6 Shopping Tips to Help You Find the Perfect Wedding Dress

Beach Wedding

This is Virginia Beach, where we will tie the knot in June '13.
This is Virginia Beach, where we will tie the knot in June '13. | Source

Tips to Saying "Yes" to Your Dress

Shopping for a wedding dress can be the most exciting time of your life while being somewhat stressful at the same time. "Is this the right dress for me?"; "Will my friends, family, and husband love it as much as me?"; "Is this dress right for the wedding?" These are all questions that are no doubt running furiously through your mind when trying to select the *PERFECT* dress. The following tips will help make sure the answers are, "Yes; Yes; and Yes!"

  • Have Some Ideas in Mind: You may or may not have been dreaming about your fairy tale wedding and envisioned the dress you'll be wearing. In any case, it's good to go into the experience with some specific ideas in mind. Browse magazines, photos, websites, and any other resources available to get inspired. It would be helpful to bring photos with you, if you're able. Perform your own "photoshopping" by mixing and matching pictures, also. (For example, choose the train from dress A, the front cut from dress B, and the fabric from dress C.) Bringing ideas about the wedding dress you want will help narrow down your selection.
  • Check Store Policies: Research stores in your area and their policies ahead of time. There's not just one and only wedding dress shop out there, so consider all of your options and see what sounds like it will meet your needs the best. Some stores have policies in place regarding the guests you may or may not bring. There were shops that I researched that would not allow men or children, and others had specific limitations regarding the number of guests that could be present with me. I was also surprised to find out there were quite a number of places that prohibited photography (which did NOT work for me as I relied heavily on photos to send my mother, who lives out of town and couldn't be there in person.) Checking stores' policies ahead of time could save you from being caught off-guard or disappointed upon arrival.
  • Bring Friends & Family: Sharing this special occasion with friends and family will not only help you select your wedding dress but will also create a memorable experience. Make sure to bring people that are close to you and whose opinions you trust and value. It's definitely assuring to have people tell you how great you look, but it's just as helpful to have at least one person there to tell you otherwise. I know how that sounds, but let's face it - everyone has made a fashion faux-pas and in hindsight wish there was someone to ask what they were thinking. Who wants to make that mistake on their BIG day? Personally, if it wasn't for my best girlfriends, I may not have even had the courage or confidence to try on the dress I eventually chose. So invite your most trusted advisors to come along!
  • Speak Up: It is so important to speak with the sales consultant about what you are looking for in your wedding dress. The first thing they want to know is what kind of dress you're looking for: what style, color,cut, fabric, designer, length, etc. Guess what I was not asked about: my budget. The sales consultants are there to help you, but it's also their goal to make the sale (as I'm sure most work on commission). Don't be afraid to walk the store yourself to browse wedding dresses you would like to try on. I found my own dress this way - and it was from the sale rack! Be sure to be very vocal about all of your needs to avoid having a "pushy" sales experience and to ensure that you get exactly what you want.
  • Be Open-Minded & Practical: It's equally as important to be open to different ideas about wedding dresses as it is to have your own. Bottom line - it's YOUR wedding, and you should choose the dress that YOU want; but it does not hurt to leave a little wiggle room and try things that you may not have originally envisioned. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted.....until I got there.....and tried it on. Turns out I had a few things right, but by allowing suggestions from others, I was able to settle on a much more flattering and fabulous dress. Practicality plays a big role when it comes to your dress, as well. For instance, I'm getting married on the beach in June; therefore it made sense to have thinner and lighter fabric with a shorter train. It's these little details that count!
  • Be Patient: Finding the perfect wedding dress looks like an easy experience when it's cut and edited into a 30 minute TV segment or when other women tell stories about how they "just knew" when they first tried their dresses on. As a result, I went home after my first shopping trip in tears, convinced that there wasn't a single dress out there for me. I was even kind of dreading my next trip because I felt like I tried on every dress already, and they were all wrong. I'll admit that I'm not the most decisive person and that I tend to blow things out of proportion, so in this case patience really was a virtue! Wait a few days to let everything sink in before the next shopping trip. Evaluate the selections you tried, research more ideas, gather your thoughts, and most importantly remind yourself to be patient. It might be your first shopping trip or it could be your 10th. Just know that the right dress is out there, and you will find it.

Hopefully these tips are helpful and reassuring. Everyone deserves to be the most beautiful bride on their most special day, and shopping for a wedding dress should be a positively wonderful and memorable experience. Best of luck for all brides-to-be in their shopping endeavors!

(P.S. No pictures of my dress wil be available prior to our important ideas. I'm not risking letting my finace catch a glance, but check back after June 2013 if your'e that curious!)

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