What You Need to Know Before Wedding Dress Shopping
words by // Eve Green
Shopping for your wedding gown is one of the most fun, yet nerve-wracking elements leading up to the big day. Your bridal gown may be one of the most expensive items you purchase, and no matter what style or design you choose, it’s sure to steal the show! But before you make this once in a lifetime purchase, consider our tips and suggestions for What You Need to Know Before Wedding Dress Shopping.
Determine Your Budget
You are most likely already leafing through stacks of bridal magazines, but there are two essential decisions that need to be made before step into a bridal salon: determine your budget and who is footing the bill. We suggest setting a budget before you even schedule an appointment because what you can afford may impact where you shop for your dress. The good news is that gorgeous, high-quality gowns can be found at all price points. Whether you have $300 or $3,000 to spend, you won’t lack for options! Remember to budget for all the lovely little accessories like shoes, headpiece, and undergarments. When you do begin shopping, resist the urge to try on a dress out of your budget. It’s never wise to set yourself up to fall in love with a dress you can’t afford.
Hand-in-hand with your budget bottom line is settling the question of who will be paying for the dress. Will it be you? Your parents? A doting grandmother? Or, will a combination of parties foot the bill?
Set Up An Appointment
Once the financial questions are decided, the next step is to set up appointments. So as not to get overwhelmed from the get-go, start with one or two bridal shops. Many shops book up weeks (if not months) in advance, so it’s imperative to get your name on the books as soon as possible. Depending on what level of customization your gown requires, it could take anywhere from four to eight months for your gown to be completed. If you start early enough, the timing won’t stand in the way of your dream dress.
Do Your Research
Before your appointment, do your wedding dress research and decide what style of gown fits within the vision of your wedding. If you find your dream gown online or in a bridal magazine, you may even go into your appointment with an exact vision of what gown you want. In the least, it can be helpful to your dress consultant to give them pictures of gowns you are drawn to. This will help them to make recommendations based on your style.
Bring Second Opinions (But Not Too Many)
Knowing which dress is “the one” often comes down to instincts, but a second opinion may be necessary, too. Traditionally, the mother of the bride, and perhaps her sisters, often bond over this beautiful rite of passage. Whether you opt to keep it intimate and in the family, or wish to include friends, we encourage brides to keep it to one, two or even a few, but steer clear of hauling an entire entourage along with you. Packing the entire wedding party in will only result in confusion and possibly hinder the efforts of salon staff. Having too many opinions may also cloud your judgment, making it more difficult to choose what’s right for you, and not what pleases the crowd.
Buy Your Proper Size
Many brides feel the urge to purchase their wedding gown a size (or more) below their true dress size as an inspiration to lose weight. Wedding gown sizes vary widely between designers and manufacturers, so don’t be put off by a number. With months to go before the wedding, ambitious brides enroll in bridal bootcamps and fitness programs with the explicit goal of slimming down before the big day. We completely understand wanting to look your sveltest for your wedding. However, it’s never a good idea to size down when ordering your wedding dress. Don’t put that added stress on your mind and body during one of the busiest and most joyful times in your life. If you do lose weight, your gown can be taken in. If you gain a few pounds, the gown can usually be altered.
Trying on gorgeous gowns and finding your “yes dress” should be one of the most exciting and enjoyable elements of planning your wedding. Proper preparation for this once in a lifetime experience will help ensure that you will find it to be the most magical and glamorous shopping trip of all!