We called in the help of a PRO for this post. Liz Cox is about to be your big-hearted, hard-working, Bachelor-loving, wedding-dress-consultant bestie. Liz is one of the masterminds behind the Twirl Bridal Boutique, the Twirl Talk Podcast and the Refined Business Collective. She’s an expert on wedding dresses so listen up as she shares her thoughts on how to have an amazing wedding dress shopping experience.
“First of all, the most important thing to know is that wedding dress shopping should be FUN! It’s a time for you, the bride, to feel intentionally celebrated and like the most beautiful version of yourself. It’s no small thing to find the dress you’re going to become a wife in and we want that to be one of your favorite memories from your wedding planning process.
Here at Twirl Boutique, we always tell brides not to overthink their dress choice and don’t “overshop” themselves because if you give yourself too many options, you’re going to have decision paralysis and make the whole process more stressful than it ever needed to be. To help prevent that, plan to shop at 1-3 bridal boutiques, while knowing that you may very well only need one appointment because it’s totally normal to find “the one” during your first time shopping, and bring no more than 4-6 people with you to your appointments. Going into your wedding dress shopping experience this way helps you to not feel overwhelmed with opinions and your experience is all about YOU.
We want you to set yourself for success when it comes to dress shopping so we say less is more across the board. Less people in your entourage, less appointments so you aren’t overwhelmed with a million options, and less expectations so that you can be open to all that the amazing memories your experience can give you!
Don’t put the pressure on yourself or others to have moments like you’ve seen on “Say Yes to the Dress” but just be open and present in your own appointment. Comparison is the thief of joy and that applies to your dress shopping experience just as much as it does to every other thing in your life.”
I feel less stressed after that, don’t you? To add on to Liz’s advice, we put together ten action-packed wedding dress shopping tips.
10 Wedding Dress Shopping Tips
Set a Budget and Stick to it!
Setting your budget sucks, and sticking to it sucks even more, but it’s the unfortunate truth about dress shopping. Figure out who is paying for your dress, decide on a hard number, and stick to it! Remember, it’s not just the dress you are paying for. You have to consider alterations, shoes, accessories, and shipping fees as well.
Shop 9-12 Months in Advance
Everything about getting a wedding dress is timely so make sure you give yourself at least a 9 months head start. You may be a bride who picks the first gown you try on or the 70th dress you try on, it doesn’t really matter. The most time consuming part of getting any gown is the alterations and shipping. If you have a shorter engagement consider buying the sample dress in-store, looking for a used gown, or risk the painful fees that come with rush orders.
Do your Research BUT be Openminded
Try to have an idea of dress elements that you might like. Sleeves or strapless? Sweetheart neckline or halter? Satin or lace? A-line or mermaid? You don’t have to now it all, but it will be a lot less overwhelming if you have some general guidelines going into your appointments. Just remember guidelines lines are not strict laws. Feel free to try something different that you may not have considered previously, you may surprise yourself.
Make 1 to 3 Bridal Salon Appointments
We suggest one to three bridal appointments. We think this is enough to get a good assortment of dresses without being too overwhelming or time consuming. Don’t give yourself too many options, it will only make it more difficult to choose in the end.
Choose your Bridal Crew Wisely
The most important rule when choosing your bridal crew is to choose positive people! We suggest bringing no more than 4-6 people, this way you have plenty of diverse opinions, but not too many. Also think about who is paying for the dress. If you have a family member helping pay for your gown they probably need to be a part of the decision process.
Don’t Worry about Sizes
No one and I mean no one fits perfectly into the sample size you are likely to be trying on at these boutiques. Chances are the dress is going to be too long, not big enough in the chest areas, and fit your butt all wrong, and that’s totally okay. Your stylist will do their best to make it fit as best as they can in the store to give you an accurate feel, but ultimately it’s the tailor who will be putting together your dream dress. Side Note: If you are a tall or plus sized bride call ahead to make sure they have samples for you to try on if they don’t, they will most likely be able to call some in before your appointment.
Wear Appropriate Undergarments and Shoes
Wear nude underwear, a strapless bra, and correct heal heights to your appointments. Chances are you won’t need the bra, but come prepared just in case.
Don’t forget about the weather
What is the weather going to be like when and where you are getting married? Will you be outside or inside mostly? Are you hot or cold natured? All these things influence the features of a practical dress will be for your event. A full skirt with sleeves may not be ideal for a beach wedding. Just as a sheer dress with a slit up to your hip probably isn’t the best choice for your ideal mountain getaway. Be rational!
Take all the Pictures
Have your bridal crew take photos all day long. It’s so easy to forget dresses when you’re trying on so many. You never want to forget to take a photo(s) of every dress you try on just so you can compare it to others in the future.
You only get to choose a wedding dress once so have fun! Go where you want to go, with who you want to go with a make a day out of it. Remember, at the end of the day this is your decision, choose what you feel most beautiful in.
Here’s some of our favorite bridal inspiration images from Warrenwood. Enjoy!
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Contact us if you would like to learn more about hosting your wedding at Warrenwood Manor!
Article written by Jessica Wingo, Warrenwood Manor Intern