How To Prepare for Wedding Dress Shopping

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016 Wedding IDEAS, INSPIRATION AND INSIDER TIPS

How to Prepare for Wedding Dress Shopping

Your soul mate has proposed and you couldn’t be happier! You are about to partake in one of the most exciting parts of the wedding planning process: finding the perfect dress!

Whether you’re everyone’s go-to for fashion advice, the do-it-yourself unconventional bride, or the nonchalant bride, you need to get started planning for the big day and that includes preparing to go wedding dress shopping.

You may think you know exactly how the journey of wedding dress shopping should go after being part of your friend’s or family’s entourage during dress shopping for her wedding, but this is different. Searching for your own gown means finding one that fits your personality and style.

Preparing for Wedding Dress Shopping

You may be completely unaware of what it takes to find the dress of your dreams and how much energy it will require. Before you go out and try on every dress possible, here’s a list of do’s and don’ts to help prepare you for wedding dress shopping and hopefully make it the best experience ever.

Before you go wedding dress shopping you should:

Eat something

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 on the journey. Whether it is 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 dress 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.

Not time for a scheduled lunch? Bring snacks! Granola bars, mixed nuts or fruits are great to munch on throughout the day. This will keep everyone’s moods positive and tummies happy!

*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 wedding dresses. So do yourself a favor — eat something light but filling and your shopping experience will be that much better.

Do your research

It will benefit you to do some research on dress styles beforehand to get an idea of what necklines and shapes you would like to try on.

The most common necklines are:

  • Sweetheart

  • V-neck

  • Strapless

  • Scoop

  • Halter

Dress styles include:

Pre-shopping research will give you an idea of what styles of dresses are available. It also gives you an idea of what you may and may not like, depending on your personal style. Looking around before you shop will save you time, especially when you don’t have much time on hand. You will be able to eliminate styles you know you don’t like for yourself.

Remember though, just because you did your research doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know about wedding dresses. This is just a starting point. It will help both you and your consultant during the appointment. If you are not sure you will like a certain silhouette or type of embellishment, try it on! Sometimes it’s the unexpected that will surprise you.

Establish your budget

Do establish a wedding dress budget. Many brides go into the bridal boutiques without a firm budget for their wedding dress. It’s extremely important to set a budget, especially if you are on a tight overall wedding budget.

When setting the budget for your dress, take into consideration the cost of alterations, veils, shoes and accessories. Many brides-to-be forget to add the cost of these accessories 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 dress 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/bring the right undergarments

You are trying on samples that other people will be trying on, so be sure to wear underwear and a nude strapless bra at minimum. While calling to make your appointment, you can always ask the bridal store if they have any specialty bridal bras for you to try on with the dress, but do not assume they have any in store. It is better to be over-prepared for wedding dress shopping than under-prepared.

The correct undergarments can make the difference between a wedding dress fitting well and a wedding dress fitting perfectly. If you already have the undergarments that you will be wearing on your wedding day, it would be best to wear them the day of the appointment, or at least bring them with you. After finding your dream gown you can read our guide onwhat to wear under your wedding dress.

Wear minimal amounts of makeup

On the day of your appointment, it’s important to remember that you are going to be trying on expensive wedding dresses in ivory, white, champagne or cashmere. You don’t want to be responsible for paying for a wedding 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 messy, unprepared look will not give you the right impression when you put on that 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 on those full lashes of yours. 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 wedding day. By doing this, you’re going to get a more realistic image of how you will look in the wedding dresses you are trying on and your consultant will be able to find you the perfect accessories to complement your gown.  

Don’t bring an entourage

We know you want to share this experience with all your bridesmaids, as well as your mother, mother-in-law, aunts, grandmothers, etc., 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 will lead to disagreements. People in your entourage may begin to think their opinions aren’t being heard and get frustrated, when the most important opinion is yours.

Bringing two or three people that you are closest to will give you the best, most successful outcome in terms 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 best and most honest opinions because these people know you the best. And even if they do not particularly love the dress you love, they will love it because you love it. Having the right people will lead to a great, less-stressful appointment.

Have an open mind

You’ve done your research and know what dress styles you want to and don’t want to try on. You believe you know your body and its shape pretty well. You may even think you know what style you will end up purchasing. One important tip we can give is to go into your appointment with an open mind.

This is your first wedding dress experience. Wedding gowns are made in silhouettes that are not normally worn in everyday life, so the only way you will know if you like something is if you try it on. The consultant helping you during your appointment is the expert. They have been doing this for years and will know what shapes and silhouettes will complement your figure and which ones may not work with your body type. They are there to help you find the dress of your dreams. And as much as you think you know it all, they’ve probably seen it all.

So definitely come prepared with your must-haves, but also be open to suggestions. 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 wedding dress, and especially what you are comfortable wearing. Just because she picked the dresses for you does not mean you have to pretend to love them. The more respectfully honest you are with your consultant, the better the appointment will go. Just remember, the consultant is there to help you pick out the dress of your dreams!

You should be ready to go with this list of do’s and don’ts 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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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.

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