So you said yes to the love of your life and have a gorgeous ring on your finger! You popped some champagne and have been showered non-stop with congratulatory notes, gifts, texts, and calls. You may have even picked the date and booked your dream venue, but there is one thing missing….
You still haven’t booked your first dress shopping appointment! (GASP.)
I understand that shopping for THE dress can be an exciting, yet nerve-wracking time, especially since chances are this is your first time shopping for a wedding gown. Below I am sharing my top ten tips for a great first (and hopefully last) bridal gown appointment.
1.) Do your research.
The first thing you should do before making your appointment is do your research on bridal stores that you would like to go to. Check online or call to get a list of designers, and make sure that your favorites are on that list. I also always recommend searching Pinterest, Instagram, and various bridal publications and blogs for silhouette, fabric, and style inspiration! Your tastes may change as you start to try on the gowns and see them in person, but it’s always good to have a general idea of your likes and dislikes. Make sure to check out our blog and Instagram for some bridal inspiration!
2.) Set your budget, and stick to it.
Make sure that before you embark on your quest for the dress that you determine a maximum amount of money that you would like to spend on your gown. Whether this means checking your finances or having a discussion with the person who is paying for the gown, you want to be fully prepared. Remember that alterations and accessories often cost extra, so make sure to factor this in when determining your budget. And if you see a gown that isn’t in the budget and you know you don’t have the wiggle room, don’t torture yourself by trying it on. Trust me, there is a perfect dress for every bride and every budget!
3.) Choose wisely.
When choosing who will be accompanying you on your hunt for the perfect dress, make sure you choose no more than five people who truly have your best interest at heart. More people isn’t always merrier, and I’ve seen my fair share of brides who end up confused because there are too many opinions being shared. Keeping your group small and comprised of only your nearest and dearest will ensure that the opinions you do hear are coming from the heart and are honest.
4.) Pack the essentials.
Before heading to your appointment, make sure to pack some essential items that you may need during the appointment. I always recommend bringing any pictures of styles you love, pictures of your venue or décor, heels that are the height you think you would wear for your big day, any kind of undergarments you are considering wearing (like Spanx), and a bottle of water. (Trust me, trying on wedding gowns is hard work sometimes!) I also recommend wearing tan seamless underwear (any other color will show through the gown), and if you prefer to be more covered during you appointment, a long line strapless corset bra or a nude strapless bra will do just fine.
5.) Befriend your stylist.
I know, I know. Changing in front of your stylist can be uncomfortable, especially if you are shy or aren’t comfortable with your body. However, your stylist is a great source of information regarding bridal trends, new merchandise, or even wedding planning ideas! Make sure to be honest with your stylist about your budget, what you like, and what you don’t. This will help guide him or her when choosing gowns for you to try on. Don’t be afraid to try on a wildcard dress that he or she may pull for you. It just may be the one!
6.) Go to a trunk show!
Is your favorite designer having a trunk show? Definitely go! You may have the opportunity to try on new, never-before-seen gowns, get a discount, meet the designer, or all three! I love when I travel to meet my brides all around the world, and have so much fun at my trunk shows at the Pnina Tornai Boutique at Kleinfeld Bridal in NYC. From creating custom gowns, to addressing my brides’ questions and concerns, and ultimately helping them say yes to the dress, being able to provide my professional opinion and insight is a dream come true.
7.) If you found it, stop looking.
With so many choices of gowns, sometimes a bride may feel like she is missing out if she doesn’t continue to shop. If you LOVE the dress and know it’s the one, but are suffering from FOMO, remember that the search could never end! When you said yes to your fiancé, did you consider continuing to look in case a better fiancé came around? I hope not! Of course if you really are unsure about the dress, take a day or two to think about it. If you just can't get the dress out of your head, you know it’s the one!
8.) Don’t trust the iPhone.
While many salons don’t allow pictures to be taken of the bridal gowns, some do! But beware of the dreaded iPhone photos that your MOH or mom took of you. Chances are that no one in your squad is a professional photographer (if they are, I am extremely jealous). Bad lighting, weird angles, and a dress that may be clipped because it doesn’t fit you could lead to some scary photos! Do yourself a favor and don’t give those photos too much weight. I have had too many brides second-guess their gown because of an unflattering photo. Don’t let this happen to you!
9.) Read the contract and keep copies of everything.
If you do say yes to the dress (yay!), make sure to read over all of the paperwork and obtain copies of all of your receipts. A lot of the time, gowns are final sale, so make sure you understand any cancellation policies and ask any questions that come to mind. Keeping track of your receipts also helps you stress less, stay organized, and stay on budget!
10.) Have fun!
Planning a wedding should always be fun! Whether you find your dress during your first
shopping trip or your third shopping trip, cherish the wedding planning process. Happy hunting!
Photography Credit: Jamie Levine Photography