Have a Price In Mind
If you know you’re not going to spend $15,000 on your dress, don’t waste time trying on a bunch of wedding dresses of your range. You’re better off zeroing in on your realistic price point so you can spend more time editing down the amazing options you can actually buy. Also, keep in mind that you’ll need to factor in the cost of alterations, taxes and shipping fees, plus your veil, shoes, lingerie and jewelry, which can add up to $500 or more altogether.
Start Wedding Dress Shopping Early
This is one of the things that surprises everyone. You really need at least six to eight months to get your wedding dress—and that’s if you’re really decisive. If you’re a picky shopper or don’t really know what you want, start looking eight to 10 months before your wedding. Give yourself plenty of time; if you put it off for too long, your selection of dresses could be limited or you might make a quick decision you may regret later. Once you’ve found your wedding dress, give yourself at least eight weeks to make alterations, says Terry Hall, fashion director at Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City. Custom gowns take six to eight months to tailor on average, and heavily-embellished ones can take up to a year. Why so much time? A muslin version of a custom gown is created before the actual dress to guarantee a perfect fit.
Determine the Dress Code For Your Wedding
You may need to consider religious restrictions when shopping for your wedding dress. If your ceremony is in a house of worship, find out whether there are any attire guidelines you’re required to follow, such as covering your shoulders.
Figure Out What You Like
Take cues from your venue, the season and the time of day you’re getting married to help narrow down your dress style. Rule out fabrics and silhouettes that won’t work (a bulky ball gown is probably not the best fit for a midday beach affair) and consider what styles will flatter your shape. To help you search, download the Wedding LookBook by The Knot app to browse thousands of wedding dresses and find local retailers that have the ones you like. Maggie Sottero’s website can also help you find which bridal salons near you carry the actual dress you want to try on. Now you don’t have to call to find out. Simply visit www.maggiesottero.com. Also, our Lancaster Bridal Shop also currently has all our gowns listed on our website. All of our brides can preview our inventory ahead of time. If you love a particular designer, find out if they’re having a trunk show in your area—you’ll see a larger range of their collection and you might even get a discount (usually about 15 percent). We list our special events under our “In The Community” Tab. Check it out!
Call in Advance
Just because a bridal shop carries your favorite designer doesn’t mean it’ll have the exact dress you’ve been dying to try on. If you phone beforehand and request a specific style, chances are the salon will be able to call in a sample of that gown especially for you. While you may get lucky and snag a salesperson just by walking in, scheduling an appointment guarantees you’ll get a full hour of undivided attention. Plus, many salons require you to book an appointment in order to try on gowns, so you’ll want to call ahead.
Let our Lancaster Bridal Shop Make Recommendations
Don’t eliminate anything at first glance. If the salesperson brings you something she says you should try, try it—even if you don’t initially love it or think it’s totally “you.” It’s possible to fall for a wedding dress you didn’t think you’d like or want. Not every dress looks great on a hanger, and you might have to let go of some preconceived notions and keep an open mind.
We cannot stress this tip enough!
Shop At the Right Time
Taking a half day off to shop on, say, a Tuesday morning is absolutely worth it. Saturday afternoons are the most popular times—which actually makes them the worst. Unless the store is by appointment only, try to target those slower times. Consultants are fresher earlier in the day and can give you more of their attention. A calm store means a more personalized shopping experience, Hall says. If you’re shopping a sample sale, do yourself a favor and skip the first day. Call ahead to ask how many days the sale will run, then go a little later—there will still be plenty of inventory. Another shopping trick: Don’t bring an entourage. It may be tempting to include all your friends in this experience, but any more than one or two adds up to too many clashing opinions.
Buy a Wedding Dress That Fits Now
Even if you’re planning on dropping 15 pounds before your wedding, your body type isn’t going to completely change. Besides, it’s a lot easier (not to mention less expensive) to take a gown in than to try and make a too-small dress work.
Read the Fine Print
When you order your wedding dress from a bridal shop, it’s important to triple-check the contract. Read it carefully, so you don’t end up with the wrong size or color, and get the designer, style number, measurements, delivery date, the price of the gown and number of fittings, as well as the deposit amount, all in writing.
Bring Your Wedding Accessories
While most bridal shops will have shoes and a slip on hand for you to try on with your gown, you should still come prepared with a nude bra and underwear for the fittings. Also bring shoes with a similar height as what you plan on wearing at the wedding, so you can see how the dress falls with your heels. And try on your other day-of accessories (if you have them), like your veil or cover-up, to get an idea of how your whole look will come together.
Trust Your Instincts
If you have to be reassured that the dress looks great on you, it’s probably not “the one.” If you can’t see yourself walking down the aisle in it, move on. When you find the right dress, you’ll know—you won’t want to put on anything else. Have some tissues handy; it will be an emotional moment!
Do not let the bridal store pressure you into purchasing a gown you do not really love.
– from The Knot
Current Wedding Dress Trends
All The Sparkle
Perfect for evening nuptials under the stars, this trend is daring but sophisticated. Pro tip: If you’re rocking a gown with lots of sparkle, keep your accessories minimal and let your glitzy frock do all the talking.
Bold Ball Gowns
If you’re looking to make a dramatic entrance, a classic ball gown is for you. Perhaps even combine the two trends like the wedding dress pictured above. “Tristyn” from Maggie Sottero features all over sparkle and the classic ballgown look all in one. You will surely turn heads in a wedding dress like this. Come on in today to try it on.
Flower Power and Captivating Capes
Not into veils? A full-length bridal cape or shorter capelet is the perfect alternative: It still adds movement to your gown, but feels fashion forward. Plus, add some flowers, whether they’re oversize and all over, delicate and cascading, or embellished with feathers and crystals.
Take a peek at the wedding dress pictured here. “Ally” by Maggie Sottero features both floral and feather cape option together. We say this dress is a must try when you come into our store for your bridal consultation.