Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

Well-Planned, BridalLauren

The most magical time of the year is almost upon us. Tis the season- the season for wedding dress shopping! Wedding dress shopping is one of the most memorable and monumental experiences you will have as a bride. Purchasing your wedding dress should be filled with joy and perhaps even a few happy tears.

Kara’s elegant bridal session, perfectly captured by Jenna McElroy, has inspired us to share our tips on wedding dress shopping. We hope these tips will help you better prepare for your wedding dress shopping appointments, and that your shopping experience will be an absolute dream. 

First, Decide on Your Overall Wedding Design

Fundamentals first! Knowing when a wedding dress is “the one” will be much less confusing if you have a good sense for your overall wedding design. For example, if you plan to have a black tie affair, your wedding dress should be a formal gown that pairs well with your ornate décor and style. We encourage you to answer the below questions, before you embark on your first wedding dress shopping trip.

  • What type of venue will your wedding be held at?
  • Will your wedding be held in a particular location that will impact the style of dress you buy?
  • What type of style, décor, and overall atmosphere are you planning for on your big day?
  • What time of year is your wedding?

Make An Appointment

Booking an appointment will allow the bridal boutique to devote more undivided attention to you, creating a better overall wedding dress shopping experience. Schedule an appointment two or three weeks in advance, depending on how quickly the shop books up. Be sure to confirm your appointment the day before.

Shop at the Right Bridal Boutique for You

Each bridal boutique has its own unique niche and way of caring for their brides. Just like finding the right dress, it’s important to find a boutique that aligns well with the type of dress shopping experience you hope to have. Seek out a bridal boutique that pairs well with your personality and priorities. Here are a few questions to help you find the right shop for you:

  • What type of dress shopping experience do you want, and does this shop cater to that style of shopping experience?
  • Are you interested in specific designers or lines, and are they carried at this particular boutique?
  • Does this shop offer a variety of gowns that fit within your budget?  
  • Have your friends had a positive experience at this boutique?

Invite the Right People to Accompany You

We encourage quality over quantity in many aspects of life, and believe this principle to be true when inviting others to accompany you at your wedding dress shopping appointments. Invite people who will be supportive, helpful in creating a happy experience, and kind in sharing thoughts. 

Stick To Your Budget

Falling in love with a bridal gown that is not within your predefined wedding dress budget can lead to wedding dress heartbreak. Set a firm wedding dress budget. As a rule of thumb, your wedding dress should make up 10% of your total wedding budget. Avoid trying on gowns that are over budget, and simply stick to your budget.

Get Gussied Up                                           

Take time to primp and get pretty before your appointment. Style your hair in a similar way that you plan to wear it on your wedding day. If you plan to wear your hair in an updo, neatly style it up for your appointment. If you haven’t yet decided on your wedding day hairstyle, we suggest wearing your hair down with a few curls and bringing along hairpins to your appointment. This will allow you to try a variety of hairstyles when you find the dress. Seeing yourself gussied up and well styled will help you to feel confident while trying on dresses, and will help you to better envision your full bridal look. 

Bring Proper Undergarments

Be sure to bring along a strapless bra to your appointments. If readily available, take other undergarments that you may want to wear on your wedding day. Trying your future dress on with proper undergarments will help you get a complete fit and feel for the gown.

Keep An Open Mind

Trying on a dress is the only way to truly know what the gown looks like. Try on a variety of dress styles before ruling styles out. You never know unless you try!  

It’s Okay to Sleep on Your Decision

This is a biggie, friends! It’s absolutely OK to not purchase your dress on your first appointment. In fact, we encourage you to spend quality time thinking and deciding on your dress decision.

Enjoy It!

Last, but certainly not least, relax and enjoy every moment!  


Photography: Jenna McElroy 

Bridal Gown: Monique Lhuillier 

Wedding Planner: Westcott Weddings

Floral Design: Bristol Lane

Hair & Makeup: Urban Betty