Top 10 Tips for Wedding Dress Shopping

We love hearing the stories our brides share about their wedding dresses – the moment she knew she had found her dress and how she felt, why she chose her specific gown, where she found her dress, and more. Each story is so personal and offers sweet insight into each bride’s personality and style. We know you cannot wait to share your own experience with us and debut your wedding dress on your wedding day, so you’re likely already dreaming of the moment you walk into your first wedding dress shop. However, before you make your first appointment, we recommend pausing for a moment and taking a peek at our 10 tips for shopping for your wedding dress. Plus, we’re sharing advice from a few of our go-to bridal stores! Keep reading, brides-to-be. 

  • Look for Inspiration: 

  • There definitely isn’t a need to be set on wearing a specific dress from a specific designer (though it’s fine if that’s what you have in mind!), but it is helpful to look for inspiration online. Pinterest is a wonderful hub for wedding dress photos, and many bridal boutiques, including Lola Grace Bridal, share their current collections found in their stores on their page. The associate at the bridal shop you opt to visit will likely ask if you have any specific styles in mind that you’re hoping to try on, and it’s always helpful to say yes and provide photos for additional visual inspiration. 

  • Know Your Budget:

  • Like most other aspects of wedding planning, another key thing to do before you visit your first wedding dress boutique is to decide how much you would like to spend. Then, stick to your budget! The best way to keep your budget in check is to make it known to your bridal stylist before arriving and again once you’re onsite. That way, you’ll be sure to only try on dresses that remain within the range you’re hoping to spend. Blush Bridal Gallery, The Bridal Finery, and Lola Grace Bridal all share the prices ranges for the dresses they sell on their websites!

  • Decide on a Location or Venue:

  • The dress you choose to wear to a ballroom wedding is different than the one you might opt to wear at the beach. Further, the dress you might wear to a garden fete is different than one you would like to wear at The Grand Ol’ Barn. Knowing where you will be getting married is helpful because that decision will help you to narrow in on the options you have and the choices you wish to make. 

  • Shop in Advance:

  • According to Lola Grace Bridal, the best time to start shopping for your wedding dress is 9-12 months prior to your wedding. Within that timeframe, you will have plenty of time to attend appointments, try on dresses, decide which one is right for you and order it, wait for the dress to arrive, and finally have it altered. 

  • Research Bridal Shops:

  • As you can likely tell, Blush Bridal Gallery, The Bridal Finery, and Lola Grace Bridal are three of our favorite bridal boutiques! The teams at each are so kind, and they offer wonderful experiences for their brides. They also post which designers and gowns they carry on their websites, and they each have FAQ pages on their sites so you can review what to expect before your appointment. 

  • Make an Appointment: 

  • One of the mistakes brides sometimes make is not scheduling an appointment at the bridal boutique they wish to visit. Many boutiques, including Blush Bridal Gallery, The Bridal Finery, and Lola Grace Bridal limit the number of brides they can (and want!) to accommodate in their shop at a time. In fact, The Bridal Finery serves only one bride and her group at a time, so your experience will be very intimate. But, it’s also not possible to walk in without an appointment and expect to be able to try on dresses with an appointment. In order to be able to enjoy the experience you’re dreaming of having, make sure to schedule a time to visit in advance. 

  • Invite a Small Group:

  • Blush Bridal Gallery, The Bridal Finery, and Lola Grace Bridal all recommend only inviting a select few people to attend your dress appointment. And, we agree! It’s tempting to invite your entire bridal party and many family members to your appointment, but the more voices present, the more your own opinion may be swayed. So, invite a select few, including the loved one assisting financially with purchasing your gown, and plan to debut your dress either through photos or on your wedding day with the rest of your group of favorite people. 

  • Review Policies: 

  • Before you attend your appointment, take a peek at the website of the shop you will be visiting. As we’ve mentioned, many share the designers and dresses they carry, how long your appointment will be (most range from 1-2 hours), whether or not you’re able to bring drinks and snacks to your appointment (hint: this is typically something to skip), where to park, what to wear, and more.

  • Have an Open Mind: 

  • You’ve likely heard stories from brides who said they thought they wanted to wear one style from one designer on their wedding day but ended up wearing a dress that was completely different than their vision. That’s okay! In fact, that’s great news because it means the bride had an open mind while shopping for her dress. Allow your stylist to help to guide you while shopping (she styles brides every day!), and don’t shy away from trying on dresses you might not think you will love. Try on everything and have fun!

  • Think Before Buying:

  • The best bridal boutiques will never pressure you to purchase a wedding dress. In fact, many top stylists will encourage you to press pause and think about a dress if she senses you’re not quite sure if it’s the one you want to wear on your wedding day. It’s okay to walk away from an appointment without purchasing a wedding dress. It’s okay to try on many dresses. It’s okay to take your time while shopping for your dress in order to ultimately know, without a doubt, that the one you do decide to purchase is the one you cannot wait to wear during your ceremony and reception. Do what’s best for you, always.

    Have you started shopping for your wedding dress? What tips would you share with other brides? Chime in below!