This is what you should know before attending your first appointment to find the perfect gown.
One of the most exciting parts about getting married is trying on Dream Wedding Dress! Before you head off with all your photos and closest friends to a bridal shop, here are some helpful hints: Do you need to bring your bra with you or should it be something else? What about hidden costs? Do you have any helpful tips or tricks for finding the ideal gown? These are our top recommendations, which we’re happy to share. Read on to discover what steps should be taken when shopping for gowns for the first time.
How to Prepare for Shopping for a Wedding Dress
Planning ahead when purchasing your dream bridal gown can help ensure you have an enjoyable shopping experience.
Don’t just browse your local boutique and pick some dresses off the racks without thinking twice. Make an informed decision by reading up on wedding gown preparation so you’re prepared to try on gowns with ease. Here’s how:
Search for wedding dress inspiration.
No need to feel overwhelmed with anticipation at the prospect of marriage! You don’t need to wait until you visit a bridal shop to view dresses in person; research first and create an idea bank of likes/dislikes before visiting any shops. For instance, what neckline, sleeves, fabric and silhouette you prefer for your dress; take inspiration from real weddings by saving ideas onto Pinterest then discussing them with your stylist during an appointment.
Additionally, researching popular wedding dress designs can help you decide how much to spend on your purchase. When searching for a local bridal shop, familiarizing yourself with the designs is beneficial; one that stocks wedding dresses and designers is usually your best bet. To confirm if a particular dress is in-store, contact the salon if you’ve seen it online; some consultants may even be able to request a sample even if it isn’t their usual style.
Book an Appointment.
Once you’ve identified the boutique that interests you, we suggest booking an appointment for full access and the attention of their staff. Due to COVID-19 regulations, many shops require appointments in order to provide this level of experience and attention. Walking in may get you lucky enough to meet a salesperson; however, booking an appointment is highly recommended for optimal satisfaction and the full experience.
When making your appointment with the salon, be sure to inquire about their guest policy and how many people are allowed for fittings. Our advice: Bringing large groups can become disorganized due to competing tastes and other issues. Even though it may sound ideal, having all of your bridesmaids together at once may lead to issues and distractions.
You can enlist the help of two to three VIPs (like your mother, grandmother, maid-of-honor or other family member) in your search for a home. Doing this allows you to focus on what truly wants from an appointment without feeling pressured or influenced by others’ opinions.
Decide on a budget for your wedding dress.
Once you and your partner have created a wedding budget (or use The Knot’s Marriage Budgeter if it has yet to be done), it’s time for you to decide how much money to spend on the dress. Our company data shows that bridal attire accounts for an average of 6% of a couple’s overall spending plan in 2021; with an average cost per dress being $1800 in 2021).
Prior to shopping for wedding dresses, it’s wise to set a budget. Doing this will save time and help avoid disappointment in the long run. Your bridal consultant can guide you towards finding the ideal dresses tailored towards your individual needs.
Here are some helpful hints when shopping for wedding dresses.
Prepare yourself for your appointment by eating before you arrive.
It’s best to save the heavy brunch and meals for after your wedding dress fittings on Saturday. That said, don’t go hungry when going in for your appointment; a light meal before will keep you full for at least two hours. Additionally, to maximize comfort on the big day itself, drink lots of water and get enough sleep beforehand.
Be sure to factor in any unexpected expenses when creating your budget.
Now you should know how much money you are comfortable spending on your dream dress. However, remember that your budget does not just cover the actual gown; it includes accessories and add-ons like veil, sash and jewelry as well as wedding shoes and undergarments. Furthermore, remember to budget for wedding dress alterations; prices vary depending on service so be sure to factor these costs into your final shopping budget. Ask for an estimate at your appointment if unsure how much to allocate; prices often change over time!
Be sure to inquire about trunk sales and sample sales.
Shopping at a sample or trunk sale is an excellent way to stretch your budget. These events provide you with designer clothes at significantly reduced prices.
Trunk shows offer discounts on dresses purchased during sales. Make an appointment as soon as possible to visit a salon to view these popular events; usually only a few pieces remain.
Instead of ordering a custom-made bridal gown, why not save money and purchase a floor sample instead? Although it may be tempting to visit your local boutique for a sample sale, you might find it overwhelming or packed. Ask ahead how long the sale will be open and then consider going on one of the later dates if your needs are more specific. Either way, make sure you know what you want before heading over there – otherwise, come prepared with all necessary items.
If possible, shop on weekdays.
If you don’t like being rushed (related), schedule your wedding gown fitting on a weekday morning. Saturdays tend to be busiest at bridal salons; if you can find something on a weekday, you’ll save money and have more opportunities for trying on dresses in a relaxed environment.
Put your trust in your stylist (and yourself)
We’ve often stressed the importance of being clear about your expectations, but equally crucial is trusting your consultant. Shopping for wedding gowns requires a completely different approach than purchasing everyday clothes; that’s why having an expert opinion from a stylist is so invaluable – after all, they do this all day long! Don’t forget: Stylists specialize in this field!
A professional wedding consultant can suggest the best options that will fit your personal style and compliment your body type. Furthermore, they have the capacity to help you stick within budget. It’s okay if you don’t find the ideal gown right away; there are hundreds (if not thousands) of designers specializing in bridal gowns so there are plenty of choices available to choose from. Even though arriving empty-handed on your initial visit may be discouraging, don’t despair – there will be more opportunities in the future!
FAQs about wedding dress shopping
Are you feeling uncertain? Relax. There’s no need to fret over trying on wedding gowns – we have answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
When is the ideal time to try on wedding dresses?
In most cases, it’s best to begin looking for your wedding dress around 12 months prior to the big day or shortly after setting a date. While it may take some time to find the ideal gown, ultimately you should purchase it at least nine months in advance of your special occasion – this gives enough time for fabrication and customizations.
How long does it take you to try on wedding dresses?
One hour is the standard appointment length for wedding dress fittings. Salons may extend your appointment for an additional fee or let you return on another day if needed, but it’s likely your consultant has other commitments so it’s essential to arrive on time.
What are you wearing while trying on wedding gowns?
Make your appointment more enjoyable by bringing along the appropriate accessories or undergarments. When trying on wedding dresses, neutral-toned underwear such as a seamless panty or thong is essential. But don’t be afraid to bring strapless bras and fancy lingerie – most will not fit. Your stylist may temporarily clip the dress to ensure adequate support and coverage while you exit the fitting room.
Shoes are another essential item you must bring on your special day. Even if you don’t have the ideal pair yet, we suggest that the shoes you select be similar to what you envision wearing on your big day.
Do you believe it to be unlucky to try on wedding gowns?
Contrary to popular opinion, trying on wedding dresses is actually quite beneficial – particularly for those engaged or in the middle of planning their big day. You won’t know what looks best on you until you try it on! While it may be normal to feel anxious before beginning a shopping expedition, rest assured that once your appointment starts you will feel confident. Additionally, we have many styles of gowns available so you can find one perfect for you!
Your decision to share or keep your wedding dress a secret is entirely up to you. While we don’t believe that giving someone an insight into the design will bring about bad luck, it could be fun to save it for surprise purposes.
Can you try on a wedding gown without purchasing it?
Though you are welcome to try on wedding gowns without making a purchase, we suggest that you only go to a bridal salon when you are serious about finding the perfect gown. Nobody expects that you will find it on your first try; if however, congratulations! This may mean booking multiple appointments in order to find it; do not schedule a dress trial if you do not have enough funds for purchase – this would be disrespectful to both stylists and other customers.