We all are eager to 'Say Yes to the Dress' and check it off our wedding to do list. But before you head off to any bridal shop, there are a few things you really should know. From what kind of bra you should bring, to the hidden fees associated with some gowns, The Knot covers all of your dress shopping basics in ten great tips. Here's what you need to know:
1. Limit Your Entourage
Bringing a big group to the salon is a gown shopping don't. Enlist one or two of your closest friends or family members to help you start your search. This way you can find the gown that best suits you and your style and not feel pressured by too many opinions.
2. Hidden Costs Add Up
Remember, your wedding gown budget doesn't just include the dress. Your veil or headpiece, accessories (think jewelry and shoes), undergarments and alterations will also add to your bottom line. Factor in these costs before you give the salesperson your final shopping budget.
3. Undergarments Are Optional
Most bridal shops have a few different types of bras in the fitting room. If you have a favorite strapless style or plan on wearing a particular body shaper, go ahead and bring it. You'll ultimately need your gown-specific undergarments for your first fitting but not your initial appointment.
4. Salons Take Requests
Just because a bridal salon carries your favorite designer doesn't mean it'll have the exact wedding dress you've been wanting to try on. But, if you phone in advance and request a specific style, chances are that a salon staffer will be able to call for a sample of that gown especially for you. It's these little joys that make your dress shopping experience that much sweeter.
5. Don’t Get Discouraged
There are hundreds of bridal designers out there with literally thousands of designs, which makes the odds of you finding a fantastic gown pretty darn good. We know that coming up empty-handed on your first trip can be a letdown, but don't give up. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
6. Shop for Your Body
When trying on dresses, focus less on your weight and more on the shape and frame of your body. Your weight may be constantly fluctuating, especially during highly stressful situations, so don’t let that be the deciding factor in choosing a dress. Concentrate on finding silhouettes that accentuate the features you love and make you feel amazing.
7. Always Book an Appointment
While you may get lucky and snag a salesperson just by walking in, scheduling an appointment is the only way to ensure you'll get a full hour of undivided attention.
8. It's Okay to Pick Favorites
To help guarantee your gown shopping experience goes smoothly, ask the salon coordinator when you call to book your appointment if she can suggest a favorite saleswoman. Or get recommendations from friends and request a salesperson by name.
9. Skip Day One of Any Sample Sale
We know you're tempted to get there as soon as the doors open, but shopping on the first day of a sample sale can be overwhelming and crowded. Do yourself a favor and call ahead to ask how many days the sale will run. Then go on one of the later dates. You want to make sure you have plenty of time and space to browse and try on.
10. Plan on Playing Hooky
Sneaking away from work will allow you to hit the stores while crowds are at a minimum. For instances, you'll get more attention from the sales staff if you shop on a Tuesday morning rather than a Saturday afternoon.
Trust us, you won't want to set foot in the bridal salon without reading up on these gown shopping basics. Brush up on these tips and devour the details before slipping into your first dress!