Ready to say, “Yes to the dress?” I’ve created this blog to help you navigate the unknowns of wedding dress shopping. Wedding dress shopping can be one of the funnest experiences of wedding planning, but I’ve found in my own experience as a bride, that I was less prepared than I thought to find the dress of my dreams. Below are tips and tricks for a successful experience and real advice from an interview with Bethany Sellai (Daughters of Simone’s boutique manager) who partnered with me to recreate a dress fitting to allow me to educate future brides.
Before we even set foot in a dress boutique, I suggest doing some research to find what type of dress or dresses you might be interested in. It is helpful to think of your wedding vibe, the feel and style of your venue. Pinterest is a GREAT resource when it comes to making wedding dress mood boards and will give you something to reference as you pick dresses to try on. I will link my dress pinterest board below to help get the inspiration started. It is also super important to have a dress budget and to look at dresses only within your budget unless it’s flexible. Dresses can have a huge price range so it’s important to know and stick to what you can afford. Once you get a good feel for what you think you like style wise, and have a set budget in mind, you are then ready to book some dress appointments. I would definitely book more than one appointment so you can see some variety. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with going to too many boutiques, but you also don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket.
So once you have booked your appointments we need to pre-dress prep. By this I mean prep for under the dress. This includes wearing nude, seamless undergarments and bringing shapewear if you plan on wearing it. There are a plethora of places to purchase shapewear and nude undergarments but some of my favorites are Victoria Secrets and Skims which I will link below. It is also helpful to bring shoes around the height you think you will wear on your wedding day. And lastly, one of my biggest recommendations for pre-dress prep is to do your hair and makeup (if you wear it) for your appointments. This will really help you envision yourself on your wedding day and although the dresses you try on will be breathtaking, bed-head can definitely throw off your vision.
When trying on dresses it’s important to be supported. Picking a small group of people whose opinions you value will suit you best. Some boutiques only allow for a specific number of people per appointment, so it is important to check with your dress salons before you invite the whole family and all your bridesmaids. In my research 4 seems to be common among most boutiques.
Now for the fun stuff, actually trying on dresses! When you arrive at your appointment your dress assistant will size you. Then you will pull dresses you are interested in trying on. Be mindful of the sample sizes. Typically, the range of wedding dress sizes is not very wide. Wedding dress sizes differ from normal dress sizes and not all boutiques carry all the sizes available for try on. If you want to check to make sure your dress size is available I would check with your dress boutiques prior to your appointment. I am happy to see that more and more dress boutiques are becoming more size and color inclusive but there is still work to be done.
Dress appointments typically have a time limit but can range from 1.5 to 2 hours. To ensure you make the most of your experience most boutiques allow for a specific number of dresses to try on. 4-6 gowns is typical, but some places may allow for more, follow up with your boutiques for more details.
There are many dresses, rompers, jumpsuits and pantsuits out there! A great piece of advice is to be open minded and try something different than what you planned on wearing. You might be surprised, it’s funny how it works out but you might find the fit of your dreams.
When trying on dresses it’s so easy to get caught up in their beauty and how they make you feel, but practicality and comfortability is HUGE. Can you sit in your dress comfortably? Will you be able to drop it low on the dance floor? Can you breathe normally? Beauty is obviously important, but trust me, there is nothing worse than not being able to move in your wedding dress. I’ve photographed it more than once and it’s definitely less than ideal!
Trust your gut! When you know you know, and if you need time to sleep on it by all means do so. But when you find the one, CELEBRATE IT! It’s a really special experience and I feel like sometimes it gets overlooked. Dress stories are often some of my favorite wedding experience stories so take in the moment. You deserve it. You have found the wedding dress of your dreams and are going to look absolutely STUNNING on your wedding day. Champagne and lunch is always a good way to celebrate!
I hope this blog was helpful and gave you some insight into wedding dress shopping. Best of luck in finding the one! Hopefully I can photograph it!
Photographer: Devyn B Photo
Dresses/Venue: Daughters of Simone