By Janecia Britt
Finding your dream gown can be stressful. After all, you’ve likely never tried one on before, and it’s the most expensive garment many women will ever own, so it can feel like the pressure is definitely on while wedding dress shopping. No matter your budget, personal style, or timeline, these wedding dress shopping tips are guaranteed to help you find the gown of your dreams.
1. Start shopping nine to 12 months prior to your wedding.
This leaves four to six months for your dress to arrive and two to three months for alterations.
2. Know your budget.
This will help you narrow your choices down and tailor your expectations. It is helpful to let the bridal store know your budget beforehand so they are respectful of your range.
3. Make an appointment.
While some bridal salons take walk-ins, having an appointment will ensure all of your needs are met.
4. Call ahead.
While certain salons may have your favorite designers, they’ll likely only have a select number of gowns. Ask them questions, like if they carry plus-size gowns or if they have your favorite style.
5. Forget sizing.
Wedding dress sizes are vastly different from your everyday clothes, so don’t get worked up when you see your wedding dress size. Nearly everyone needs alterations, so the gown you buy will eventually be tailored to fit you perfectly — totally different from the usual “pick a size number” shopping experience.
6. Bring your accessories.
Bring any shoes, undergarments or shapewear you may want to wear on your wedding day. Also, a hair clip if you’re unsure whether you’ll be wearing your hair up or down.
7. Stay away from large groups.
Bring one to three people whose opinions you really trust. Too large of a group can become overwhelming.
8. Take pictures.
If you need to simmer on a few options before saying yes, pictures will help you remember all the small details.
9. Be open.
Go in with confidence, a positive attitude and an open mind. Don’t be afraid to say yes right away if you find “the one.”
10. Stay organized.
Save all of your contracts in a secure location and schedule alterations with enough time for any last-minute tweaks you may need.