A guide to your wedding dress shopping experience
If you have found yourself reading this post it’s likely that you are recently engaged (congratulations!) and are ready to begin one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of the wedding journey – finding the dress!
Whether you have been planning for this moment all your life, or you have found yourself in unchartered territory, wedding dress shopping can leave you feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. We have put together a few of what we believe to be the most helpful recommendations and tips for finding the perfect dress and saving yourself a few tears.
Before Your Appointment
There are a couple of things you can do before your appointment to help prepare yourself, and to help us when helping you as well. This includes setting a budget and choosing a theme for your wedding. Both of these are questions that you are likely to be asked by your bridal consultant in order for them to narrow down the styles for you to try on. You absolutely don’t HAVE to eliminate styles if you are open to trying a wide variety, but let’s be honest there might possibly be too many to try them all. So having an idea of the styles that you like is a good idea. This might mean doing a bit of research before you attend your first appointment. Come to your appointments ready to discuss what you like and what you don’t like.
Your budget is something we don’t particularly like asking at the beginning, but we have found it really is necessary. Some dresses are much more expensive than others due to the cost of fabric and the time that goes into creating the details. This doesn’t mean you are not allowed to try on anything above your budget, it just helps to know if there is a price bracket we will be working within.
Additionally, your wedding style doesn’t have to be set in stone – but a basic idea of the look and location can be very helpful in guiding your wedding dress search. For example – if you are having a summer wedding at the beach we will be avoiding styles with thicker fabrics, sleeves and high necklines. As with your budget, this is just a guideline to help give you the most within your appointment time.
Booking Your Appointment
There are a few things to consider when deciding how early you should be ordering your gown. Is your wedding during the busiest months of the wedding season? Is it made to measure or an off the rack gown? How simple or complicated are the styles you like? Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry, we’ll explain ..
If you are getting married in February, March, October or November you should be booking your bridal appointments and making decisions as soon as possible. We have found these months to be the busiest months of the wedding season and they fill up quickly! For October/November/December 2021 we are already fully booked for made to measure gowns and February/March 2022 is filling up quickly. Of course, there can always be alternate arrangements, such as picking your gown up earlier or opting for an off the rack gown rather than made-to-measure – but constraints such as these are not ideal and if you want to avoid this, be sure to plan ahead!
During Your Appointment
Once your first appointment is booked it’s time to start thinking about what you can do in preparation. Don’t stress – there’s really nothing essential you have to do. These are just a few ideas we’ve come up with based on questions we are frequently asked.
Wondering what you should eat beforehand? Honestly, whatever you want. Just remember you will be eating on your wedding day and so the right gown for you is one you feel comfortable in post-meal. What should you wear? Something easy to take on and off – just as you would for regular clothes shopping. In regard to undergarments, you won’t be needing a bra for most dresses and so it’s likely you will be taking it off anyway. However, just in case you go for a style that does require a bra (or if you just feel more comfortable keeping it on) wear one that is comfortable and flattering for you, without worrying too much about the look of it. If your style of gown needs a bra its likely we will recommend a particular style and shape later on in the fitting process anyway.
Who to bring? This is a really common question that we get, and an important one too. We have recently begun enforcing a rule of no more than two guests per bride. This began as a response to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, but we liked it so much we kept it. We want to keep our appointments as relaxing and stress free as possible for every bride. If each bride brings 4, 5 or more people the shop becomes loud and chaotic. It can quickly become overwhelming for the bride with all the different opinions and everyone trying to speak on top of each other. If you do have multiple people you want to help you choose, or even just to see the dress before the day, we recommend making multiple appointments to share the love. Otherwise, choose the two people to accompany you that you think will best help you to make the decision.
Keep the same energy for fitting appointments as well. Bringing 4 or more guests to your fitting becomes crowded and overwhelming almost immediately. Not to mention it can be hard for the fitter to focus on what you want if they are getting multiple different opinions.
Lastly, what should you bring? Your chosen guests and a water bottle. Easy!
After Your Appointment
And to wrap this all up, what should you do after you have chosen and secured your gown? Well, to put rather bluntly, don’t keep shopping. We would even suggest unfollowing other bridal labels once you have chosen who you are going with. The timeline of the construction of your gown is likely going to take at least 6-8 months. This is a substantial amount of time to keep looking and change your mind. And you probably will change your mind a few times, only to come back full circle to your original gown. Save yourself the stress.
That all sounded a bit negative, so the positive is – when it comes to made to measure, changes to style are very possible. There is little that can’t be done, but making substantial changes last minute can add a decent amount of stress (and money) to the dress making process. So think really critically about whether you want to make these changes. Your original decision was not made lightly, there is a reason (actually multiple reasons) why you chose your gown.
If you do find yourself in the position of doubting your original style we recommend making an appointment to come in and discuss it with your fitter as soon as possible. The earlier we can get started on any changes the better. Also, come alone or with only 1-2 guests so that you can really focus on reaching a mutual understanding on the design with your fitter. After all, we are here to work with you.