5 Must-Read Gown Shopping Tips

Everything You Need To Know Before You Hit The Stores

Set Your Budget

If you know you're not going to spend $12,000 on your gown, don't waste time trying on a bunch of dresses out of your range. Establish a realistic price point before you get to the store so you can spend more time narrowing down amazing options you can actually buy. Also, you’ll need to factor in the cost of alterations, taxes and shipping fees, plus any accessories you may want (veil, shoes, jewelry) which can total $500 or more.

Start Early

Most brides-to-be are surprised to hear you’ll need at least six to eight months to get your gown—and that's if you're really decisive. If you're not really sure what you want, or are a picky shopper, it’s best to start looking eight to 10 months before your wedding date. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time; waiting until the last minute may limit your selection of dresses, or force you to make a quick decision you may regret later. As soon as you've found your dream dress, allow at least eight weeks for alterations.

Establish the Dress Code

There are several factors to consider when determining the dress code of your wedding, including venue, season and time of day. Start by ruling out fabrics and silhouettes that won't work (a heavy ball gown is probably not the best fit for a midday beach affair) and consider which styles will flatter your shape.

Have an Open Mind

Never eliminate anything at first glance. We know, easier said than done, but if your consultant brings you something she says you should try, try it—even if you don't initially love it or think it's totally “you." Not every dress looks great on a hanger, and it's possible to fall for a wedding gown you didn't think you'd like or want. Make the most of your dress shopping experience and don’t be afraid to try something outside of your comfort zone.

Bring Your Accessories

Usually, salons will have shoes and a slip for you to try on with your gown, but you should still come prepared with a nude bra (ideally strapless) and undergarments for the fittings. Plan to bring shoes with a similar height as what you’re wearing on the big day, so you can see how the dress falls with your heels. Also, be sure to try on your other day-of accessories (if you have them), like your veil and jewelry, to get an idea of how your whole look will come together.

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