Everyone has dreamed or at least thought of what they will look like on their wedding day and what sort of dress they will be sporting. Everyone including myself seems to get very excited after getting engaged to start wedding dress shopping but once you get started you quickly understand how overwhelming it is. With thousands of dresses available to millions of different styles you need to almost be a wedding pro to not go crazy! Lucky for you today I am breaking down wedding dress shopping with everything you need to know before you start you shopping. Need more wedding dress ideas? Head over to our rustic wedding dress section to find several post on wedding gowns and make sure you check out our Wedding Gown Styles Information page.
Almost every single bridal shop require an appointment. This might be shock to you but once you realize that you will have a bridal shop attendant who is working closely with you to help you select styles and sizes you will see why appointments are needed. Saturdays are of course the most popular day for brides-to-be to shop so if you want to have a little less busy of a shopping experience try to make an appointment from Tuesday- Thursday. Many bridal shops are closed on Monday since they are open on the weekends so keep that in mind when looking at your calendar. Our advice is call several shops and make appointments — even if you find a dress at the first shop you can always cancel the others.
Many brides forget to build in a timeline to their wedding dress shopping. If you are looking for a dress that will be made only after you purchase it you will need anywhere between 4-7 months for the dress to arrive. If you are buying “off the rack” meaning you buy the actual dress you try and then get it tailored you don’t need to budget as much time but don’t forget that tailoring can take anywhere between 1-3 months. It works best if you know your wedding date before you shop since that way you will know when you need the dress.
Wedding dress shopping is unlike any other form of shopping and comes with its own set language. Take a few minutes to get familiar with wedding dress terms that you might not have otherwise know. Words like silhouette, neckline and waistline along with trains and bustles will be just a few of the words will need to know! Head over to our Wedding Dress Styles & Silhouette page for more information.
Just like there is a wedding dress for every shape there is a wedding dress for every budget. It is important to go shopping with a budget in mind since this will be one for the first questions the stylist will ask you. Remember this is NOT like car shopping — you can not tell them you want to spend $500 and expect to end up with a $2500 gown. The best advice we have is to know your wedding dress price range and give that to the stylists instead of a hard and fast number. By creating a range you allow the stylists to pull options on either end of the budget and you will get a nice array of dresses to try on. Below is our wedding dress price range guide to help you have any idea.
Wedding Dress Price Range Guide
Budget Price Ranges:
Moderate Price Ranges:
High End Price Ranges:
No Budget Price Ranges:
$10,000 and above
One of the coolest parts about shopping for a wedding dress in todays market is the amount of amazing wedding dress designers out there. With that said, you need to have an idea of which dress designers fit your style and budget and try to shop at stores that carry those designers. The best way to find out if a bridal shop carries the designer you want is to check out their website, many times the bridal shop will proudly list all of their designers. Another way to locate the designer & shop you want is to head to the designers website and often times you can search locally to see which shops carry the designers collections.
Have a bridal part of 20 — probably not the best thing to bring them all to your bridal shopping event. The more people to have at your shopping trip will result in the more opinions and the more chaos. Our best advice is to pick a select few helpers who you really want to help you shop and cap it at about 3-4 people.
If your wedding date is June 16th but you are leaving for the wedding location on June 10th you need to communicate that to the dress shop. Every shop will ask you want your wedding date is but you absolutely must inform them of any travel time that you need the dress for as well.
Every bridal shop is a little different and they are dealing with very high priced items leading to policies you need to be aware of. Make sure you ask the shop attendant and if you can the owner or manager for a list of their store policies. Often shops have their shop policy listed on the back of their order form and it will red flag anything you need to be aware of such as extra shipping charges, down payments, change times and more. If a shop does not have a policy that really is there to protect both them and you, you might want to rethink spending your money there.
Now that you know there is a new world of wedding dress terms and wedding dress language it does not hurt to have a visual with you. If you can bring one or two (not 25) different images that highlight the look and style you are going for. Be ready to tell the stylists why you like the look in detail. A good place to start looking for visuals is over on our Wedding Dress Pinterest Board.
You are making a major purchase when you invest in your wedding gown so please make sure you get everything in writing. Bridal shops will give you a receipt when you purchase a gown with a tag number or order followed by information about style number and size along with when the dress should arrive and if a balance will be due. Please make sure you keep everything the shops gives you so that if there are any issues you have a written copy of what was ordered and when.