Finding a wedding dress can be one of the most exciting parts of planning a wedding – but also one of the most intimidating! Some brides dream about their wedding dress for years, while others have no interest understanding the bodice from their boning (and that’s okay!). Looking for a wedding dress is unlike any other clothes shopping you’ve done before and can (and probably should) take some time. There are so many things to take into account to make sure that you pick the perfect gown for you and not rush into a rash decision. Here are some of the biggest dos and don’ts to remember, so that you can say yes to the dress (but no to the stress!).
DO start early. A wedding gown can take anywhere from 4-12 months to be made, and you’ll also need to factor in alterations and shipping. The sooner you can start narrowing down your choices, the less you’ll have to worry about it being finished in time (or paying for a rush order). Even if you’re planning to buy something off the rack, it’s a good idea to see what’s available early on as new collections often sell out fast.
DON’T waste time trying on dresses that are out of your price range. Before you try anything on, set a budget. Remember that the dress budget should also include the costs of alterations, veil, shoes, lingerie and jewelry, plus taxes and shipping fees. It all adds up quickly so keep that in mind.
DO spend some time researching what you like. Before you make those bridal appointments, take some time browsing through blogs, magazines and Pinterest to see what appeals to you. Take cues from your venue, wedding style and season to help. Save the looks you like and take them along to your appointment. It will help your consultant get a feel for your style.
DON’T be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. So many brides go into their appointments with one idea of what they want and then fall in love with the opposite. Bridal consultants are experts at matching you with a dress that flatters all your best features, but not all of them look amazing on the hanger. Don’t make your mind up until you’ve tried them on.
DO make an appointment. Most bridal salons don’t work on a walk-in basis, so make sure you call to make an appointment at least two weeks in advance. Saturday afternoons are the busiest time, so if possible, try to make an appointment when it’s less crowded and the consultant can offer you their undivided attention. When you call ahead, let them know what kind of gowns you like, and if there are any specific designers or dresses you have in mind. And if it’s a trunk show weekend when the designer is in town, book as early as possible. These shows sell out fast!
DON’T take a huge entourage. While it may be tempting to take your entire bridal crew with you, it makes for a chaotic experience. In fact, many salons limit the number of guests for just this reason. Choose one or two people whose input means the most to you. If you want to have a dress shopping experience with all your bridesmaids, invite them to the final fitting and make a day of it.
DO take your time. You may ultimately buy the first dress you try on, but don’t walk out with it on the spot. Don’t let a salesperson put that pressure on you. Shop around, try on different looks and do your homework so that when you do buy, you never look back!
Most importantly of all, DO trust your instincts. If you know deep down that a gown doesn’t feel right, keep looking. The right one is out there!
Photo by James + Schulze