How To Prepare for Wedding Dress Shopping



Your soul mate has proposed and you couldn’t be happier! You are about to experience one of the most exciting parts of the wedding planning process: finding the best wedding dress for the big day! 

There’s a few things you should know before stepping into your first bridal boutique. 

We’ve put together a guide that helps brides make the most of their day while shopping for that perfect dress. Below you’ll find tips on how to prepare for wedding dress shopping and some helpful information on what to wear.

7 Tips for Wedding Dress Shopping

There’s a lot of planning that goes into a wedding, and that includes planning for dress shopping. This process could take more than one day, so don’t get discouraged! We put together tips to consider when preparing to go shopping. 

Make an appointment 

Some bridal shops allow walk-ins, but making an appointment ensures you’ll have a dedicated sales consultant with you helping you find the perfect dress. These consultants can help find the style you’re after, and they can make sure the dresses are clipped and fitted in all the right places so you can see exactly how it will look after alterations. If you are visiting multiple bridal salons, making an appointment at each will also create a schedule to follow for the day. 

If possible, it’s a good idea to take a day off during the week to go shopping while the stores are much less crowded than a Saturday afternoon. 

Remember, the earlier you begin looking for your wedding dress, the better! Especially if you plan on spending time at different boutiques. You’ll want to have a sufficient amount of time to not only find a dress but you’ll want to have enough time for the alterations that need to be made. 

Make sure you eat before shopping 

Shopping for your dress is exhausting! When preparing for wedding dress shopping, your mind is in a million different places. Be sure to eat something before you head out. Whether it’s a complete breakfast, a granola bar, or some yogurt, get something in your system. Trust us, it will make the shopping trip go much smoother.

Being hangry can affect your mood and attitude towards the dresses and everyone around you. It can make you feel very unmotivated, unexcited and just plain “blah” about trying anything on, let alone wedding dresses.

If you are planning to make multiple appointments (we recommend not going to more than three appointments — you’ll thank us later!) in a single day, a great idea is to schedule a lunch in between the appointments. This way, you and your party will have a chance to relax and recharge over something delicious before continuing the shopping experience. It also gives you a great time to chat about what you’ve already seen and hope to see at the next appointments.

*Important Tip - Try not to overeat or eat a really greasy lunch as it will make you feel not your best and possibly bloated. And let’s be honest, no one wants to feel bloated while trying on dresses. So do yourself a favor — eat something light but filling and your shopping experience will be that much better.

Research your favorite wedding dress styles

When you arrive at these boutiques, most consultants will ask you about your favorite wedding dress style. Do some research on the types of necklines and silhouettes you like so you can have an idea of what you’d like to try on first.

Common wedding dress necklines are:

  • Sweetheart

  • V-neck

  • Strapless

  • Scoop

  • Halter

Common dress styles include:

Pre-shopping research will give you an idea of what styles are available and what you may and may not like. This should also save you time at your appointments by knowing the styles you want to try on and eliminating the ones you don’t like for yourself.

Remember though, this is just a starting point. It will help both you and your consultant during the appointment. If you are not sure about a certain silhouette or embellishment, try it on! Sometimes it’s the unexpected that will surprise you.

Have a solid budget in mind

Often, brides go into bridal boutiques without a firm budget. Shopping can become stressful when dealing with budget dilemmas. Set a budget for yourself, and if someone else is buying your gown, make sure you speak to them so you’re both on the same page. Take into consideration the following costs when thinking about your dress budget: 

  • Cost of alterations

  • Veils

  • Shoes

  • Accessories 

Many brides-to-be forget to add the cost of these addons into their budgets and end up going over their limit.

*Important Tip - Do not try on any dresses that are over your set budget! You want to avoid falling madly in love with a dress that you cannot afford because any others you try on after that may not give you the same feeling. There are plenty of beautiful options within your budget, so avoid the unnecessary stress.

Wear minimal amounts of makeup (h3)

Remember that you’re trying on expensive wedding dresses in ivory, white, champagne or cashmere. You don’t want to be responsible for paying for a dress that you do not like because your makeup got on the dress, so wear minimal amounts of makeup.

However, you also don’t want to show up to your appointment looking like you just rolled out of bed. This unprepared look may not give you the right impression when you put on a wedding dress that’s supposed to make you feel amazing and beautiful.

We recommend putting on a little bit of moisturizer, foundation, blush to rosy up those cheeks, and applying mascara. Also, if you know you are going to have your hair pulled back in a low bun on your wedding day, tie it up in a low bun while trying on dresses. Do your hair in a way that resembles the hairstyle you are thinking about wearing for your big day. By doing this, you’re going to get a more realistic image of how you will look and your consultant will be able to find you the perfect accessories to complement your gown. 

Choose the perfect size entourage

We know you want to share this experience with all your bridesmaids, as well as your mother, mother-in-law, aunts, grandmothers and all sorts of family members, but bringing a huge entourage can lead to trouble and stress. Lots of stress!

The bigger your entourage, the more opinions. Different opinions can be helpful, but too many could lead to disagreements. People in your entourage may begin to think their opinions aren’t being heard and get frustrated. It’s important to remember, the most important opinion is yours.

Bringing two or three people that you are closest to will give you the best chance of finally saying “Yes!!” to the dress. These special people are the ones you would regret not being a part of your dress shopping experience and may include your mother, maid of honor, your best friend or your future mother-in-law.

It’s all about quality, not quantity. By keeping your support system small, you will get the most honest opinions because they know you the best. And, even if they don't particularly love the dress you love, they will love it because you love it. Having the right people will lead to a great, bridal appointment.

Keep an open mind

You’ve done your research and know what dress styles you want to try. You may even think you know what style you will end up purchasing. One important tip we can give is to go into the dressing room with an open mind.

Bridal gowns are made in silhouettes that are not worn in everyday life, so the only way you’ll know if you like something is if you try it on. Come prepared with must-have styles you want to try on, but also be open to suggestions. The consultant helping you during your appointment is an expert and knows the different styles, shapes and silhouettes really well. They may have ideas on styles that can complement your figure. 

Keeping an open mind will help keep the appointment more enjoyable for everyone. Be honest when you describe to the consultant what you are looking for in a perfect wedding dress, and especially what you are comfortable wearing. 

What to Wear Wedding Dress Shopping

You’ll most likely be trying on a good amount of dresses, so many brides choose to wear comfortable clothing to their appointments. 

If you already have the undergarments that you’ll be wearing under your wedding dress on your big day (strapless bra, shapewear, etc.), consider wearing them while shopping. The proper undergarments not only eliminate panty lines, but can make the difference between a wedding gown fitting well and fitting perfectly. Since you’re likely making alterations to your dress, it’s better that measurements be taken with exactly what you’ll be wearing. This can save you time later by avoiding having to alter the dress after the first fitting. 

Wear or bring shoes similar to what you’ll be wearing with your dress. It’s even an option to find your wedding shoes before you go dress shopping! Having the high heels or the style of shoe you plan to wear with you will let you see exactly how the height of your dress will look. 

It’s better to be over-prepared for wedding dress shopping rather than under-prepared. 

Key Takeaways

We’ve all dreamed of the moment we try on a gown while all of our loved ones are crowded around falling in love as fast as we are. However, no matter who you bring to your appointment with you, your opinion is number one. Trust your instincts and don't let anyone else's opinion come before your own. 

You should be ready to go with this list of tips on how to prepare for wedding dress shopping! Make the appointment today at your nearest retailer and let the shopping begin!

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Blog Record Image


Jade Brunet
06/27/2017 14:0
My sister just got engaged, and we are excited to start the wedding preparations. It is good to know that one should establish a budget before going dress shopping. I like what was said about how one should also consider the cost for alterations, veils, shoes, and accessories. We will be sure to run this past my sister.
Tina McLean
03/06/2018 15:0
Great advice! As a seasoned bridal stylist, I wholeheartedly agree, And yes, we are there to support the bride.
12/27/2018 14:0
I just got engaged a month ago, and am so excited to go shopping for my dream dress! This article was so helpful with the tips and tricks I didn't think of (bringing snacks and not caking on the make up). This is going to make my dress shopping experience so much better. Thank you :)
05/08/2019 07:0
Im about going into bridal business. This advice will enhance my business. Thanks a lot
Sarah Annr
07/01/2019 09:0
I was wondering ; i want to get my photo done in a wedding gown, im not rich but i am dieing of kidney failure. My aide says i should get a gown and do it up right because i wont ever get married. Should i
make a special happy day and do wedding gown photos of myself looking like im getting married? Curiously curious,
Sarah Anne.
Lyla Peterson
08/30/2019 16:0
That's a good idea to wear the right undergarments to get a proper look at how the dress will fit. My wedding is coming up in a few months, so I need to get serious about finding a dress. Thank you for the advice, I will keep in mind to have in mind what I am looking for while still being open to try something new.
11/30/2019 19:0
So many tips, thank you! I wouldn't think about eating and wearing no makeup.
I am doing a lot of planning, and using this book from Goerge Holmes and it wokrs great for planning the next steps but doesn't go much into specifics like a dress... and you know it is a TOPIC, not just a chapter. It has to be perfect!
I'm going shopping this with my little sister and we are SO excited!!
12/28/2019 10:0
Quite an impressive topic to read about.
Linda Reed
03/16/2020 17:0
I am an older bridesmaid (68). What should I wear/bring with me for my first time looking for a dress?
06/08/2020 09:0
Wonderful tips for wedding shopping for bride. The blog will be surely help a lot to any bride.
Recently I have seen a nice blog regarding matrimony here:
Pooja Sharma
08/20/2020 09:0
Amazing tips for wedding shopping. All the points discussed in the article are so helpful for all the bride who are going to marry.
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Marcella Richardson
10/25/2020 00:0
don't forget to wear a dress when going shopping for wedding gown
Natalie M
01/19/2021 12:0
My experience was awful to say the least. I was bulldozed into a dressing room, not invited to browse, no refreshments offered. When I went to my fitting, the hoop skirt I needed didn't exist, my veil order was lost, I stood in a back room with dress on in 38 degree heat (Australia), sweat running down my legs, ignored, forced to pay for alterations that were hideous. I can't look at myself in it anymore & I ended up selling it. Biggest regret of my life. Wish I could do it again.
02/02/2021 20:0
I plan my wedding this year, I try a bridedress inaboutiqueandthewomen wasvery nice,she knew I was transgender, I have another appointmen in June.
Jacob Oliver
02/22/2021 08:0
Thank you very much for sharing this awesome post with us.
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04/01/2021 05:0
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04/06/2021 14:0
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swetha jain
04/16/2021 06:0
This blog is very helpful to decide the wedding shopping for brides. This blog inspire bride to decide their bridal gown for their special day. Most help blog.
Shammy Peterson
05/27/2021 04:0
I like that you suggested being honest when you describe to the consultant what you are looking for in a wedding dress to ensure enjoyable wedding dress shopping. My sister is getting married soon, and she is very excited to find the perfect wedding gown for her. She mentioned that she has a style in her mind, and she wants to find what she envisioned for her gown. I will definitely share this with her so she could be guided.
Carol Suhor
08/04/2021 17:0
My granddaughter will be shopping for her bridal gown very soon. I offered to buy her gown, so I will be with her and my daughter (her mother), for shopping. Being unsure about which people are usually invited to accompany the bride in gown selection, I read on your blog "Don't bring an entourage". It had very helpful comments, and I hope we won't have a fiasco with too many people/opinions. Personally, I have always believed if one tries to please everyone, they end up pleasing no one, especially themselves! I plan to just be present and silent (unless asked for opinion), and ready to handle the purchase of my beautiful granddaughter's beautiful gown!
Bessie Hays Bridal Boutique
09/10/2021 13:0
If you are a bride-to-be and looking for wedding dresses in Newcastle, Bessie Hays Bridal Boutique takes care of all your wedding needs. They intend to make your shopping experience for bridal wear enjoyable and memorable. For designer wedding dresses.
Bessie Hays Bridal Boutique
09/10/2021 13:0
If you are a bride-to-be and looking for wedding dresses in Newcastle, Bessie Hays Bridal Boutique takes care of all your wedding needs. They intend to make your shopping experience for bridal wear enjoyable and memorable. For designer wedding dresses, visit -
Harvey Self
11/12/2021 06:0
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