Are you newly engaged and thinking about your wedding day? Have you been ready to find the perfect wedding dress for your entire life, or has dress shopping just started to cross your mind? Whether this is the 20th article you’ve come across in your research, or the first that you’re reading and hearing about wedding dresses, rest assured that you’ve found the best group of experts to look to for guidance through the first stages of your wedding dress search.
Read on and take note of the details to consider in each step of starting your dress search, from your beginning research to what to look for in a dress salon and what to bring to your first shopping appointments.
There are so, so many dresses out there to choose from, especially when you’re just starting and may not yet know what you’re looking for. A good way to save time is to consider how much money you will be willing to spend on the wedding dress, and how it fits into your overall wedding budget.
Think of how the dress will be paid for, and decide on whether or not a solid budget needs to be adhered to. Once you’ve decided, you’ll know if you have any wiggle room to try on that gown that you were eyeing but is just out of your range or if you’re going to stick to your plan!
While budgeting, keep in mind that you’re not only paying for a dress. Include the cost of consultations, tailoring, accessories (a veil, shoes, and maybe a slip), and for cleaning after your wedding if you wish to keep your dress.
Though you’re in the early stages of your wedding plans, there are several important details that can affect your dress choice. For example, are you certain about a ceremony at a certain site like a church or cathedral? Perhaps there’s a religious or cultural dress code that you’ll need to be aware of.
Speaking of location, are you thinking of a destination wedding? Be sure to let your dress consultant know if you’ll need to transport the dress by plane, to avoid the nightmare of your dress not making it past customs!
On a less urgent note, if you are set on a specific theme for your wedding and want to go the extra mile, knowing whether or not you want your dress to match a theme beforehand could be a factor that you’ll think of in your search.
Just think: A wedding dress can take between 4-8 weeks to be manufactured. Before that, you’ll need time, a few weeks perhaps, for research and shopping. After the dress actually arrives, you’ll need time for simple tailoring and/or more complex add-ons closer to the date. It’s safe to say that your wedding dress isn’t something you want to leave to the last minute!
It’s safe to leave 9-10 months aside for the dress before your wedding, with an emphasis on before. You don’t want to start the process excessively ahead of schedule, because you want to be sure that (a), you will still fit in the dress and that it’s still in style and (b), that you’re still serious about it!
After setting aside the above-mentioned details like your budget, locations, and the theme of your wedding, you’re free to delve into researching the styles and details that you do and don’t like, or in other words, the first really fun part of your search!
Do your research all of the options out there before you actually start shopping. Bridal magazines, blogs, and Pinterest are just a few places to start with. Start a collection of clipping and photos of details and/or dresses that really catch your eye - bringing photos of what you like is a great thing to bring along to a first appointment to show consultants.
Finding the right along with the right people makes all the difference in you dress shopping search and experience.
Start by making an initial list of bridal salons in your area, or in a range of how far you would be willing to travel for a consultation, and call each place beforehand. In you phone calls, ask questions relating to their price ranges, what they have to offer in your size and their consultation process. If you’re planning to start your dress search anywhere in the Northern California or Sacramento Area, check out our website at Miosa Bride to get a feel for the types of consultation experiences that we offer, and to see how we can book your appointment!
Once you have decided on a place, be sure to book an appointment! In the world of wedding-dress shopping, this is more convenient for both you and the consultants than a walk-in, because then everyone has time to prepare for you.
Keep in mind that timing can make a difference. Weekends are very common and crowded times to book an appointment, so consider booking a non-weekend time during business hours for the probability of more attention and a calm environment for decision-making.
Also, don’t underestimate how much time it takes to get in and out of several wedding dresses to try them on. Play it safe by planning to spend a day of two on this process alone.
Okay, okay, so I just told you to do your research. But that’s just for you to get an idea of the types of styles and shapes that interest you, not necessarily for you to make a solid decision about what you want.
So, don’t let any preconceptions you might have inhibit your consideration of other options. Consider the recommendations of the bridal consultants - they know what they’re talking about and might make a suggestions that you haven’t thought of yet. By keeping an open mindset throughout the process, you might be surprised at what your perfect dress turns out to be!
Once your appointment is booked, you’re free to plan out what to bring. Before anything else, the most important thing to bring is comfortable underwear and/or shapewear (in a neutral color close to your skin tone) that you would consider wearing to your wedding day, even of what you end up wearing is different.
If you think you might want to wear heels on your wedding day, wear them with the dresses you try on. This will give you a first sense of how the dress will fit height-wise.
For you who may have sizeable family heirlooms that you are planning to wear, like your grandmother’s pearls, earings or a belt, go ahead and bring them in to make sure that they are a good match with the dresses you try on.
When you find the perfect dress, don’t plan ahead for what size you want to fit in eventually. Imagine buying a dress a few sizes too small with the intention of working down to it, and finding it to still be a bit snug on the day of.
Alterations for taking in a dress are much simpler (and more cost effective) than adding room at the last minute, so buying for your current size and planning for time before your wedding for the final alterations is the best option.
When buying your dress, make sure to read the contract thoroughly. This is mainly for the purpose of ensuring that the size, color, and style that you wanted is listed.
To conclude, I’ll leave you with some tips to make sure that you are absolutely certain about the dress you choose.
If you’re indecisive, it’s okay to bring along 2-3 people whose opinions matter to you, and who you can trust as an extra set of eyes. However, don’t forget that this is your wedding dress and that you will ultimately be wearing on your wedding day, so even if you’re indecisive or a people-pleaser, stay true to your instincts.
If you can’t decide after one appointment, take pictures of everything you try on, go home, relax, and reconsider after a good night’s sleep.
The ultimate question to ask yourself is, “can I imagine myself walking down the aisle in this dress?” If not, no worries! Be quick to move on to find the right one that you can imagine wearing down that aisle.