Wedding dress shopping is a fun and exciting experience, but not knowing what to expect can make it stressful. So to make sure that you have the easiest experience, here is the ultimate guide for wedding dress shopping!
How To Prepare for Your Bridal Appointment
1. Prepare a Wedding Pinterest Board
Having a Pinterest board for your wedding will not only help you but it will also help your bridal consultant. When you go to your bridal appointment, your consultant will ask you several questions in order to get an understanding of your vision and help you find the wedding dress of your dreams. “It will be helpful to your bridal consultant if you share what you love and what you hate about certain styles.”Co-Owner of Kleinfeld Mara Urshel, Brides. Having a pinterest board filled with color ideas, decor and wedding dresses will help your consultant quickly see the vision you have for your wedding.
INSIDER TIP: It’s VERY common for brides to show Bridal Consultants their Pinterest boards. Having your Pinterest board on our phone and ready to show will be a great start to the appointment.
Wedding Pinterest board inspiration:
- Fairytale Wedding with Glitz and Glam Pinterest Board
- Romantic/Rustic Garden Wedding
- Destination Beach Wedding
MUST-HAVE items on your wedding Pinterest board:
- Pictures of Wedding Dresses That You Love: Pinterest is a GREAT tool to use for wedding dresses. Pinterest gives you the ability to search any style and then save the pictures to refer back to. Making a Pinterest board of wedding dresses will help you and your consultant tremendously. This gives you the ability to show the consultant what features you are looking for in a wedding dress! For inspiration, check out these various Pinterest Boards with some of the most popular dress styles: Mermaid Dresses Board // Ball Gown Board // Sheath Dress Board // A Line Dress Board
- Pictures of Wedding Dresses That You Hate: Having pictures of wedding dresses that you hate might sound like a waste of your time, but it is the complete opposite. Just having 3-5 pictures of dresses with features that you hate will help the consultant, that way she is not pulling dresses that you have no interest in.
- Pictures of Decor, Colors, And Flowers: While it may seem unrelated, having pictures of wedding decor also comes in handy for your bridal appointment. This helps the consultant to see and understand the entire vision that you have for your wedding day!
2. Have a Bridal Dress Shopping Checklist
There’s a lot to do and keep track of when shopping for a wedding dress, which is why staying organized is KEY. Using a Bridal Dress Shopping Checklist will not only keep you organized but help make the entire process MUCH less stressful!
3. Be Prepared To Spend Money!
No matter if you’re going shopping for the first time or the fourth, BE PREPARED TO SPEND MONEY! If you find a wedding dress that you’re in love with, BUY IT! If you go wedding dress shopping without the intention to buy, it’s a waste of time and can end badly. For example, if you do end up coming back to buy later, the dress you fell in love with may be sold or unable to be ordered in time.
INSIDER TIP: If you have a strict budget range, TELL YOUR CONSULTANT! There’s nothing worse than falling in love with a wedding dress that is WAY over your budget. If you know you have a champagne taste with a beer budget, you can still find the perfect look, check out these 5 designer wedding dress looks for less and save thousands!
4. Be Prepared For a Busy Store
Even though you made an appointment, you should know that your consultant may be working with other brides. Be prepared to share and you’ll save yourself some unnecessary frustration.
INSIDER TIP: If you want more one on one time with your consultant, a weekday appointment is your best option.
But do not worry, just because your consultant is working with other brides, she’s used to multitasking and will still be able to pay close attention! Your body language will give your consultant a lot of important clues as to how you feel about each dress. This extra time alone will also give you the opportunity to spend more time in each dress to truly take it all in and make a decision you’re thrilled with.
If you’re bringing a large party with you, be aware and prepared that there may not be enough seating for everyone. Many stores have limited seating but of course, will try to accommodate your guests as best as they can. Give your friends and family a heads up so they too can be prepared and set expectation.
INSIDER TIP: If you have friend or family member that needs a seat due to health reasons, call the store ahead of time so they can make proper arrangements for you and your guests.
6 Things To Bring To Your Bridal Appointment
Photo: Gown Boutique
1. Bring An Open Mind!
Having an open mind is key! If you limit yourself by going into an appointment with the mindset that “This is ONLY my first time looking, there are many other boutiques to visit”, you might unconsciously stop yourself from falling in love with the dress of your dreams. “The most important thing to bring to your appointment is an optimistic attitude….they need to be open-minded.” Yolanda Crous, BRIDES
2. Bring Shoes
Most stores will have bridal shoe options but if you have a pair of heels that you know you’ll be wearing with your dress, make sure to bring them. This will help you figure out if you need a hem or if the store needs to order a dress with extra length.
3. Bring Proper Undergarments
Much like shoes, some stores will have bridal undergarments to try on with your wedding dresses, however, if they don’t it’s best to be prepared. Undergarments can significantly affect the way a dress looks on you. Learn more about the do’s and don’ts of wedding dress undergarments in our Bridal Guide to Accessorizing Wedding Dresses
4. Bring A Water Bottle
Wedding dresses can be unexpectedly heavy for first time brides which causes some to get light headed – not to mention, some brides experience stress throughout this process which also contributes. To make sure this does not happen to you, bring a water bottle with you.While it may sound dramatic, staying hydrated is actually very important!
5. Bring An Honest Guest
If you have a friend or family member who you is brutally honest, BRING THEM! Being told that you look beautiful in every dress is NOT helpful. You want a second set of eyes that can tell you if a dress is unflattering. Having someone honest on hand will also make you feel much more confident about your decision when you finally say YES!
6. Bring A Camera
Put someone in your party in charge of taking photos – these photos come in handy both during and after the appointment. During the appointment you and reference and compare dresses you have tried previously. After your appointment, these photos will be great to have if and when you’re shopping at a different store. Believe it or not, photos are often a huge deciding factor for the bride and their purchase.
INSIDER TIP: If you’re the type of person who want’s to “sleep on it” going home and looking at the pictures will be MOST helpful in your decision.
11 Don’ts Of A Bridal Appointment
1. DON’T bring too many people with you!
When deciding who to bring to your bridal appointment, be very strict. It’s best to only bring 2-4 people with you. Once you start getting over 4, you start to get too many conflicting opinions which can not only make you frustrated or upset but cause analysis paralysis. “You have to remind yourself that the only opinion that truly matters if yours. It is hard to please everyone, so having a lot of people with you makes it tough and almost impossible to please everyone. Remind yourself, YOU are the one wearing the dress, not your friends and family, so YOU need to love the dress.” Yarayma Ryerson, David’s Bridal Store Manager, New Jersey
INSIDER TIP: If you have a large group of friends and family that want to be part of your wedding dress experience, consider going for your first appointment with only a small group to find your top 2-3 dresses. Schedule a comeback appointment to bring the rest of your group so that they can be included and you can make your final decision.
2. DON’T Make “Yes” and “No” Signs
Leave the “Yes” and “No” signs at home. While we admit they are cute, guests often only look at the dress for less than 3 seconds before they shoot up their paddle. They make an answer before even giving you a chance to look at yourself to know how YOU feel about it.
INSIDER TIP: Ask your friends and family to let you say tell them how YOU feel about the dress FIRST!
3. DON’T Eat Too Much Right Before Your Appointment
Not to imply in any way that you’ll gain weight (that’s impossible!) but by eating a large meal before dress shopping, you risk feeling bloated and uncomfortable when pulled into a tight dress – which ultimately may affect your ability to see how AMAZING you look! Remember that you DO want something in your stomach to even out blood sugars, just not a huge bowl of pasta and endless salad and breadsticks from Olive Garden.
INSIDER TIP: Eating something light before your bridal appointment so that you’re not starving or HANGRY while shopping!
4. DON’T Go Spray Tanning For Your Bridal Appointment
Photo: Tan FAQ
A store full of white dresses and a fresh spray tan do not mix well, DON’T GO SPRAY TANNING! Spray tans will often rub off onto the wedding dresses and can ruin them. Follow this tip to avoid an angry store owner or consultant!
5. DON’T Let Your Guests Pull Dresses For You
When your friends and family start pulling wedding dresses for you, things can end badly. Before the appointment, simply ask your friends and family to stay seated and to let the consultant do their job. Don’t tell them to pick dresses for you because in most cases, they won’t pick a dress in your style or to match your vision (they’re picking what THEY like, and this isn’t about them.) Ultimately you run the risk of wasting your appointment time.
6. DON’T Lie To Your Consultant
Your consultant needs to know EXACTLY what you’re thinking. If you are thinking “I hate this dress” don’t be afraid to say it. Never say what you think your consultant wants to hear. “Consultants can’t stand when you “yes” them to death. They can’t assist you properly if you don’t tell them how you really feel.” Stefania Sainato, Bridal Guide. Remember, your consultant did not design the wedding dress, so saying that you don’t like it won’t hurt their feelings.
7. DON’T Rule Out Anything
Photo: Matthew Christopher
Going into your appointment with a wedding dress style in mind is great, but just because you have a style in mind, doesn’t mean you should rule out everything else. Trust your consultant enough to pick something out that you might not have ever considered. “If the salesperson brings you something they say you should try, try it—even if you don’t initially love it or think it’s totally “you.” It’s possible to fall for a wedding gown you didn’t think you’d like or want.
Not every dress looks great on a hanger, so let go of any preconceived notions and keep an open mind.” Lauren Greene, The Knot. The consultant knows the wedding dresses, how they fit, and what looks good, so give them some power and try something different!
8. DON’T Let The Size of The Dress Upset You
Wedding dress sizes are hardly ever the size that you normally are. DO NOT let the number get to you! If you look beautiful in the wedding dress, who cares what the tag says! It is the consultant’s job to pick the correct size so that you can try it on and ultimately order.
Photo: Huffington Post
9. DON’T Order A Size Smaller Because You Plan On Losing Weight
This is probably this biggest DON’T in the history of wedding dress shopping. DO NOT order the size you want or plan on fitting into. Order the dress size you currently are. If you happen to lose weight, most seamstresses can take a dress down 2 sizes without a problem. Being smaller than 2 dress sizes after your initial appointment is very uncommon.
INSIDER TIP: When you order a new dress, it’s usually a little bit smaller than the store samples. Those dresses have been tried on dozens of brides and are usually a little stretched out.
10. DON’T Try On Too Many Wedding Dresses
You will try on average, 5-8 dresses during an appointment. When you attempt to try on more than that in one visit, you’ll most likely get confused and frustrated. If you find a dress that makes an impression on you, do not ask the consultant to pull something that is completely different. If you notice that you’re not finding anything you like, consider ending the appointment and coming back at a different time. You’ll save yourself the feeling of being overwhelmed and be able to step back to gather your thoughts.
11. DON’T Forget, Most Bridal Stores Are Final Sale
This can make saying YES to the dress a bit scary and adds more pressure to the purchase, “but it’s a realistic reminder that you should stay serious in your search for your wedding dress and accessories” Glamour Magazine. If you’re the type of person who second guesses their decisions, simply ask the bridal store what their return policy is. If it’s final sale, then be sure to STOP looking at dresses once you buy one – that includes shopping online and looking through bridal magazines.
The best thing to do after you set up your bridal appointment is – Prepare! Knowing what to expect will help you on your journey to finding the dress of your dreams!
What tip did you find most useful?
Leave a comment below and let us know!