10 Tips to Help You Find Your Dream Wedding Dress

Dress shopping is by far the most fun part of wedding planning for many brides. But this experience can also be overwhelming and stressful if you aren’t completely prepared. Here are things you should keep in mind when shopping for your wedding dress.

Start your search early.

Many gowns take four to eight months to be produced, and once it arrives, you still have to factor in more time for alterations. If you’re a picky shopper or you’re not quite sure what your looking for, give yourself even more time to look around. Eight to ten months out should give you enough time.

Know your budget.

This should be one of the first things your consultant asks you and will help guide them. I strongly urge you not to try on dresses that are out of your budget. It only leads to disappointment. Also, be sure that you factor in the cost of alterations and accessories into your final budget.

Go on a weekday and make an appointment.

Saturday afternoons are by far the busiest time for bridal shops. So if you can try to take time off of work, you’ll be able to have a more relaxed experience and the consultant will be able to give you their undivided attention. Either way, make an appointment. By calling ahead, you can ensure that someone will be able to help you and that they have the dress(es) you’re looking for.

Come with a few ideas in mind, but be open to try something new.

Having an idea of your style and likes/dislikes will help your consultant help you. If you have pictures of particular dresses, even better! But also, be open to any suggestions your consultant might have. You never know - you might fall in love with something completely unexpected. Or you might realize that you were head in the right direction in the first place, which is great, too!

Select who you bring carefully.

I’m not crazy about the advice that tells you to limit the number of people you bring dress shopping with you. Bring two or three people or bring a whole bus-load! What matters is that 1) you value their opinion and 2) that respect yours. Just know that the decision is YOURS to make and you may not have the agreement of everyone you bring.

Do your hair and makeup.

Take the time to pamper yourself and feel beautiful before you walk out the door in the morning. It’ll go a long way to envisioning what you’ll look like on your wedding day.

Be prepared for bridal sizing.

Ugh. I hate this, but it needs to be talked about. Most salons only have one or two sizes in stock for each style. And bridal sizing is an entirely different thing than street sizing. That’s not true of all labels, of course. More contemporary designers are a bit truer to street size, while high-end, couture labels are closer to vintage sizing.

Bring the right accessories.

Leave the pink leopard print bra at home, ladies. Bringing skin-toned, strapless bra, seamless undies, and possibly even a pair of Spanx will help you see each dress in the best of light. And if there is a particular pair of shoes or piece of jewelry you already plan on wearing, make sure to bring those along, too!

Trust Your instinct.

You aren’t going to offend anyone- especially the consultant - by saying you don’t like a dress. This entire experience is about finding a dress that makes you feel beautiful and comfortable. Don’t feel you need to swallow your feelings for the sake of being polite. It’s better to speak up than to end up with a dress you aren’t crazy about.

Have fun.

This is supposed to be fun and an opportunity to bond with your friends and family. Treat yourself to a mimosa at the salon, or go out afterwards for lunch. An if at any point the process becomes stressful or cumbersome, it’s OK to walk away and take a break!

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