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12 Things to Do Before Shopping for a Bridal Gown

Make the process seamless by following these tips.

If you’re getting ready to start your search for the perfect wedding dress, take a look at the below list for what you need to know before you arrive to your appointment.

Bridal Gowns
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Photo: Dear Stacey

Shopping for a wedding dress is often what brides most look forward to after getting engaged. Sure, some people may daydream about their color palette and floral design, but the gown is certainly the most exciting aspect for most. However, we know the actual process of finding a gown can be a stressful and overwhelming time if you’re not properly prepared.

Bride Looks Over Should in Pose
Photo by Paul Barnett Photographer; From Real Wedding: Alfresco Ceremony on the Coast + Classic Ballroom Reception

If you’re getting ready to start your search for the perfect wedding dress, take a look at the below list for what you need to know before you arrive to your appointment. 

Know Your Wedding Date

Since it can take well over six months for a wedding dress to arrive, it will be important to know when your wedding will actually be since the bridal salon needs to know if your gown needs to be a rush order.

Have a Venue Selected

The venue you choose can certainly inform your dress choice. A heavy ball gown may not fit for a barn wedding or beach wedding, for example. You may fall in love with one dress before realizing that it will be extremely uncomfortable for your chosen setting.

Research Styles & Silhouettes

It's okay to research styles and silhouettes that you like and that are suggested for your body type, but don't be rigid. You never know how something will look unless you try it on!

Bring Your Accessories!

Bring heels – whether the style you'll be wearing or a similar heel height – and proper undergarments to get a rough idea of how your wedding dress will look on the big day and what types of alternations may be needed.

Be Mindful of Your Overall Budget

Like wedding expenses that can sneak up on you, be sure to include accessories and alterations in your wedding-dress budget. You may go in with a certain price point and find something, and then have to adjust your spending limit to alter it to perfectly fit your body or get a beautiful matching veil.

Call Ahead If Needed

If there's a certain wedding dress that you've seen and must try on, call the bridal salon ahead of time to ensure they will have it available for your appointment. Even is a salon carries the bridal designer, that's not a guarantee they'll have a sample available during your appointment. However, they may be able to order one for you to try on if they're prepared to do so.

Keep It Simple

Don't schedule more than three bridal-salon appointments in one day to avoid getting overwhelmed. Like having too many people at your bridal appointment, having too many appointments in one day can start to cloud your judgement.

Eat First

Just like any important activity, you'll want to make sure you're comfortable and not distracted by hunger. It's also helpful for a more realistic body and to keep from being cranky. Plus, the dresses are heavy – trying a bunch on can be tiring!

Keep the Various Whites in Mind

Be sure to keep the different shades of white in mind as some may flatter your skin tone more than others. Your bridal stylist at the salon will be extremely helpful when it comes to this!

Style Your Hair

You don't have to style your hair exactly as you will be at your wedding; however, for a more complete idea of what each gown will look like on the big day, wear your hair up if you plan to for the wedding and down if you don't.

Don't Stress

You might not react the same way your friend did when she found her gown or how brides react on television. Just because you didn’t cry doesn’t mean it’s not The One.

Keep Jewelry In Mind

If you have jewelry from your mom and grandmother that you plan to wear on your wedding day, consider bringing it for your appointment so you can make sure the gown you choose complements the style of jewelry you'd like to wear.

See on-trend embellishments for your wedding dress, discover tips for helping your friend find a bridal gown, and find out how to get your mom to agree on a wedding dress.