Hi everyone! I’m back with more wedding advice – this time, wedding dress shopping! I’ll start out by saying this: I did say yes to the dress! In fact, I said yes to two dresses! Okay, three. Five. Ten. Okay, I said yes to basically every dress I tried on.
First of all, there are some things you should know going into bridal gown shopping. First and foremost, know your timeline. Your dress could take 6-8 months to come in after ordering, and you’ll need AT LEAST 6 weeks after for alterations, so it is definitely safe to start looking for a gown as far as a year in advance.
Second, know your budget. Make sure you take into account the cost of your veil ($250-$600) and alterations (generally $400-$600) when budgeting. So when a bridal consultant asks what your budget is, make sure you tell them your budget JUST for the gown, before alterations and accessories. For example, if your total budget is $3000 with alterations and veil, your dress budget would be roughly $1800. Just so you know, the prices on our beloved “Say Yes To The Dress” are generally way higher than you find at other bridal boutiques. You can definitely find a dream dress on budget!
Third, it’s totally okay to go in with no idea what you want. In fact, my first time out, I told my consultant that, and she pulled a little bit of everything for me to try. It really helped narrow things down for me when I saw what the dresses looked like on me, and not on models!
Finally, not everything is going to fit you. Sample sizes are set for the “average” woman (size 14), but there are so many smaller or larger than that! Do not be discouraged if you try on a dress and it is way too big on you and doesn’t look right, or if it’s too small and won’t go over your hips (believe it or not, I faced both of these problems while shopping and I am the “average” size). I had major anxiety over this before I would go into a bridal appointment, but as I got going, I realized that it will still look awesome once it’s ordered in my size, and I shouldn’t worry at all.
Your consultant can really make or break your experience. My first time out, my consultant really didn’t seem into the appointment at all. It made my entire experience a bust, and I left incredibly dejected. I didn’t step back into a bridal salon for months after. After a few more stores later on, met some incredible consultants that really were able to help me out with silhouettes and styles that fit my body and personality best.
Feel free to shop around – I went to 8 stores total before I found the dress. I kept finding myself being drawn to a certain type of dress, even though it wasn’t what I thought it was what I wanted. Try on all different silhouettes and styles. Beaded, not beaded; sparkly, not sparkly; lacy, chiffon, tulle, satin. Find out what you really like, and really don’t like. That way you can easily build and describe your dream dress to your consultant, and they can do their best to find exactly what you’re looking for!
Bring people with you. I brought a large group with me – my mom, my dad, and all 5 bridesmaids. I don’t regret this at all. No one was overwhelming, everyone gave their opinions – honestly, but kindly. So, as a tip for guests at a bridal appointment: always be honest, yet nice. If a bride really looks terrible, tell her…nicely. If a bride really loves a dress, but you’re just not feeling it (but she still looks good), zip it. Be supportive. You’re not wearing it anyway!
After all my searching, I did find THE dress. I thought I had found a dress, but I wanted to be 100% sure I was after the right style, so I booked a final appointment at another salon just to try a completely different style dress. I found one I really liked, and asked my consultant to pull a random dress in the same style that I had been trying on before just to compare silhouettes side-by-side. Turns out, the dress she pulled to compare was THE dress I had given up trying to find. The exact colour, fabric, style I had wanted but couldn’t find anywhere was pulled on a whim. It was fate!
The bottom line is that dress shopping is so fun. Make sure you go in with a positive attitude with awesome people surrounding you, and you’ll have fun with it. Experiment, explore, and enjoy the experience. This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment! (photo: Pinterest)