Photo by: Charisse Kenion
There is nothing quite as enchanting as visiting a bridal salon for the first time. Every store is packed with row upon row of dreamy, white fabrics and runway-worthy gowns. Combined with the excitement of planning your wedding, this fantasy setting, a couple of glasses of champagne and mom’s somewhat outdated opinion, all rational decision-making goes straight out the window.
So before the bridal store can cast a spell on you, do your homework and plan ahead. Having a strict budget and a general idea of what you want can help bring you back down to earth to avoid purchasing a gown that is way beyond what you wanted leaving you in a position where your only option is to cut back on other elements of your wedding or negotiating a higher wedding budget.
So before you visit the bridal salon and try on that first wedding dress, keep in mind the following helpful tips:
1. Time Is Of The Essence
We understand that you want to have an idea of the general them of your wedding before you visit wedding dress boutiques. However, it is incredible how far in advance you need to order a gown to ensure that it is ready on time. We generally recommend that you start shopping at least 10 months before your wedding day. This will give you the time to visit multiple stores, ensure that there is plenty of time for fittings and that your options aren’t limited by time.
2. Less Is Definitely More
TV shows have promoted large parties to attend and comment on your wedding dress selections. However, this can be extremely detrimental. We recommend carefully selecting 2 or 3 people whose opinion you trust. This will prevent you from buying a dress that you hate or turning down a dress you love because to many differing opinions can make you doubt yourself.
3. The Wedding Gown Lingo
Taffeta, tulle, illusion and mermaid, sweetheart or princess – it may sound like your wedding dress consultant is speaking a whole new language – and that’s before you even start looking into the designer collections. Whether you are browsing through a magazine or searching for what you like online, make sure to read the description of the gown and learn the right terminology.
4. Stay Focused While Researching
Beware of getting trapped in the fantasy world that is created online by platforms like Pinterest. The more you look, the more disillusioned you will become and disappointment is likely to set in when you start trying on dresses that are within your budget (even if you have a very big one).
5. Have An Individual Experience
Just because so-and-so found the perfect dress on their first visit to the first store does not mean that your journey is going to be the same. Don’t be pressured into rushing your selection. If you don’t like what you see, walk away and go to another store. That said, don’t leave a dress that you have fallen in-love with behind. It might not be there when you return.
6. Know Your Budget And Your Style
Photo by: Wu Yi
Your bridal consultant is going to rely on you to put them on the right track when pulling dresses for you to try on. Be clear about what your budget is and what style dresses you like. Although there should be some room for maneuvering, it is best to be prepared to get the best start searching for the perfect dress.
7. Those Extra Costs
Additional costs can quickly take you way over your planned budget. Remember to factor in costs for alterations and accessories. The perfect shoes, your veil, belt and hair accessories can be far more costly than you expect. Call ahead and ask the store about their alteration pricing and policies so that you can add them to your budget.
8. Travelling Time And Costs
There is nothing quite like planning a weekend getaway to go wedding dress shopping with your friends. While there is nothing wrong with doing this, it is important to consider the distance you are travelling to find that perfect dress. If you needed to take a plane to buy the dress, you are going to have to book and pay for flights for every fitting and alteration. Alternatively, find out if a local seamstress is skilled and willing to work on your designer dress. Keep in mind that bridal salons generally will not work on a dress that you did not buy from them.
9. Be Presentable
Arriving at your appointment in sweatpants and with no make-up is not going to set the right tone for trying on wedding dresses. While you don’t have to get your hair and make-up done for each appointment, it is recommended to at least show up looking presentable. This can help you better imagine what you will look like in a specific dress on your wedding day.
10. Exceed Your Comfort Zone
Photo by: Adrien King
It is more than likely that the wedding dress styles you have selected are the ones that you are most comfortable with. It is however recommended to step a little out of that comfort zone. If you haven’t tried a dress on, you really have no idea whether it will suit you or not and you may be totally surprised by finding the perfect dress. Be a little risque and even ask your consultant to pick a couple of dresses that they think might suit you. They are after all the experts.
Important note: After the big day, you must consider bringing your gown to a wedding preservation company to restore and preserve such a memorable piece.