32 Wedding Dress Shopping Tips That All Brides-To-Be Need To Hear
"Wear decent underwear. People will be seeing it."
1. Call the salon ahead of time to check they have what you want.
"Call ahead! I looked online and so many places said they carried the dress but when I called they said they carry the designer but not that specific dress. Also ask what sample size they have!"
2. Or drop in before your actual appointment.
"Prior to making an appointment, see if the salon will allow you to walk in and simply look at (and feel) the dresses in person. My Pinterest board was filled with so many dresses that I ruled out on one of these drop ins because they were SO HEAVY IRL! Being able to go in and look around without the pressure of the ninety-minute appointment helped me focus. When I went back for my true appointment, I spent a minimal amount of time looking and was able to try on a lot more dresses that I knew were going to be contenders. I ended up finding my dress at the first appointment."
3. Try to find a bridal salon that will come to you if you hate shopping in-store.
"I absolutely hate trying on clothes in-store and knew that I'd be even more stressed trying to find a wedding dress! I searched for companies that would let me try on dresses from the comfort of my own home and it was honestly PERFECT for me!"
4. Don't try your dream dress on first.
"If you go into the shop with a specific dress in mind, don’t try the dream dress on first. If it doesn’t work on your body type, you may get discouraged and nothing will seem right after that. Find a dress that you like and is a contender before you try on the dream dress."
5. Start your appointment with a bit of fun.
"Ex bridal consultant here! Start with a dress you absolutely know you would never wear. Whether it's the biggest pouffiest thing they have, or a clingy sheath, have the first dress you try be something totally off the wall. This not only helps you relax for your appointment, but also shows you how a different style might look on your body. Works every time!"
6. Only take who you *want* to take.
"Bring a small number of people who you can trust to support you. And bring only the people who YOU want, not anyone who you think traditionally “should” be there. Not close with your mom? Don’t invite her. Future mother-in-law a bit too opinionated? Don’t invite her."
7. Don't try on dresses that are above your budget.
"KNOW YOUR BUDGET!! If you don’t want to spend more than a certain amount, do not even try on something beyond that range. If you love it, you will be disappointed."
8. Trust your sales consultant.
"Don’t be close-minded when it comes to what you try on! My consultant pulled a dress for me that I absolutely did not want to try on, but as soon as I put it on, I knew I had found the dress! Just goes to show that the consultants know what they’re doing."
9. Take your accessories with you.
"BRING YOUR SHOES TO ALL YOUR FITTINGS. Also, put your dress on, THEN put your shoes on. you need to know if you'll be able to bend over, sit down, move around."
10. Remember that your partner loves you just the way you are.
"The person who is marrying you loves YOU, so don't worry about losing weight. Find what makes you feel comfortable and beautiful. Alter the dress if necessary."
11. Your instincts are there for a reason.
"Trust your instincts, even if it’s the first dress you try on. Try on many after, but don’t feel weird if you keep going back to that first one."
12. Don't be afraid to dig through clearance.
"Hit those clearance racks! My dress was found on clearance for $500. It was never worn and had been returned after sitting in someone's closet for two years. It had originally been priced at $1,500. Don’t be afraid to cheap out! That gave me an extra $1k to put towards something else."
13. Look on Etsy.
"Etsy! I decided on the style I wanted and found the perfect dressmaker. I was in constant communication with her, sent her my measurements, and told her about any changes I wanted made to the original design. I wanted a light pink dress, so she specially dyed the fabric for me. The dress came a month or so before the wedding and it was PERFECT because it was made just for me!"
14. Have a hair and makeup test before you try on dresses.
"Do the test run of hair and makeup before you go shopping. If you look tired or messy, that’s all you’ll focus on in the mirror."
15. Take a hairclip.
"If you aren't sure how you will be wearing your hair on your wedding day, make sure you have a clip or a hairband so you can try on the dress with your hair up and down. So many wedding dresses have a huge amount of detail around the neckline or on the back, and having your hair up can completely change the overall look."
17. Remember to price-up alterations.
"Don’t forget to factor in alterations to your total cost you want to spend. You may think that getting it shortened might only be $50 but if there is lace involved then the seamstress has to hand sew it and could make the alterations as much as $500."
18. Keep in mind that sizes mean nothing...
"Know going into it that wedding dress sizes are WHACK. I am typically between sizes 8-10 but my wedding dress is a size 14!! You will be swimming in some dresses and not even able to get others over your legs. Just know going into it that it’s not you! It’s the dress manufacturers."
19. And sometimes ordering a size up is best.
"I bought my dress online in clearance without seeing it IRL. This gave me an amazing dress for a deep discount, but if you go that route: order up a size! It’s way easier for a tailor to remove fabric than to add it! And get yourself a good tailor. It’s really the tailoring that’s gonna make your dress look good on you."
20. Adding your accessories to a look will help you make your decision.
"A lot of women seem to expect that magical 'this is my dress moment' the second they put on the 'right' dress. But there's a reason Kleinfeld offers to try it with the bling and the veil – you won't be wearing just the dress on your big day! Pick the dresses you're most interested in, add the accessories, and THEN see how you feel about them! I would have totally passed over my dream dress if my consultant hadn't offered to pair a veil with it!"
21. But look online for a veil.
"Don’t buy a veil or belt at ANY bridal salon. It can be a rip off – I made the mistake of buying an overpriced beaded belt for over $200 in a boutique then realised that I could have gotten a handmade one on Etsy for $50. So when it came time to buy my veil, I spent $35 on Etsy instead of $300 in stores."
22. Look on the high street.
"Don't discount something just because of the brand or because it's 'cheap'. I looked in loads of bridal shops and couldn't find anything I liked. I ended up getting my dress from the ASOS bridal section for £90! It was beautiful and suited me way more than the 'traditional' stuff in the shops, and was only a fraction of the price."
23. Make sure your dress is comfortable.
"Remember that you will be wearing it for many, many hours. You want to be beautiful, but you *need* to be comfortable. If you pick something you can't easily walk, sit, or dance in, what's the point?"
24. You may not cry when you find The One.
"Don’t be put off is your don’t have the same emotional reaction all the girls on TV have. I am not a person that cries when I’m happy so if I'd waited until something made me tear up I would have never found my dress! Just pick what you like, and feel both comfortable and beautiful in!"
25. Screw tradition if you want to!
"Forget the bullshit about the groom not seeing the dress before the Big Day. When I went dress shopping, I took my husband with me. My family were outraged and tried to convince me not to because it went against tradition but I’m really glad I did. He gave me his honest opinion, put me at ease, and made me feel like an absolute princess. Choosing your wedding dress is a big moment and I wanted the person I love most in the world to be a part of that."
26. Consider buying a bridesmaids dress instead.
"Look at bridesmaid dresses as a wedding dress! They are usually available in white and ivory if you want to be more traditional. There are many style options and they aren’t as marked-up in price."
27. Ask yourself whether you'd be jealous of someone else wearing your dress.
"My friend was having trouble choosing between two wedding dresses. She loved them both. So the bridal consultant asked her 'Which dress would you be jealous to see on someone else?'. After that, she was able to decide right away."
28. Take pictures.
"Have someone take a picture of you in your dress! It’s easy to love one after staring at yourself in the mirror, but it will always look different than you thought in photos, which will probably be taken en masse on the big day. I was absolutely in love with a dress, until my sister showed me a picture she took, and it was far less flattering than I thought. I knew I found the right dress when I loved how I looked in the mirror and in the picture."
29. Don't go for the big white dress if you don't want the big white dress.
"Don't let society pressure you into something that's not you. If you don't want to wear a white dress, don't. I struggled to find a non-dress bridal outfit at first, so I went to local designer and had a custom three piece outfit made. It was the same price as most wedding dresses, it's unique and I can wear the pieces again separately. There are other options out there!"
30. Consider having a dress reveal party.
"I did a 'dress reveal' party after I bought my dress alone. I had drinks and snacks at my house for everyone I wanted to be there and put my dress on for them. Less room for opinions when you already have decided on the dress and much less stressful! Nobody felt like they missed out and everyone loved it."
31. Tell your seamstress exactly what you want.
"Don’t be afraid to speak up to your seamstress. Most dresses need some kind of adjustments. Just because a seamstress have a lot of experience and comes highly recommended doesn’t always mean they’re perfect. My seamstress was supposed to be the best and was an hour away. Long story short, I should have been more assertive from the beginning. Would have saved a lot of time and stress considering I didn’t get my dress until two weeks before my wedding due to all of her mistakes! I’ve seen other girls put up with outdated suggestions from their seamstresses because it’s “easier” for them. You’re paying them to make your dress how YOU want."
32. Schedule your final fitting with plenty of time before your wedding.
"Do your final fitting with enough time before your wedding so there's time to alter if something isn't right. At my last fitting, my dress was too small and it was devastating, but there was enough time before my wedding to fix it, and my dress was perfect for the day."
Some submissions have been edited for length and clarity.