Wedding Dress Shopping Tips
Shopping for a wedding dress can be really special and fun but also can be a little stressful. Here are a few tips to make the process go smoothly, to keep this time enjoyable and memorable, and to find the perfect dress for you.
Make an Appointment
Remember that almost all bridal stores require an appointment to try anything on, so call before you go or ask me to set up an appointment for you. Some stores will let you browse without an appointment but won’t let you try on any dresses.
What to Bring to the Appointment
Bring photos of any specific dresses or styles you want to try on. If you want a specific dress, you can call ahead to make sure the store has it for you to try. Photos can be printed or on your phone or both. If there is a dress you find online you can also call the designer directly and see where they carry it locally or if they have a trunk show coming up in the area.
Wear/bring undergarments that aren't distracting and maybe a few options (for example wear nude/white undies (boy shorts/full butt panties are best no bright colors), and bring a strapless bra (also nude or white if you have one). Seamless is always a good call. Nordstrom is a good go-to store for this kind of thing!
Bring a couple pairs of shoes if you have a sense of if you want to wear heels/flats, etc. even if you don't have the actual shoes yet.
Hair & Makeup
It’s best to go with your hair down, but bring a hair tie or a clip so you can see the dress with your hair up or down.
You don’t have to get too fancy, but put some makeup on and it can be helpful to bring lipstick to freshen throughout so you can get a sense of how you’ll look on the actual day.
Any Special Accessories You Want to Wear
If you are planning to wear a special necklace/veil/shawl/etc. for the wedding, bring it with you to the appointments to try with each dress.
This might sound silly, but these appointments can be long and you want to keep your energy up! Most places have water, but it never hurts to have a water bottle and a granola bar with you just in case.
Some places may allow you to bring champagne or will provide it. Confirm with the studio when you book your appointment.
Who to Bring to the Appointment
It’s great to have a second opinion, so it’s typically best to bring at least one person whose opinion you trust. I will caution you though on inviting too many people. It can be hard to make a decision with a whole entourage weighing in, so just select a few people close to you to invite for an intimate experience. Don’t forget, you can always invite people to come to a fitting with you down the road if you want them to see the dress before the big day.
Know your budget. It’s helpful for the store to know what your price range is. They don’t want to show you a $7,000 dress that you fall in love with, only to find out your budget is $3,000. Decide on a range beforehand and let your consultant know. This is also important for you so you don’t walk out spending more than you are comfortable with. Also decide if your dress budget includes alterations, veil, shoes, jewelry, and accessories or if that is just for the dress. It’s good to estimate alterations will cost additionally, somewhere between $250-$750 depending on the level of work you need done.
Come with an idea of what you want and don’t be afraid to speak up on what you like or don’t like, or what you need for this experience to be fun and special.
Keep an open mind. Sometimes the consultant suggests a style that you wouldn’t have thought of and it ends up looking great. While it’s important to know your own taste, be open to suggestions, too. You might be surprised!
Take pictures! It’s special to have this process documented to look back on, but it’s also helpful for your memory! Especially when you do find your dress, you might not see it again for several weeks if the store is ordering it for you, so you’ll want to be able to reference a picture of it in the meantime. You can assign a person who comes with you to be the official photographer for the day. Take pictures of the back as well as the front, any special details of the dress, etc.