Now comes the fun part…you get to shop for your wedding gown! You’ve been driving by your local bridal shop for years. Is it the right place for you to shop? To help you along the way, we’ve compiled the top tips from some of the most experienced bridal consultants.
1. Find a salon near you that has a great reputation for service. Chances are you will find your dress there so don’t waste your time with stores that you don’t want to do business with over the long haul. This can be a very stressful time and the #1 priority must be keeping you happy. Check out their website before you visit. It will give you a good sense about what to expect there.
2. Make an appointment. Most stores do accept walk-in customers but you don’t want to be shuffled around and juggled by a consultant with too much on her plate. You want one-on-one attention. For the best service, shop midweek during the daytime when retail stores are quietest. All the attention will be on you!
3. Consider the chemistry between you and your sales consultant. Did she/he get to know you and what you want your wedding day to be? Did they thoughtfully consider your wedding vision and personality? If they aren’t listening to you now you can’t expect they will listen when there’s a problem down the road. If the feeling isn’t right, ask for another sales consultant or leave and go somewhere else.
4. Tell your consultant approximately what you have to spend on your gown. The average price of a gown is about $1000 but there are many options for more and for less. Price is typically is tied to the type of fabric, amount and quality of the embellishments. (remember alterations are often as high as $200-$300 so save money for that!) Don’t be embarrassed about your budget — stay true to it. The store you visit will be able to tell you whether they have styles that will work for you. You can try on some that are a little bit more and less than your planned budget just to see if the difference is worth it to you.
5. Listen when the consultant suggests styles recommended for your body type. Try them on. Your sales consultant has probably dresses hundreds of brides so take advantage of their expertise. You should try on ones you like, of course but keep an open mind!
6. Wear your good underwear. You might want to wear tights, spanks or whatever you feel comfortable having your consultant see you wearing. She is going to be in your fitting room with you. It is a pretty intimate experience. It’s really hard to get into a gown yourself, and many shops wont let you try because they don’t want their samples damaged. (who could blame them for that?) The shop will probably offer you a strapless bra but if you would rather not use theirs come with your own.
7. Bring along photos from websites and clip out photos of styles from magazines that you like. Even if the shop doesn’t have that exact dress you brought with you, they will probably have something similar that you can try.
8. Ask about delivery options. Most gowns will take about 12 weeks or more to make and you need time after that for alterations. You want everything finished in time for your portrait date…not just your wedding, so order early. Even if you’re not planning for a portrait now, have your dress ready early because you may change your mind! Many manufacturers offer rush delivery but it will cost more so why bother with that? You will find it much easier to sleep at night if you know your gown is safely in your closet! Besides, it’s fun to look at it too.
9. Find out if your bridal party will get a discount if your party purchases their gowns from there. Many stores offer discounts on accessories, alterations, tuxedos or bridesmaid dresses if you continue shopping with them. In the long run it could save you and your party a lot of money!
10. Be selective about who shops with you. Bring one or two people with you and THAT’S IT! They should be supportive of YOUR decision. Everyone has an opinion but yours is really the only one that matter. Picking your gown is kind of like the sorting hat from Harry Potter. The gown picks you. You’ll feel amazing wearing it. When you find it, you’ll know!