When so much meaning is ascribed to a piece of clothing, the prospect of looking for a wedding dress can seem daunting.
Yes, the ring is important and stays with you forever, but the dress — that’s what really makes a bride feel amazing on her big day.
Here Are The Things To Know Before Shopping Your Wedding Dress:
1. Each bride’s journey to finding her dress is unique. You might assume that because your best friend bought the first dress she tried on that you will too. But you might end up needing to try on more dresses or going to more appointments, and that shouldn’t dishearten you. “Brides often get tripped up by what other people tell them to expect, You don’t want to be so overwhelmed by what everybody else has said.”
2. Do your homework in advance. Start by looking at dresses online and in bridal magazines to get a sense of the styles you’re drawn to. Create a mood board, pull tear sheets — whatever helps you figure out what you like. Are there certain designers you keep going back to? Follow them on social media and you’ll find out about more styles (and sales) that way.
3. Set a budget. This point causes the most drama and is probably the most important on this list. You really have to be honest with yourself, your family, and your fiancé(e) and determine how much you’re able to spend on the dress — before you make your try-on appointment.
“I don’t want to put a dress on you that’s $10,000 when your budget is $2,500, and you fall in love with it and you’re miserable.”
How do you figure out a budget? Once you’ve found a few dresses that you love, look up how much they cost. That’s an easy way to start having the budget conversation. “I like this style, and it costs around $4,000 — what do you think?”
It’s OK to have a cushion of a few hundred dollars in case you find a dress you adore but it’s $400 over budget. And, keep in mind that a dress does not an outfit make: You’ll need to pay for alterations, a veil, shoes, accessories, etc.
4. Allow yourself ample time to get your dress. You may need to schedule your appointment a month in advance, especially during busy season, though you’ll have an easier time if you go on a weekday instead of the weekend. Then, you’ll need at least six months before the wedding for the dress to get made, but eight to 10 months is the average. Give yourself a year for the whole process and you won’t feel rushed.
5. Be willing to commit. “I don’t mean to put pressure on the situation but go in with the hope that you’re going to find something and have that special moment. If you go into an appointment already assuming you’re walking out of there empty-handed, you’re probably not opening yourself up to the possibility of finding a dress — and that’s a waste of your time. “Make the most of your appointment so that it’s a positive experience.”
“There are some brides that will try on gown after gown after gown. You’re trying to get to this moment where the sun and the moon and the stars align. Just let it go.” It’s a combination of focus, positivity, and openness.
6. Don’t go to your dress appointment with a big entourage. You’ll feel outnumbered by all the voices. “You can become so overwhelmed when you have that many girls in a room, It’s important to only bring someone whose opinion you truly respect and want.”
In the past, women used to bring just their mother or their maid of honor, but now it’s like the whole cheer squad comes. “They’re bringing in 20 people sometimes. I’m like, ‘Did you all unload a bus?’ It’s unbelievable, the number of people coming in here. And do you really care what some of these people think?”
7. Don’t assume you’re going to make a wholesale change to your body between now and when the dress is done. The worst thing you can do is go in and try on a dress when you’re a size 12, then lose weight and become a size 4 or 6. The dress, the proportions — everything is going to look a lot different.” Some brides insist on getting measured for a smaller size than they are when they try on the dress, but even with the best of intentions (and a really expensive price tag), they don’t reach their goal. That can be heartbreaking and disastrous for your wedding plans, not to mention your budget.
8. You’re going to fall in love with a dress, and that’s when you’ll know you’ve found it. “Some brides do cry — some boohoo, some get all red — and we know when we’re zipping them up. But others that are super analytical will know because they compare that dress to everything else.
“I don’t know what it is. It’s like your innermost thoughts and all your desires and everything you wish for on your wedding day. No matter who it is, no matter what they say, they have a fairytale idea of their wedding. Everything’s going to be perfect and they’re going to look magnificent. You’ll zip that dress up and that will be her vision. It’s the strangest thing.”
9. Be open-minded. “Have an idea of what you want but don’t be locked in and dead set. You may not know that deep down, you want a ball gown, but you’ve been trying on all these mermaids. Your consultant may try something different on you because nothing is clicking” — and that’s when you might find a dress you love.
10. Get comfortable with your body. What do you like on your body? Sheath? Bodycon? Pants? I recommend going to the evening gown section of a department store and trying on different shapes there. “It’s probably been a while since you tried on a prom dress. Your body might have changed — grown taller or thinner or more athletic. It’s a nice research process.”