So you got engaged and the first thing on your mind is finding that perfect dress. I know, I know… that’s the most exciting part about this whole wedding planning thing, right? :)
Take a deep breath and read on…
1. The best time to start dress shopping is about one year before your wedding.
That’s right! Starting at least a year in advance is not too soon as most people would think. Allowing yourself time to find a flattering style and getting a feel for the fabrics that you feel the most comfortable in is important. The last thing you want to do is cram 3-4 appointments in one day and feel not only exhausted but pressured to buy a dress because you are out of time.
2. The best time to buy your dress is six to nine months before your wedding.
When you purchase your dress from a bridal shop or boutique, the dress is made to order specifically for you. The process of ordering the dress and having the designer make the dress and deliver it takes anywhere from 6-9 months. Yes! It’s a process. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to avoid panic and stress.
3. Alterations are almost always necessary
Unless you are purchasing an off the rack and ready to wear gown, alterations will always be necessary. Keep in mind that alterations can take anywhere from 6-8 weeks depending on how much work or customization will be required. Read more about Preparing for your First fitting.
4. Almost all salons are by appointment only, so book in advance.
Many brides don’t realize that shopping for their wedding dress is a truly specialized experience. An experienced bridal stylist will be assigned to you. She will listen to your needs and help you make informed decisions about the dress that will work best. This takes time, prep work and follow-up on the bridal consultant’s part. Because bridal salons are by appointment only, be conscientious of arriving on time to take advantage of the full experience and cancel in advance if you can’t make it. The bridal consultants have invested time into making sure that your experience is unique.
Note: Don’t overwhelm yourself. Do your homework on 2-3 bridal salons that you want to visit and vet them. You will be doing yourself a major disservice by overwhelming yourself with multiple appointments. If you can’t find a dress that is a serious contender at all three shops, you can certainly try more bridal salons. However, if you do find great options, stay loyal and see it through with your chosen bridal shop. They can even offer to show you more gowns from the designers they carry via trunk shows or requesting samples from the designer just for you.
Your bridal consultant cares about your bridal needs. They have been trained to diffuse concerns regarding your wedding day and are there to help in ways that extend beyond finding your dress. That’s why it’s important to do your research and make sure that you are partnering with reputable salons with great reviews.
5. Bridal shops carry samples, not the actual gown that you will buy.
During your bridal appointment, you can expect to try on sample gowns sized from 8-12. Don't be alarmed by the sizing. Bridal runs small. Very small. Your bridal consultant will pick a variety of sizes and will fit you properly with bridal clamps.
Once you have found the one, your bridal consultant will take a couple of measurements to choose the size that will be ordered.
Breath, enjoy every moment of your engagement. Trust me, it goes by really fast.
You’ve got this!