Wedding dress shopping is one of the most anticipated wedding tasks for most brides. After all, the day you get married is the most important day in your life, and your wedding dress plays a huge role in helping you look great for it.
Many brides dream about their wedding dress and wedding day, right from the time they are little girls. Although their ideas of fashion would have changed over the years, the excitement of wedding shopping always thrills a would-be bride.
Being prepared in advance will help you enjoy your wedding shopping to the most, and help you find the dress you want easily. Here is a list of what you should do in advance, before you start with your wedding shopping. Make sure to follow it, and you will be set for the best shopping experience of your life.
1.Fix the maximum price
Let’s get the money part sorted out first. Everything about your wedding depends on the money you can afford to spend on it. Before you even think of going shopping, you should have a definite idea of how much you can spend on your wedding gown. Wedding gowns come in all price ranges, so define your upper limit. Then, you will not waste time on gowns that you cannot afford, or even worse, fall in love with a dress that is way over-budget. Another thing to remember is that if you already know your budget, you can do your research online and shortlist gowns you like. You can then choose a bridal shop that stocks the gowns you like.
Don’t believe that you have to settle for a gown in the shop you visit. You can always shop elsewhere if the boutique doesn’t have a good collection within the range you can afford.
There are several ways to work on a budget and still get a fabulous gown. Clearance sales, dress rentals, discount vouchers and offers make it possible to buy a gown at a price much lesser than its original cost. We suggest that you check out this article to learn more about how to make the most of your wedding dress budget, and also learn about all the expenses will be included in the final price.
2.Decide on the style of wedding
Not all gowns are suitable for every type of wedding. You may look out-of-place in an elaborate ball gown, if you are getting married at the beach. So, plan your venue and style of wedding long before you begin searching for your wedding dress. You have to consider whether certain dress features may be inappropriate for the style of wedding you have planned. For example, if you are getting married in an orthodox place of worship, wedding dresses with low cut necklines or revealing fabric may be inappropriate.
Check out these finer details before you embark on wedding shopping, so you do not have to alter your decision after you place the order. Your wedding dress should also tie with the theme of the wedding and match the formality of the event. If you have planned a classic wedding, a full train and veil may be necessary for your dress to match the style. So, consider all these factors before you start looking for your bridal gown.
3.Plan who accompanies you when you go shopping
Although the final decision of what you wear on your wedding day is up to you, the people who accompany you on your wedding shopping can significantly influence your decision. So, it is not a small matter deciding who comes along. Don’t feel obliged to invite everyone on your bridal party or include all the women and men who think they should be part of your entourage.
Our experience is that the smaller the entourage, the better it is. Too many cooks spoil the broth, and this is accurate where wedding shopping is concerned. On many occasions, we have we seen a bride walk in knowing what she wants, only to end up being confused by differing opinions and ending up totally lost. When choosing your entourage, make sure they are people who share your taste for fashion and who have your best interests at heart. They should be encouraging and not dismissive of any choice you finally make. If you feel bad for not including all the women who wanted to go shopping with you, you can still invite them to come along when you go for your fitting sessions.
4.Have an idea of what style you want
Wedding dresses come in hundreds of styles and with distinct features. You can quickly get lost in a whirlwind of options, if you go shopping without a rough idea of what you want. So, it is helpful to be prepared.
Start with understanding your body shape and then looking at silhouettes that flaunt your best features. Our previous article on how to choose wedding dresses according to body shape will help you in this direction. Apart from understanding what silhouette will look good on you, you should also consider the choices in necklines and sleeves when making a selection. Do you want to go with trendy styles like off-the-shoulder necklines and sweetheart bodices, or are traditional styles like Queen Anne necklines and three-fourth sleeves more suitable for your taste? Take your time in determining this, as this will help you make your dress decisions much faster, when you actually go shopping.
If there are certain features that you have liked in pictures, it is a good idea to collect them and take it with you when you go shopping. Your consultant can help you identify a similar dress easily, when you can show them what you seek. Remember to keep the venue and weather at the time in mind, when you plan your choices. You can also consider add-on accessories like sleeved mock boleros or waistbands to achieve the desired look, or simply for more style.
5.Decide on where to shop
No one will stop you from visiting all the bridal stores in town before you make a final decision. But trust me, it can get boring and disappointing after a while. So, where you shop is an important decision when you want to enjoy the experience. We think you can make this decision easily by paying attention to the following factors.
- First determine the list of dresses that you want to try by checking online or in magazines
- List down the shops that carry most or all of these dresses
- Check for reviews on the service that these shops provide
- Call up to make sure these dresses are in stock
- Book your appointment and keep to it
But, what if you do not have a specific dress in mind? Then go by the reviews of the shops you shortlist. A good bridal salon will have a number of designer collections, that you can choose from. Also, the quality of customer service is very important if you want to enjoy your shopping experience. Talented bridal consultants can help you find the dress in no time. So, pay close attention to this factor. Either check with your friends for recommendations or go with online reviews. Also consider whether the salon has dresses within your price range, before you even book your appointment.
6.Plan to go shopping at the right time
The best time to shop is when there aren’t many people around. So, cross off weekends and evenings. Plan your shopping appointment on a weekday, when the boutique you visit will not be crowded. Don’t worry about taking a day off work, it will be worth it. Going into a shop when it is crowded is not only tiring, you may even end up making a wrong decision without exploring the alternatives.
We also suggest that you book your appointment in the morning, when the attendants will be fresh and attentive. If you plan to pick your dress during a sale, visit on the first day by all means. Nevertheless, don’t hasten your decision if you aren’t one hundred percent sure this is the dress. Think over it, and return once you make up your mind.
Designer Kelima K, in this article on Whattowear.com, is correct in suggesting that brides should start shopping at least six months in advance. Shopping when there is just four months or less till the date is considered a rush order, and the charges may be higher to get things done on time.
7.Book an appointment
You can always walk into a store to shop for your bridal dress. However, you should remember that if there are other brides who have booked an appointment, the boutique is bound to serve them first. So, eliminate the possibility of having to wait by booking yours too. Most bridal shops, including Best for Bride, allow you to conveniently book your appointment by telephone or online. Both methods are definitely better than a boring wait on the day you go shopping.
When booking an appointment, you can also instruct the boutique to keep any specific dresses that you want to try on, ready. Although they may advertise all designer dresses as available it isn’t necessary that they will always have it in stock. So, if you check in advance, it will be easier to try on what you like in the closest size, at the appointment than go in for it again.
8.Carry the required accessories
A nude bra is a basic necessity that you should carry with you when you go shopping. Apart from this if you think you will be wearing shape wear, and already own some, take that along too. Wearing it with the dresses will help you gain a much better picture of how a dress will drape on your body. So, don’t skip these essentials.
Additionally, if you will be wearing any heirlooms, or have shoes, veils, jewelry or other accessories that you will be using on your wedding day, take them along. This way, you can choose a dress that goes well with these accessories, and not have to worry about how to mix the two together after you buy the dress.
9.Dress yourself up to look good
Well, you always look good! So, let’s be more specific. Like this article on the Bustle suggests, it is a good idea to dress yourself up a little, so you look good when you try on wedding dresses. Basic makeup and a neat hairdo is all that is necessary, but it will make a big difference. If you wear your hair similar to how you intend to do at your wedding, you can better understand how your overall look would come together. This can help you choose between dresses, if that is what confuses you during your appointment.
Once you decide on a dress, you should do your trial hair and makeup session on one of the days you have your dress fixing appointment. This will give you a clear picture of how your look comes together, and leave you time to make any changes if you aren’t satisfied with what you see.
10.Prepare yourself to be surprised
Lastly, always expect the unexpected when you go wedding shopping. Of course, I mean this in a good way! Don’t be too fixated on what you should buy, and what will look good on you. Trust your bridal consultant and don’t hesitate to try on a dress she suggests. Having been in the business for so long, bridal consultants have seen many a bride walk in saying this is what she wants, but go back with an entirely different choice that blew her mind. This is because bridal consultants know the difference between how a dress looks on a frame and how it looks on the hanger. So, make use of their expertise and allow them to recommend dresses they think will be best for you.
So, you now know all you have to, before you start shopping. Now, go on and have a great time! And don’t forget to continue visiting us on Best for Bride for all that you ever wanted to know about wedding planning, shopping and everything in between.