The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Dress Shopping
7 TIPS FOR A BETTER SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
Hello lovely bride to be! You’ve found your person, started planning your day, and now it’s time to shop for your dress! My name is Mel and I’ve been a bridal stylist at The Wedding Tree for five years. In that time, I’ve shared in so many beautiful “yes” moments and I want to share some advice to help you feel better prepared for dress shopping.
1. MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
It’s important to know that bridal gowns take between 6-7 months to order, so you’ll want to start shopping at least 10-12 months before your wedding. Designer dresses are not sitting in a warehouse, but are specifically made to order and often stitched or beaded by hand (which as you can imagine takes some time)! While designers offer “quick ship” styles and you can purchase a dress from our collection, shopping early gives you the most options to special order and customize your gown! Plus, you’ll want to have some extra time for alterations. Make sure to schedule an appointment at least a few weeks ahead of time to get your preferred date and time. You can book online or give us a call.
2. KEEP AN OPEN MIND
While it’s super helpful to come in with a general idea of what you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to try on something a little unexpected! As much as you’re shopping for a dress, you’re shopping for a feeling. Don’t be discouraged if you end up loving a dress that’s different from your initial vision - that’s okay! It just means a certain dress is making you feel special which is the whole goal! Just follow what you feel.
3. TRUST YOUR STYLIST
To put things simply, our “job” is to be here for YOU! Think of us as your newest BFF; we’re here to listen, not to pressure, and give you a positive experience. Trust our expertise, we know how the dresses are structured and how they fit.
4. CHOOSE YOUR GUESTS WISELY
Make sure the most important people are with you on this special day because you never know when that “yes” moment can happen. Guest count looks different for everyone. Just know yourself and how many opinions you can handle. Be sure your group is uplifting, understand who you are, and will make you feel comfortable! Try to narrow down the people whose opinions matter most and will support your decision.
If you’re worried about not inviting everyone, the party doesn’t stop when you say yes. Once your dress comes in, you can try it on with more guests or get their opinion on accessories. Plus, there’s always dress fittings and bridesmaid shopping to make them feel part of the experience as well.
5. BRIDAL SIZING RUNS DIFFERENTLY
First, you are SO MUCH MORE than a size and it’s truly just a number. At the end of the day, all that really matters is you found a dress you love and it zips! Just be aware bridal sizing is different from street sizing which means you may be fitting into a different size than usual. Your stylist will take your measurements and go over a size chart when it’s time to order, so there’s no guessing involved.
6. KNOW YOUR BUDGET
It can be uncomfortable to talk numbers, but it really is important to come to your appointment knowing what you’d like to invest in your dress. The national average for a bridal gown is about $1,800. So come in knowing what your ideal price range is and be sure to let us know.
7. THE “YES” MOMENT IS DIFFERENT FOR EVERY BRIDE
First throw out the rule book because there isn’t one! The gown that makes you feel the most beautiful and feels the most like your personality is the gown you should choose. You may not be brought to tears in the dressing room—but that doesn't mean you haven't found your gown! Every bride reacts differently to this moment. I can’t stress that enough. I've seen brides cry, jump around, freak out, and even act neutral. All those reactions are valid because they’re REAL! Try not to overanalyze the group’s reaction or your own, but stay in the moment! Trust your heart.
This truly is such an exciting time for you and I hope this guide helped you feel ready to shop. I can’t wait for you to see all our gorgeous dresses and find the perfect one for you!