As soon as you get engaged, it’s natural to almost immediately think about your wedding gown. You’ve found the love of your life, and now it’s time to go find the “other one”—your dream wedding gown. But with so many options out there, where do you even begin? Finding your dream dress should be met with careful consideration and research, just like every other part of the wedding-planning process. Now is not the time to run out and buy the first gown you see! Putting together your wedding will be stressful enough, so take care to make wedding-dress shopping as anxiety-free as possible. Here are some wedding-dress shopping tips you can follow to make sure you’re well prepared for this amazing experience.
What you need to do before you go wedding-dress shopping:
- Set your dress budget
About a year before the wedding, it’s crucial that you not only know your wedding budget but also your gown budget. Factor in the cost of the dress, taxes, alterations, and even shipping. Then, add another 10% to 20% for must-have bridal extras like jewelry, veil, undergarments, sash, and shoes.
- Pick your venue
Wedding-dress shopping should happen after you’ve chosen your wedding venue. The venue will help narrow down a certain style that stays true to its ambiance. For instance, if you’re having a beach wedding, you won’t want a classic ball gown and will instead opt for a flowy, less fussy dress. On the other hand, if the venue is a chic hotel, you will most likely choose a more formal option.
We’re sure you have a lineup of gown ideas that you’ve been dreaming about even before the engagement. Pinterest boards and magazines are a great way to keep track of what wedding-dress styles speak to you. Keep pinning and ripping out magazine photos until you start to see a pattern in what catches your eye. Maybe it’s a certain designer, embellishments, lace, or style of gown. About a year before the wedding, bring your ideas to your wedding-dress shop for your first bridal appointment, and the staff will help you find styles that fit and look best on you.
- Consider your shopping entourage
Limit your wedding-dress shopping party to only two or three people. These can include your mom, maid of honor, and other trusted friends. If you bring more than three people, the whole shopping experience might become too overwhelming and confusing since everyone will most likely have an opinion to share. Some bridal salons even have limits on the number of guests you bring, so be sure to ask when you make your initial appointment.
WHEN SHOULD YOU GO WEDDING-DRESS SHOPPING?
After you’ve set a budget, picked your venue, researched styles, and chosen your shopping pals, we recommend wedding-dress shopping about a year before the wedding. In most cases, you won’t be buying off the rack, and the gown will need to be special ordered just for you! This entire process, depending on the designer, can take months, which is why you should buy your wedding gown approximately eight to twelve months ahead of time to also allow for custom fittings and alterations.
Besides the problem of not having enough time, there’s also the issue of ordering your wedding dress too far in advance. All too often a bride may fall in love with a gown two years before her wedding, only to find a newer style that comes out closer to the actual event. If your wedding date is more than a year away, we suggest to start your wedding-gown research and even go try on gowns, but we recommend you hold off on making any final purchases until you are within the one-year timeframe of your wedding date. This will avoid any gown purchase remorse!
Doing your research ahead of time and planning your wedding-dress shopping timeframe will ensure a smoother experience. Your wedding dress doesn’t need to be on your list of wedding stresses. You’ll know it’s “the one” when you don’t want to take it off. Bring your ideas to a professional consultant about a year in advance so he or she can point you in the right direction. You may even discover wedding-dress styles you didn’t know are available.
If you’re interested in receiving a personalized boutique experience when you’re ready to shop for your wedding dress, contact us today!