Shopping for your wedding gown is one of the most wonderful moments of your journey to become a bride, but comes with potential challenges. When did you go shopping for a extraordinarily expensive and profound garment like this before? In case you didn’t, we got the tips that will help you navigate this shopping journey in an informed way. So before you try on any gowns, read our list below and you’ll feel much more chilled as you hit the shops!
Plan 8-10 months ahead
You might have already noticed in many wedding guides that you’re advised to purchase your wedding dress eight to ten months before the wedding. This may seem surprising, but as your dress will be made from scratch, adorned, finished and shipped, also adding to that the fittings, you need to allow for enough time to find the right dress, and all of the people who make your dress enough time to do so.
Start early as possible and don’t cut it too fine, or you might end up with some really stressful weeks before the wedding. It is not worth it, so if you are engaged there is no time like now to start dress researching!
Set a total budget
One of the mistakes many brides make is not have a budget for their wedding gown before trying on dresses. The nightmare would be that finding yourself in the dress of your dreams, to then realize that you would need to sell your car to afford it. Avoid this and -only- try dresses in your price bracket.
Establish the maximum number that you are comfortable with – this will narrow down the selection when your consultant picks dresses for you and suddenly the range of options will appear less overwhelming.
Before you try that wonderful gown in the window, check the price of it, and make sure you can afford it without having to compromise on other big ticket parts of your wedding such as the photographer and inviting all the people you want.
If you know that your family is contributing to your dress, make sure to have a commitment of the exact figure when you start looking for gowns. It would not be fair on you – or them – to have that discussing in the shop when you are wearing the dress. The bridal salon is not the right time for arguing, black mailing or tears.
Don’t forget to leave room in the budget for shoes, veil, accessories, undergarments and alterations, as these will come with their own separate costs. So in other words, a total budget which includes everything is going to help you a lot as you search for a dress.
Bring the right people – and not too many of them
For a number of reasons is it best to only be bringing those who you trust have your best interest at heart. Before inviting anybody other than your best friend you need to consider the following:
Shopping for your dress is a delicate matter, why it is so important to avoid unnecessary distractions interfering with this precious decision. You want to stay calm and level-headed as possible at all times. Dealing with interpersonal politics and people dynamics is the last thing you want to be concerned with.
Even though it could seem nice to be surrounded by lots of people, it might be hard for them not to let their personal opinions overpower yours. You don’t need experts or fashion critics along as your own feelings about the gown will probably be undermined. Only invite the closest few who you know will give you unconditional support and positive vibes.
Have an idea of what type of wedding you are hosting
It is really useful to already know what type of wedding you’re planning when booking bridal salon appointments, as the venue and theme will likely define the criteria of dresses that are going to suit the occasion best. Although it’s not essential, you will find it much easier to establish the dress style you are looking for as the circumstances of the day might affect the type of attire, how much skin to expose and level of formality.
Of course you can wear whatever you want where ever you want, but if you’re getting married in a country side setting, a tightly fitted sequin mermaid gown may not be the most cohesive fit. Or if you bought a satin ball gown and end up eloping to a beach destination, it will save you a lot of stress and money from having to replace the dress for a more practical design.
By describing the details of your wedding to the consultant she or he will be able to quickly “get the vibe” you are after. It is not a bad idea to share your wedding mood boards so that the consultant can advise you better of what styles will hit the jackpot.
Have a wedding date
Have a date before you purchase a gown as the season will indicate what fabric and sleeve is the most suitable (although today’s bridal outlets often offer detachable accessories which opens up for more variation).
The sleeves, skin exposure, skirt volume and type of fabric could all depend the time of the year. An outdoors summer wedding dress has very different properties that one which is better suited for winter, so before you purchase a minimal slip gown for an summer wedding, and your date changes to autumn, you might find that wish you went for something more dressed (however if you find yourself in this situation this can always solved this with a cool bridal jacket).
If your date is not set yet – it is at least helpful to know which season, at least.
Be realistic about your lifestyle to avoid disappointments
The key to a stress-free dress shopping experience (and a more sane engagement) is to avoid buying a wedding dress too small because you want to lose weight. Chances are that you will loose some weight even if you don’t try due to stress, but everybody’s bodies reacts differently to the pressures of planning a wedding.
A seamstress can usually adjust a dress two sizes down and one size up (this can depend on the design), so buying a dress which fits you well at the time of the purchase is a much safer idea, and then adjust it for a perfect fit a couple of weeks before the wedding.
Please don’t focus too much about your weight, but rather on feeling chilled and positive as you plan your wedding. Wedding day preparations are stressful enough as it is, so avoid placing unrealistic expectations on your self. Your Groom loves you and wants to marry who exactly how you are!
Check your options
Research all the stores in your area before booking. Not every salon stocks the same gowns or designers. Different salons tend to have a slightly different niché, so don’t waste time going to places that won’t fit your criteria. If you see a dress you like on their website, phone ahead before you book an appointment to make sure it is in stock.
Going to a bridal dress shop is not the only way of buying dress and you have plenty of alternatives such as Etsy, online portal such as Pret-a-porter or BHLDN. If you are looking for something simple, try Reformation, H&M or any of these low-cost designer dresses.
Definitely avoid the Asian discount dress market altogether – if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely isn’t true!
Another viable option if you can’t find what you are looking for, is to find a pattern maker and seamstress that will create the dress of your dreams. It is really crucial that you find a credible and professional dressmaker, as you are putting a great deal of trust in them.