It’s time to start shopping for your wedding gown, but like most brides, you aren’t sure where to start. Maybe you have thought of this moment since your were a little girl, or maybe you have’t really dreamt of what you would wear at all. Either way your gown will be the focus of the day and one of the most expensive and memorable parts of your wedding day. Not to mention having it on display in your wedding photos for years to come. There are so many options and where to start? Read on and we will suggest when to start, where to start and what to expect during your wedding dress shopping experience.
When should you start?
Always! Shop early. We always recommend that you start your shopping 8-12 months before your wedding date. Why so early you may ask? You will need about 5 to 6 months to order your special gown, and of course, you need to spare 1-2 months for fittings to ensure all aspects of your gown are perfect for your big day. Some designers may be able to accommodate a quicker delivery, but keep in mind you may need to be more open-minded or flexible when you are shopping with less than 6 months before your wedding day. Also when starting your shopping in the late fall or winter keep in mind bridal boutiques are very busy and you may need to book a couple weeks in advance to get popular times like evenings and weekends.
Where should you go?
The obvious starting points are to source out your local bridal shops, these salons will typically offer you great one on one service in a quiet setting and offering you many of the same designers as larger city stores. You will find some stores that have more of a downtown boutique feel and some that fit into more of a retail, or strip mall area. Do your research online, most stores have an interactive website that you can see their selection to see if it fits your style as well as customer ratings. A store will great online referrals from past brides is usually a great place to start. You may also be able to find out what price points the salons offer to make sure it fits within your comfortable wedding dress budget. Limit yourself to about 2 to 3 salons, you may get overwhelmed by taking on to many. Always be sure to check if an appointment is necessary before heading out with your bridal entourage, that way you aren’t going to be disappointed if they aren’t able to accommodate you and your group that day.
What you should know?
There can be a lot to learn as you begin this exciting process of finding your perfect gown! If you take a few minutes to educate yourself, just the basics, it will make your shopping experience a bit easier. Look at things you like about dresses in an image, things like necklines, straps, sleeves, silhouettes, lace, beading, etc. You may not know exactly which styles looks the best on you, but at least you know what you would like to try on and decide from there. Think of things that are important to you in your wedding gown, does it reflect you, is it suitable for your ceremony venue? Take a second and picture yourself walking down the aisle to your fiancé….what do you see?
What should you expect?
Typically when you arrive at a bridal boutique a specific consultant will great you and be your consultant for the duration of your appointment. This person will often try to help you envision all of your wedding details and pull together a look for you based on styles and details that you are drawn to. The consultant is usually going to be a great help when finding the shape that looks and feels best on you. Remember your consultant sees many brides in many styles and will often be able to make some great suggestions for you, try to keep an open mind.
How to shop for your gown?
It is finally time to start trying on wedding dresses. There are a few things to keep in mind as your consultant is showing you options to try on. Remember some gowns look different on then they do on the hanger. Your consultant also has a pretty good idea of shapes and styles that you are asking for as well as her experience in what may suit you best. Always keep an open mind! Remember that some slight or full customization can be done to make your gown special and exactly what you are looking for. Straps, bows, belt, sleeves, and buttons are all items that can usually be added on from the factory or with a seamstress. When you have found the one, be confident with your decision. All ordered gowns are custom made for you and bridal boutiques have strict no return and no refund policies and contracts. Make sure you are aware of these policies before you go ahead. Go with your gut! If you put on a dress and feel excited and beautiful and can invasion yourself on your wedding day, take a deep breath and LOVE IT! You have found your perfect gown!