Wedding Dress Shopping 101 – What Not To do

Table of Contents

Do's & Don'ts of Wedding Dress Shopping

Now that you've got the ring on your finger, you may start thinking about wedding gowns. Simple enough, right? What you need to know before you travel is listed below.

Many brides plan their wedding attire months, sometimes years, in advance. And yet, perhaps you haven't given it any attention at all.

However, going dress shopping may be a stressful experience in and of itself. After all, all eyes will be on you as you walk down the aisle in your wedding dress. Most likely, this single item of apparel will be the most costly and talked-about thing you've ever worn.

We've got solutions to your burning wedding dress questions to help you find the dress of your dreams. When do you want to get going? Where do you recommend going? What sort of things can you anticipate finding when you arrive there? Check out the details below!

FAQs About Wedding Dress

The short answer: Guests can wear anything they want as the bride goes wedding dress shopping.

Most brides try on between four and seven gowns, said DeMarco, and shouldn't try on more than 10, because it can lead to confusion. Often, a bride is trying on dress after dress because she's just not ready to end the shopping experience and make a real commitment.

Ultimately, this decision is yours, but most grooms agree they want to be surprised by their future wife's wedding dress on the day of the wedding. If your partner is open to seeing your dress ahead of the wedding, and if you value their opinion in the world of fashion, you can certainly invite them along.

Traditional etiquette dictates that the mother of the bride takes the lead and shops for her wedding attire first; then, the mother of the groom can choose her dress. However, many modern women use this advice as more of a guideline than a strict rule.

You don't want to be responsible for paying for a dress that you do not like because your makeup got on the gown, so we recommend wearing minimal amounts of makeup. However, you also don't want to show up to your appointment looking like you just rolled out of bed.


When to Begin Finding The Right Wedding Dress?

Two Words: Shop Early.

You should start shopping nine to twelve months before the wedding at the latest, as you'll need about six months for fittings.

Why? Wedding dresses are manufactured to order unless you purchase a ready-to-wear garment or a sample gown. Of course, once you receive your dress, it will require alterations (perhaps multiple times) before it is in the exact size for you.

In any case, there are many businesses that can speed up the process of making a garment. If you have less than six months to find a dress, however, you should start shopping as soon as possible and be as adaptable as possible.

You should try to schedule your appointments during the weekdays wherever possible. If your wedding is scheduled for a popular month, you may have a hard time making an appointment at a bridal salon. Shopping during the week allows you to receive more individual attention from salespeople.

Where to Go

The bridal salon is the most well-liked shopping destination because of the individualised attention, relaxing atmosphere, and extensive wedding dress collection. Boutique salons can be found in various retail settings, including posh city neighbourhoods, suburban downtowns, strip malls, big shopping centres, and even some of the larger department stores.

Look for "Bridal Shops" or "Wedding Services" online to see what's offered in your region. Positive references from friends and family can also help. Look up reviews from other brides to see which salons provided the best service, then schedule appointments with those salons.

Shop at no more than three or four salons, and take a little notepad to jot down notes on each dress you like.

Determine which beauty parlours are within your price range. Some dress collections start at $3000, while the average salon carries lines in the under-$1000 range. Asking before scheduling an appointment is time well spent for both you and the hairdresser.

Salons hold wedding-related activities such as trunk shows and sample sales in addition to the regular business of selling dresses. To provide future brides with the opportunity to try on the designer's newest collection, the store hosts a trunk display when the designer (or a representative of the bridal manufacturer) brings the collection to the store.

That's the good news. Rather than being limited to the store's handpicked selection, you can peruse the whole front floor of dresses. And there's always the possibility of meeting the designer in person and striking up a conversation, or even better, getting some fashion advice.

Used wedding gowns from a salon's sample sale are discounted and sold to the general public. A wide range of sizes is often available in sample dresses sold in retailers, while sizes 6, 8, and 10 are the most common.

Samples should fit if your usual dress size is 2, 4, or 6. Wedding dresses tend to run small. Since the dresses are so cheap, you can use the money you save to pay to have them professionally cleaned, even if they aren't in perfect condition.

When a wedding salon's gowns are out of your price range, you may wish to check out bridal outlet stores. You can find dresses by lesser-known designers or from previous seasons at these stores.

The gowns here are cheap, but it's important to remember that you may have to weed through a lot of rejects to get the good ones. There's no guarantee you'll get what you're looking for, and the prices aren't always the best.

If you don't care too much about keeping the dress after the event, you can save yourself a lot of money by renting one instead of buying one. It is possible to hire a wedding dress from a store that specialises in renting formal wear, and some clothes rental companies carry such outfits (check online under "Clothing Rental"). The selection is limited compared to a bridal shop, which is a drawback. Also, these might not be the newest trends in fashion.

What to Know About Wedding Dress Shopping

Shopping for a wedding dress has its own lingo, and it will be much simpler if you already know what silhouettes work best for you. You should familiarise yourself with salon jargon before you set foot inside one. Learn the dress inside and out, from the neckline to the waist to the sleeve details to the skirt's fabric, finishing, and train. Figure out which of the standard dress silhouettes works best for your body type.

At this point, you should also think about the location's amenities and the level of ceremony you intend to have. The wedding gown should be appropriate for the era and location of your ceremony. Neither a short sundress nor a cathedral-length train and veil are appropriate for a formal candlelit ceremony or an afternoon garden reception.

Close your eyes and imagine you're the bride. In what do you take delight? Do you have your hair done in enticing ringlets and a full-length ball gown on? Or are you wearing a light, floaty dress, and your hair is loose and adorned with flowers? Make a list of six words that sum up how you hope to feel and look on your wedding day. These are examples of such a persona: Princess, sensual, smart, over-the-top, classic, and bohemian.

What to Expect

A dedicated sales associate will be waiting for you when you arrive at the bridal shop. Every time you return to the shop, you'll work with the same person. A skilled salesperson will inquire about the specifics of your big day, your style, and the outfits you find most appealing.

She will examine you, make an educated guess as to which styles will complement your figure, and then bring you outfits to put on. Find a store where you can browse the shelves at your leisure if this makes you uneasy.

Keep an eye on how you're being made to feel by the salesperson from the moment you walk in the door. Can you tell whether they respect you? Is it just arrogance on their part? If the latter is the case, you may wish to go elsewhere to do business.

Your prior preparation and research will serve you well at this time. The sales associate will have more confidence in helping you if you can articulate your preferences in terms of dress cuts and styles.

Utilize the knowledge of the salesman. She regularly encounters brides in her line of employment, making her an expert on bridal attire. Think about what she has to say and use her as a sounding board. Don't let anyone talk you into or out of anything or make you feel bad about your choices; a competent salesperson will never try to force you to buy something you aren't sure about.

How to Shop

When you do enter the changing room, attempt to maintain an open disposition. Regardless of how much you dislike it on the hanger, if the saleswoman brings you something and insists that you try it, you have no choice but to comply. It's not uncommon for a salesperson to have to convince a bride to try on a wedding dress before she finally does.

Although some dress styles are better suited to some physiques than others, it is still beneficial to try on a wide variety of dresses before settling on the one that best flatters your figure. You need to pay close attention to finding the right wedding dress design for you.

A long row of small pearl buttons or carefully placed ruffles, for example, might elevate a fine wedding dress to the level of a spectacular one.

Find your most flattering silhouette first, then focus on the details. Instead than worrying about what's trendy, concentrate on what suits you best.

It's a common misunderstanding that brides have to settle for their dresses in their current form. Most gowns, in fact, have a variety of other styles available for special order.

To create the garment of your dreams, have the bodice of one and the skirt of another combined (provided, of course, that both gowns come from the same designer). Moreover, feel free to make specific requests regarding the placement or removal of accessories like ribbons and beads. However, keep in mind that deviating from the initial plan will result in increased costs.

Don’t Freak Out About Wedding Dress Sizing.

Bridesmaid dresses are often two to three sizes larger than the wearer's usual size. Once you've grasped that, be practical; judge it by its appearance rather than its description.

It's Important to Remember the Wedding Dress Top as Well.

You can't go wrong with a long, beautiful wedding dress that has a unique hem. Keep in mind that the upper of your dress will be shown in most of your wedding photographs and will receive the most attention. Photos of wedding guests are usually always taken from above the waist.

Don’t Choose a Wedding Gown Because It’s the Latest Craze.

You only need to look through your parent's wedding album to see that modern wedding gowns don't always last. A gown should be ageless. You have found your timeless gown when it makes you feel like the best version of yourself while making you feel seductive and gorgeous in its modern and classic elements. That's the kind of stuff that will always be in vogue.

Also, remember to give yourself plenty of time and other alternatives to consider before making any final decisions. If you believe you've discovered the perfect dress, don't rush into buying it. Contracts at most salons include a no-return clause for bridal gowns because they are built to order.

When Shopping for a Wedding Dress, Bring a Camera if the Store Permits Photographs.

Instead of relying solely on the mirror, become the main character and snap some photos of potential outfits. Cameras do not lie, thus, mirrors are utilised to promote clothing.

You will be gazing at photographs of yourself in this dress for generations to come, so it's important to know how it will photograph in all directions.

One possible hitch is that some boutiques don't permit photographing dresses. Inquire ahead of time if you can take some photos for the sole purpose of making a decision.

Don’t Be Shy About Trying on a Lot of Wedding Gowns...

Any garment can appear lovely when hung from a hanger (or it can seem terrible). Attempt not to judge too quickly. It's possible that the silhouette or the appearance of a dress gets altered once it's on a woman's body. Consequently, the bride will (and should) try on a wide variety of gowns. Finding the right dress can be as time-consuming as looking for a life partner."

...but Don’t Go Crazy Trying On Too Many Wedding Gowns.

We don't want you to get the wrong idea; we're not suggesting that you try on very few or more gowns than you're comfortable with. Trying on 20 dresses at one shop might lead to wedding dress overload (and absolute fear).

Having too many options available might be overwhelming. In nine out of ten cases, you will return to the first salon and place an order for your prefered gown anyway, so trust your first instinct. Expert advice: visit a bridal shop that carries the collections of your top three designers and "gets" your taste.

Wedding Dress Trying-on Sessions Don’t Require an Audience.

Watching TV weddings can give you the impression that you must invite all your female relatives, your neighbour, and your college chums. Unfortunately, it may turn out to be negative. There will be just too many people, ideas, and plans to coordinate.

Don't Forget That Most Sales on Wedding Gowns and Related Items Are Final.

Hold on, there's no pressure here, right? However, it's a sobering reminder that finding the perfect bridal gown and accessories is a serious undertaking.

When Trying On Wedding Gowns, It’s a Good Idea to Ask a Lot of Questions.

Ask the store's proprietor and employees questions, but don't forget to probe your own mind. It's important to ask yourself a few questions to guarantee that the gown you adore leaves you feeling "beautiful" and functions well for the events of the day.

Ask yourself, "Do I feel gorgeous? Do I feel confident? Do I feel comfortable? Can I move freely in it? Is there anything about this outfit that makes me feel uncomfortable?"

Beautiful as it may be, it's not worth it if you feel confined and uncomfortable in your dress all night.

Finally, never doubt your own judgement. Just imagine yourself walking down the aisle in the dress and answering the question: "Am I really looking like a bride?" If it doesn't fit, ditch it. If the dress is suitable, however, you may finally relax, look in the mirror with a beaming smile, and let out a sigh of relief, for you need to look no farther.


The wedding dress for many brides is chosen months, or even years, in advance. However, you should begin your search for the perfect dress as soon as possible if you have fewer than six months to do so. Customers choose to shop at boutique salons because of the one-on-one care they receive and the tranquil environment. The salon hosts bridal-related events like trunk displays and sample sales. While some designer dress collections begin at $3000, the typical salon only carries lines that cost less than $1000.

Use a search engine to look for "Bridal Shops" or "Wedding Services" to see what's available in your area. Inquiring about availability before booking an appointment is time well spent for both you and your stylist. Renting a dress is a far more cost-effective option if you are not very attached to the idea of retaining it after the wedding. A wedding gown can be rented from a shop that specialises in formalwear. Outfits like these can be rented from some stores (check online under "Clothing Rental").

Cons: Less variety than one might find in a bridal boutique. From the moment you step in the door, pay attention to how the salesperson makes you feel. If you can explain to the salesperson what you like and dislike in terms of silhouettes and fabrics, they will be better able to assist you. Make use of the saleswoman's expertise since she is in a prime position to advise you on bridal wear, given her daily interactions with brides. Bring a camera to the bridal boutique if taking pictures is allowed.

Just because you think you've found the perfect dress doesn't mean you should buy it right now. Due to the custom nature of bridal gowns, most salons enforce a strict no-return policy when purchasing one. When properly hung, any clothing can look elegant (or it can seem terrible). Try not to pass fast judgement.

Overwhelmed by wedding dress options? Don't try on 20 at once (and absolute fear). Most of the time, you'll go back to your original salon and make an order for your dream dress there. It is recommended that several questions be asked when trying on wedding gowns. Think about asking yourself, "Am I really looking like a bride?" as you go down the aisle in your outfit. Throw it away if it doesn't work. If the dress works for you, you can take a deep breath, check yourself out in the mirror, and breathe a sigh of relief if it fits.

Content Summary

  • A wedding dress may be on your mind now that you have the ring on your finger.
  • Here's a rundown of the information you'll need to hit the road.
  • The wedding dress for many brides is chosen months, or even years, in advance.
  • Nevertheless, finding the perfect dress may be a difficult endeavour in and of itself.
  • Since you'll need nine to twelve months for fittings, you should start buying at least twelve months before the wedding.
  • However, if you only have six months to locate a dress, it's best to start looking as soon as possible and be as flexible as possible.
  • Make sure to book far in advance if you want to visit a bridal salon if your wedding is planned for a busy month.
  • Weekday shopping is preferable since you can get more one-on-one service.
  • Use a search engine to look for "Bridal Shops" or "Wedding Services" to see what's available in your area.
  • Discover which salons provide services that you can afford.
  • Time spent inquiring before booking an appointment is time well spent for both you and the hairstylist.
  • In addition to the ordinary business of selling dresses, salons also host wedding-related activities including trunk exhibitions and sample sales.
  • When a designer (or a representative of a wedding manufacturer) brings a new collection to the store, the store conducts a trunk display so that potential brides can try on the garments.
  • Sample sale wedding gowns are sold to the public at a reduced price.
  • If the dresses at the bridal salon are out of your price range, you might always look into bridal outlet stores.
  • These shops provide clothes from lesser-known designers or from prior seasons.
  • You can save a lot of money by renting a dress instead of buying one if you don't plan on keeping it after the occasion.
  • Wedding gowns are available for rent at some formal wear boutiques and via some clothing rental services (check online under "Clothing Rental").
  • Knowing your ideal silhouette before going dress shopping will save you time and frustration.
  • Before visiting a salon, you should educate yourself on the terminology used there.
  • Find out everything there is to know about the dress, from the neckline and waist to the sleeves and the skirt's fabric, finishing, and train.
  • Seek advice on the ideal basic dress silhouette for your body type.
  • Think about the amenities of the venue and the type of ceremony you want to have now.
  • Dress for the occasion in a manner fitting for the time and place.
  • Try to picture yourself as the bride and close your eyes.
  • Write down six adjectives that best describe how you want to feel and how you want to appear on your wedding day.
  • When you arrive at the bridal shop, a helpful salesperson will be waiting for you.
  • You'll be dealing with the same employee each time you visit the store.
  • A good salesperson will want to know about your wedding plans, personal taste, and dream ensembles.
  • From the moment you step in the door, pay attention to how the salesperson makes you feel.
  • If you can explain to the salesperson what you like and dislike in terms of silhouettes and fabrics, they will be better able to assist you.
  • A good salesperson would never pressure you to buy something you aren't sure about, so don't allow anyone talk you into or out of anything or make you feel bad about your choices.
  • Get inside the dressing room with an attitude of curiosity.
  • If a salesperson gives you an item and urges that you try it, even if you don't like it on the hanger, you have to.
  • The majority of brides need convincing to try on wedding dresses, but eventually they give in.
  • Finding the perfect wedding dress style requires careful consideration.
  • First, determine your most attractive profile, and then pay attention to the finer points of your ensemble.
  • You can make the dress of your dreams by combining the top half of two different dresses (provided, of course, that both gowns come from the same designer).
  • The average bridesmaid dress runs around three sizes too small for the wearer.
  • One must not forget the top of the wedding gown.
  • A long, stunning dress with a novel hemline is a safe bet when it comes to the bridal gown.
  • It's important to remember that the top of your dress will be displayed in the vast majority of your wedding images.
  • Don't pick your wedding dress based on what's trendy right now.
  • The best dresses never go out of style.
  • When you find a dress that combines classic and contemporary aspects to make you feel like the most beautiful version of yourself, you have discovered the perfect timeless gown.
  • If you want to make good judgments, you should allow yourself lots of time and options to mull over.
  • Just because you think you've found the perfect dress doesn't mean you should buy it right now.
  • Bring a camera to the bridal boutique if taking pictures is allowed.
  • You should consider how the dress will photograph from all angles because you will be looking at images of yourself wearing it for years to come.
  • When properly hung, any clothing can look elegant (or it can seem terrible).
  • Try not to pass fast judgement.
  • Once a dress is on a woman's body, it may look different or take on a different silhouette.
  • As a result, the bride will (and ought to) try on a large number of garments.
  • Just like dating, shopping for the perfect outfit might feel like a full-time job.
  • Wasted time trying on too many wedding dresses.
  • Please don't misunderstand us—we're not advising you try on fewer or more dresses than is comfortable for you.
  • Overwhelmed by wedding dress options? Don't try on 20 at once (and absolute fear).
  • It could be difficult to deal with so many choices.
  • Trust your first impression, because nine times out of ten you will go back to the first salon and make an order for your prefered gown there.
  • Visit a bridal boutique that carries the collections of your top three designers and "gets" your taste, as recommended by the experts.
  • Inviting every female relative, neighbour, and group of friends from college can seem like a must after watching TV weddings.
  • There will be too many moving parts and competing priorities.
  • The majority of wedding dresses and accessories are sold on a final sale basis.
  • Finding the ideal bridal gown and accessories is no easy task, and this is a harsh reminder of that.
  • Inquire extensively when trying on wedding gowns.
  • While questioning the store owner and personnel is important, it's also important to question yourself.
  • There are a few things you should ask yourself before purchasing your dream dress to make sure it makes you feel "beautiful" and is practical for the day's activities.
  • While a stunning garment is certainly appreciated, its aesthetic value is diminished if the wearer is unable to move freely in it throughout the evening.
  • One last thing: always trust your instincts.
  • Think at it like this: you're finally ready to go down the aisle in your dress, and you're asking yourself, "Am I truly looking like a bride?"
  • However, if the dress is appropriate, you can stop your search, look at yourself in the mirror with confidence, and breathe a sigh of relief.
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