Wedding dress shopping: part of the wedding planning process that a lot of brides have been dreaming about for years! This truly is one of the most exciting parts of wedding planning. Who doesn’t want to wear a fancy dress that makes them feel like a princess? Remembering back to my own wedding dress shopping experience a few years ago, a few things stood out to me. I remember being excited but thinking it would be a difficult process because I didn’t really know what I wanted. I remember feeling overwhelmed because there were SO many choices. There are a lot of things you can do to best prepare yourself to find your dream dress as soon as possible. Here are the top five in my opinion!
Know Your Body Type. Women were not all made to look the same. There are many different shapes and sizes, and you know what? They’re all beautiful. Because of this, certain dresses will look best on certain body types, and it’s important to find out what they are! We all want to look our best on our wedding day, so it is important to find a dress that will flatter our best features! To be honest, I did not do much research on this when I began wedding dress shopping myself. I went into the first shop and pulled out a lot of the same style dress to try on, and wondered why I just wasn’t seeing that “wow” factor. They were beautiful dresses, they fit me, but because they weren’t the best choice for my body type, they didn’t end up making the final cut. Ladies, TRUST the wedding shop employees when they suggest dresses for you to try on. They know what they’re doing and what will flatter your features the most! I had a wonderful lady helping me and I ended up buying a dress she picked out for me that otherwise I would have NEVER tried on!
Do Your Research Before, but Stay Open-Minded. With any aspect of wedding planning, it’s best to do your homework before walking into any encounter with a vendor, venue store, etc. This will help you try to narrow down what you think you want or are looking for, and also what you still want to learn more about. Look into designers, fabrics, styles, trends, and cost. Create a Pinterest board of what you like, and then try to spot any recurring themes. Then when you step foot into your first dress shop, you will be a more educated on everything!
Know Your Budget (and Stick to It). This is HARD. This is hard with wedding planning (and life!) in general! But one of the worst feelings is trying on a stunning dress, knowing instantly it’s “The One”, crying happy tears, and then realizing there is no way it will fit into the budget. Don’t do this to yourself. Know your budget, and check the price tags on everything before you even take it off the hanger. Price isn’t listed? Ask.
Know the Alterations Time Frame. Alterations… another oh-so-important part of dress shopping. Since probably 98% of people have to have their wedding dress altered, this is definitely something to factor into your time frame, schedule, and budget. A lot of bridal shops have an alterations specialist on staff, which is wonderful. Make sure you meet with whomever is altering your dress soon, when you still have plenty of time. Make at least 2-3 alterations appointments spread out over the wedding planning period. Do NOT wait until the week of your wedding for your final fitting (like I did)! Whatever you have to do, do not make that last fitting at the last minute. You don’t want the dress to not fit and add another stressor (and possibly more money spent to expedite another alteration) to your wedding week. I still don’t know what went wrong with my dress, but trying it on and not being able to breathe it was so tight just a few days before my wedding…not the most fun experience!
Be Patient. Don’t Make a Rash Decision. Start shopping for your dress several months (at least six) before your wedding. You don’t want to feel like you are rushed and end up choosing a dress you don’t 100% love just because you ran out of time to look any longer. Some dresses take several months to come in and longer to be altered, so make sure you know all of that information up front. Make sure you get a dress you can see yourself walking down the aisle to your sweet groom in; a dress that makes you really feel like a BRIDE; a dress that you are confident you will still love 6+ months away on your wedding day; a dress you will look back on 20 years from now and still remember that feeling when you first put it on. This is one of the most special parts of the wedding process. Every bride deserves to feel a little bit like a princess in their wedding gown!
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