For some, wedding dress shopping thrilling and exciting experience, but for many it can be daunting and even turn into an utter nightmare. But no matter which category you are, shopping for the dress is inevitable. To make the process a little easier, we’re sharing our top 5 tips every bride needs to know when preparing for the shopping experience.
Set a Budget
Setting your budget or at least having a price range in place is an important part of the dress shopping experience and will help you only focus on dresses within that range. Trust me – this is very essential, you don’t want to fall in-love with a dress you cannot afford. You’ll also need to factor in extra costs for alterations, veil, shoes, undergarments, accessories and jewellery.
[Tip: If you’re stuck on where to start, plan on about 10% of your overall budget.]
Do Your Research
Start by thinking about what kind of dress you want – browse through bridal magazines, online stores and Pinterest boards for ideas. This will help you get a sense of the styles you’re drawn to and what dresses to try out. To get you off to a great start have a look at our Pinterest Boards.
[Tip: Remember to keep an open mind – you might be surprised how good you look and feel in a style you least expect.]
You’ll also want to research the boutiques you’re planning on visiting. See what kind of dresses they offer, their price range and whether it’s aligned with what you want.
Start Wedding Dress Shopping Early
Starting early and giving yourself plenty of time to shop is essential. It allows you to find the perfect dress without the stress of being limited by boutiques who cannot accommodate the short time frame or selecting a dress that you’re not in-love with and will regret later.
Ideally, you’d want to start your research about 12 months before, giving yourself 1 – 2 months to find all the styles you like and want to try out. Then another 3 – 4 months to make appointments, visit various boutiques and make your final decision. Once you’ve decided on a dress it generally takes about 4 – 6 months to get it made. This time might be extended depending on how many alterations you want, so include some buffer time so you won’t feel rushed.
Limit Your Entourage
Dress shopping can be a very emotional experience, it’s always good to trust your instincts but if you’re a very indecisive person you’ll want to take along some support. The most important thing to remember here is to not bring too many people with – limit your entourage! Everyone has an opinion and you don’t want people influencing your decision, because it is ultimately your dress no one else’s. Only bring people you trust and know will have your best interest at heart.
[Tip: Less is more – bring along 3 – 4 people only.]
Most brides bring their moms and bridesmaids or even just their maid of honor. But if you have plenty of friends you’d like to include in the process, invite them to fittings once you’ve decided on your dress. This eliminates the “too many cooks” dilemma and ensures you make the right decision for you.
My big mistake when I went wedding dress shopping is that, I did not primp myself beforehand. I was very unprepared – I didn’t have my correct undergarments or shoes, my hair was dirty and had no makeup on. Now, I was very decisive and knew what I wanted and what I didn’t want. But regret not doing myself up a little because it does give you a better picture of how you’ll look on the big day. It also gives you that boost of confidence and helps the consultant get a sense of your style.
[Tip: Keep in mind that you’ll be changing in front of a lot of people, so make sure everything is groomed – legs, armpits etc.]
It’s key to bring your wedding shoes along with you, however if you don’t have them yet bring an alternative pair, similar in style and heel height. This is important and can affect the way the hem of the dress lays.
More great tips on wedding dress shopping can be found in our What to ask guide
We hope this post, helped you prepare for your wedding dress shopping experience. Now, we’d love to hear from you, do you have any other tips to share for brides to be? Please comment below and let us know.
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