1st) Do NOT start shopping for your dream dress without doing your research FIRST!
-Find out the average price of wedding dresses- use Google/ ask friends who have gotten married recently ( Here is a hint- it is $1600 and that is no matter where you go! The average price has not changed much in the past 4-5 years. In fact in 2017, it was $1700).
-Factor in Alterations! You will need them unless you are paying the pretty penny of having a gown customized. A good seamstress knows her worth. Remember you are paying someone to do tedious and time consuming work. Just like a photographer who is more seasoned than someone who is not. Do your research for this as well. Alteration costs will depend on MANY factors: your dress, it’s detail, your height, your weight and your bustle.
-Find out the time frame for dresses to order- Remember on average gowns take 5-6 months to arrive from the time of placing the order.
-SET YOUR BUDGET ACCORDINGLY
-Do not have unrealistic expectations- IE (The popular phrase: “When you know you’ll know”- not everyone knows right away FYI), sample gowns are often larger sizes, avoid idealizing a particular style before you even try any gowns on. Keep an open mind and let your consultant make suggestions).
-Research the salons you want to visit- call with questions prior to the appt. Look at their reviews and shop around if you want. If you only want to go to one, then do that too!
2nd) Do NOT overwhelm yourself
- If you are trying to make a day of trying on gowns, stick to no more than 2 shops in ONE day. ( do try on about 5-8 at each store)Suggestion- make one in the morning, eat lunch then go to appt number 2. Allot time for traffic, slow service etc.
- Please EAT prior- do not arrive hangry or hungover!
- Sleep well the night before. Have your list or pictures ready to go.
- Smaller is better- Try not to bring more than 2-3 people ( we know we are going into yellow phase so you can’t technically anyway) but the less opinions, the better the results. You really do not need 5-8 people and all those opinions.
- Do not listen to “Great Aunt Sally” when she tells you to “ Just try on all the gowns for fun”. Stick to your budget, If you are not willing to budge on your budget, then do not entertain a dress over it. This is not a good use of your time or the consultants time.
3rd) Do NOT say “YES” too soon!
- Do not let a bridal shop pressure you into buying a dress. If you have another appointment lined up- GO! That dress will still be there, I promise (unless it’s a sale dress then maybe not, but again this is just a tip and based on the fact you have time to shop around)..
- Sleep on it. If they let you take pictures, but don’t get hung up on them. Remember the feelings you had. Photos are going to look different then in real life.( The dresses color and shape if it was clipped).
- Do not shop too early and try not to shop too late( remember the time frame we talked about in step one).
- Can you love more than one person? Yes, so then you can love more than one dress too.
- Avoid buyers remorse:
- Do not buy a gown that you want to do a “ton of work” too.
- Do not keep looking AFTER you say YES! Have a glass of wine and relax because you are done.
- Do not buy a smaller size.
- If a bridal shop doesn’t ask for your budget-you should prob run. Remember not all bridal shops are in it for the right reasons. Some purposely mark up the gowns so high, then offer girls a “big discount” if they buy it outright, they do this because even with say $200 taken off, they are still making a TON of money and just want to make a big sale. Some stores work on commission too. Take note.
4th) Do NOT take advantage of your local bridal shop
- Many of these shops, including myself, are run by real people with families to provide for. Do not NO SHOW! Do not cancel your appointment the same day- remember what we just talked about in step 3 about shopping around if you have the time).
- Do not WASTE their time. If you know you are going to be buying a dress elsewhere like online for example, it is rude to take up someone’s time because you want to get the experience that you are choosing to miss by purchasing a gown online. The whole purpose of a bridal shop is to help give you the experience you deserve. Yes, at a local shop it may cost a little more, but you are investing in a once in a lifetime experience, so in the end it’s totally worth it. Buying online is also super risky. Need I say more.
- Do NOT buy a dress and then never pick it up! This is legit taking money out of the business owners hands that they use to put gas in their vehicle and put food on their table. This is for not just brides, but bridesmaids and prom as well. Even if the engagement gets called off or you are no longer a bridesmaid, if you put half down on an order, you are still legally responsible to pick it up and pay for it. Do not stick the store with your dress. Ask the shop for options that they suggest to re-sell it or even donate it. Take the opportunity to make a crappy situation a beautiful one by giving it away.
5th) Do NOT say it’s “Just a Dress”
It is so much more than that. It is an extension of you, your beauty and your personality. It should bring out the confidence in you that perhaps you didn’t even know was there. You should feel beautiful and you should love your body just the way it is in this dress. It should enhance your features. It is something that will be in your pictures and videos for the rest of your life. 10 years from now, you should be able to look back and still love your dress. If it’s just a dress, if it ‘s just a day then why do we spend months planning it(on average of course), why do we celebrate a wedding if it’s “Just Another Day” It’s NOT. Case in point- your wedding dress is not just a dress. This is not an everyday experience and it should not be treated as such. Take the proper time, do the research, schedule the appointments and most of all HAVE FUN! These are memories you will remember years later and we want them to be pleasant ones. I want you to smile on your face as you reminisce fondly. Remember, it’s not so much about finding “The dress”, it about the time and memories you created that helped you say “YES to the DRESS”
Remember to support small businesses! We need you now more than ever. When buying at a chain I can guarantee you the customer service and the quality of dresses is not even on the same level. Invest in your time wisely. Consider investing in a real person. Invest in a business that gives back to its community and others. If you can buy your dresses and make a small difference in this world for the better, then do it. It can change your life and someone else’s too.