entirely. Most brides need alterations anyways.
Take Pictures and Videos
Of course, you’ll want to document this day, especially if you’ve found the perfect dress. What a lot of people don’t tell you is that many brides don’t buy their wedding dress on the first visit. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a bride to find the dress she wants but wait on it for a few days before ordering. This is where pictures and videos come in handy. They let you examine it again closely without the pressure of being there in the moment.
Trust Your Gut
The best piece of advice we can give is to trust yourself. Go with the gown that feels best to you. Other people’s option is great, but at the end of the day, it will be you wearing the dress on one of the most important days of your life. Go with the wedding dress you feel confident and beautiful in.