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Wedding Dress Shopping and Appointment Tips

  1. Have a rough idea of what you want. Pinterest is awesome. Use it to get inspired and at least have a narrowed list of your choices down ahead of time.
  2. If you’re getting a custom design wedding dress, plan 6 to 8 months out. If you’re getting married in the next few months and really want a custom gown, some places will do it, but will charge you a steep rush fee.
  3. Know your budget. And say it out loud — to yourself, your friends, and the bridal shop associates, so they’re clear about what your boundaries are.
  4. Don't make bridal salon appointments during the week. While you might not like fighting the crowds, the best consultants and deals can be found on the weekend. Suck it up.
  5. Try the big guys like J. Crew, Anthropologie and Macy's. All these majors have bridal collections and they look pretty amazing.
  6. The easiest way to save big, avoid high end boutiques. Sounds obvious but you are never getting a great deal at one of those places.
  7. ​Involve your mom. Keep it small and don't involve every female friend you have ever known. Mom, sister and maybe best friend. That's all you need.
  8. Know the lingo. Bridal consultants speak a different language. Get to know the terms they use. A quick Google search will do the trick. ​
  9. Bring heels and a strapless bra. Trust us.
  10. Do your hair, but Don't do your makeup. When you’re trying on dresses, do you want your bridal consultant to hate you forever and ever because your smeared lip gloss all over the inside of some fancy gown?
  11. Get your entourage together before you go shopping. Have your friends, mom, and mother-in-law-to-be together for drinks or dinner. They’ll bond and become friendly, and learn each other’s tastes. ​
  12. Expect to spend at least a couple hours at each appointment. You do not want to make these kinds of decisions while hangry.
  13. Think about your wedding reception venue. Consider the venue when choosing what kind of style will suit you. Take these things into consideration when choosing your dress fabric, length, and style.
  14. Find out what the return policy is. You might need it—especially if you’re purchasing online.
  15. There’s no perfect number of dresses to try one. Don’t get frustrated. It could be your first dress, it could be your 20th dress. There’s no telling when the moment will happen.
  16. Be open-minded. Don't just stick to one style, you may be missing out on a more beautiful option.
  17. If you’re buying online, read and research the product descriptions. Like, really read them. And if you’re not sure what something is, contact the seller.
  18. Don’t forget about the veil. That goes for shoes and alterations. All those things cost a lot of money so make sure you have room in your budget.
  19. Sleep on it. Buying a wedding dress is a big commitment, so don’t feel pressured by your friends, family, or a bridal consultant to make a choice before you’re ready.
  20. Focus on how the dress feels—not the size (number). As you’re standing in the bridal salon, looking at yourself in the mirror, think about how the dress makes you feel. Do you feel great/amazing/beautiful/princess-y? Awesome! If not, maybe this is not your dress.
  21. Get your wedding dress details in writing. Before you hand over money, make sure you and the bridal consultant are crystal clear on what you’re buying. Make sure you get everything in writing, including the schedule for alterations, the cancellation policy, the manufacturer's name, the model number, and any other pertinent information.
  22. It’s just a dress. Yes, it’s your dress, but the wedding gown is just one part of the whole shebang, and shouldn’t eclipse the reason for the day.

8 Things Nobody Tells You About Wedding Dress Shopping

1. Weekend Only
You will find the most dresses, the best deals and the most experienced consultants on the weekend. It is worth the chaos.
2. Keep the Entourage Very Small
Mom, grandmother, sister, cousin. That's it. No more than five people
3. Nude Strapless Bra
You’ll need a nude strapless bra. Trust us.
4. Ask Questions
Your consultant is there to help. Ask questions and be vocal. It helps them help you. Say out loud what you like and don’t like about each gown, and then rank them in order of your favorites.
5. Walk Around in the Dresses
Don’t just stand on there. Walk around in each wedding dress. Try sitting, walking quickly, even dancing in the bridal salon!
6. Eat Beforehand
Trying on wedding dresses is physically and emotionally draining.
7. Don't Underestimate Your Consultant
Bridal consultants have a bad reputation as hungry salespeople. That's rate. Most bridal consultants are really nice, they are tremendous listeners.
8. No Cameras
Many bridal salons won’t let you take pictures. Even if they did, you will take away some of the mystery. Keep the iPhone in your pocketbook

8 Mistakes Brides Always Make When Dress Shopping

Save yourself a major headache and don't make the same mistakes we see over and over again:

1. Shopping Way Too Early
Don't shop for a dress till you know the rough details of your wedding.

​For example, if you're doing a beach wedding vs the Plaza, that can make a big difference in the gown you choose. Get those things under control BEFORE you start dress shopping.

2. Bringing Everybody You Know to the Appointment
Having 15 different opinions always ends badly, trust us. Most brides do best with just their mom and maybe a sister or best friend.

3. Ordering the Wrong Size
Don't fixate on the actual size but instead on how it fits you. Sounds simple but you would be surprised how often we see it happen.

​Everybody plans on losing weight before the big day and while you might actually reach your goal, play it safe and order a size that fits your current body. It is way easier to take a dress in.

4. Trying on Too Many Dresses
Most brides try on between four and seven gowns and you shouldn’t try on more than 10, because it can lead to confusion. The most common mistake that a bride makes is not purchasing her gown when she finds it. The danger that befalls her is she becomes overwhelmed and forgets what she originally set out to find. She begins to doubt herself and starts to lose faith in the experience.

5. Only Trying on One Style
Ninety percent of our brides leave with something completely different than what they had in mind when they walked in. That's great, as long as you're a bride who tries on different styles to see what really looks (and feels) amazing. All too often we see brides fixated on one dress style and that's a real shame.

6. Buying a Dress You Don't Love
The biggest mistake we see brides make is settling on a dress. Don't. If you find yourself liking a dress but also having doubts, or if you're feeling pressured from a part of your entourage or a salesperson to make a purchase, it's okay to go home empty-handed.

7. Trying a Dress You Can't Afford
This is the biggest mistake of all. Don't do it. If you can't afford it, don't put it on. It can lead to heartbreak and disappointment. Make sure you are completely clear on what you can afford before you hit the fitting room — and make sure that the salon you choose respects your budget.

8. Not Accounting for The Extras
Alterations typically cost extra as does the veil and shoes and did we mention alterations. Yes, these things are expensive and you should make sure you count on spending money in these areas.

Five Questions You Must Ask During Wedding Dress Appointment

Your consultant is there to help you so don't be shy about asking for help. They have seen it all and can really help you navigate the wedding dress shopping experience. Here are the most important questions to ask:

How much are alterations going to cost? All dresses need alterations, almost always. Alterations can get expensive very quickly so make you ask straight up what the cost will be. Whoever does your alterations has a good reputation.
What is the turn around time? If you are in a time crunch, this is especially important. Most stores will have a few months for turn around time. If you need a dress quicker than that, your best bet will be buying off of the rack.
Do they offer off the rack or consignment? A little known fact is that often, dress stores will mark down dresses if they are bought as-is, right off the rack. Some stores designate certain days each year for this sales, and others have this available at all times. It doesn’t hurt to ask. You can also buy dresses that people have sold back.
If the dress can be ordered? You may try on a dress, and love it but may not want to commit at that exact moment. In some cases, that’s okay! It might be one that can be ordered pretty easily. However, that’s not always the case.
Is there an in-house alteration department? Sometimes it is easiest just to use the alteration department that a bridal store offers, rather than finding someone yourself. The seamstresses are most likely familiar with the dresses that are in the store.