Congratulations! You’re engaged!! As the shock/ awe/ excitement slowly wear off, you realize that there is a lot to do to plan for your big day. Like A LOT. It can be incredibly overwhelming, and you may not know where to start, but the important thing is to remember to BREATHE. It’ll be ok, and you will get it all done before your big day. One of the biggest decisions you will make is your dress, and that alone can set the tone for your entire wedding. So what do you do? When should you start searching? Should you look at styles and designers before you go to a boutique? What are the best practices for wedding dress shopping? Lucky for you, we asked some local vendors these exact questions!
Michaella from Dora Grace Bridal, Jessica from Encore Bridal, and Lauren from Abeille Bridal answered a few questions for us about shopping for wedding dresses. These ladies are masters at what they do, and want to help you find your dress for your big day!
Should I have a design in mind before going into the store?
Michaella: It is incredibly helpful to us if a bride has a general idea as to what she is looking for in her wedding dress. Pictures are always a huge help as well as it gives us a starting point as to what she is being initially drawn to.
Lauren: Having some ideas are great but be open. Brides often find that they like what they didn’t think they would. We say finding your dress is like finding your partner, sometimes you are surprised by what you fall in love with.
Jessica: It would be nice if the bride knows what she wants before seeing us.
How long should I plan for each bridal appointment?
Michaella:We schedule our bridal appointments for 2 hours. We have about 400 dresses in the store, so we recommend this amount of time so our brides can shop without feeling rushed while also having time to try their favorite gowns back on at the end of the appointment.
Lauren:Appointments are normally last an hour to an hour and a half.
Jessica: We recommend 1.5 hours for bridal apt.
My mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother, and my 3 aunts want to come to my appointment with me. How many is too many guests?
Michaella: We recommend a bride bring no more than about 4 people to her appointment. Many more than that and we consistently see brides leave their appointments flustered due to having far to many opinions.
Lauren: Anything more than 3 is too many opinions and it’s hard to hear the brides opinion.
Jessica: More than four is too many cooks in the kitchen!
What should I wear to my appointment?
Michaella: We do not require any special under garments to be worn during our bridal appointments. All we ask is that they wear some sort of panties. Some of our girls prefer to try on dresses with shape wear/strapless bras, but it is completely up to her comfort and personal preference.
Lauren: I recommend a strapless bra and the type of undergarments they plan to wear on that day.
Jessica: Just her own undergarments, ie, bra and underwear.
How long before my big day should I start the search for the dress?
Michaella: We like to see a bride order her dress about 8 months ahead of her wedding date. We have plenty of brides that purchase even sooner then that, and it simply gives them more time to have the ordering and alterations process be as easy and stress free as possible.
Lauren: Brides should be ordering 8 months ahead of time to allow enough Time for the dress to arrive and be altered. If a bride has missed that time frame she can pay to rush a dress or save by buying off the rack. We recommend 8 to 12 weeks for alterations
Jessica: Ideally 9 months or longer before the wedding to buy a gown.
Is there a better time of year than another to look at dresses to maximize savings?
Michaella: We do not offer special pricing on any of our dresses based on the time of year that they purchase. That being said, ANY time of year is the perfect time to buy!
Lauren: Often in November and April stores have sample sales, but at stores like Abeille Bridal we specialize in discounted samples and designer overstocks so brides can save all year long!!!
Jessica: Anytime is a good time to buy!
How many alterations appointments should I prepare for?
Michaella: A bride should be prepared for at least 2 alterations appointments, with a third appointment if necessary. If she is having dramatic changes made to her dress, she may need to plan for an extra fitting.
Lauren: Every dress is different. Most alterations are done outside of my store. Most of the time it’s 2 to 4 fittings.
Jessica: Typically about 3 fittings.
Any other tips and tricks for wedding dress shopping?
Lauren: It’s good to go to a few stores but going to too many can cause brides to get overwhelmed. We recommend 2 to 3 shops.
Your friends and family’s opinion matters but at the end of the day it’s your gown. If you love blush gowns but your mom is super traditional and wants white don’t cave just to make her happy.
These ladies are dedicated to helping you find the dress that you love and want to walk down the aisle in. They are our favorite local bridal boutiques and when you are ready to go hunting for your dress, we encourage you to go see them!
Until next week, happy planning!