Bridal gown shopping has become a rite of passage that every bride-to-be gets giddy and excited about. It’s a bonding activity where she gets to scream “YAYYY!!” with all her bridesmaids while enjoying champagne and some cake too!
Want to hunt down “the one” gown that you’ve been dreaming about? Here are the top 5 rules we can share with you so this hunt is as smooth and fun as possible.
1) Visit the store during non-peak hours, or book an appointment
Wedding dress stores are super busy over the weekends, so stay away from the crowds and visit the shops during slower hours, such as weekdays or weekend mornings. Gown shopping usually takes about 2 hours per store, so don’t feel rushed and allocate plenty of time in each shop. Most stores will want you to book an appointment ahead of time so they can give you the attention you deserve.
2) Have anopen mind and really, try on everything!
You will naturally gravitate toward certain types of gowns depending on your fashion style. So if you normally like strapless, or halter, you will tend to go toward that style for your wedding gown too. A little research will be helpful, just to know the brands out there, the fashion trends this year, and what’s available. However, don’t limit yourself to a certain style. By keeping an open mind and trying on a variety of styles many brides often find themselves choosing a gown that they didn’t fall in love with until they tried it on.
When I was a consultant at a gown shop, I would ask the brides to pick their favourite styles, like sweetheart necklace, or strapless, but I would also pick a couple of other styles and force them to try them out. Most gowns will look different on you than in the photo or on the hanger, so don’t be shy to try on a dress that doesn’t originally excite you, you might be in for a pleasant surprise!
3) Wear minimal makeup and remove the ring and other accessories
This one might be a little counter-intuitive. You may think that you will need glam makeup similar to your wedding day to envision how the gown would look on you, or to have your beautiful engagement ring on to show the girls, but the result might be more inconvenient than anything!
Putting a wedding gown on and off is a time consuming and delicate process. You will be changing in and out of numerous gowns so your heavy-glam makeup can easily smear on the gowns. As for your ring, keep it off to avoid snagging it on delicate fabrics like satin and lace… you don’t want to be paying for damage!
4) Shop 6 months ahead
Once you have tried on all the gowns and have found “the one”, most gown shops will have to order it for you. The sample sizes at a gown shop are usually 8, 10 or 12 (gown sizes start at 0 and often go up to 20). While gown sizes are usually 2 or 4 sizes bigger, they like to keep sample sizes on the sales floor a bit bigger so they can clip them back to fit anyone.
The ordering process is lengthy. It can take 3 to 6 months for the gown to be ordered and delivered to the gown shop. This lengthy process is usually because the factory is in Asia and because many manufacturers like to make their gowns in batches, so they will wait for a group of orders to come in before going into production.
If you end up rushing a delivery, it can cost hundreds of dollars, so ensure you at least shop 6 months ahead!
5) Have a great seamstress!
While gowns come in different sizes, they rarely fit anyone perfectly. Gowns are usually made out of stiff satin or organza-like material and it just doesn’t drape to your body like a sweater or tee would. The solution is to have your gown delivered at least one month ahead of time and to work with an expert seamstress to help you “take in” and “let out” the dress to fit your body perfectly.
A seamstress who works at the gown shop will likely be great for it, but watch out for the prices. Sometimes it’s double or triple to get it from there, it might be worthwhile to find a seamstress elsewhere who can do it for much less.