You are now entering the magical world of bridal fashion! As we imagine, you have been asked many questions about your wedding gowns since you got engaged. These include: what do you like? When are you shopping for it? Can they come with sleeves? Who’s your favorite designer? Shopping can be stressful, who knew?
1. Establish a budget
Before you start pinning those gorgeous diamond-encrusted wedding gowns, look at your wedding budget. Determine how much you are willing to spend on the gown. You will narrow down your options (there are so many beautiful gowns!) This will help you refine your expectations when shopping for a dress.
2. Start Shopping 9-12 Months Ahead (If You Can)
It takes gowns on average 4-10 months to make. Shipping times are important (is the dress from Paris? Your gown may take as long as 12 months to complete if you have to make alterations or do multiple fittings.
You don’t have the time or patience? You might need to pay extra for rush services. Are you out of options? Salons will often offer samples for brides if they are willing to do a professional cleaning.
3. Do Your Research
Are you overwhelmed by all the options? Don’t worry! To find the right style for you, take our quiz on wedding dresses. Find out which silhouette flatters your most favorite parts. Have a look at our guide on choosing the right dress for you.
4. Make use of social media to find and save gowns
Pinterest and Instagram are great for finding the many gowns available on the market today. Follow your favourite designers and bridal salons for new collections and to see your favorites on real brides. You can also find out about surprise sales and learn about local trunk shows. You can save your favorites to your wedding dress boards and Instagram archives, so you have something to take with you to your appointments.
5. Select a Few Styles of Wedding Dresses
It is great to be able express to your stylist in a concise manner what style of wedding dress you prefer. It was “sexy silk & tailored”, and all the bridal stylists chose gowns that were completely New York City “Claire”. You can also choose a well-known bridal muse that best suits your style (surprise!
6. Book Bridal Salon Appointments
Schedule your appointments for bridal salons in one day, or even a weekend. You’ll be able to compare each gown and you’ll be more likely say yes if there’s no wait for another appointment several weeks later.
Make a big deal of scheduling all your appointments in one day. To thank your bridal team, plan a luncheon between appointments. Also, keep in mind that not all ladies will be able or able to attend every appointment.
7. Get in touch with your bridal salon today
For a seamless dress shopping experience, give your bridal salon an opportunity to jingle. This will give them an idea of what you are looking for. Most bridal salons keep a record of your favourite gowns, the type of bride, and the date and place. This allows them to find the perfect gown for you on your big day.
Although some salons might have your favourite designers, they will likely have only a few gowns. Ask them about your preferred style and if they are able to order a sample. Asking questions such as “Do you have plus-sized samples of your gowns?” is a great way to get answers.
Ask the salon if you’re allowed to bring treats or bubbly. Many bridal salons already offer champagne to guests, but some prefer that the delicate wedding gowns be kept away from those who are stains creators.
8. Select Your Bride Tribe Carefully
You should take extra care when selecting your wedding dress hunt guests.
First, find out how many guests you allow into your salon’s rooms. Usually this is 4-5 plus the bride. The second step is to take a hard look at who should be there. Is anyone paying for the gown? Also, make sure you choose positive guests. Some close friends might not be suitable for this day because of their general cynicism. Your bride tribe should be positive, understanding, and able to understand who you are and what you like. This day is all about you choosing your dress.
Many brides ask whether they should invite their Mother-in-Law. If she is a person you can get along with and who is super supportive, you should invite her. You might invite her to another event and tell her that you are shopping with close friends if you have a conflicting relationship or worry about her judgement. You want to feel at ease zipping and unzipping throughout the day.
9. Make sure you have a list of questions ready for your stylist
Your bridal stylist will be able to answer all your questions. This includes how long it takes to make your gown, whether they suggest tailors or alter dresses in-house, if they ship your gown (and if so, what the shipping charges are), and whether steaming your dress the day before is the best option.
After you have chosen your dress, your stylist will show you and your girls how to bustle it (if necessary). So that you are able to delegate the tasks on the big day, make sure everyone in your bridal party understands.
10. Treat Yourself to a Morning of Beauty & Spa
This is an optional luxury that can really give you a lift on a hectic day. If you have the money and time, go to your hairdresser for a professional blowout. You can also get your makeup done at no cost at your local makeup counter. Give yourself a relaxing morning at the spa. If you feel and look “wedding-day-ready”, it will be easier to envision yourself in your dress on your wedding day.