Alright gals, we’ve invited the pros to join us today on a fun little topic that we’ve all dreamed about since we were little girls….wedding dress shopping! The ladies of Gown Boutique of Charleston, one of the top wedding gown boutiques in the South, are giving us some helpful tips to on how to Be A Prepared Bride before venturing out into the land of fitting rooms and wedding dresses!
If you are anything like me, the whole idea of dress shopping was ridiculously exciting and nerve-racking all at the same time. We’ve all watched ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ and have witnessed the mistakes some brides have made while shopping for their dream gown but I thought it might be helpful to have an expertise join us to give us the real scoop on how to prepare for shopping for your gown.
Gown Shopping Tips – Be a Prepared Bride
How will you feel when you face the racks full of gowns? Will you dive right in? Will you not know where to start? Whether you have dreamed of this day for years, or never given a single thought to what your wedding gown might look like, all brides have a few anxieties about shopping for a wedding gown.
Some brides are fixated on their body image, some are concerned about staying in budget, and some worry that they simply won’t find one they like. As a bridal consultant, I cannot make all those anxieties go away, but I can tell you on how to best prepare for your shopping appointment. A little preparation will help ensure you have fond memories of shopping for your wedding gown.
#1 – Try to bring just 2-3 people with you. Stepping onto that pedestal can be your moment to shine…or your moment to get picked apart by critical Aunt Betty. It is very tempting to bring along a crowd of people to watch you model gowns. Some brides love the spectacle of it all, while other brides just simply can’t say “no”. However, too many people voicing their opinions can make it overwhelming for the bride. You want feedback, constructive criticism and positive reinforcement are good, but you also want to be able to hear yourself think. Making your dress shopping experience a positive one starts with who you bring with you. Please think carefully on who will sit with you that day and help you wade through the racks of gowns.
#2 – Think about your budget. Before you step foot in that first bridal shop, you should give some thought to the amount of money you are willing to spend on a gown. Shopping for your wedding gown is such an emotional purchase, and you could feel pulled in different directions if you don’t decide on the gown budget before you shop. Some brides have an ideal number in their head. Other brides feel they have wiggle room, and they are willing to cut corners elsewhere in the budget to afford the perfect gown. Either way, please don’t put yourself in the position of falling in love with a $4500 gown when you never intended on spending more than $2000. You are just setting yourself up for heartache. We believe you can find a gown you will love at any price.
#3 – Know your timeframe. One of the first questions the bridal consultant will likely ask you is, “What is your wedding date?” Wedding gowns are typically special ordered in the size and color you select, the gown is not made until your order comes into the designer, and it can take anywhere from 4-6 months to be completed. Then you will need time to have your gown tailored once it arrives. Many brides are surprised that the standard recommendation is to order your gown 1 year – 9 months before your wedding date. This is to ensure that your gown will arrive in time to have the necessary alterations completed before your wedding date. If you are one of the many brides that decide to have a bridal portrait done before your wedding date, this means your gown actually needs to have alterations completed by that portrait date, not the actual wedding date. Don’t have 9 months? Don’t worry! Many gowns can be ordered in shorter time frames, however there may be additional rush shipment charges added to ensure the gown will ship on time. Also, you can find some gowns available to purchase off-the-rack, which is perfect for really short engagements!
#4 – Do a little research. You are not expected to bring in a massive notebook full of magazine pages or a 10 page Pinterest board print-out. In fact, it is possible to have too many ideas. However, it is good to know if you are drawn to photos of ballgowns with beaded accents or romantic Grecian style gowns. This gives us a jumping off point. If you love how a gown looks in a photo, and you love it even more once you put it on, that is wonderful! However, if you think you found the perfect look, but feel underwhelmed once you put it on, then we go in a new direction. Many brides end up in a gown they never thought they would wear. It is hard to tell how you will feel about a gown until you put it on, but as long as you listen to your gut feeling, you will be happy…and beautiful!
I hope that by thinking about these tips, your worries about gown shopping will be eased just a bit. Know that you are not alone in feeling nervous, and whether you try on 2 gowns or 20 gowns, your perfect gown is out there!
664-A Long Point Rd
Belle Hall Shopping Center
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464