Wedding gown shopping is one of the best parts of wedding planning! When else can you try on gorgeous gowns and twirl around? It is such a fun experience, but it can also be an overwhelming one! There are so many different styles, shapes, and colors. As wedding photographers, we have had the honor of photographing so many different dresses and wanted to share some of our biggest tips for wedding dress shopping! Here are ten ways to prep for wedding dress shopping!
Start Looking Early
Begin shopping for gowns 12-14 months before your wedding date. Gowns can take a while to be made and ready. Some designers take 6-8 months! It’s best to start shopping as soon as possible so that you have plenty of time. Another thing to consider is alterations. These can take 6-8 weeks to do, so you need to have your gown in hand at least three months before your wedding. This way, your final fitting happens 2-3 weeks before your wedding day.
Do Research Online Before Wedding Dress Shopping
As you start to decide where to shop, keep a few things in mind! First, what stores are by you, and what stores are a bit of a drive away? Take a look at the designers they offer, and see if they are in line with your style. Bridal shops will carry various designers, usually 5-10, but some are smaller boutiques that focus on particular styles. Also, consider your budget. Some bridal shops will have a wide range of pricing, from $1000-$5000. Other boutiques might start at a higher price point. Make sure to check out their price ranges before you start wedding dress shopping.
Look Into Different Silhouettes
Wedding gowns come in so many styles and silhouettes! As you browse styles, think of what you might prefer. Are you looking for a full ballgown? Or a streamlined a-line? Or are you wanting something that is fitted, like a mermaid or trumpet?
Also, consider your style. Are you more bohemian and looking for textured lace? Or are you modern and simple and want a crepe or satin style? There are also different necklines. Are you looking for something strapless or with sleeves? Do you prefer a low v-neck or something off the shoulder? This will help you know what you’re looking for when you start wedding dress shopping.
Make An Appointment
While shops might have walk-in hours, always make an appointment. Appointments ensure they can have a stylist ready for you to help you find the perfect gown! You can also ask if they have any specific gowns in stock for you to try on. Your bridal stylist will be there to pull gowns, help you in them, and clip them if they are too big or too small. Most appointments are 1 hour to 1.5 hours, so make sure to ask beforehand so you can have plenty of time for each appointment. Don’t do more than 3 shops in a day. Bridal gown shopping is exhausting! We suggest doing 2-3 per day, with snacks in-between.
Pro Tip: If you prefer a quieter experience, make sure to book during the week. Saturday and Sundays are the busiest days at bridal boutiques, so they might be louder with more people. If you prefer space, book it during a weekday!
Bring trusted friends and family
While bringing an entourage might sound fun, it can be quite overwhelming. Everyone is going to have their own opinion! So bring only your trusted friends and family. We suggest three to four people max, so that way the focus is on you and what you love! At the end of the day, whatever gown you pick will be absolutely perfect.
What To Wear To Wedding Dress Shopping
You will most likely try on 8-12 gowns per shop, so make sure to be comfortable. Wear nude colored undergarments, and bring shapewear if you plan on wearing it during the wedding. The proper undergarments not only help the gown fit better, but it also makes sure you feel comfortable! Your bridal consultant will most likely be in the room with you to help you in and out of gowns. Bring a hair tie or wear your hair up, so you can see all of the details. Finally, bring a pair of heels that are the same height as what you are wearing on your wedding day.
Keep An Open Mind
One of our biggest tips is simple: keep an open mind! Even if you have spent hours researching, you might be surprised what you love on in-person. Try on suggestions from your bridal stylist and your family and friends. You never know what you might like!
Complete Your Look
As you start to narrow down your selections, make sure to ask your stylist to bring accessories! These can really change the style of the dress. Have them bring over veils, belts, and jewelry so you can see how it looks all together. These will help you complete your bridal look once you have found the one!
Ask About Alterations
Ask each shop about their alterations process. Do they do it in-house or do they have other seamstresses they refer out to? Also, ask their timeline. Most alterations will need 6-8 weeks, but some gowns may require more time. Gowns with beading and lace often take longer to alter since they involve hand sewing.
Trust Your Instincts
Trust yourself when finding your perfect gown. Feel confident in your decision to purchase the dress! This gown is for you, so pick the one you feel the most amazing in. You are going to look incredible and feel absolutely beautiful on your wedding day!
Wedding shopping is supposed to be fun. It’s all about you and what makes you feel beautiful. A little preparation can just make your day easier.
We just love sharing our knowledge with couples. It’s always great to meet new couples and hear how we can best help them as photographers. We’d love to hear from you!
Planning: Set in Stone
Venue: The Creative Chateau
Hair and Makeup: Polished Makeup & Hair
Gown: Theia Holmes Gown from BHLDN
Floral Design: Amanda Bee Floral