You have been dreaming of your perfect wedding dress since you were 5 years old wearing a lace table cloth on your head. Now the day is finally here and you have no idea where to begin.
Well, don’t you fret because with input from recent brides we put together a crucial list of need-to-know tips to go on the hunt for THE perfect dress. Take notes and write these tips on your heart because this is the most important dress you will ever wear and you only get to wear it once!
1. Set a Budget
Before you even step into a wedding gown store, set a budget and don’t even look at, let alone try on, anything outside your budget. That way you won’t fall in love with a gown you can’t afford. You don’t want to find yourself looking in the mirror on your wedding day wishing you were wearing that $7,000 Lazaro gown. It is also important to keep in mind you need to include your alterations, undergarments, veil, jewelry, and shoes in your budget.
2. Choose Your Entourage Wisely
We have all seen those wedding dress shows where the bride is crying because of a sassy comment made by a sassy friend who doesn’t know how to hold her tongue. YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE THAT BRIDE. Choose your entourage wisely. If you have a friend who has a history of saying rude remarks and putting you down, then it is probably best she doesn’t come. Bring a handful of people who you can trust to make honest opinions without putting you down. Too many voices confuse everything. Pick the ladies who will still gleam with happiness even though you choose a gown they didn’t like.
3. Make an Appointment
The weekends are the busiest days for bridal stores. To be sure you will have the undivided attention of your consultant, make an appointment. An appointment ensures you get the help you need and that you didn’t drag your entourage out for nothing!
Bonus Tip: For a more enjoyable shopping trip, go on a weekday when stores aren’t as busy.
4. Be Prepared
Remember to bring the proper undergarments and shoes to your appointment. If you want a strapless dress then take a proper fitting strapless bra. Plan on wearing tall heels? Bring heels that are the exact height you plan on wearing. That tight little mermaid dress may be easy to walk in barefoot, but it might not be that easy once you put those heels on. If you NEVER wear heels, then it’s best to ditch them for some cute flats. This will make for an easier walk down the aisle.
Bonus Tip: Some boutiques will provide shoes and undergarments for you to use, but take your own. You don’t want to be caught off guard.
5. Remember Your Theme and Venue
When you’re trying to decide what type of bride you want to be, think about what your venue looks like and your theme. Certain gowns look better in certain settings. A princess ball gown may not be the best choice for a beach wedding. A more modern venue might call for a gown that features sleek fabrics and edgy cuts. If you’re getting married in a forest setting, a bohemian dress and a flower crown fit right in. But when it comes down to it, just choose the gown that speaks to you. This is your day.
6. Look to the Past
Have no clue what type of gown you want? Look through your closet and see what types of dresses you own. It might surprise you to discover that you love spaghetti strap dresses that cinch at the waistline or body-conscious sheathes. This can also help you find what your true style is. Maybe you’re edgy and you didn’t even know it! The possibilities are endless, even if you like to dress in black from head to toe but also want to be a fairy princess. The most important thing is to find a dress that reflects who you are.
7. Be Open-Minded
The secret ingredient to finding your dream wedding gown is to keep an open mind. We know several brides who ended up picking a gown in a style they thought they hated in all the magazines. Listen to the consultant. Try on that trumpet style gown you hate on the hanger. The consultant knows what he/she is doing; they help brides find their dream gowns every day. To be sure you get the dress that fits your body the best, we suggest trying on all different styles of gowns. Maybe that ball gown dress will make your princess shine through your usual jeans and tee shirt style.
8. You Might or You Might Not Cry and That’s Okay
You’ve seen that girl on TV who cries when she finds the right gown. We just want you to know that you might (or you might not) cry and both are okay. Don’t base your decision on whether you cry or not. Some women are more sentimental than others. You might cry over a dress no one else cries over and that is also okay. Don’t pick a dress because your family cried once they saw you in it. Pick the dress that made you feel like a dang queen. Don’t get wrapped up in everyone else’s emotions.
9. Know the Lingo
If you want to keep things smooth sailing during your bridal appointment, get familiar with the dress terminology. It’s so much easier to tell a consultant you like sheath-style dresses with sweetheart necklines than trying to describe it in your own words.
10. In the End, It’s Your Choice
In the end, just know it is your choice. Don’t let anyone influence you or sway you in another direction if you have your heart set on a certain gown. You will only wear this dress that you have been dreaming of since you were 5 once. Choose the dress you like, regardless of the opinions of your entourage. You don’t want to be wishing all your life you wore a different dress.
11. Stop Looking Once You Have Found Your Gown
Once you have found your perfect gown, stop looking. Don’t even try on other dresses just for fun. Otherwise, you might find yourself in love with another gown after you’ve already spent $1,000 on a dress you can’t return. This is the most common mistake made by brides. Keep your wedding dress shopping easy and drama free.
Happy dress hunting!