8 Tips for Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress
Finding the perfect wedding dress can be overwhelming. There are so many options out there, and you might have a hard time figuring out which one is the best choice for you if you don't have a plan. Before you start your wedding dress hunt, consider our tips that might make your decision making process a little smoother!
1. Consider the Venue
While many dresses may catch your eye, think about the time and place you’ll actually be wearing your gown (and how long you’ll be in it!). If you’re having a sunny sea-side ceremony, that might rule out warmer fabrics or dragging veils. If you’re getting married in October, that could change sleeve length, accessories, and other key elements to your gown ensemble. Always keep the place and setting of the day-of in mind when choosing the gown you’ll be in throughout!
2. Set Your Price
Go into any dress store with a set budget in mind. Make sure the salesperson knows your maximum price before bringing out options, to avoid breaking both your budget and heart over a gown way out of your price range. In addition to the ticket price of the gown itself, consider any other accessories, alterations, or services needed and what they will cost to get the dress wedding-day ready. Don’t let the cost of looking perfect on your big day take you by surprise. Setting a firm, fully considered budget prior to even stepping foot in a store will go a long way in keeping stress and costs down.
Also, keep in mind that you can always find a more budget-friendly dress that may be pre-worn or out of production / season. Check online for tons of options (even designer!) that you can find at a fraction of the tag price.
3. Timing is Everything
It should go without saying that your gown needs to be locked down far in advance of your wedding. Some suggest even up to 9 months before! Delays in dress manufacturing and delivery must also be accounted for. More complex designs or fittings may require extended alteration and delivery times, which should be anticipated far in advance to avoid any last-minute wedding-gown-fails!
4. Get Advice
Many find the terminology of bridal gown shopping completely alien to them. Unless you’re already familiar with the many names and types of waste fits, fabric combinations, and other keywords that narrow down dress options, you’re gonna need some help. First, researching some aesthetics you like is always helpful in narrowing down the form of gown you really prefer. Go online to search visuals and try to find out what type of styles are being used on the dresses in your examples. Bring these photos and notes with you when you gown-shop. That way, on the day of dress shopping you’ll be more prepared to help guide your sales representative towards a dress they carry that matches your vision and budget.
5. Preparation is Key
Buying a wedding dress isn’t always as straightforward as perusing stores for the perfect find. Typically, stores require appointments to be scheduled in advance, and it can be helpful to know the designers and prices ranges they offer prior to booking. Don’t try to tackle all stores in one day, taking your time and ensuring the process is not exhausting or stressful is key in ensuring you make the right choice for you. While you may not be allowed to take photos (as per common store policy), you can and should note down your preferences, and any dislikes you had in each dress style. This can help narrow down the gown that you really want, and remind you why.
6. Don’t do it alone
Let’s be honest, unless you’re the most decisive person ever, you’re going to need a few trusted opinions to help you lock down the dress best suited for you. Bring a few select people (emphasis on a few!) that you trust with your wedding-day fabulousness. Make sure they are people who can hold up under the pressure and indecision of dress-buying, and that respect the process and consideration that needs to be made. Also, make sure to bring anything you already know you’ll be wearing on the day of (something borrowed, something blue?), so that you can already harmonize with your entire wedding ensemble.
7. Size Doesn’t Matter
Don’t fret when your normal dress size suddenly fits snuggly during your wedding gown shopping. Wedding gowns notoriously run small, and putting yourself in a stressful challenge like trying to lose weight to fit into a dress is no way to live when awaiting your special day. Whatever the tag says, just make sure the dress fits you well now. You can always take it in later if necessary, but buying undersize is always a risk.
8. Be Patient
Remember that the first and even third time might not be the charm when it comes to final fittings. You may need several alteration sessions with rehearsal hair and accessories to fully lock down the perfect day-of look and feel. Make sure you can move, walk, move your arms easily in the dress, and be open and honest with your tailor about your wishes and concerns. Be patient, and remember each time it gets closer to being the gown you envisioned.