Your Guide to Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress
What to Know Before a Trip to the Bridal Salon
Visiting a bridal boutique is unlike every day shopping. Here are some tips to help set your expectations.
1. Making Appointments
Once you're ready to try on dresses, make appointments with bridal boutiques. Don't be shy about asking if they carry a particular designer or if they have dresses within your budget. Most bridal boutiques will carry dresses that are in the $1,000 and under range. There are upscale bridal boutiques that offer designer/couture dresses that begin in the $3,000 range and go quite a bit higher.
Allocate approximately 1-2 hours per visit. Some boutiques are extremely busy on the weekends and may only give you an hour with their sales person. If you have the time on the weekdays, it's a good idea to schedule your visit during this time. Bridal shops are generally not as busy on weekdays and are more generous with their time.
2. Your Sales Person is Your Best Friend
Each bridal boutique will assign a sales person to assist you during your visit. A great sales person is important because they will essentially be your guide to finding a dress. Based on what you tell her, They will determine what dresses to show you and try on, and they're advice can be influential in making your wedding dress decision Here are a few traits that characterize a great sales person:
She should be friendly, courteous and respectful. Although this sounds simple (and obvious), your sales person must be able to make you feel relaxed and at ease when trying on a dress.
She should ask you questions to get an idea on what you're looking for. This will assist her in determining what dresses to bring to you to try on.
She should be knowledgeable on the different elements/styles of dresses and the latest trends. She should be able to look at your body shape/figure and tell you what dress would look most beautiful on you.
She should be patient. The best sales people will encourage you to try on as many dresses as you can. They understand that this is an important decision and you should have as much time to try on each dress to help you make your decision.
Be prepared to tell your sales person the kind of wedding you will be having (theme) and approximately when (season). She'll also ask you what you envision as the perfect dress and some of the elements that you like about wedding dresses you've seen. This is the perfect time to show her that you did your research and came prepared. Let her know the silhouette and neckline that you like, the designers that have caught your eye and most important, what your budget is. It's also a good time to ask your sales person what she thinks would look beautiful on her. Take advantage of your salesperson expertise and ask her all the questions you have about wedding dresses. Ask her opinion about what are her favorite dresses and the latest trends today. Don't be afraid/shy about asking for another sales person if you are comfortable with the one assigned to you. You may also consider scheduling another appointment and requesting a different sales person.
3. Where are the Gowns?
Most bridal shops do not have a showroom that allows you to browse thought the collection of dresses. You will be greeted by your sales person who will immediately take you to a dressing room. Once your sales person has a good idea of what you're looking for, she will go to the back where all their dresses are stored and return with several gowns for you to try on. This is why it is best to come prepared with a style/designer in mind to help your sales person and being open minded about trying on dresses your sales person recommends.
4. Being Prepared
Bridal boutiques will have the necessary articles of clothing for you to try on dresses. However, it doesn't hurt to come prepared with your own strapless bra, pantyhose and shoes in the event that the articles of clothing they provide you do not fit properly. Once in your dressing room, the sales person will also provide you a robe to wear in between dresses. Be prepared to be seen in your bra and underwear so if you are bringing family or friends, invite people that you are comfortable with.
5. Fashionable Friends Can Help
Ask a family member or friend with a great eye for fashion to accompany you to the bridal boutique. It can be helpful to have someone there to provide their opinion and tell you what dresses are most beautiful on you.
Most bridal boutiques have dressing rooms that are large enough to accommodate 1-2 guests while you try on dresses. It is recommended that you invite no more than 2 people as space could become an issue and too many opinions can make your experience more difficult and confusing.
6. Try It on Anyway
Be open-minded when trying on dresses. Have a good idea of what you're interested in seeing, but also be open to suggestions from your sales person. If she brings you a dress that doesn't catch your eye at first glance, try it on anyways to see what it looks like. Some dresses may not look stunning on a hanger, but will look absolutely gorgeous on you. The more you dress styles you try on, the better prepared you will be when deciding on a dress.
7. Do Not Be Impulsive
Set your expectation that it will take several trips to different bridal boutiques before you decide on a dress and make your purchase. Even if you find a dress that you completely love, try on other dresses to compare. If this is indeed the perfect dress, trying on other dresses will give you more confidence that you've found the one. It doesn't hurt to take some time to think about it (unless you're wedding is less than 6 months away) so take a week to think it over and make another appointment to try the dress on once more. Remember, most bridal stores require a non-refundable deposit so your want to be sure that you've made the right decision.
8. Is that White or Ivory?
Be aware that sample dresses may not reflect the exact color the dress. Dirt from constant wear can alter the original color or improper lighting may cause the color to look differently. Don't be afraid to ask your sales person to provide you a swatch of the material and color for your reference.
9. The Perfect Dress
You love the style a specific designer but have a big dilemma. It's not unusual to find elements of one dress that you love and parts of another dress that you love from the same designer. Just because you like the neckline and embellishment on one dress and the silhouette on another dress doesn't mean you are out of luck. Some designers are able to combine the different elements of their dresses with one another. The more changes you make to a dress, the more you should expect to pay for this service.
10. Trunk Shows
A trunk show is a great way to see the latest dress line for a specific designer and they are usually held at bridal boutiques. Once you have identified designers you like, find out if there will be a trunk show for that designer at any of your local bridal boutiques. This is often a great way to also save some money as bridal shops often offer discounts during these trunk shows.