7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Wedding Dress Shopping

“At the end of the day, it’s the bride who makes the dress, not the other way around.” — Kang Chun Lin, designer

The day every girl dreams of the day she says yes to the dress!

I had this day planned in my calendar for months. A special trip was arranged for me to go back to my hometown to meet up with my Mom, Mother-in-law, & very best friend/maid of honor to go dress shopping, but fate had a different agenda.

My Mom’s mom (Grammy) ended up in the hospital & was dying with the flu. Being the woman she is, my mother was trying to stay tough for everyone, but I could see she was wearing down after spending the entire night prior to dress shopping in the hospital by her mother’s side. We had plans to shop in Kansas City, MO at a couple boutiques and find T H E O N E! Long story short, my Mom got a phone call from her brother that she needed to rush back to the hospital & I was left with my Mother-in-law & MOH to keep shopping. Of course I found my dress with the very first one I tried on, and sadly my Mom wasn’t there to share that moment with me. It’s one of the most melancholy days I’ve ever had, but I count my blessings.

We set our agendas & expect everything to go as planned, but remember to be flexible. Little things will come up during your wedding planning & threaten to throw you off or make you question what you’re doing—stay positive! Everything will work out exactly how it’s supposed to.

After navigating all things wedding dresses over the last year, I’m confident I can say there’s some things I wish I’d known before shopping for my wedding dress.

  1. Know who to bring. This one might be the most important of all! Take too many people & there may be too many opinions; take the wrong people and there may be hurt feelings. Experts say it’s best to stick to a couple family members & maybe some of your wedding party, but at the end of the day this is your experience. Bring people who will surround you with love and support on this special day.
  2. Make appointments in advance. Most bridal salons require that you make an appointment to shop for and try on wedding dresses—don’t expect to walk into a salon & try on dresses without an appointment. The sweet spot for booking appointments is 6 weeks or more in advance to the day you want to shop. Remember, you can always try your luck on last minute cancellations, but don’t make that your only game plan.
  3. Bring the necessities. This is something I failed to completely research before arriving at my first dress appointment: wear/bring a strapless bra and nude undies!
  4. Have an idea of what you may want. The first thing every consultant at different salons asked me was, “What kind of dress are you looking for?” For me it was easy; I wanted a fitted, long sleeved lace gown with a long train. Search online or in magazines for what you think would look & feel good on your body & what may go with the vibe you want for your big day. Even a few pictures of dresses online will help consultants guide you in the right direction. Don’t get fixated on a certain dress or style though—you never know what dress might surprise you!
  5. Set a budget before you shop. It doesn’t matter if you, your parents, in-laws, fiancé, or whoever else are paying for your wedding dress…talk about the budget! Let’s face it—talking about money can be awkward, but it will be way less awkward to do it anywhere other than the bridal salon when you’re standing there in a gown you can’t afford.
  6. Get what you want. When shopping for a wedding dress there can be a lot of pressure to please whoever has the checkbook or to get what your mother wants you to wear. In the end this is your wedding day, not anyone else’s, so get a dress that you feel comfortable & BEAUTIFUL in. Don’t settle for any less! On that note, make sure it’s physically comfortable (or have a different reception dress)!
  7. Remember why you’re there. It’s so easy to get caught up in finding the perfect dress, worrying about how expensive or inexpensive the dress is, among a million other things; don’t lose sight of what finding this dress is all about. You’re here to find the dress that you get to marry the person of your dreams in! Cheers to that!