For some, finding the bridal dress of your dreams can be a time-consuming, difficult process. It might be one of the most expensive items you’ll ever purchase when you factor in customization and alterations.
Still, there are simple tips you can follow to make the wedding dress shopping experience less overwhelming.
Do your research
Even before you start pinning dresses to your wedding inspo boards, make time to read a few bridal magazines and go online to research potential designers and boutiques in your area. This advanced sleuthing can help you save time by showing you what’s out there, and help narrow down the cuts and trends that speak to you. Don’t hesitate to ask your newlywed friends where they found their dream dresses. Call local retailers for advice—many will have great options in store that aren’t shown on their websites.
Go by appointment
In general, bridal boutiques operate on a by-appointment basis. Booking your visit well in advance gives them time to pre-pull styles based on your preferences. You’ll also be more likely to be offered VIP perks such as a larger fitting room or complimentary Champagne.
Trying on every dress in the store is exhausting, and unnecessary. Making a few decisions in advance, like if you want a long train or something strapless will help make each dress outing more productive. It’s helpful to bring clippings along as well to show your consultant certain shapes and silhouettes you’d like to try on.
Play dress up
Remember that there’s no harm in trying on as many dresses as you’d like—even if it means booking more than one appointment at different boutiques. That one design you never considered might end up looking amazing on your body. There’s no better time to try on a parade of beautiful gowns and indulge your inner princess!
Make it fun
Play up your bridal appointments and fittings into fun afternoons with your girlfriends, instead of an errand on your schedule. Booking spa manicures or a light lunch post-shopping makes the excursions more enjoyable for everyone!
Have your bestie by your side
Going dress shopping in a big group can actually be stressful, especially if your friends have wildly different aesthetics and opinions. For a more calming experience, bring that one close friend who knows you well and is comfortable enough in your friendship to speak up if a look just isn’t flattering. Bonus points if they’re an excellent iPhone photographer who can help you chronicle and keep track of the day’s top contenders.
Stick to a budget
Wedding dresses, whether they’re made-to-order or mass-produced, are available in a shockingly wide range of prices. Knowing your top price point and communicating that clearly to each salesperson you’re interacting with will help narrow down the choices and prevent you from falling in love with something that’s way out of your budget.
Know your timeline
Most bridal gowns are made-to-order and the entire process can take months depending on the handiwork involved and any tweaks that you’re making to the design. You’ll feel better leaving yourself plenty of extra time for fittings and alterations, whether the dress will be made onsite or shipped to the boutique from overseas.