Whether you’ve been dreaming of your wedding dress since you were five and know the exact specifications you want for it down to the last bead, or you’ve never given a single thought to it until your future mother-in-law nagged, “You still haven’t gotten your wedding gown?” – we’ve got you covered on how to choose a wedding dress.
Finding your dream gown can be stressful. After all, you’ve likely never even 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. Plus, your dress sets the tone for the wedding as a whole, whether it’s a grand ballroom affair or a casual beach bash. It may also feel like there’s a whole new language to decode – tulle, A-line, fit and flare, organza, sheath. Plus, more brides than ever are doing multiple dresses, a more formal one for the ceremony, and a party-centric (danceable or more blingy and outrageous) one for the reception, which can double the task of shopping.
The Best Wedding Dress Shopping Tips
If you don’t want your search for a wedding dress to feel like an off-the-rails reality show, take a deep breath, and soak in this advice. We’re giving you our best tips (and some suggestions from the experts) to make the whole thing go as smoothly and as enjoyably as possible.
Have you decided on a price point ?
Set a Budget
Shopping without a cutoff point is like driving without a gas gauge—trust us on this. Plan to spend about 10 percent of your overall budget on your dress. But consider this number a starting point. If fashion is more important to you than, say, flowers or music, increase your dress spending and scale back in other places.
It takes about six to 12 months from the moment you place the order to when you can bring the gown home, so once you have that ring on your finger, it’s game on. “The designer needs four or five months to make it, and then you’ll want to schedule three fittings, about one month apart,” says Ingram. Giving yourself ample time also guarantees that you’ll be able to fit in a variety of shopping experiences, from appointments at bridal boutiques to designer trunk shows.
Have you decided who you’re going to bring with?
Limit Your Entourage
On reality shows, brides always bring a whole crew of friends and family members to join in on the shopping fun. And every single time, there’s loads of drama. The takeaway? Less is more when it comes to companions. Bring one or two people whose input means the most to you. Otherwise, you’ll spend too much time trying on gowns they picked out and steering the conversation back to what you want.