For most brides, choosing a wedding dress is an event of a lifetime. Your dress sets the tone of your wedding day and is a reflection of your personality and style. When shopping for your wedding dress, start early and set a budget.
1. Find Styles You Like
Browse through bridal magazines, the Internet and Pinterest. Save, cut out and Pin dresses that appeal to you.
2. Pick Your Favorites
Look over the images you saved and see if you have any similar styles or patterns. Are all of the dresses you like lace ball gowns? Start there, then narrow it down and make a list of the features you know you prefer.
3. Make Appointments
Make appointments to try on gowns at multiple stores. Ask your friends and family for recommendations! Be sure to bring your favorite images to the salon and tell them the style of dress you are interested in. It’s also helpful to find out which designers each salon carries—check out the designer websites and make a note of styles you like. Don’t forget to tell them what your budget is! Trying on a dress that’s well outside of your budget will only lead to frustration, and the last thing your consultant wants to do is put you in a dress you can’t afford. Make a day of it and invite important people in your life, like you mother, sister, maid of honor, bridesmaids, etc. But keep this in mind—the more you invite, the more opinions there are.
4. Bring the Proper Undergarments
Wear a nude strapless bra, Spanx, etc. to try on gowns. It’s tough to get a good idea of exactly how a dress looks when you have straps or seams in the way. Many bridal shops only carry one dress for each style. Most of the time, a consultant will be helping you in and out of dresses, making sure each one is clipped in just the right places so you’ll have a good idea of what the dress should look like. You might also want to bring a pair of heels or shoes similar to what you think you might wear on the big day. It also never hurts to bring a bottle of water (if the bridal salon allows outside beverages in the store)—it can get pretty warm while you’re trying on dresses and you’ll want to stay hydrated!
5. Venture Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Don’t say “no” to trying on styles other than your favorites. Trust your consultant during your appointment. They pick out dresses for brides on a daily basis and have a better idea of their inventory. You may be surprised and choose a gown you least expect! The more you communicate with your bridal consultant, the better your experience will be. Be sure to tell them exactly what you do or don’t like about each dress you try on—if you don’t like how your waist looks in an A-line dress, then you probably want to move on to a different style.
6. Don’t Forget the Extras
If you’re on the fence about a dress, ask to try on a veil, headpiece or jewelry (if the bridal salon carries those items). Accessories can sometimes add that extra bit of detail that might be missing—it’s the icing on the cake! The color of a dress can also make a huge difference. At the beginning of your appointment, let your consultant know what color you’re interested in (white, ivory, blush, etc.). The sample dress you fall in love with might not be the color your looking for, but you might be able to order it!
When you find the one, get confirmation in writing of your estimated arrival date, along with fitting and pick-up information. Make a list of everything you still need (accessories, make up and lingerie) and keep everything in one place. When you bring your dress home, keep it safe from moisture, dirt, stains and wrinkles. Many bridal shops will give you a cloth dress bag when you pick up your dress.
Don’t be discouraged if you do not find you dream wedding gown in the first store. While some brides can say “Yes!” to the very first dress they try on, others feel the ned to try on more. You’ll know it when you find it!