Let's be honest, some aspects of wedding planning are just a lot more exciting than others. Picking wines to serve is way more fun than assigning guests to a certain table number (unless you're Monica Geller). Buying your wedding dress, for example, is one part of wedding planning that a lot of people look forward to. In fact, a lot of women already have their dream dress picked out, before they even try on their first gown or even before they get engaged. However, there are still certain things to know about wedding dress shopping before you head out. Obsessively looking on Pinterest and watching Say Yes to the Dress can give you some great ideas, but that won't teach you everything you need to know.
For a lot of brides, buying the perfect wedding dress is something they've looked forward to for months, and sometimes years. It's a big deal, and no matter what kind of dress you want, you're going to have options. The wedding dress industry has come a long way in providing more styles, price point options, and sizes than ever. Basically, it's the perfect time to be a bride.
Before you hit the boutiques, whether solo or with your friends and family by your side, keep these tips in mind, because your experience should be as lovely as you are.
1. Know that it can take some time.
First things first, know that wedding dress shopping isn't always a one-day excursion. "Try not to get overwhelmed!" Justina Michaels, owner of Fitting Fêtes, tells Elite Daily. "Your wedding dress may be the first one you try on or it may take several shopping trips to find the right fit."
However long it takes, have trust in yourself that you'll find the perfect dress. "Every dress you try on will tell you a little bit more about what you do or don’t want and steer you towards the right decision," Michaels adds. You'll get what you want, it just might take some time.
2. Timing is everything.
After you get engaged, it's natural to want to run to the nearest bridal boutique and start putting on dresses. But, Michaels recommends holding off until you know some more details. "Wait until you have chosen your venue and date so you know what season it is and what kind of look you want (casual, elegant, sexy, etc.)," she says. "Shopping approximately one year to eight months before your wedding is ideal. Most designers take at least six months to create a custom gown so unless you’re buying something pre-made, you’ll need to leave plenty of time for the dress to arrive and be altered."
If you decide to move up your wedding date or want to elope, there are still plenty of dresses you can get. "Don’t panic if you are shopping sooner to your date," Michaels says. "You can still find sample dresses available immediately and rush orders are also available at some retailers for an extra fee." It will work out, so try to remain calm.
3. Go in prepared.
If you have a vision in your head of what kind of dress you want, that's great! But you should also know what kind of budget you want to stick to, and any other details you're looking for in a dress. "Be prepared to know your approximate budget and any must haves like fabric (lace vs. chiffon) or shape (ball gown vs. mermaid style)," Michaels says.
In order to be truly prepared, Michaels advises doing some research. "Take some time to pin or pull pictures of dresses you generally like and the reasons why so you can show your bridal attendant the look you’re interested in," she says. "It’s OK to like lots of different styles and textures but try to put into words what drew you to them. More often than not, there’s a general theme throughout the bunch that can help your attendant find that dream dress for you."
4. Most of all, have some fun!
At the end of the day, wedding dress shopping is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience! It's the ultimate shopping excursion, and you deserve to enjoy it completely. "This is a wonderful time to feel confident as as you enter a new stage of your life," Michaels says.
Remember, "it’s about feeling beautiful rather than looking perfect or trying to hide the parts of your body you don’t like," she adds. "Every bride is special and deserves to feel like that in any dress she chooses!"
If you want a mermaid gown or a tea-length dress or a pantsuit or anything in between, you can find exactly what you're looking for! Stick to your guns, and remember that you're going to look amazing in whatever you decide on. And most importantly, your future spouse is going to love it.