Wedding dress shopping is something every girl dreams about. Literally, I have pictured trying on wedding gowns since I was five years old. Whether it was the Cinderella obsession or just dreaming of happily ever after, I’ve spent the last 25 years imagining what this experience would be like. Let me tell you, it’s kind of everything and nothing that you imagine. Truthfully, it’s better.
I have gone to six appointments and taken two full days to try on gowns, and we don’t even have a wedding date. (Although, that could change this weekend!!!) While I’m certainly not an expert, here are a few things I’ve learned about the cherished dress shopping experience. Also, I haven’t bought the dress…but pretty sure I’ve found it. (Insert blushing bride here.)
- At first, try on everything and anything. You’ll surprise yourself. I had an image of what my wedding gown would look like and was almost certain of the style…turns out, my two favorite kinds of dresses do not fall in that category at all. I just assumed mermaid would be the most flattering on me, the most bridal, and while the dresses are gorgeous, I was completely wrong. I did not like them on me at all and ended up loving so many other styles.
- Have a firm budget and know your range. Then stick to it! Most of the amazing woman I worked with at all the bridal stores were respectful of my budget, but there were a few that ignored what I wanted to stay around and without my knowledge, put me in a dress that was a couple thousand over. Thankfully, I didn’t love those dresses and it wasn’t a problem, but what an issue it would have been if I had fallen in love. A dangerous game you don’t want to play!!! Also, factor in the veil and alterations. Veils can range from $300 to $1,500 and every dress will require different alterations so good to know what you’re getting into.
- So many people said wait until you know your venue and date…but I don’t stand by that rule. It’s true, I don’t think you should buy your dress until you know date and location, but if you have a rough idea of where it’ll be and the vibe you’re going for, why not start looking!? I went over Christmas without knowing the exact location of our wedding because my best friends were visiting for NYE and I wanted them to be apart of the experience, and I am SO glad I did!
- Bring your best ladies that are going to lift you up and support your decision! I have had a total of seven women come to dress fittings with me. I think the most we had at one time was six, and I’ve had different combinations of all seven women at each of the six appointments. It’s so special to share these, and I am so lucky that they were hyping me up in every dress. Once I would share concerns, things I didn’t like, etc., they would agree and point out things I hadn’t thought about, but they literally just were there to support me and it was so incredible to have their support!
- Pack snacks, have a filling breakfast, and hydrate! This sounds silly, but it is exhausting. Especially with three appointments, it’s a FULL day adventure and so tiring emotionally and physically. I don’t even know how, but all day you’re jumping in and out of gowns, thinking about a million different things, critiquing yourself, and it is so fun, but does kind of take it out of you. Make sure to keep your energy up so you can focus on the fun!
- Ignore the trends. Think about you, what makes you most comfortable and beautiful and bridal, and what you want your groom to see you in. And don’t look back! I probably said like 50 times over the course of those two days, “I can’t wait for Ben to see me in this.” It was so incredible to dress shop thinking of not any wedding, but our wedding. I want to feel bridal, beautiful and like a princess of my wedding day, and you just have to stay true to who you are and HAVE FUN.