OUR TIPS // To The Wedding Dress Shopping Experience

About to start shopping for a wedding dress? These are our most important tips to make your wedding gown shopping experience stress free and memorable!

TIP #1 - DO YOUR RESEARCH

You wouldn't go to a restaurant without checking reviews, or go car shopping without knowing what car you wanted to test drive, so it makes sense to do some research before setting into a bridal store.  Buy some magazines (we love COSMO BRIDE & HELLO MAY), and hop on Pinterest and mark, or Pin! the wedding gowns, designers or styles that catch your eye. You should start to see a pattern of designers, or styles of wedding gowns you like.

TIP #2 - YOUR CALENDER

Most bridal stores work by appointment, and the weekends are the busiest and are usually booked our weeks or months in advance, so call or email the designers you are interested in to make an appointment.  When making appointment don’t book any more than 3 - 4 designers or stores in any one day.  If you think about, you might try 4 - 5 gowns on during each of your appointments, that is close to 20 gowns in one day, which is more than enough on one day. You don’t want to try on a gown at the last store but dismiss it because your tired or overwhelmed from your shopping day.

TIP #3 - YOUR BRIDAL ENTOURAGE

While it is great to bring along your mum, sisters, best friends, bridesmaids, aunts, mother-in-law-to-be, cousins and your next door neighbour because they are all excited about the prospect of seeing you in a wedding dress, we recommend bringing only two people with you at any one time.  

Make sure the people you bring with you have the opinions you trust the most and that you know they will give you their honest feedback during the process.  Also, beware the the bitter bridesmaid, you might not want to believe it, but often they can make your shopping experience hellish with their loud opinions and unsupportive attitude.

TIP #4 - TELL THE TRUTH

Now this is really important - statistically you are not going to like every gown you try on, so you should not feel bad about telling the stylist in the bridal store that the one you are trying on, isn’t the one for you.  As long as you say it in a polite manner you won’t be offending the stylist.  A good stylist won’t take offence - their job is to find you the perfect gown (and honestly, they know that there is a possibility it might not be in their store), but what they want from you so hopefully they can find you the perfect bridal gown in their store is telling them what you don’t like as much as what you do like so they can work out the perfect wedding gown for you.

TIP #5 - KNOW YOUR PRICE RANGE

There is nothing sadder then trying on the dress of your dreams only to be told that it is worth more than your car. As part of your wedding budget work out how much you can allocate to both only your gown, but alterations and accessories like a veil, shoes and jewellery.  Then don’t stray from this and be upfront with your stylist and let them know this price range, so they don’t suggest a gown to you, that you can’t afford. In the event your dream dress is a little bit more than your budget and you can’t find another gown that you can imagine walking down the aisle in then there a few things you can do, pick up some extra shifts, rework your budget, or consider doing some aspects of your wedding DIY to allow you to buy your dream wedding dress.

TIP #6 - DON'T FORGET THE EXTRA COSTS 

In conjunction with Tip #5 you have to make sure you not only budget for your wedding gown but for the alterations and accessories to complete your wedding day look.  Most bridal designers and stores will offer in house alterations at an additional cost, so ask for a copy of their services so you have an idea of the cost.  Shoes are either a statement or classic so depending on which way you want to go, you might be investing a decent amount of cash into shoes for your wedding.  As for veils and jewellery, maybe make these items your ‘Something Borrowed’, but keep these in mind when working out your budget.

TIP #7 - DO NOT TAKE PHOTOS 

I understand that you will be trying on a number of wedding gowns during your shopping experience and you want to be able to review these gowns after the initial experience, but our recommendation is to not take photos in the bridal store.  There is a reason many don’t let you and it is because the store know that that these photos always looks unflattering - always!  Who is going to buy a wedding dress based on an unflattering photo - no one!  The best thing to do is return to the store for a second, or third appointment, and look at you in the gown in the mirror in real time.

TIP #8 WHAT TO BRING TO THE APPOINTMENTS

Besides yourself, and your two closest confidents you might want to consider the following:

  • Make yourself up - do your makeup and hair, don't go overboard but put in a little effort!
  • Bring high heels
  • Underwear, first of all, wear underwear (yes, we wish we didn’t have to state the obvious), choose something nude and seamless is best!
  • Do not wear fake tan!

TIP #9 - HAVE AN OPEN MIND

Wedding dress shopping isn’t like regular clothes shopping so while we recommend you do research before you visit, you also need to keep an open mind when you start shopping. Try on gowns that catch your eye, but also be open to trying on gowns that the bridal stylist recommends.  A lot of the time we have found that the perfect gown was completely overlooked by brides because of it’s lack of ‘hanger appeal’ but once you start working with a stylist and talking about what you do and don’t like this will give them an idea of what gowns in their store will suit you.

TIP #10 - READ THE FINE PRINT

You have found YOUR wedding gown - congrats! But before you sign the dotted line make sure you read the contract you are signing. Given the long lead times for ordering, and that a lot of gowns are made to order most bridal designers and stores do not offer refunds, so be prepared for this.  Also most stores offer alterations at an additional charge, so know what is and isn’t included in the cost of the gown so you have an idea of what additional costs you might be up for during the fitting process.

Still don't know where to start when it comes to wedding dress designers?
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