1. Have an idea of what you want before you step foot in a bridal shop
2. Begin the process early — but not too early!
3. If you're getting a custom design, plan 6 to 8 months out—at least
4. If you can, buy between Thanksgiving and Christmas
5. Be clear about your budget
6. Make bridal salon appointments during the week, and don't forget to block out time for fittings
7. Give mass retailers Like J. Crew, Anthropologie, and The Limited a try
BCBG, Anthropologie, J. Crew, and Ann Taylor have all launched bridal collections, and with the exception of Anthro, most dresses are under a $1,000 (and many are actually under $500).
8. The easiest way to save big? Shop at non-bridal locales
9. Involve your trusted counsel
10. Familiarize yourself with some of the terminology
11. Bring heels and a strapless bra — and shapewear, if you're actually planning on wearing it the day of your wedding
12. Do your hair, but DON'T do your makeup when you're trying on dresses
13. Get your gang together before you go shopping
14. Expect to spend at least a couple hours at each appointment, so bring snacks
15. Consider the venue when choosing what kind of style will suit you
16. Try a sample sale or trunk show, but be prepared to pay for your dress up front
17. Or try an online sample sale
18. Find out what the return policy is
19. Consider a vintage or second-hand dress
20. Or buy a dress for a good cause
21. Remember: There's no perfect number of dresses to try on
22. Take a look at what's already in your closet when trying to decide what shapes will work
23. Be open-minded when trying on different styles
24. Go for a corset if you're short on time
25. If you’re buying online, read and research the product descriptions—like it's your job
Like, really read them. And if you’re not sure what something is, contact the seller or Google the term. It’s okay not to know what a watteau is.
26. Don’t forget about the headpiece, veil, shoes, and all the other little details that are going to complement your dress
27. Sometimes a bridal shop will throw in a veil or an accessory for free on a big order
It doesn't hurt to ask! Fun fact: Veils are inexpensive to make, but come at a high markup. For that reason, they're great bargaining chips.
28. Before you buy, have a think on it
29. Focus on how the dress feels—not on your perceived physical flaws
30. Get your wedding dress details in writing
31. You might not cry when you find the dress, and that's totally okay
32. Remember: It's just a dress
33. But when you found the right one, you'll know
Don’t feel pressured to buy something you don’t actually want to buy because it’s on sale/someone else likes it/you’ve already looked at 5 million other dresses. You’re theoretically only going to do this once, so give yourself the time and space to do it right.