You just said “Yes!” to the love of your life and wedding planning has begun! After picking the perfect venue and date, it’s time to start searching for the perfect wedding dress to say “I Do”. Whether you have been dreaming of the dress since you were a little girl, or you have no clue where to even begin, here are 10 tips to help with your wedding dress shopping experience! We also asked the owner of Brick and Mortal Bridal, Bryn Garza, what she considers the best advice for dress-shopping brides.
“My biggest piece of advice would be have an open mind! The one thing you are ~sure~ you will hate sometimes becomes a favorite (usually strapless and ball gowns surprise brides)! At the end of the day you want to feel beautiful & like a BRIDE! So whatever does that for you. Also there’s a dress for Every Body – even if you’re not comfortable in your skin at the moment it only gets better. You love the dress more when you love yourself
For shopping at Brick and Mortar Bridal, don’t wear bra because we have built in bust cups & and just a reminder that spanx do not change your body they just enhance and smooth! I do think getting ready is important for your appointment – look good, feel good!”
As an added bonus, you can find Co-Owner of Uniquely Set and Bride-to-Be, Brittany’s advice as someone who just went wedding dress shopping herself.
Have a budget.
As with all things wedding related, make sure to have a budget in mind before going wedding dress shopping. Wedding dresses can range vastly when it comes to price, so it is important to have a price range you would like to stay in. Also, determine if that budget is for your dress only or if it includes alterations and accessories. This will help anyone assisting you to pull the best options for you to try on.
Brittany’s Bonus Tip: Always make sure to be honest and upfront with your consultants about your budget!
It’s great to have an idea of what you want and what you like going into your appointment. With so many options, styles, fits, and embellishments, having somewhere to start is always a plus. If you know that a specific neckline or silhouette flatters you, you can start there. Having pictures of dresses you like, or a designer in mind that you prefer will also help. Just remember, if what you have in mind ends up not being “the one,” there are plenty more options to try on until you find the perfect dress!
Photo: San Angel Photo; Dress: Brick and Mortar Bridal; Floral: Uniquely Set Floral Design; Venue: Peach Creek Ranch
Brittany’s Bonus Tip: If there is a specific dress or style you are looking for, make sure the dress shop has them available to try on before arranging an appointment to avoid being disappointed on the dress shopping day.
It’s okay to make multiple appointments.
It’s good to have a few different appointments lined up at different places when you begin wedding dress shopping. There are different types of wedding dress retailers and each shop has a different selection of dresses and way of doing appointments. Give yourself options, just make sure not to overwhelm yourself. If you happen to find the perfect dress with the first try, you can always cancel your other appointments.
Brittany’s Bonus Tip: Once you pick a dress, stop looking. You’ll end up with dress envy waiting on your dress to come in, and you will start to second guess your choices.
Choose a helpful entourage.
Choosing who goes with you to try on and pick out your wedding dress can be tricky. You want to have the support and opinions of your close family and friends, but having too many opinions can make the decision harder on you. We recommend picking 3-4 of your closest friends and/or family members to share the experience with. There are also limits at certain shops for party size. This is for good reason!
Brittany’s Bonus Tip: Pick people who will ultimately prioritize your thoughts and feelings on the dress above their own.
Eat before your appointment.
This tip may sound strange, but wedding dress shopping can take quite a bit of time. You want to make sure to eat and drink before your appointment, so that you do not feel rushed into making a decision or ending an appointment due to hunger or fatigue.
Brittany’s Bonus Tip: Limit the amount of champagne, so you aren’t making a foggy choice.
Wear proper undergarments.
As with any dress, special undergarments are sometimes needed. Items like no-show underwear, spanx or strapless bras are useful to have on while shopping to give you a better idea of what the dress will look and fit like on the big day.
Brittany’s Bonus Tip: Ignore the numbers on the size. Formal dress sizing is far different on some designers than your everyday clothing. It’s just a number.
Bring the right shoes.
Your shoes can affect your height and therefore affect the look of a dress and alterations needed. If you think you will be wearing heels on your wedding day, bring your heels to the appointment to try on with the dress. Even if you don’t have the exact pair of heels you will wear, a pair with a similar height is perfect to give you a better visual.
Make sure you can move.
You will be in your wedding dress for many hours on the big day, and the whole “beauty is pain” thing doesn’t have to be true! Make sure you feel comfortable and confident in the dress you say “yes!” too. You want to be able to walk (and dance) in whatever dress you pick.
Brittany’s Bonus Tip: Have your seamstress add a backup loop to your bustle, just in case the first bustle breaks.
Watch the amount of makeup/fake tan.
We are all for looking your best when trying on dresses; it will help you better visualize how you will look on your actual wedding day. Plus, this dress shopping is a special occasion! However, be mindful of wearing too much makeup or fake tan, because changing in and out of multiple dresses can get messy. If you badly stain a dress, even a floor sample, you may have to pay the retailer for damages. Bryn agrees, stating “Always wash your spray tans before your appointments to not damage the gowns!”.
Have an open mind and have fun!
Even though you are going in prepared and with inspiration, keep an open mind! If you are working with an experienced consultant, don’t be afraid to try out some of the picks they pull for you, even if it doesn’t seem like a style you’d initially like. Try on a style you may not think you would like. Try on a dress in a non-traditional color. Pair the dress with a pearl veil or sparkly belt. You never know unless you try! Don’t get discouraged if the dress you thought would be the one, turns out not to be either. Continue to shop for the perfect dress until you know it’s the one!
Brittany’s Bonus Tip: Alterations can be made to add details like sleeves or a slit, if those are items you are searching for, without limiting your options. For instance, I wanted a slit and buttons down the back, so I will have those things added.
More of Brittany Bonus Tips:
— Sample dresses come in a range of sizes. There will be dresses you try on that fit without clips and some that require expanders. This can feel disheartening at first, but unfortunately, there’s no “one dress fits all.”
— Not everyone has an over-the-top “this is the one” moment. The experience is different for each bride. You may find a dress you like, but it takes getting it altered to fit to really fall in love with the choice. I didn’t cry. I didn’t have an overwhelming moment. I just said, ”This one will work” and that’s ok!
— Don’t put a veil on until you think you have found the perfect one. Trust me on that one. Veils can blur your decision-making process, unintentionally.
— When asked when your wedding date is, tell them a month prior if needed to give yourself wiggle room for any shipment delays or alterations needed. Dresses are taking on average 6-8 months to get back right now. Always ask consultants what dress options are available with the shipping time frame you have.
We hope these tips help you when searching for the dress, but more importantly that your wedding day is filled with love and happiness. For more wedding tips, follow us on Instagram and Facebook, and check out our other blog posts!
Happy wedding dress shopping 🤍