Getting to "I Do": Tips for Picking Your Dream Wedding Gown

What to consider when you begin to look for your bridal gown.

Written by: Carine Krawiec

Now that you’ve gotten that sparkler on your finger, it’s time to start thinking about how you want to look as a bride on your wedding day. Whether you’ve dreamed about your wedding gown since you were in pigtails or never gave it a passing thought in your life, these fail-proof tips will help you say “I do” to your dream wedding dress.

Carine's Bridal Atelier bridal salon wedding dresses in Washington, DC D.C. district of columbia
Photo by Abby Jiu Photography; Bridal Salon: Carine's Bridal Atelier

Create an Inspiration Board
Log on to Pinterest and start pinning wedding dresses that you like, and tear out pictures of gowns from top wedding magazines like Inside Weddings. When you look at what you’ve pulled together, you may notice some similarities that you are drawn to in terms of style or fit. Do you like strapless gowns? What about lace or beading? Are you pulling bridal looks from one particular designer?

Look Up Bridal Store Reviews
Spend some time looking up reviews of bridal stores in your area. It’s important to know how past brides have reviewed their experience. Purchasing the gown is only the beginning of your relationship with the bridal salon – you will also need to come in for a few alteration appointments to ensure your gown fits perfectly for your big day – so make sure you feel comfortable with store you are purchasing from.

Be on the Lookout for Special Events
Special events hosted by bridal salons are a great way to find your perfect wedding gown at a dream price. If you are drawn to a particular designer, see if a local store is hosting a trunk show. At a trunk show, you can see the latest looks straight off the runway and can request gowns to try on that your local bridal salon may not own. Bridal salons and designers often offer incentives to purchase, such as a discount on the gown.

A sample sale is another great opportunity to get a glamorous gown at a bargain price. Bridal stores host these sales throughout the year where floor samples are sold off the rack at a heavily discounted rate to make room for new inventory.

bride and groom in washington dc plunging neckline wedding dress with pockets
Photo by Abby Jiu Photography; Bridal Salon: Carine's Bridal Atelier

Be Open Minded
You would be amazed at how many brides think they feel strongly about not liking beading or lace and then realize they love it after trying it on. It’s great to have a sense of what you like, but keep an open mind. After discussing your venue and your likes and dislikes, your bridal consultant will help you pull gowns that fit the occasion. A gown on a hanger looks completely different than on your body. Say yes to trying something out of your comfort zone and see what happens.

Know Your Season and Setting
When shopping for your wedding dress, it’s helpful to have decided the time of year and the setting for your wedding. After all, you wouldn’t wear a satin ball gown for an intimate beach wedding. Knowing the season and location of your nuptials will help your consultant steer you toward appropriate gowns and exclude ones that don’t fit the occasion. 

Keep Your Bridal Posse Small
When you go wedding gown shopping, it’s tempting to invite a large group of friends and family. Don’t do it! While the wedding dress shopping experience is supposed to be fun, it can also be stressful and confusing. Bringing your closest family and friends who will give you honest feedback is the best way to ensure you find your dream dress.

To see real weddings featuring brides who found their dream dresses at Carine's Bridal Atelier, view this winery wedding, this glamorous ballroom celebration, and this alfresco fête by the lake.

Authored by: Carine Krawiec, Owner of Carine's Bridal Atelier

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