Shopping for the Dress: 7 Things You Need to Know {Ask a Wedding Planner}

Advice, Ask A Wedding Planner, FAQs

Most little girls spend their whole life dreaming about their wedding day–the dress she’ll wear, the man she’ll marry, the venue where she’ll recite her vows. Shopping for a wedding dress should be one of the most fun, exciting, memorable moments of wedding preparation, but we all know it can also be one of the most stressful. Brides seeking out their perfect wedding gown need to come prepared with the right kinds of questions. What style and cut best suits your body type? Do you want a full train? What kind of gowns are trending this season? We know, it’s complicated and overwhelming, but that’s why we put together this list of helpful tips to make your wedding dress shopping adventures as painless as possible!

1. TALK TO YOUR CONSULTANT ABOUT THE STYLE, FIT AND YOUR BODY~What style is best for my body type? This is one of the most important questions you can ask at your fitting. An experienced consultant can give you unbiased and objective advice about what kind of dress will make you look your best on your wedding day. Don’t be afraid to try on a variety of different styles, even if they’re not what you had in mind when you walked in the door. You might be surprised about what you end up loving, even if it wasn’t your original idea of the perfect dress.


As for styles, there are a lot of them. They range from a slinky evening-style number to a strapless ball-gown with a full skirt. I find that as gorgeous and romantic you want your dress to be, keep in mind the practicality of it as well. It will be very difficult to dance in a mermaid gown as opposed to a wedding dress that has more room at the knees. If you’re looking to make a statement on top, varying up the necklines of your dresses can be useful. Additionally, researching the length of your dress’ skirt and what sort of shoes you want to wear will help you figure out which wedding dress you want to buy.

It is also important to discuss what trends are in style for the season, since fads tend to come and go. The consultant can then steer you in a certain direction depending on whether you want a dress that trendy or classic.  Just remember that photos and videos last a lifetime, so make sure you don’t go too trendy unless it completely fits your style.

Follow the golden rule for wedding dress shopping: Never judge a dress based off of what it looks like on the hanger, or in the magazines. And, as always, choose the dress that makes you feel the most beautiful and confident. Choose the dress that best flatters you. Love it, and own it, and don’t let the dress wear you.


2. SET A BUDGET AND DISCUSS ADDITIONAL FEES~In this world, nothing comes free, and the wedding industry is no exception. You will likely end up paying more than the price tag on the wedding dress for fittings and alterations, so ask about the salon’s various fees. Some set a flat rate, others charge different prices depending on the severity of alterations. Many often charge for bustling, storage and pressing. It’s hard to set a fixed rate on how much a wedding dress should cost, but do your homework and set a budget before going shopping.  Let your consultant know the amount you are comfortable spending and DON’T try on any dresses over that price point.

3. DON’T BRING TOO MANY PEOPLE TO YOUR APPOINTMENT~ Shopping for a wedding dress can be fun, but it can also be overwhelming.  While it might seem like a perfect opportunity to gather all of girls, your mom, grandmother, aunts and future in-laws for a day of shopping; however, we feel quite the opposite.  More people means more input and more opinions and most of all, more constructive criticism (and possibly more tears-good and bad).  

  Esther Louise Photography

Esther Louise Photography

If you aren’t quite ready for the massive amount of feedback you are bound to receive, then start small and go to your first appointment with 1 or 2 of your best friends.  Once you have narrowed down the style and fit that works best for your body, then possibly schedule another appointment and bring the rest of the entourage.  You may want to check with the Bridal Salon to see if they limit the number of people per appointment.

4. ASK ABOUT THE BUSTLE~Contrary to popular belief, bustles are not one size fits all. Bustles fill out the train, making it easier for the bride to walk and dance, and come in a variety of shapes and styles. A consultant should be able to tell you which bustles are appropriate for each style of gown, so don’t be afraid to ask! The bustle might seem like an afterthought, but you will be wearing it for the majority of the reception, so be sure to find that one that is comfortable and accentuates rather than detracts from your dress. Jot down notes or take a photo of the particular bustle you like so you can show your fitter at a later date and make sure it looks good with your dress.  

Also, make sure the bustle is reinforced (they frequently fall out or break).  Additionally, make sure your consultant and/or seamstress shows you and at least one member of your wedding party how to do the bustle.  It should be labeled appropriately for timely bustling.

5. DISCUSS ACCESSORIES~It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and finding the perfect dress, but don’t leave the appointment without discussing and/or trying on veils and accessories. Find something that will complement and enhance your overall look. Belts, headpieces and jewelry are just some examples of accessories you can add to your trousseau.

6. WHEN AND WHERE YOU HAVE YOIR WEDDING PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE~When you talk to your consultant, make sure you let them know how many guests there will be, where you’ll be having your wedding, what time you’ll be having your wedding and your general theme. All should play a role in the style of dress you end up choosing. Typically, a dress for a Saturday night black-tie wedding and a Sunday morning backyard wedding are very different. Your consultant can help you differentiate between options and help you choose what is most appropriate for your specific vision.

7. ASK ABOUT DELIVERY TIMES~The amount of time it takes between ordering and receiving your dress depends on each designer. Give your consultant a timeline so they can help plan accordingly. Ask about delivery times–that way you will have an estimated arrival date.

We hope these tips come in handy when you visit the Bridal Salon and that your shopping experience is everything that it should be~ fun and successful!

  Esther Louise Photography

Esther Louise Photography

Happy Shopping!

~The Just Save The Date Girls 

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