Saying yes to the dress isn't as easy as it seems. There's a reason why so many reality TV shows focus on brides shopping for their dream dresses. For some, the dress is the most important part of a wedding. After all, the bride is kind of the centrepiece of the wedding. With all that attention on you, wedding dress shopping can have you feeling like a kettle about to burst.
Unless you're marrying a billionaire, you won't get very far without implementing a budget. But don't think of it as a way to restrict yourself or limit your wedding dress possibilities. The world of wedding dresses is vast, so having a spending limit is one of the easiest ways to narrow down your choices, ultimately making the selection process less overwhelming. And no matter what anyone says, a more expensive wedding dress doesn't always mean it's better. Take a look at our selection of wedding dresses by emerging European designers, all under $3,000, available only at Poshfair Bridal.
2. Research, research, research
We know you've already got your wedding dress Pinterest board ready, so this step should come easy. Look through those pinned gowns to see if you notice any similarities. Are they a particular cut or style? Are they modern or classic? Are you leaning toward lace or satin wedding dresses? Do you want a modest or sexy wedding dress? Asking yourself these questions beforehand will ensure you're not starting entirely from scratch. Take note of what appeals to you, and make sure to mention it at your bridal appointment. Make sure you've already chosen the general theme of your wedding, so you're not basing everything around your dress. You'd be surprised at how often this happens!
3. The earlier, the better…but not too early
As a general rule of thumb, it's best to get a start on your wedding dress shopping 9–12 months in advance. The earlier you start, the earlier you'll find the dress of your dreams, and the more time you'll have to get it altered to perfection. Keep in mind that you'll want to do regular wedding dress fittings, and alterations can take anywhere from 2–4 months. If you're looking for a custom wedding dress design, however, you'll want to leave more time to make sure it exceeds your expectations.
4. Pick your bridal group
Whether your mom is your best friend or your friends are your chosen family, make sure you have a small support team comprised of the people who matter most to you. Bridal boutiques are small, so only bring up to four people to your bridal appointment. Keeping your group more intimate will also make sure you're not overwhelmed by too many opinions—which may not always be helpful. Bring people you trust, who know you best, and who will support you in being the very best version of yourself. For more advice, read our blog about etiquette rules for bridal appointments.
5. Find the right bridal boutique
Your bridal boutique selection paints the tone of your dress shopping experience. Choosing a bridal salon with no consideration other than its proximity may result in disappointment. Selecting a bridal boutique is a personal decision, so go with one that aligns with your preferences, budget, and vision for your dream wedding dress.
Consider the following when picking a bridal boutique:
Fittings and alterations
Reviews and testimonials
6. Ask questions
Now that you’ve done the research for wedding dress styles, you know what kinds of questions to ask to help you make a decision. You'll have enough on your mind the day of your appointment, so bring a list of questions with you so you don't forget anything.
How long is the typical appointment duration?
Do you carry dresses from specific designers?
Are there any discounts or sample sales available?
Do you have in-house seamstresses for alterations?
What's the average cost of alterations?
How much time is needed to order a dress and have it delivered?
Can you help me with styling suggestions to complete my look?
How will my dress be stored leading up to the wedding day?
7. Prepare for the day
Wedding dress shopping takes a lot out of you! Make sure you eat beforehand, but not so much that you feel bloated. Wear the right attire for it, too. Nothing too complicated to put on or take off. Bring a bathrobe to slip into between dresses and new unworn slippers you can wear throughout the appointment. Some bridal boutiques even offer these amenities.
8. Don't forget to accessorize
Accessories can make or break an outfit. Make sure to try on veils, tiaras, necklaces, gloves—whatever you're into, to get the full effect and make an informed decision. Read our blog all about veils to help you decide.
9. Document EVERYTHING
Take pictures. Write notes down. Voice record your thoughts. Have a friend act as a scribe for you. Heck, video the whole appointment if you want to. Trying on multiple dresses can be overwhelming, and it's easy to forget the details of each one. Pictures are a visual memory aid, allowing you to recall the dresses you tried on, their styles, and how they looked on you.
You only go wedding dress shopping for the first time once. Having fun and making it a positive memory will add to the overall joy of planning your wedding. Breathe it all in and enjoy being catered to. You deserve it!