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For Brides: How to find THE dress

02.10.2010

Ok, so I’m going to keep this real. I am not a dress designer. I am not a bridal shop owner. I know what I know based solely on my experience as a bride. But I feel that it is super helpful information and why not share with with those who are just starting the search?

Before I started looking for THE dress, I used wedding magazines for inspiration for the types of wedding dresses that interested me. I dog-eared the pages and looked back at them often. It’s a good idea to have an idea of the types of dresses you might be interested in before going into a bridal shop. This will help narrow down the choices…because there are A LOT.

I thought that the dress shopping process would take a lot longer. I thought that I would have to search high and low. And I thought that I would have to spend an arm and three legs to find the dress of my dreams.

The wedding gown I ended up ordering was actually the second dress that I tried on. No joke. However, I did try on a total of about fifteen dresses at two dress shops. This may seem like a really low number, but after trying on a few dresses, which is totally like an team sport in terms of effort, I was ready to make a decision. And, by simple happenstance, the week that we went shopping, there was also a trunk show sale going on, so I was able to purchase my dress with an additional discount of $100! Woo hoo!

Here are my tips for finding your wedding dress:

  • Go shopping during the week and make and appointment. Saturdays can be crazy. I took a day off of work and went on a Thursday.
  • Go shopping with no more than two to three people. It can be hard to think about your dress with too many opinions. I went with my mom and sister.
  • Go to a smaller scale dress shop to begin with. Usually, smaller shops are run with highly knowledgeable employees who can help you pick out your dress. Also, sometimes, their overhead is less expensive, which means less expensive dresses. I found my dress at another shop and it was $400 more!
  • Have an idea of what you like and what you don’t like. I knew I didn’t want anything too lacy or too poufy. This will help in narrowing down choices.
  • Keep in mind that the dresses on hand are samples. You’ll have to use your imagination to some degree because the sample may not fit perfectly.
  • Check out dresses designed by women. This was a wonderful suggestion that I received from the shop I went to. Women designers understand the shape and movement of a woman’s body. My dress was a Maggie Sottero.
  • Keep an eye out for Trunk Show Sales. You could save a nice chunk of change!
  • Go in with a budget in mind. A fabulous dress doesn’t have to cost $$$$!
  • Consider a dress that has corseting in the back. These dresses require less alteration and allow you to fluctuate up to two sizes up or down!
  • If you are ordering a brand new gown, consider the timing. It can take up to six months for a dress to come in. I ordered mine in August and it came in the first week of February.
  • When you get tired of trying on dresses, stop for the day. After a while, the dresses may all start to look the same. I felt that way.

photo by Travis Hoehne

I hope this post helps. When I was dress shopping I didn’t really know where to start. I know that it can be an overwhelming and sometimes stressful process. But it should also be fun! You are getting married to the love of your life! If you have any questions or additional suggestions, leave them in the comments section.

Happy Wednesday!

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