How to buy a wedding dress… Part 1

Part 1 – Pre-shopping

This 3 part blog will help you through all the things to think about when buying a wedding dress.

  1. Before you buy – setting the budget, researching what looks best on your body type, looking through styles and listing your “dress wants”, and the initial dipping your toe in the water.
  2. Trying on dresses – who to take, where to go, how to handle it, tips to ensure the dress works for you, Things to think about, accessorize it – shoes/vail/jewelry, think of your diet and dress size
  3. You said Yes to the Dress – Final fitting, taking it home, don’t fluxuate weight, How to pack it/transport it, After the wedding – do you want to keep it (for daughter/trash it) vs sell it.

Buying a wedding dress is one of the most exciting parts of wedding planning. In this first part of the 3 part blog, we will walk you through the preparation work BEFORE even looking for dresses. With this prep, you can minimize the stress and really enjoy the wedding dress shopping experience.

Tip #1: Set a budget

This budget needs to include your shoes (2 pairs), vail/hair piece, belt, jewelry, undergarments/Spanx AND Alterations – All of it. Then work backwards. Let’s say you have $3000 budgeted, then you probably realistically have $2500 for the dress and $500 for the accessories and alterations. If you get your dress off a website like nearly newlywed or ebay then alterations will be a separate cost. Make sure you have the dress budget separate from your accessories and alterations budget so you don’t accidentally use it all on the dress and have nothing left over for the rest. Put a real number in your head before doing any shopping.

Tip #2: Research Dresses – 3 things to check out:

  1. What is your body type – even though you love that sweetheart bust with the empire waist wedding dress that you saved on your Pinterest board, it doesn’t mean it will look good on your body. Check out tips about what to wear on your body type and write down what you find. i.e v-neckline or added belt to accentuate your waist is best
  2. What’s your Style – are you more Sexy Glam or Vintage Boho?
  3. Where are you getting married – Tropical island vs snowcapped mountains. Your dress should match the location as well as the weather. For Isla Mujeres brides, I would recommend chiffon, silk tulle, organza, illusion, jersey, crepe and lace – all are wrinkle resistant and/or easy to steam out if needed

Tip #3: Think about your “Bridal Body”

Do you want to lose weight or work out before your wedding. I would highly recommend to try to lose what you can BEFORE going to your first fitting. This means getting your into your Bridal Body 4 months or more before your wedding. Your alterations will be based on your body on that day, not where you want to be in 2 months. Don’t plan to lose a bunch of weight just before your wedding or your dress might not fit. On the flip side, don’t stress eat the month before your wedding or your dress might not fit… Try to concisely maintain your weight after your final fitting.

Tip #4: Shop Early

At least 6 months before your wedding is when you want to buy your dress. Few reasons why:

  1. You might not find the right dress the first week of shopping and get discouraged – take a break and then get back to it.
  2. They might need to special order your dress once you find it – that could take months to come back (then it still might need alterations)
  3. Alterations can take up to 4 months (not even kidding)
  4. You want your dress to be in your closet a month before your wedding. This will alleviate last minute stress. I can’t tell you how many of my clients were crying because they still hadn’t had their dress back a week before departing for their wedding.

Tip #5: Pre-shop

Pre-shop on Ebay, Nearly Newlywed (affiliate links), Dessy (affiliate links), David’s Bridal (affiliate link) to get an idea of prices, designs you like, costs of accessories, terminology & fabrics. Start saving dresses you like on your Pinterest or screen shot them into an album on your phone. Pinterest is great so you can see them side by side. But don’t go too crazy – you’ll end up with 100 dresses or only fall in love with one style and put blinders on yourself before you try them on.

Tip #6: Decisions

Decide on your “Dress Tribe” – no more than 2 people will be on your dress tribe. These are your friends (or one friend) that you usually take shopping with you and make you try on things you wouldn’t normally try but you end up loving them. This person will be there to test your limits on styles, be honest with love and have a great time.

Tip #7: Research

Research your local bridal shops – don’t wander too far away because if you find a dress you love, you will have to go there for all fittings. Make sure to look at reviews and get recommendations to make sure you are going to reputable shops that keep their word and are easy to work with.

Tip #8: Make an appointment

If you make an appointment you guarantee someone will be there to work with you one-on-one. Try to go mid-week so there is less noise. Make sure that day/time works for your “Dress Tribe”. Make as many appointments as you want, just don’t over pack the schedule – leave time for travel & snacks between appointments.

Now that you know what you are looking for, have a budget in mind, have your best shopping friend to help and have your appointment, let’s go Dress Shopping!!!

Quick Links:

Photos from our dress Pinterest board (coming soon)