Tips for Wedding Dress Shopping {insiders guide}

From the moment a bride becomes engaged her mind starts racing about the ginormous "To-Do" list that is looming in her future.  As we all know, venues and photographers book up super fast, so those bad boys are very necessary to check off the list in the first few weeks of planning.  But did you know that the next big item you need to tackle is your wedding gown?  For some brides-to-be this is the most exciting part, and for others, dress shopping is the most stressful part of the planning.  So either way we have compiled a few of our favorite dress shopping tips for making this experience not only enjoyable and stress free, but filled with memories that you will remember for a lifetime.  We say it all the time but here at this shop, we truly believe that shopping for your wedding gown should be as special and memorable as wearing it! That's why we opened the boutique, to give our brides the shopping experience they expect and deserve. So here we go..... Are ya ready?

 Happy CC Brides that totally had these tips down pat! :)

Happy CC Brides that totally had these tips down pat! :)

Time Frame: You often hear that you have to shop for your dress early, and that can't be more true!  Bridal gowns {if you will, get in line to get made when you order}, and production time can be anywhere from 12 weeks to 6 months!  Then, even though we measure you to get you a close fit, that doesn't mean a perfect fit.  Alterations usually require 3 appointments and around 3 months to complete!  So shopping for your wedding gown a year out from your big day is SO important.  That way, if you find your wedding gown right off the bat, you have a little breathing room, and if it takes you a month or so to find the perfect dress, then you still have that time set aside for shopping!  

Pinterest: When we first opened in January 2007 {almost 10 years ago!!} Pinterest did not exist! Can you even remember a life without Pinterest!!??? Well over the last 9.5 years we have seen the wedding planning world entirely change due to this fabulous form of social media!  However, as much as Pinterest can help you out, it can also hang you up.  Let us explain... We ❤️ Pinterest, we really do, BUT... We have noticed a trend that happens all the time here at the shop.  Brides pin dress styles, they get their heart set on one style, and then plan their entire wedding around a dress {or type of dress} they haven't even tried on.  When the time comes to go dress shopping, the bride either has a hard time finding that exact dress, or that style doesn't look good on their body type, or due to budget constraints the dress isn't an option for them.  When one of those things happen, we have seen complete devastation on their faces.  Because they have been dreaming of one particular pinned dress, or type of dress, their entire wedding pin board is now ruined just because they realized they look better in a strapless dress instead of their pinned dresses with straps and a low back!  That all of a sudden becomes a lot for them to digest! That sounds a little extreme but trust us, we see it almost weekly here and it can really ruin your wedding shopping trip.  So let Pinterest inspire you, but be open to all kinds of different options when it comes to dress shopping. You will enjoy your experience so much more if you come with an open mind, and an idea of what looks good on you, not what will look good in the type of wedding you have have been pinning for weeks. That brings us to our next tip...

Rules? What rules?: When our parents were getting married there seemed to be a lot of rules. Certain styles for certain seasons. Certain styles for certain types of weddings. Certain colors for certain types of living arrangements {haha!}.  And we still hear all the rules when dress shopping starts, however, it is a different time and you know us Gen X and Millennials,  we write our own rules!  So.... Is it appropriate to wear a big ball gown on the beach? YOU BETCHYA! How about a flowing, slim, blush pink chiffon gown in the Cathedral with a Brown Hotel Ballroom reception? YEP! What if you want to wear a full beaded mermaid gown to a barn wedding? DO IT!!!!!  Wear what makes you feel BEAUTIFUL! Don't get pigeon holed into a type of gown because of old rules.  Write your own wedding fashion rules, and you will feel like you, you will feel like a bride, and you will feel confident.  All those things make you glow and that makes a beautiful bride!

Shop With a Goal: The goal of wedding dress shopping is to, of course, to find and buy your perfect wedding dress.  However, we hear all the time that brides are not ready to buy, or that this is their first appointment, or they are just looking, when they come in for an appointment.  We understand that you don't want to be pressured into buying a dress, and at least at this shop, we totally 100% respect that! But don't come into your appointment thinking you aren't going to buy today.  When you do that, you automatically don't LET yourself find YOUR dress.  When you put THE DRESS on for the first time, and you know that it is totally the dress you are going to become a wife in, don't you want to be able to say YES!!!!! THIS IS MY DRESS!!!!!! and let us celebrate that moment with you?  Instead of saying, "well we aren't buying today, {or I have another appointment}, but I think this might be the one", and then calling us on the phone to pay for the dress at a later date.  Talk about anticlimactic! Let us scream and jump up and down with you! Let us hug you and celebrate the fact that you just found the most perfect dress for you!!! Come in thinking, I hope I find my dress here today! And if you don't, that is totally OK, but then you know that it is because you didn't find the RIGHT dress, not because you told yourself you were just looking.    

Say YES!: When you find THE dress {the one that you don't want to take off, and the one that keeps you smiling from ear to ear, and you picture yourself wearing it while walking toward the person you love with your whole heart}.  When you find THAT dress, DON'T try to beat it.  This is another thing that will take your wedding dress shopping trip from a high to a low. There are SO many gorgeous dresses out there, and believe us when we say that if we could have 5 different weddings just to wear 5 different dresses, we totally would! But trying to top a dress that makes you OH SO happy, just makes for a frustrating and sometimes tearful halt.  Once you have that feeling, you won't get it back like the first time you felt it. So Say YES, when it is fresh and new!  Once you look at in the mirror and your gut says THIS IS THE ONE!  Just shout YES, I WANT TO GET MARRIED IN THIS DRESS!!! And believe me we will celebrate!!!

The Bottom Line: This might be THE MOST important tip for dress shopping.  Set a budget for the dress.  And remember that you aren't JUST going to need a dress.  You are going to want accessories and you will need alterations.  All those factors need to be taken into consideration before you start dress shopping.  Make sure you are upfront with your bridal consultant about what your budget is.  At our shop we make sure that we don't pull dresses that are over our brides price range {even if a friend says "just try it on for style"}.  We are NOT paid on commission here so our goal is to make sure you stick to your budget {or UNDER!!!} There is NOTHING worse that having a bride pull a dress that is way over budget and then fall in love.  You will compare that dress to everything else, and you will end up settling.  And you NEVER want to settle on your dress, you want to LOVE it and feel great about buying it!

If you want to read more about Dress Shopping Tips head over to the Cosmopolitan website and read this article {HERE}.  See what tips one of our favorite designers, Miss Hayley Paige, and Lori from Say Yes To The Dress Atlanta have to say about wedding dress shopping!

So we hope to see you soon for a little dress shopping!!! 

Xoxo,   Couture Closet Gals