1. Set (and Stick to) Your Budget
Before you take your first step into a bridal salon talk over your wedding and dress budget with who will be paying the bill. Tell your consultant upfront what your budget is and make sure to also factor in the cost of alterations and any accessories that you may need to purchase.
2. Shop Early
The length of the engagement is entirely up to the bride and groom to-be but ideally you should start shopping for a wedding dress 8-10 months before your wedding day. Most gowns are made to order so you need to factor in about 2-3 months for the dress to be made and another 2-3 months for alterations. If you are working within a shorter time frame you might have to pay additional fees for a rush order or have to go with a dress directly off the rack.
3. Figure Out the Dress Code
Take into consideration the time of your ceremony, the reception venue and where your ceremony will be taking place when you are looking for a dress. You might have always dreamed of wearing a ballgown when you got married, but if you are having a casual outdoor wedding the ballgown might look a little out of place. Also, some religions and church have attire guidelines that you might need to take into consideration.
Preppy, glamorous, classic, modern, traditional, or country? Every bride has their own style and knowing what they want on their wedding day will help them, as well as their dress consultant, on finding that perfect dress. You know what looks best on you so trust your instincts if it doesn't look or feel just right.
5. Call Ahead
A bridal salon will carry a wide variety of wedding dress designers but not every dress that designer makes could be in stock. If you come across a dress that you want to try on make sure to call ahead and see if that salon currently it in stock. If they don't have it in their store they might be able to order a sample or find it at another store for you.
6. Book An Appointment
Weekends and evenings can be the busy times for a bridal salon. No matter when you plan on going to look at dresses it is important to call ahead and schedule an appointment. This guarantees that you will have a consultant to help you out and a dressing room to try on some dresses! *If you can the best times to visit a bridal salon is in the mornings during the week. So if you are able to, take a day off to go.
Yes, bridal consultants are looking to make a sale with every bride-to-be that they meet, but it is also important to listen to them as they have helped hundred of girls try on almost every dress they have in their store. Your consultant will have some great input on styles and designers that you might not have considered. Give their suggestions a try, you might find your perfect dress this way!
8. Keep Your Shopping Party Small
Two heads are better than one, but too many can lead to conflicting ideas and a bride not knowing what to do. When planning a trip to the bridal salon try and stick with just one or two other people to accompany you like your mom and MOH. If you want your entire bridal party to go with you just be prepared to listen to each of their ideas and input.
9. Buy A Dress That Fit NOW
At the start of the engagement every bride has it in their head that they are going to "get in shape" by their wedding day. Even though this is a wonderful motivation technique, don't buy a dress that does not currently fit you. It is better (and less expensive) to need the dress taken in closer to your wedding day than to have to add fabric to it.
10. And Before You Order...
Make sure to read over your dress contract (yes everything to do with a wedding comes with a contract!) so you know exactly what you are paying for and that the correct style, color and size dress is being ordered for you. The contract will let you see what the deposit will be, when the dress will be delivered, and if alterations are included or an extra cost. This way if anything goes wrong it will be the responsibility of the store, not you.
Now you should be fully prepared to take your first step into a bridal salon and find your perfect wedding dress!
For those of you who have already had their wedding or found their perfect dress what other tips do you have to share for those new engaged?
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