Beware of the Overpromise of Online Shopping
Most designers sell their bridal gowns only through authorized storefront retailers who have been verified and approved to sell their product. So, be careful of online deals that seem too good to be true, because it probably is. Designers warn against these sites because many dresses are not actually designer dresses, but rather knock-offs that are advertised with beautiful designer photography. There are too many stories about brides being overpromised and underdelivered from purchasing their bridal attire online and not getting what they paid for or any customer service to deal with it. If you are looking for a particular designer, be sure to visit to the designer’s website and their authorized retailer page to find an authorized retailer near you.
Start Shopping Early
Once you’re engaged, it’s never too early to start shopping for your wedding gown. The industry standard recommendation is to order your dress at least one year before your wedding and this is because it can take approximately 4-6 months to receive your gown (and you want to leave time for alterations, if needed). If you are indecisive, very particular on the style of your dress or simply just don’t know what style you’re looking for, you will want to start looking even earlier to allow enough time to feel comfortable about your decision. Waiting just months before your wedding or less can lead to additional stress and a limited selection due to dress lead times.
Plan Ahead and Call to Schedule an Appointment
The most popular time for bridal shopping is Saturdays, which typically book at least 2 weeks in advance. So, coordinate with your group and call to schedule your appointment at least two weeks in advance, especially if you have limited availability. Appointments are preferred to ensure that a consultant and fitting room is available and to ensure you get the time and attention you deserve. We do staff for both appointments and walk ins, as we always try to accommodate every bride who visits us!
Consider the Size of Your Bridal Entourage
Although our store has plenty of space to accommodate large groups, many brides often become overwhelmed with too many opinions when they bring more than 2-3 people with them for their appointment. If you feel that this could be a concern for your entourage, it may help to start the shopping process by bringing a couple people who are the closest to you. They know you the best and they know what you are looking for; after all, the dress is all about you and you should enjoy the entire shopping experience.
Get Dolled Up
Consider getting a little dolled up for the shopping process! Doing your hair and make-up will make all the difference when trying on dresses. You will feel better, overall, in the dresses and you will get a better vision of how you will look on the big day. Also, it is a good idea to bring some heels in with the heel height you plan to wear on the wedding day. That way, if you do end up ordering a dress, your consultant can better determine the best length option for you. And, don’t forget to wear or bring a strapless bra and/or shapewear, if you choose.
Bring Pictures to Share Your Vision
If you have a particular style in mind, it is very helpful to bring pictures to show your consultant. Pinterest, websites, magazine pics…even if it is a $15,000 dress found online—there is a good chance that we have some similar bridal gowns (at much more affordable prices). Showing pictures of what you’ve liked at other stores or what you love from magazines or online can really help your consultant help select the perfect dresses for you to try. It is also important to stay open minded, because bridal gowns look much better on the body than on the hanger. Your consultant will have a good idea of what will look great on your shape, so don’t be afraid to step a little out of your comfort zone when the outcome could mean that you find the perfect dress. You never know, you may fall in love with something a little different than what you had in mind!
Don’t Freak Out About Size
Choosing a size can be a little nerve racking, especially if you are measuring between sizes and/or you expect to be a smaller size by wedding time. There is enough pressure to find ‘the dress,’ so the last thing you need additional stress about is selecting the proper size. If you are on a weight-loss regimen, your body type is likely not going to change (just the number on the scale). Designer size recommendations are outlined very clearly by measurements across the bust, waist and hips and very simply outline the appropriate size, based on the largest measurement to ensure fit in the largest body measurement. This process ensures that the dress will fit and other areas measuring smaller can then be altered, as needed, to get the perfect fit. Feeling nervous about size and making a selection just to get that certain size number is not the best approach. This runs the risk of the dress not fitting and having issues with potentially not being able to adjust the dress properly through alterations. Remember, taking a dress in is always easier and less expensive than letting a dress out or getting more material, both of which may not even be feasible. Not to mention, this will eliminate a lot of stress and pressure during this special time. P.S. You are beautiful just the way you are. Don’t let the sizing process make you feel any differently!