Advice for Wedding Dress Shopping

I’m a total sucker for the show “Say Yes to the Dress.”  And on the show, you see a variety of brides, style choices, and people helping them choose a dress.  Just watch a couple of episodes, and you’ll see how overwhelming wedding dress shopping can be.  Here are some of my real life tips about selecting a wedding dress.

Who to take with you?

In my opinion, the maximum amount would be 3 people.  And make them people you’re close with.  When I went dress shopping, I took my mom, sister and grandmother.  You definitely want someone that you trust who can tell you if you honestly look good or not.  Having too many people makes for too many opinions.  When there are too many opinions, you aren’t likely to walk out with a dress selected because you are too overwhelmed.  So, be selective about who you take with you!

You’ll have to go back for at least a couple of fittings, so that’s when you can take your whole crew with you!  They’ll know that you’ve already fallen in love with the dress (and purchased it), so they should be very happy and give you the butterflies you want to hear!

Make Appointments

Call ahead and make appointments with at least 2 bridal shops in town (if that’s feasible for you!).  Most appointments last 2 hours, so be sure to ask how long your appointment time will be.  You don’t want to just show up to a bridal salon and expect awesome service.  An appointment is a necessity.  And arrive a few minutes early so that you can browse the store at your leisure without it eating into your appointment time.

Do some research

Before you go to your first dress appointment, do a little online or magazine research and pick out some dresses that you’d like to try on.  Also, what is the feel or theme of your wedding?  An outdoor autumn wedding dress is much different than a black tie indoor New Year’s Eve wedding dress.  So, be mindful that you want your dress to match the season and the theme of your wedding.  Do you like lace?  Do you want a long train?  Do you want a lot of bling?  Think through some of these questions before you go.  You might be surprised once you get there though.  Have some pictures printed out to help give the consultant some direction, too.

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover

Some dresses look awful on a hanger but look amazing on you!  And vice versa!  I thought that I would love a lace dress, but I ended up not liking how it looked on me!  Go figure!  So, be open to a suggestion or two from your bridal consultant.  They know what they’re doing, but it also helps if you’ve done a little preliminary homework of your own. 

Remember, alterations

When you’re trying on dresses, they only keep a few sample sizes on hand.  So, you have to be mindful that alterations will be made to make the dress fit you like it needs to.  You’ll have to go back for at least a couple of fittings, so it’ll get better with each visit.

What to take with you?

To the first appointment, you don’t need to take much.  Just wear clothes that are easy to slip on and off.  For your fittings, you’ll need to have your undergarments and shoes with you so that the seamstress can make the alterations just right.

Wedding dress shopping is very fun, but can be stressful if you feel overwhelmed.  So, take a deep breath, follow my advice above, and make a full day of it.  You’ll only buy a wedding dress once and you want to make absolutely sure that it’s the right dress.  And don’t worry about your whether your groom will like the dress or not – he probably thinks you look beautiful in an old t-shirt and gym shorts.  :)