Are you currently on the wedding dress hunt? If so, you know that it can be one of the most exciting parts of engagement. Or, if you aren’t prepared, it can be one of the most stressful parts. Since I’ve been working in bridal, I have encountered SO many brides who were unaware of some of the key dress shopping guidelines. And guess what gals, this is when I see bridal joy exit the room and bridal stress take over.
So, to prevent stress in your bridal experience, here are 5 Wedding Dress Shopping Tips:
#1: Start looking for your dress 10-12 months out from your wedding
This is by far the most important rule. Unfortunately, this isn’t super common knowledge, and therefore, most brides don’t factor dress shopping into their planning timeline as far in advance as they should. Working in bridal has taught me so many things about the dress process – most importantly: it takes a long time. It takes a few weeks to get everyone together and schedule your bridal appointments, then you actually have to find the perfect gown. This could take a day, or it could take a couple of months, either way, you’ll want to have time. You’ll want to have time because most wedding gowns take at least 6 months to arrive after it has been ordered from the designer. Then, after the dress arrives, you’ll want to allot another 8-12 weeks for alterations. So, say it takes you a month to find a dress, 6 months for it to arrive, and 12 weeks for alterations – that’s 10 months right there!
Please note that this timeline is a generalization. Some boutiques and designers have quicker delivery and rush order options. This is a “no pressure, no stress” timeline.
#2: Have an idea of what you like, but keep an open mind!
This is huge in helping you narrow down dress options. It’s great to have an idea of what styles your eyes gravitate to when scrolling through Pinterest or flipping through bridal magazines, but keep in mind, every body is different. Remember that when you see bridal gowns advertised online, they are most likely on models who were hired to wear that specific dress. Or, when you see a dress on a real-life bride on Pinterest or Instagram, she went through the same search you are on- to find the dress that fits her body and style the best. So, when you’re in a store don’t turn your nose up to trying on a dress just because it wasn’t “what you’ve been looking at,” because it could look phenomenal on your body type! Keep that mind open!
#3: Keep your entourage small and bring the important ones!
If you bring more than 5 or 6 people to your appointment, you will most likely be overwhelmed. It’s an overwhelming experience anyway, so when you add a mountain of bodies and opinions to the mix, it will be hard for you to think straight! Also, if you know that you won’t “say yes to the dress” without your mom or sister or grandma there, don’t plan an appointment without them. It’s so heart breaking when a bride comes in without her “key people” and then falls madly in love with a dress. It puts such a damper on the entire experience! Picture this – you are standing in your dream dress all teary-eyed and filled with excitement, then you remember that you can’t possibly say yes without your sister there. You then have to take off your dream dress and JUST LEAVE. You call your sister and she can’t come into town for another 3 weeks, so you just have to wait, stewing over the fact that your dress isn’t officially yours yet. O-M-G it’s the worst.
Long story short, bring your key people to your appointments. You might find your dress right away and you’ll want them to be there!
#4: Fix your hair and makeup
This will help you picture exactly how the dresses will look on wedding day! You don’t want to go try on beautiful gowns looking like you just rolled out of bed. It will take away from the full dress picture.
#5: Know that wedding dresses are made to be altered, and everyone has to have alterations!
The designers actually make the dresses to be altered, so do not be shocked when they tell you your dress needs to be altered after it arrives. Designers do this so that each dress can be tailored perfectly to fit each body that wears it. Even if the dress “fits” you, your seamstress will be able to nip and tuck it in places that will enhance and highlight your unique body shape. Having it tailored will also enhance your comfort level and overall look! When talking about prices, be sure to account for at least $350-$400 for alterations. That’s pretty standard!
Lastly, HAVE FUN
If you’re prepared, there is absolutely no reason not to have a blast while wedding dress shopping! Finding your wedding dress is such a sweet and sentimental moment. Take it in and don’t be embarrassed if a tear or two makes an appearance!
For even more wedding dress fun check out 10 Ways to Incorporate a Loved One’s Wedding Dress on Wedding Day.
Happy Wedding Planning!