Fact: I love wedding gowns and all things bridal. Yes, bridal gowns and all the accessories are pretty and lovely to shop for, and us girls, love to shop, but when it comes to shopping for your wedding gown, there are some helpful tips to make your shopping experience a good one. That is why today, we have asked Owner Ramona Southard of Love and Lace Bridal Salon to share with us all the things a bride should know before she starts to search for her perfect wedding gown.
First of all, congratulations on your engagement and upcoming wedding! It is easily one of the most exciting times in your life, and who doesn’t enjoy having all this attention on them?? Now that reality has sunk in about your engagement, perhaps you have booked a venue and it is time to start looking for a wedding dress! Allow me to share some pearls of wisdom that I have accumulated over time, after having met and worked with numerous brides at my salon.
1. Plan ahead – wedding dresses in general take approximately 5-6 months to arrive, from the time you order. Then allow about 1-2 months for alterations. Which means you should start looking, and purchase, your dress about 8 months before your wedding. This is not said to rush you into buying, but to give you a realistic timeframe about wedding dress shopping. Each dress is custom-made to your measurements, so it takes time.
2. Realize what type of personality you have, prior to wedding dress shopping. Do you make decisions easy? Do you need outside input before you make big decisions? Do you constantly feel that “there is something better” and don’t want to settle? All of these personality traits play a role in your wedding dress shopping. If you make decisions easy, go with your gut and once you like a dress, be done. If you need input from others, bring a trusted friend or family member and let them help you with your decision.
3. Be careful who you bring with you- As fun as wedding dress shopping is, bring only close family or friends. You don’t need the opinion of everyone, just those that matter. Also, it’s ok if you go by yourself and make the decision. It’s your dress, after all, and you should love it. Remember, the more people you bring with you, the more different opinions you will get. Which will NOT help you, but will confuse you more. Less is more in this case.
4. Wedding Dress shopping is not a party! Be respectful of the salon owners, and don’t turn your appointment time into a party, with lots of loud people and yelling. There is a time and place for your bachelorette party, for your bridal shower, for time with your girlfriends. A bridal salon is not really that place. You are there to make an important decision, and you should focus solely on that. Also, remember you are not the only bride they have that day. Realize that others are scheduled before, during, and after you.
5. It’s YOUR dress! Every mom, sister, cousin, grandma, best friend has an opinion. And it’s most likely different than yours. And that’s ok. YOU, and only you, should love your dress. The wedding is about you and your fiancée. Stop trying to please everyone in your life. You will surely drive yourself crazy. So if you find a dress that you love, it makes you feel happy, sexy, bridal-y, beautiful and special, GET it! There is a very slim chance that you will ever find a dress that your mom grandma, sister, cousin, best friend, neighbor will ALL approve of.
6. It’s just a dress. Yes, it’s an important dress and probably the most expensive article of clothing you will ever buy. But it is only a dress. It does not have magical powers, even if it costs $10,000. It will not automatically make you lose 30 pounds, will not make your future mother-in-law love/hate you, will not guarantee you a stress-free wedding and will certainly not guarantee you a happy and successful marriage. You know why not? Because it’s just a dress. So stop overthinking it. Get one that makes you feel beautiful, and one that you know will make his heart skip a beat and a tear in his eye. Once you find that one, stop looking. Please.
I hope that these little tie-bits of advice will ease your mind just a bit about wedding dress shopping. It should be fun, it should be relaxing, it should be intimate and it should be all about you! So grab a couple of people (no more than two!) and head down to your favorite bridal salon to buy a dress! Then you can cross that off your list, and move on to the million other details you have to take care of!
Niloufar Gibson is the owner of BridalHotlist.com and has been working in the wedding industry for many years as a wedding and event coordinator. She lives and works in Orange County, CA and created the site to stay connected to the hottest trends and share them with others like her that love this industry.