It's that time in your wedding planning process to shop and find your wedding gown! This is one of the most exciting stages of planning, but it can also be one of the most confusing. Here's a detailed list of basic dos and don'ts to prepare you for the best possible experience.
-have an idea of what you want
When you start trying on, you will find out what you like and don't like really quick. However, you want to have an idea of what you're looking for so your stylist knows where to start. That doesn't mean you have to pigeon-hole yourself at all! Brides will often go into an appointment with one idea and leave with a gown that's completely different. Having a good idea where to start looking will save you time and stress.
-have an open mind
You want to keep an open mind when you're shopping. More often than not, a bride will end up choosing a gown that she didn't expect to like at all. If your stylist brings you a dress that is not at all what you were expecting, it may not be a bad idea just to try it. You might love it! If you don't, then at least you can cross that style or detail off your list!
-bring the right people
Everyone is different. Some people prefer to shop alone and some people prefer to have other people with them. If you can't find your dress without your mom, make sure she's there with you for your appointments! You don't want to find yourself in a position where you find the perfect gown, but Mom's not there. If that person is your best friend, sister, mother, aunt, or anyone, then you should make sure they are there. For those who are long-distance, you can always include them over Skype or FaceTime.
-expect to find your dress
The goal is to find your wedding gown. So, always expect to find your gown when you go into an appointment because you're going for a reason. You need a gown, girl! If a shop doesn't have what you're looking for, then move on!
-research what’s available for your timeline and budget
You're ready to start shopping for your wedding gown! The first thing you need to do is some research. Set your gown budget and find out which shops have a selection within that budget. Most shops will have that information online, but never hesitate to call and ask questions to make sure it's a good fit for you. Ask which designers each shop carries, that way you know which shops carry your style.
Don't be afraid to ask any questions you have! Common questions are: "How long does it take to order a gown?" "How long do alterations take?" "Do you offer in-house alterations or a list of recommendations?" "How many people can I bring to my appointment?" "Do you have any gowns that are on sale?"
-shop 10-12 months in advance
I know that it sounds crazy to shop that far in advance, but you want to give yourself enough time to order a gown and have alterations before your wedding. It typically takes anywhere from 5 to 7 months to order a gown and then 8 to 10 weeks for alterations. That means it's a good idea to find your gown at the beginning of your wedding planning. The first two things you should cross off your list is venue and wedding gown, then everything else will fall into place because the venue and gown will set the tone for your wedding.
-be honest with your consultant
Don't be afraid to tell your stylist if you don't like a dress or if something is not quite right. You will not hurt your stylist's feelings. They are there to help you find the dress that you want, so not being open about your feelings will likely keep that from happening. Don't waste time in a dress you don't like. If there's something about a dress that you don't like, then get that dress off your body and try another one!
-bring too many people
I know that it's tempting to invite all your friends and family to your appointments, but you might want to rethink that. A lot of people means a lot of opinions and you don't want your opinion to be overshadowed. Keep the group small with only the people that are closest and those who will be honest.
-shop too much
Dress shopping can be exhausting! You don't want to schedule too many appointments really close together. Start with one or two appointments and if you don't find anything you like during those, schedule another. That way you don't get overwhelmed and you can still enjoy the experience!
-try on any gowns over your budget
The number one rule when you're trying on wedding gowns is to NOT try on gowns that are over your budget. You will probably love it, then you won't be able to find anything you like better, AND THEN your heart will be broken because you can't get that one and will have to settle for something else. Stick to gowns that are in a comfortable spending range because you want to be comfortable and confident when you order your gown!
-try on any gowns that can’t come in time
It's the same thing as trying on gowns outside of your budget: if the gown can't come in time for your wedding and you try it on anyway, there's a possibility that you will fall in love with it. Save yourself the heartache, girl. Your stylist should know not to put you in anything that isn't a possibility, but also don't be afraid to tell them at the beginning of the appointment just in case.
-shop more when you find the dress
Someone once told me that you don't keep looking for your keys after you've already found them. It's also true with wedding gowns. There's no point in spending your time trying on gowns you know you won't like as much if you already know which gown you will be ordering. If you need to try one or two gowns to confirm the one you love is the one, that's totally understandable! Once you find the perfect gown, you won't want to try on any others, anyway!