How to Shop for Your Wedding Dress

So often, women will say that their wedding will be designed around the dress. However, if you don’t know how to shop for your wedding dress, this can be a very overwhelming task. Also, for the record, putting the burden of an entire wedding on a single garment is a little absurd. Yes, your wedding dress will inspire a lot, but don’t feel weird if it doesn’t set the tone for your wedding.

Now, I am not married, which means that I have not personally shopped for my own wedding dress. However, I was a bridal consultant once upon a time, and have been wedding dress shopping with friends and family. As someone not immediately involved in the decision, I’ve taken a few notes.

Pinterest is your friend.

You always see on shows like Say Yes to the Dress that brides will go into the room with inspiration. They have pages printed or will pull up a Pinterest board. Pinterest is your friend! The system has even advanced so far that you can section out a board.

Create a board of dresses that you love. Section that board out into things that you love about those dresses. Bodices, skirts, materials, details, etc.

Maybe try a “no pressure” visit somewhere.

If you are just getting started with wedding dress shopping, or maybe have never purchased a gown for yourself, think about setting up a “no pressure” visit somewhere. This would be a trip for you and a trusted friend or family member. Try a variety of different silhouettes and fabrics and straps and all of the things. Seeing dresses online is one thing, but seeing them on your body can completely change how you feel about a style.

Note: If you do move forward with a “no pressure” visit, don’t be terribly up front about that. Be honest in letting the consultants know that it’s your first time shopping, and you want to get a feel for what is out there. Who knows? You may fall in love with a dress.

Keep it to three.

Shopping for your wedding dress can be very overwhelming. No one will tell you differently. For a lot of brides, that’s the moment when they see themselves walking down the aisle, turning the wedding and the marriage into something very real.

It’s easy to get caught up in all of the dresses. You try on 5 and liked something different about each, so you haven’t put anything back. Guess what: That’s not going to help you.

Do your best to keep no more than three in the wings. Your heart knows how you feel about these dresses. You put one on, and you’re immediately comparing it to the one you tried on before. How does it stack up? If you don’t love it as much, put it back on the rack.

Be open!

You probably have a grand vision in your head of what you want to look like on your wedding day. You have a gown in mind and a feeling you want to have. However, at the end of the day, these bridal consultants are the professionals. If they bring you a dress (unless it repulses you), give it a try! It doesn’t hurt anyone to try on a dress, and you can help narrow down your scope by pointing out things you do or do not like on the dress.

I mean, just take a moment to think of all of the brides who say they want to feel like a princess on their wedding day. Then, they try on a big ball gown and learn that the traditional “princess look” isn’t actually what they’re looking for. These consultants know how to make you feel like a princess, without drowning in tulle.

Keep it small.

As fun as it is to try on dresses and do a fashion show for your friends and family, keep the group small. The more people you have with you, the more opinions there are, and the more likely your opinion will get lost in the midst. It’s traditional to have your mother and your maid of honor there. My father came shopping with us when my sister got hers. My friend’s future mother-in-law was present with her. There were three of us each time, plus the bride, and it was perfect.

Additionally, while you likely respect what your friends and family have to say, they’re not getting married. This is YOUR day and YOUR dress. Wear what you want and what you love and what you feel comfortable in. If they love you, they will support you.

When it doubt, ask.

Recently, I had the absolute joy of going dress shopping with my friend who is getting married in the spring of 2022. She found the dress that she really loved, but thought it was missing something. We’ve all seen the alterations specialists come out and manipulate a dress to make it perfect, so we asked if they could adjust it to be a sweetheart neckline.

Lo and behold, they could do it. Not only was this now the most magical dress ever, but it is also uniquely hers. No one will have her dress because she made it hers.

Don’t be afraid to ask! The worst they can say is no, and then try to find you a different dress that matches what you’re looking for. Chances are, they’ll want to make the alterations in order to make the sale. Want to add straps? Make it tea length? Change the color? Add crystals? JUST ASK.

Learning how to shop for your wedding dress is simple. At the heart of all of it, remember that you are the bride. This is your day where you are meant to shine. Don’t get overwhelmed! This is the start of a new chapter of your life (and kind of the end of another), so take the time to truly enjoy it.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, so I may receive a commission from sales generated.

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