Rip pages out of magazines, click through bridal boutiques online, explore on Pinterest, and check out what celebrity brides are wearing to compile a visual file of your favorite dresses. Then look for a connecting theme — are they all very embellished? Lacy? Voluminous? Have open backs? Find a couple commonalities of styles you like and bring your ideas to your first appointment.
Bridal consultants will tell you that they constantly see women come in with a set idea of what they want for a gown, then try it on and don't actually love it — and instead, fall for something completely different that they'd never considered. Keep an open mind to finding a dream dress that you didn't know would be your dream dress.
Bridal sizing means your gown's number will often be one to two sizes higher than for your regular clothes. Even if going bigger sounds horrifying, remember that no one will know the number but you and your consultant.
Even if you plan on losing weught before your big day, shop for dresses in your current size rather than going smaller. It’s much easier to take a dress in than trying to work with one that’s way too snug.
Many gowns take four to eight months to be produced, and once it arrives, you still have to factor in more time for alterations and accessorizing.
Yes, it's uncomfortable to talk numbers, but it will save you from heartache later on. Before your first appointment, figure out who is paying for the gown (your family, the groom, you?). If someone else is paying, get the hard numbers on your limit, so you can choose to stay within that budget or pay the difference yourself to get the dress you want.
Before you start dress shopping, decide whether you want a garden themed wedding or a formal,classic one. Always keep the venue and theme in mind as you browse gowns, because the last thing you want is for your dress to clash with your overall wedding style.
Say you plan to cap your dress spending at $2,000 — you actually shouldn't buy a $2,000 gown. That's because you need to factor in for tailoring, accessories (your veil, jewelry, and shoes) and cleaning after the wedding if you want it to be a keepsake.
In most bridal stores, the dresses aren't displayed in a way where you can just leaf through them and browse on your own, the way you can in other retail stores. You'll need an appointment so a consultant can help you select dresses and try them on.
Yes, you love your mom, your sister, your sister-in-law, your maid of honor, and your six bridesmaids — but if you've ever tried to get a crowd to agree on where to go for dinner, you can only imagine how hard it will be to find consensus on a gown. Narrow the group down to the two or three people whose opinions matter most to you.
It can be hard to take in how a strapless dress really looks when your leopard bra straps are sticking out, or how a curve-hugging gown would fit once your hips are smoothed. For your appointments, wear a nude thong and strapless bra, and bring Spanx.
It's easy, especially for people-pleasing brides, to bend in the moment to what gown your mom, sister, or maid of honor loves on you. But it's crucial that you go with what you love and what feels like your dream dress, regardless of other people's expectations.
That might mean subtle eggshell or ivory, romantic blush, or even a bold red. It may not be right for you, but a survey showed 14 percent of brides would wear a colored wedding dress. Don't be afraid to be unique!
Since gowns take so long to be produced, placing your order 8-12 months in advance means you will avoid rush fees, which can run as much as 30 percent of the price of the dress
Most gowns can be altered down one or two sizes and, depending on the seam allowance, up one size, so it's better to order too big and take it in than be stuck with a zipper that won't close
Now that you've found your dream gown, stop shopping — it will only make you nuts if you keep looking at dresses that you may like even more. Yours is great! Now just look forward to showing everyone on the big day.