I’m the first one to admit that I was freaking out about wedding dress shopping. I’ve heard so many horror stories about being in the fitting room at a bridal shop. We got engaged in December 2018, I didn’t start accepting the fact that I needed to dress shop until December 2019. In fairness, we hadn’t planned anything, so it’s not like I was only putting off the wedding dress shopping. But at the same time I was in no rush to try on a dress. But as soon as we decided on our destination wedding venue, it was full speed ahead to figure out my wedding dress!
12 Tips for Wedding Dress Shopping
Do Not Crash Diet
I repeat, DO NOT CRASH DIET before you go wedding dress shopping. First off, crash diets are never a good ideas. Second, you should be trying on the dress at your normal size. It’s easier to take in a dress later if you do lose any weight vs getting the dress and realizing it’s too small.
Wear Nude Bra + Panties
I wore a matching nude set and it helped me feel comfortable stripping down with the stylists. But matching or not, I highly encourage you to wear nude or white undergarments because you’re trying on white dresses! I went with a mid rise, full booty covering underwear even though I normally wear thongs. This choice was made on other’s advice and saying it’s weird to feel naked in front of another woman. It honestly didn’t bother me much, but I know that my feelings aren’t going to be the same for every woman out there. But if you’re a thong gal and typically comfortable being naked in front of others, wear your thong, no big deal!
Start the Day on the Right Foot
Set the tone for your day with a great morning! Turn on your favorite playlist, do a face mask, make a tasty breakfast… By setting the mood for your day, you’re way more likely to enjoy the process! If you’re stressed before you even start wedding dress shopping, you’re doomed!
Speaking of starting your day… Of course be sure to do the normal brush your teeth, shave, put on deodorant, etc! You’re going to have stylists all up in your business all day.
As far as to what extend you get ready, be sure to read any guidelines from the stores your going to be wedding dress shopping at. One boutique I shopped at asks for no spray tan and minimal makeup because they worry about it getting on the dresses. If you don’t see any guidelines like that, do your makeup like usual! And I suggest doing your hair no matter what, it helps you envision what the dress will look like when you’re all dolled up on your wedding day.
Be Open Minded
Be prepared to try on dresses that are outside of your comfort zone. This was the most important piece of advice given to me before I started trying on wedding dresses. Of course I knew some general ideas for the look I wanted, but I was open to trying on any style. I tried on two piece sets, fitted, mermaid, fit and flare, you name it and I probably tried it.
Bring a Scrunchy or Hair Tie
Trying on clothes can get really warm, so don’t be afraid to throw your hair up if your body is heating up! Maybe have a designated pal keep the hair tie on their wrist!
We’ve all been shopping at the mall and gotten hungry, wedding dress shopping is no different! If you’re planning a few back to back appointments, your body is going to need sustenance. Have some granola bars, pretzels, apples, etc, in the car to munch on between wedding dress shopping locations. I would also suggest having some water bottles packed! This is key to not getting hangry or to lose your energy.
Quality Over Quantity
We’ve all seen the big group squad photos during wedding dress shopping adventures, but I strongly encourage you not to go down that path. Quality over quantity when it comes to who comes with you! You want honest opinions and a few people to help you during the experience, but you don’t need 10 different opinions coming at you.
Also don’t stress about FaceTiming during an appointment. I made this mistake. It takes away from time you get to try on dresses and appointments are pretty strict. Instead have whoever is with you take photos (more on that below) and videos that you can share after the day is over. But still be careful that you could end up with way more opinions that you want/need.
Think About Your Feet
I got lucky because I’ll be barefoot or with tiny sandals on a beach… But if you’re going to be in heels, bring some with you! They don’t need to be the shoes you’ll wear on your big day but be thinking about how high of a heel you want to be in and pack accordingly.
Speaking of beach and feet, I also had to think about the fact that I’ll be walking through sand. I didn’t want something with too much happening at the bottom because with my luck I’d trip.
Be sure to take photos during your wedding dress shopping experience! I think it makes a huge difference to see a dress in the mirror vs see it in photos. You’ll get to see other angles in photos than you will in a dress, and generally speaking how the dress itself will photograph. Of course it also helps if you’re stuck between dresses to go back and look at the photos vs relying on your memory of what the dress looked like.
I cannot stress this wedding dress shopping tip enough. I am so thankful my friend Sarah was there to take photos for me!
Know Your Budget
Before going wedding dress shopping, know your budget. Even if it’s not an exact number, have an idea on what you can spend on the dress. Don’t forget that you’ll need to account for alterations, veil and undergarments separately. From my experience, I think a sweet spot is around $1,500. If your budget is below that, you’ll be able to find something but you might have to look in some of the less expected places. If your budget is over $1,500, of course that gives you even more room to find a dress.
I cannot stress this enough: the price of your dress means nothing about how it will look on you! Also, no one else will know if the dress cost you $50 or $5,000! There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a small or large budget, but you don’t want to end up falling in love with a dress that isn’t realistic for you to buy.
Also do not be shy about telling your stylist what your budget is! They are used to hearing all sorts of numbers, but you need to be honest with them in order for them to help you find a dress you love.
I noticed quite a few places would say what the price range of their dresses start with online. But you can also call and ask for the price range of dresses, too, before you set up your appointment.
Shop For Your Shape, Not Your Weight
Your weight is going to fluctuate between the day you try on your dress for the first time to your wedding day, but you shape is going to stay the same. Think about it. Even if you wake up one day and realize you’ve lost 10 pounds, chances are if you were an hourglass before those 10 pounds, that’s still going to be what your body shape is. Shop for that shape and find a silhouette/wedding dress style that flatters your body!
Trust Your Gut, But Sleep On It
If you think you’ve found a dress that you love, trust your gut! It can be so overwhelming to keep trying on dresses wondering if something out there is better for you! But in the same breath, I suggest you sleep on it before buying it. On the spot buys, from my experience, typically leave me with lots of second guessing and regret. But if I go back to the store a few days later because I was still dreaming about something, I’m usually way more excited about the purchase! The second visit is also a time when you could invite more friends and make a day out of it! Just an idea…