Wedding Dress Shopping Tips that go beyond explaining silhouettes, we’ve got them! Shopping for your wedding day attire can be an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, there are a few boundaries to be set and a few pitfalls to be avoided before you head off to an appointment. We have put together our best wedding dress shopping tips for you, in the blog below!
Set a firm budget, with boundaries!
This one might sound like a no-brainer, and it kind of is. But at the same time, it’s more about setting boundaries with your budget during your appointment. It’s easy to get swept away and go over budget when you’re in a bridal salon. You’ll be trying on option after option until you find something that feels like “the dress”. And the one that feels like “the dress” might just be the one that the stylist pulled for you. Because it sounded exactly what you described your vision to be at the onset of the appointment.
And oh yeah, by the way, it’s $1000 over budget. But now you’re standing there, in front of the 360 mirror, wearing it. Suddenly you can’t picture yourself getting married in any other gown. Before you know it you’ll be justifying the extra cost and swiping your card. Be very clear about what your budget is when you book your appointment. And again, be very clear about what your budget is when you arrive at your appointment. Ask about the cost of each gown before trying them on. Be sure that your budget either includes accessories if applicable (veil, headpiece, etc.). Or that you’ve already set aside a budget for accessories.
How to find the best bridal salon for you
Once your budget is set, you need to actually find a bridal salon. Or, maybe you already have a few ideas but you’re still not 100% sure where you’d like to book your appointment. Here’s the thing, we know that you’re savvy enough to dig through recent reviews to gain feedback from others on what their experience was. But what is the deeper dive that needs to be done before actually booking your appointment? Well, it’ll probably take some digging through the salon’s website.
You’ll want to check what designers the bridal salon carries. What is the average price point of the designers they carry? Do their selections have inclusive sizing? How does the bridal salon align with your vision?
For example, if you are looking for a more romantic bridal moment with a larger sized budget, you’ll want to find a salon that carries Galia Lahav or Berta. If your vibe is more modern and your budget is a little less than “full-scale luxury”, you’re looking for a shop that carries Watters & Rue de Seine! While you are scouring their website, you’ll also want to browse the FAQs to see if the bridal salon limits the number of guests you can bring to your appointment. Yes, it’s a thing. Some bridal salons do not allow more than 6 guests per appointment. So be sure to find out ahead of time before you begin inviting others along.
A note on sizing. “Bridal sizing” is not equivalent to “street size”. For example, a street size 6 could be a bridal size 10. This will vary from designer to designer and can be absolutely maddening. But it’s important to know heading into your appointment. Don’t let it get in your head and ruin your experience.
Inviting others invites their opinions
Shopping for your dream attire for your wedding, whether it’s a gown, jumpsuit, suit, or anything else that fits your unique wedding day vision, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Naturally, you’ll want to bring your inner circle with you. But, there are a few things to remember when deciding who you’ll bring along to your appointment. The first is that if you are dead set on everyone attending, you’ll have to schedule your appointment at a time that accommodates all of their schedules. And also on a timeline that gives you enough time to order your attire if you are not purchasing off the rack. Which will fall about 6-12 months ahead of the big day.
The second thing to remember is that inviting others invites their opinions. While it can be helpful to have members of your inner circle there to keep the appointment on track, to help the stylist pull items, or to keep your budget in check, it can have the reverse effect if you find a style that doesn’t resonate with everyone. It can quickly dampen what feels like an amazing moment by soiling it with doubt when hesitancy over your choice is expressed. If your inner circle is solid and you know in advance that you don’t have to worry about that, amazing! But if someone you love is strongly opinionated and very vocal and you’d love to include them at your appointment, it’ll again be important to set boundaries with them ahead of time.
“Do I need an appointment to go wedding dress shopping?“
You will need a pre-scheduled appointment with nearly any bridal salon you plan to shop at. Yes, even if the shop is considered “off the rack”. Which means that you try on your dress and bring it home with you that day. The biggest thing in scheduling your appointment will be your timeline if you are not shopping off the rack!
Many bridal salons operate on a “custom” basis. That means you’ll try on sample sizes of varying styles, and once you’ve made your choice, your size will be ordered for you from the designer you’ve selected. This can take anywhere from 6-12 months to arrive. That timeline also does not account for any additional fittings or alterations that may need to be done once you have the gown in your possession! Planning your appointment at exactly the right time will be super important in avoiding the stress of having to make any last-minute decisions or alterations to your attire.
What to bring with you to your appointment
If you already have your shoes picked out, then bring them with you! Having your shoes on hand will allow you to play with the length of your attire at your appointment, and also see how your attire and your shoes work together. If you plan on wearing any family heirlooms on your wedding day, bring those along to your appointment too! Whether it’s a veil or a piece of jewelry that’s been handed down to you, having these items with you will give you a more broad sense of what your wedding day look will be when it’s all “put together”.
If you have any flesh-colored undergarments or shapewear that you plan on using for your big day, bring those along as well. Some wedding day attire is still going for that whole “naked” look and there’s a chance if you choose something in that line, the attire will come unlined. Meaning you’ll have to add a liner as part of your alterations and the sample size you try on will be birthday suit ready.
Have a fun bouquet or boutonniere from a wedding shower or a bachelor/bachelorette party? Bring it along! Seriously, using a “stand-in” item for a bouquet or a boutonniere will show you how the item either enhances or interrupts the design of your attire. Lastly, bring along some water and small snacks. Typically, only clear liquids are allowed at bridal salons, but many will pop champagne once you choose your gown. Also, it’s hard to say how long you’ll be at your appointment. It could be half an hour or it could be 3 hours! It’s important to stay hydrated and to keep your energy level stable with some trail mix or protein-infused snacks. Having a full meal before you hit up the bridal salon will only produce a tiring slump full of yawns. So save the celebratory dinner and drinks with your crew for after your appointment!
“Can I bring my fiance with me to go wedding dress shopping?”
Heck yes, you can! Not that you needed our approval, but 1,000%, yes you can! The rule is, there are no rules. Do what works best for you. If it’s an experience you want to share with your partner and having them there will heighten the entire wedding planning process for both of you, then absolutely go for it. You can still have a big reveal on your wedding day at your first look or down the altar, and we guarantee that all the feelings and emotions will still be coursing through you at that moment. Even if they’ve already seen your pick!!
“Can I shop for my wedding dress alone?”
Also, yes! Look, not everyone has friends and family that live near. Conversely, not everyone has an inner circle that is there to lift them up. If you feel like going wedding dress shopping alone is what’s best for you, then, by all means, go! Your situation might be unique because you have friends and family that are unable to attend. You can always facetime, or send photos after the appointment! Or, if you just want to keep your attire choice completely to yourself until the day of, then your secret will be safe between you and your stylist.
Lastly…. It’s ok if you don’t have a “say yes to the dress moment”
In the category of wedding dress shopping tips that no one talks about, this one takes the cake! Look, not everything in life is a made-for-TV moment, although social media would have us thinking otherwise. Standing in front of a dressing room mirror all day, or walking out of a dressing room to a flood of varying opinions is not always a magical moment. You have to remember a few things if your expectations are high for wanting to have “that moment”. The first is, that unless anyone is contributing financially to your wedding attire, their opinions are just that, opinions. Not the final say. The second is that you may have an idea of a specific style/color/silhouette that you fell in love with when you were researching, but when you tried it on, for whatever reason, it just didn’t translate.
When you arrive at your appointment, keep an open mind and an even more open heart. You might go in thinking you can’t imagine yourself getting married in anything other than a ball gown, but you tried on a mermaid silhouette at the urging of the stylist and you find out that it’s suddenly working for you! The most important thing is how you feel. As the saying goes, when you know, you know. If you put on something unexpected and you suddenly feel like Queen Bey, then roll with it! It doesn’t have to match a specific vision, custom, recommendation, or opinion. It just has to feel good, for you!
Now that you’ve made it to the end of our wedding dress shopping tips, what’s your next step? Are you finally going to take the jump and book an appointment, or do you need to scroll through our wedding dress shopping tips one last time?