You are about to enter the bridal fashion world, which is a dream come true for many. There is a good chance you have been asked many questions on wedding dresses – when are you going to start dress shopping, what do you like, are you wearing sleeves, who is can they come, who is buying, who is your favorite designer? Many people don’t realize the process of shopping for a wedding dress can be a little stressful. If you are going for bridal dress, our top 20 tips below are going to come in handy. These tips come from lessons I have learned from my own personal experience.
1. Setting a Budget
Before you can start pinning and getting carried away with the expensive wedding dresses encrusted by diamonds, it is important to know how much you can afford to spend. Look at your wedding budget and see what percentage of that is for the wedding dress. Having a budget is important because you will be able to hone your expectations. A budget will also help in narrowing down your options (there are a lot of beautiful wedding gowns to choose from).
2. Shopping about a Year Ahead
What many people don’t know that making a dress can take 4-10 months. You should also know there is the issue of shipping (is it shipping from Paris), multiple fittings, and alterations. This means that it can take even a year for your dress to be ready.
Is your wedding close? You can find designers offering rush services, but this is going to come at a fee. Have no other options? If you are lucky enough, you can find a professional cleaning service and try out samples. Many salons will let you buy samples off the rack, and it is going to cost you way less.
3. Doing a lot of Research
You can get overwhelmed because of the wide range of options to choose from. To avoid stress, start by trying out different styles so you can find one that works for you.
4. Using Social Media to Find Gown
Instagram and Pinterest have provided many people with a way of getting to know the types of gowns in the market. It is a good idea to follow your favorite designers, blogs, and bridal salons because you will be seeing gown on real brides and also know about surprise sample sales. Have a board where you save your favorite gowns, and archive Instagram posts so you can show the designer.
5. Picking Dress Style Keywords
You will have an easier time if you can articulate the type of wedding dress you are interested in. When I was shopping for mine, my style keywords were “sexy, silk, tailored”. All the gowns that were being pulled were sexy. Look for style keywords because they will make things a little easier.
6. Making Appointments with Bridal Salons
You can squeeze all the appointments into one weekend or even one day. When choosing between the different options, they will still be fresh in your mind. If you have another appointment a week or two later, you might not remember how the other one was.
You can make things even more fun by planning a bridal lunch where you get to thank your squad for helping you with your bridal gown shopping. Keep in mind that they might not be able to accompany you to every single salon.
7. Calling the Salon Ahead
You can make your dress buying experience even easier by calling the salon ahead of time so you can let them know what you are looking for. Many shops usually note down the kind of bride you are, your favorite gowns, and the D-day. This makes it easier for them to pull gowns that you like.
There may be salons with a designer you like, but they might have a limited number of options to choose from. Find out whether they have the style you are interested in, and whether they can get a sample if they don’t have it. You can also ask whether they have plus-sized options of the gown.
If you are going to bring treats, then ask them whether it is okay. Some salons offer champagne, but some will tell you not to bring anything that can stain close to the wedding gowns.
8. Choosing Your Companions Wisely
You should be a little more careful when selecting people to accompany you when shopping for your wedding dress.
Start by checking the number of guests allowed by the salon (many of them allow 4-5 in their rooms, including the bride). The next step is looking at who needs to be there. Is there someone chipping in for the gown? The guests you choose have to be positive people. You might end up regretting bringing a very close friend because of general cynicism. The tribe around you should be uplifting, knows what you like, who you are, and the day is all about finding the best wedding gown for you.
A common question many brides ask is whether they should tag along with their Mother in Law. We advise to only bring them along if you get along and they are very supportive. If you worry about them judging you or have a contentious relationship, consider inviting her for another bridal event and letting her know you will have close friends with you. The most important thing you need when trying out gowns is feeling comfortable
9. Making a List of Questions for the Stylist
Make a list of questions you would like the stylist to answer, and this includes the time it will take to make the gown, and whether they offer in-house services for altering the dress. If not, ask them whether they can suggest an expert. You also need to ask whether you need to pick the dress of the shop or ship it to you (and the shipping charges).
Once you have made your choice, ask the stylist to show you and the squad on bustling the dress (if it needs to be). It is very important to have someone in the team who understands it so they can do it on your big day.
10. Go for a Beauty and Spa Morning
The day is going to be very busy, and doing this is going to help a lot. If there is time and money, you can get a blowout from your hairstylist, or even going for professional makeup. A zen spa will do a lot of good. You will be able to imagine yourself on your wedding day when everything else looks on point.
11. Bringing along Shoes and Undergarments
We usually recommend nude-colored panties for our bridal clients, and there is no need of worrying about the bra because you can go braless. One thing to keep in mind is plunging gowns or strapless tend to provide more support compared to regular clothing. A strapless gown provides more support than a strapless dress.
You will most likely need alterations, which is the best time for deciding whether to wear a bra or not. If you decide to wear a bra, bring it along to alterations to ensure it is going to fit. It is common for brides to have cups sewn in.
Bring a pair of heels that are of the same height as the ones you will be wearing on your big day. There will be shoes at bridal salons, but they might not be the height you plan on wearing.
12. Forgetting About Sizing
Compared to street sizes (the everyday clothes you wear), wedding dress sizes are very different. This is why you should not get stress when you don’t find the size you are looking for. You will be trying on different dresses, and it will most likely fit.
Almost everyone is going to need alteration, which means the dress is going to be tailored to fit you. This is different from normal clothes shopping where you have to pick a size number.
13. Keeping an Open Mind
While narrowing down on your options helps with gown shopping, it might be a good idea to keep an open mind and try out a gown that you might have not considered.
You can try a different color of gown – champagne, ivory, raincloud blue, or nude. Many people get surprised when they fall in love with something totally different. I never thought I would fall in love with a taupe colored gown, but that happened. It never occurred to me I would ever love twirling in a full skirt, especially since I am a city girl.
14. Keeping in Mind the Climate of the Wedding Destination
Keep in mind the season and destination when buying a dress. Getting a gown with loads of fabrics might not be the best of ideas when you are doing a beach wedding in Mexico.
If you keep worrying about sweating, then choose silks, and you get the chance of showing off some skin. Is it an outdoor wedding during late fall? Maybe the best option is a gown with sleeves that will keep you warm later.
15. Listening to Your Hut and Your Bridal Stylist
Your squad knows you best, but they don’t know more about gowns that your stylist. The bridal stylist is being paid to make sure the experience is perfect. They usually take into account what you love. When suggesting options, they don’t look at what they like, only what you like.
the ultimate goal is blocking out the noises and listening to your gut. If you don’t like something, then that is not your gown, no matter how the squad or stylist sees it. If you feel like you need something different, follow your gut. You will be the one to make the final decision.
16. Avoid Looking at Gowns Out of Your Budget and Factor Extra Costs
There is a wide range of options to try out. This is why people try out dresses that are way over their budget.
When you do this, you can easily end up spending way more than you had budgeted, which forces you to cut costs on other areas of the wedding. You might fall in love with the gown and no other dress is going to make you feel the same way, making it hard for you to find the “perfect dress”. If your budget is $5000, then get a dress that is less than that so you can have money for alterations
17. Taking Pictures
Keep taking photos of wedding gowns you love. You will have a way of comparing the different options and choosing the one you think is the best. Make sure you walk, twirl, and take front and back photos – there will be a lot of dresses to try and you can easily forget some details.
18. You Can Say Yes to The First Gown
Most bridal stylists are very smart, and they will most likely put your favorite things first. Some can feel like it is too quick, but they end up with the first gown they tried.
When shopping for a gown, there was this one from my favorite designer that I wanted to try out and waited for months to do it. This was the first dress my stylist gave me, and the moment I put it on, I knew this was the one. I still went for other appointments, but my mind kept thinking about the first dress.
19. Finding out Whether the Salon Bundles Gown, Veil, and Accessories
You should find out whether the salon has discounts for bridal clients buying veil, dress preservation, and accessories when buying gowns. Salons do this to encourage people to keep sales in the salon. This can save you some money
20. Saving Contracts, Scheduling Alterations, and Delivery Dates
Make sure you keep the contract once you have made the purchase (you might need it to double-check measurements and the timeline). Have a calendar where you keep a record of delivery dates, and also scheduling alterations. You might need a few fittings before everything is perfect.
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