One time I went shopping with my very fashionista friend Susie when I was looking for a very formal dress to go to a ball. As I approached the store I thought to myself “Ok Amy, you definitely know what you like and don’t like and what will look good on you. Don’t let Susie put you in something completely ridiculous.” As it turned out, I had no idea what really DID look good on me! I suppose I assumed that certain styles and silhouettes wouldn’t look good on me because they were different so I just shyed away from them. Big mistake! I wound up purchasing a gown that met everything I didn’t know I had wanted. Now I’m not saying that shopping for a pretty dress for a ball is the same as shopping for a bridal gown but what I am saying is that I never would have known that certain styles were in fact flattering on me if I didn’t try. This is why I (and all the Patricia South consultants) press upon the girls to try something unexpected on. And here I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s get down to the Do’s and Dont’s of what to do when you’re shopping for THE BRIDAL GOWN!
- Do Your Homework
– Not every store is as fabulous as us (*wink *wink). Before shopping for your gown, do some hunting and planning to find out which stores you’re going to visit. Read reviews and speak to the married folks (referrals are the best!). Don’t be suspicious of a store but be wise with where you spend your money! Also, have research bridal gowns. I’m not saying know exactly what you want and only try that style on but have some sort of idea of the kind of elements you might like in your gown. This information is gold to a bridal consultant because they can take those elements and transform them into your gown.
- Do Try!
-Just like I mentioned above-be willing to go outside the box. You obviously still want you, the bride, to shine through the gown but there may be something out there that is the bridal perfection that you never even considered. I’d have to say that 88-90% of the brides who purchase dresses at our store wind up buying something they didn’t come in for or even consider! And they love us for it! Always remember that bridal gown shopping is an emotional experience and entirely different than any other shopping you’ll ever do. So why limit yourself?! It never hurts to try on a dress but it will hurt if 6 months down the road you might be wondering “What If…”
- Do Know Your Budget
– You’ve probably heard this more than once on all those bridal blogs you follow but it’s out there because it’s true. Probably one of the most important points here. There is no point in trying on a gown that is way outside your price point unless you’re willing to sell an arm and a leg to buy it (joking of course). Be honest with yourself and your family (who might be helping you with the gown). Know what you want to spend and be firm about it when walking into your appointment. Always leave extra room for extras, alterations, and accessories. The more clear and honest you are with your consultant, the better your shopping experience will be. Remember that they are there to help you find your perfect gown and giving them clear guidelines will make everyone happy! 🙂
- Do Keep An Open Mind
-This one goes hand in hand with just try. You may have known for years that you want to wear a pure white tulle ballgown with Swarovski crystals and lace, but then you put that gown on and it looks terrible on you. Don’t fret! This just means you get to try more on and see what’s out there! And that’s what every girl wants, right? To see what’s out there? The more open-minded you are the more fun you’ll have during your appointment. You might be dreaming in ivory tulle yet champagne lace might be more your flavor. But once you’ve tried and seen what you like, stop looking at all the others and focus on finding THE one. And once you find the one, STOP LOOKING! 🙂
- Do Trust Your Consultant
– I find that sometimes girls come in with a natural aversion to bridal consultants and think that because a friend of theirs had a bad experience then they will too. This is not the case! Most bridal consultants are thrilled to be able to help you find your gown and make you look as beautiful as ever. The more information we have the better chance we have of finding you your gown. Be honest with what you want and don’t want but trust their judgment when they might bring you something out of the ordinary 😉
- Don’t Bring the World With You
– As Patricia puts it “Don’t pick your dress by committee.” If you’ve ever watched Say Yes to the Dress you’ve probably seen the perils of when a bride brings a huge entourage. The people you bring with you to your appointment can make or break the experience. We recommend limiting it to 2 or 3 very supportive family members or friends. Trying to please 6-8 very opinionated women is almost an impossible job and you’ll only leave more frustrated and confused than ever! Trust your judgment and how you feel and your perfect support system will be there to back you up! :: Side Note:: When possible, leave the small children at home with a trusted friend. Kids often times don’t have the patience to sit through a 1 1/2-2 hour bridal appointment! 🙂
- Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
– I’m sure I don’t have you tell you that dresses take time to come in. Of course, they do! However, now everyone knows that they can take up to 6-8 months to come in! And let’s not even start on 2-3 months for alterations. So in an ideal world, you should purchase your gown about 10 months before the wedding. We love to avoid the nervous bride who is concerned with her gown coming in enough time. You have enough on your plate so let’s not add concerns on the delivery of your gown to the list. Order it early 🙂
- Don’t Make Your Appointment Super Late in the Evening
– Bridal appointments typically take anywhere from 1 1/2-2 hours, and that’s just doing wedding gowns. Not to mention looking at bridesmaid dresses and social occasion gowns which can take around an hour. So plan on dedicating some serious time to doing your shopping. A big priority at bridal shops, at least for ours, is the experience. And part of that experience is ensuring that the bride and the party are not rushed. If you schedule your appointment 1 1/2 hours before closing, you are cutting it close and the last thing we would ever want is for our brides to be rushed! Obviously, work and busy schedules usually dictate the times available however if you want the very best time, schedule your appointments well before closing. 🙂
- Don’t Wear a Green Zebra Print Bra 😉
-Of course, that kind of undergarment gives us that fun and flirty feeling, however underneath a bridal gown that bright print definitely shines through. If you have a good strapless bra we recommend wearing that! Most stores have some sort of pedestal to stand on so heels aren’t necessary but if you have a fabulous pair that you want all the consultants to gush over by all means bring them in! Girdles and spanx aren’t usually necessary since you would be surprised at how well the gowns hold you in but if it makes you feel better to hold in everything, please do!
- Don’t Go Hours Without Eating
-This one might surprise you as being on our list but it’s super important. I’m not sure about you internet, but if I’m ever out shopping for a specific clothing item and my stomach is growling, there is no way I’m paying attention to what I have on. It makes it very difficult to figure out what my mind is saying when my stomach is speaking so loudly over it! Make sure that when you come to try on bridal gowns you’ve eaten beforehand to ensure that you mentally prepared for this experience and that none of your party is trying to rush you because they just aren’t themselves when they’re hungry!
If you follow these steps and listen to your heart you can never make a wrong decision and you’ll have the kind of experience that every bride dreams of 🙂