Wedding dress shopping is an exhilarating experience for a bride. But, as her bridal gown is one of the most expensive dresses she will wear in her life, this can also make her nervous. Fortunately, you will have your entourage and bridal consultants to help you make your dress decision. And, as with everything wedding-related, there are specific etiquette rules that you should stick to when shopping for your wedding dress too. Let us take a look at what they are.
Think through about who you should take along when you go shopping
You may be tempted to invite all your friends, cousins and relatives to your shopping appointment. However, this is unnecessary, and it can even do more damage than good. The ideal size of your entourage shouldn’t exceed four. Make sure you choose the right people who share your taste in fashion and are supportive. They should provide positive inputs when you go shopping. Also, remember that bridal salons may not have the space to accommodate a vast group. Even if your salon may have enough room for your huge group, it can be disruptive to the other brides shopping there. So, be considerate, and take along only those who really ought to accompany you. You can always include the rest of your gang for the alteration sessions when they can see you in your gown!
Always book your appointment
Most bridal salons can only entertain brides with an appointment when they go bridal shopping. Even if the shop you visit will accommodate you on short notice, it is always suggested to book your slot before you go shopping. This will make your shopping session more efficient. When you have a prior appointment, you can not only secure a time that is convenient for you, but your bridal consultant will also be able to focus on you since she won’t be juggling appointments or being stretched for time.
Discuss your expectations at the start of the appointment
Bridal boutiques do not have shopping racks as you see in regular clothing shops. Instead, their inventory is stocked in a back room, from where bridal consultants pick dresses for you to try on. So, it is always good if you have a clear idea of what you want and communicate that to your consultant. If you have pictures you would like to see, show them to your consultant, so she knows what you are after. If you shortlisted any dresses during your research, check if the boutique can have them ready for your appointment. When you provide this list earlier on, they should have them prepared for your work. So, you can first check these out and move on to other options only if you aren’t satisfied with any of them.
Be punctual for your appointment and do not expect to stay beyond the allotted time
Just as you wish to be served on time, be respectful of the time slot allocated to you. Either call up to check whether your appointment will run on time or arrive at least ten minutes before time. Typical wedding dress appointments run for an hour or two. However, weekend appointments may be shorter, as many brides will be shopping on these days. Book your work on a weekday, if you want to relax and do your shopping better. Check when the boutique has fewer appointments to decide on your slot, and be flexible if you’re going to enjoy your experience better. While at the bridal salon, make sure that you do not stall or waste any time unnecessarily. The better prepared you are for your appointment, the smoother it will progress.
It is essential to be honest
Your consultant doesn’t know you personally to decide what would satisfy your tastes and preferences. She relies on your inputs to pick dresses for you to try. So, don’t hesitate to tell her precisely what you want. Although a dress consultant may have suggestions for you, the final aim is to make sure your dress satisfies you. She will move on to other dresses and designs, based on the feedback you give about the ones she shows first. This will help narrow down the selection to what will most likely appeal to you. So, the more details you give upfront, the quicker this can be done. Tell her specifically which features you don’t like if you aren’t happy with the dresses she brings out. Then, she can get the following dresses out accordingly.
Do not wear too much makeup
It is advised that you do not wear dark or smudgy makeup that may stain the dress when you go shopping. Although your makeup shouldn’t get on the dress while you change into it, it is still risky. Lipstick, in particular, is notorious for staining dresses and is very difficult to get off when it does. Your consultant may have to spend an extra amount of time and effort to get it out if you accidentally get some on the dress. Even though the dresses on the shop floor are meant for trials, it doesn’t hurt to be mindful of small things that can make everyone’s life a lot easier.
Disclose your accurate budget
One of the biggest possible disappointments, when you go wedding dress shopping is falling in love with a gown you cannot afford. You should fix your bridal dress budget right at the beginning, so you know the limit you can stretch. Remember to also account for bridal gown alteration charges and accessory rates when planning your budget. When you attend your appointment, your consultant will ask you for your budget, and she expects you to tell her the actual amount you can afford. A few hundred extra bucks may be alright, but it is always best to look only at dresses you can buy and not try on anything you cannot buy.
Be honest about it, if you have another dress shortlisted already
Sometimes brides may not stop looking even when they find a great dress, just because they aren’t sure if it is indeed the right one. If this is how you end up at the salon, it is best, to be honest about it with the salesperson. That way, neither of you will be wasting time looking at options that cannot beat the current choice. Your salesperson can show you what they think will be better than the other gown, and you can make up your mind accordingly. She will also appreciate it if you tell her why you are there and which is the other gown so that she can plan your session accordingly. When you tell her what you like about the different dresses and why you aren’t sure if it is correct, she will direct you to dresses that will likely be better choices.
First start with low-budget options and then move on to expensive ones
If you are on a tight budget, it is wise to first look at the dresses on sale or have offers attached to them. Move on to expensive dresses and ones that belong to the latest collections, only if you aren’t satisfied with any that you see in the discounted section. We always think this is the better way to go about it than the reverse. In general, the more gowns you try on, the more confused you can become. So, if budget is the main factor in your selection and you come across a dress that looks great, stop there. Don’t even think of looking at another one, or you will again end up being confused.
Be prepared with the right accessories
Wedding dresses are delicate garments, and you will need your shop assistant’s help to get in and out of them. So, be prepared for that by wearing appropriate undergarments in which you are comfortable. Also, carry accessories that will not look out of place with the wedding gown you intend to buy. If you are shopping for strapless styles, a nude bra is an absolute must-have. Many bridal boutiques carry undergarments to use during your appointment, but it is always better to prepare your own for your work.
Check before you take pictures
Not all bridal boutiques allow you to take photos during your appointment. If in doubt, make sure to ask before you do so. Although your intents may be pure, boutiques face the risk of their designs being copied and used elsewhere when brides do this. So, if it is against their policies to allow photography during appointment sessions, respect it. You can find all the information about most designer dresses online. Once you finalize your dress choice and get the paperwork done, clicking a few snaps shouldn’t be a problem. You can ask if you can take a camera along when you book your appointment to confirm.
Be courteous to your bridal consultant
Brides ought to enjoy this unique shopping experience of their lifetime. Bridal consultants get this, and this is why they go to extreme lengths to ensure your wedding shopping is an exciting experience. If you have attended such a shopping session before, you will realize how different it is from any other dress shopping experience you have ever had. While you enjoy yourself and have fun with your girlfriends, don’t forget to be polite to your bridal consultant. Appreciate her enthusiasm in searching for the perfect dress that meets your needs and also thanks her for all her help, whether you find your dress or not.
Update the salon if you have to cancel or reschedule
Remember that you are asked to book an appointment for a reason. Bridal boutiques are busy places that have brides in the queue all the time. If for any reason, you are unable to attend your appointment or are running late, it is polite to call and inform the shop. They may be able to reschedule your work for the same day if they have other slots available. If it is a rush day, cancelling your appointment will allow them to allocate the sales assistant to another bride, thus not wasting their chance to make a sale. If you have booked the work, but have already located a dress at another shop, do not forget to cancel your work for the same reason. It may be a trivial matter for you, but the shop would appreciate it if you were so polite and respected their time, just like they respect yours.
You don’t have to be apologetic if you can’t make your decision then and there
Bridal shops know that not all brides can make this critical decision in an instant. Some brides have to sleep on it to be sure they have found what they want. So, don’t feel bad about telling your consultant that you will be back later. It is also likely that you may have to visit a boutique more than once to narrow down on your actual dress. This is because wedding dress shopping is physically exhausting, and you have only so much time to make a decision right there. Your bridal consultant will have seen this happen and won’t be surprised. If anything, she may even be supportive and offer you another appointment to look at more dresses at another time.
Wedding dress shopping is fun, exciting, nervous and yet, unique. It is one of the most exciting parts of your entire wedding planning process and something you want to remember fondly. So, please take note of all that we have discussed today, and make sure you and all those around you place your shopping day fondly.
Before you go shopping, you should look at our e-book, “ What to expect at your first bridal appointment,” which can be viewed or downloaded here. And to browse through our vast and exciting collection of wedding dresses for your big day, don’t forget to check out Best for Bride’s wedding dress gallery here.
Summary: Wedding Dress Shopping Etiquette Guide
- Dress appropriately when visiting bridal shops for wedding dress shopping.
- Schedule appointments in advance to ensure personalized attention from consultants.
- Limit the number of people accompanying you to the bridal shop to avoid overwhelming opinions.
- Be open-minded and try on different styles of wedding dresses to explore various options.
- Provide honest feedback to the consultant to help them understand your preferences better.
- Ask for permission before taking photographs of the wedding dresses to respect the shop’s policies.
- Avoid touching or handling dresses without permission to maintain their pristine condition.
- Stay within your budget and discuss pricing with the consultant to avoid any financial surprises.
FAQ – Wedding Dress Shopping
Does the groom come help shop for a wedding gown?
This is ultimately your option, although most men agree that they want to be shocked with their future wife’s bridal gown on the wedding day. You may surely invite your partner if they are willing to see your dress before the wedding and you appreciate their input in the realm of fashion.
What size is considered plus size in the bridal industry?
If you generally wear a size 14 or more, which is a size 16 in bridal, you are called a plus-size bride. Although most designers supply plus sizes, many boutiques only have samples in sizes 8, 10, and 12. Before you go shopping, call your local wedding boutique to make sure they can fit you in.
How many different wedding gowns should you try on?
There is no definitive answer to how many gowns brides should try on throughout their quest, and even our experts disagree on a magic number. It is suggested that you choose your favourite three dresses and move from there, trying on no more than 10-15 gowns.
Who is responsible for the wedding gown?
Nowadays, a loving grandma could offer to buy your gown, or you might have to pay for it yourself. Big-ticket items like a wedding planner, the bachelorette party, and the ceremony reception are also covered by the bride’s family (music, guest favours, rentals, etc.).
When the bride goes dress shopping, who goes with her?
Moms are usually the first people women invite on their wedding dress buying excursion; however, sisters and grandmothers are also frequently included. Some brides have recently begun inviting their soon-to-be mothers-in-law to join them.
6 thoughts on “Wedding Dress Shopping Etiquette: 14 Things You Need to Know Before Your Appointment”
Ah, book an appointment! That is not something I was thinking about. Thank you for the tip!
It seems like there is quite a list of things that I have to make in order to plan the perfect wedding day. I see through some of your posts that you have nice tips. I will keep them in mind.
Once you get into the actually shopping for your wedding dress, these things make perfect sense. Before I went out to get my dress, I didn’t think there was this much to it, but these are great tips!
The more rules that I read through for planning a wedding, the more stressed out I get about it!
I really what you said about being prepared with the right accessories. This would be really helpful for my sister who is planning on getting married. It would be really helpful for her to have a professional help her out.
I like how you stated that you should disclose your true budget when dress shopping. My wedding is coming up in 6 months, and I still need to find a dress. I will definitely keep all of your helpful tips in mind when trying to find the perfect wedding dress.