10 Common Mistakes When Wedding Dress Shopping
1) Shopping without a wedding date
One of the first questions you will get at your wedding dress appointment is "When are you getting married?" Not having a wedding date set will make it harder for a consultant to give you the right information for what dresses are available to you. For example if you plan on getting married in the next 4 months your choices for wedding dresses will be more limited to dresses with in-stock options or off the rack dresses. On the other hand, the goal of wedding dress shopping is to find a wedding dress. If you don't have a date set it will be hard to picture your dress at your wedding. Imagining yourself walking down the aisle in your venue at whatever time of year will help you to be able to clearly envision if this is the dress of your dream or not. We recommend for all our brides to have their wedding dates set and venue booked before going shopping so that they will be able to have a clear vision of what their wedding day and wedding dress will look like.
2) Bringing too many people to your appointment
We understand the excitement of shopping for your wedding dress and the pressure to have everyone there with you but most of the time having too many people tagging along can be detrimental to shopping for your wedding dress. Sometimes too many opinions can be just that, too many opinions. It is hard for people to not think about themselves wearing the dress and they might approach it from if they would wear that wedding dress. When inviting people to join you at your dress shopping appointment make sure that they are people that you want to share this special memory with but also people who understand your personal style, what you want to look like on your wedding day and are your cheerleaders! At the end of the day the most important thing about your wedding dress is that you feel like a bride and it is the dress that you want to walk down the aisle in and what you want to wear for your wedding photos. On the other hand make sure that you also bring the people there that you need to make that decision. Wedding dress shops only have a limited number of appointments and most are small businesses who don't make money unless they sell dresses so it's okay to not be able to decide on a dress during your appointment or feel the need to try on other dresses but when booking an appointment it should be with the intention that you will buy your dress if you find it.
3) Over shopping
In all of your wedding excitement you may have the urge to set up appointments at a lot of wedding shops to make sure you get the full bridal shopping experience or because you are scared you might miss out trying on the wedding dress but you can definitely over shop for your wedding dress! When you start shopping only make one or two appointments for your first time out because most shops will have a variety of different styles for your to try. The first thing you will do is narrow down what shape do you want, do you want fit and flair, ball gown, a line, mermaid? Once you narrow that down you will try a bunch of dresses in that style and hopefully find the one. Trying on dresses is a lot of work and more tiring then you think so making too many appointments on any one day can be exhausting. Second, most shops have dresses that are very similar to each other and if you try too many on you may start having trouble being able to differentiate one from another making it harder to decide if a dress is the one. Also you want the freedom to be able to "Say YES" to your dress when you find it. If you have 3 more appointments booked that day all with cancellations fees you won't want to cancel them and you then you will spend the rest of your day going to appointments when you have already found the dress and could be celebrating. However if you go to one or two shops and you haven't felt like you have found your dress or you feel like you haven't tried something on yet make more appointments! Most shops will have availability most weekends so don't worry about not being able to continue shopping but wait until you have shopped at one or two places before setting up more appointments.
4) Waiting too long to dress shop
There can be many reasons that you want to wait to go wedding dress shopping. You may want to make sure to see the newest styles of dresses. You may be trying to lose weight or need to wait until someone is in town to go wedding dress shopping but make sure that you are doing this all with plenty of time until your wedding. We highly recommend shopping for your wedding dress 12-9 months out from your wedding and in times of covid we are highly recommending 15-12 months out from your wedding. This will ensure that even if their is a delay on the wedding dress for any reason you still won't feel any stress because you will have plenty of time for alterations! If you wait until closer than 9 months you will possibly incur rush fees or not being able to get a dress because it would not make it in time for your wedding and you will only have off the rack options.
5) Shopping for your future body
Almost everyone that comes in to the bridal shop and tells us how they want to lose weight before their wedding. We commend all the girls who do that but feel everyone is beautiful just the way you are. When shopping for a wedding dress though you should shop for how your body looks then. Wedding dresses can be taken in but it is much harder to let them out. If you have a wedding dress that looks amazing on your body now it will even more amazing if you lose 10lbs. Every body is beautiful and different and there are dresses out there made for everyone. Find one that you love and makes you feel beautiful just the way you are right now.
6) Thinking your wedding dress and venue must "match"
No one has ever shown up to a wedding and thought that the bride was over dressed. You can have a small 5 person wedding and still wear the biggest ball gown if that is what makes you feel like a bride. It is the one day in your life that you can wear whatever you want and everyone will just think that you are a beautiful bride. So don't count out dresses because you feel like they won't match the venue because everyone will just think you are a gorgeous bride getting married and won't be thinking about if it matches the venue.
7) Not being open to trying different styles
Time and time again we will see brides come in and they have a very specific look they are going for and they only want to try on dresses in that style. Then mom will ask if she can pick out just one dress and have her daughter indulge her and a lot of times it leads to trying on totally different styles of dresses or even buying the one mom picks out! Even if you are 100% sure you want a different style of dress I usually recommend just trying on one of each style and this will do one of two things. It will either confirm your thought process of wanting to wear a certain style of dress or it will open you up to a totally different style you never thought about.
8) Not making an appointment
Many bridal shops that are small businesses love to provide you with a laid back, personal shopping experience giving you all the attention you deserve and that is why making an appointment is so important! Most of our shops are smaller and we can only handle so many appointments at once. We also don't have a huge staff so if you stop by without an appointment it may be hard to accommodate your appointment and it may also interrupt another brides shopping experience. Making an appointment allows the shops to be prepared to help you because many shops have you complete a pre-appointment questionnaire to get to know you a little better and pre-pick out some dresses but it also allows them to have the proper amount of staffing to make sure that every appointment gets a stylist dedicated to them. Plan to make your appointment a couple weeks ahead of time so that you can get the day and time slot that you are looking for and also make sure that if anything changes you let the shop now as soon as possible. Small businesses we usually cannot refill appointment slots quickly which is why most shops will have a cancellation policy and fee.
9) Rushing the appointment
Most bridal shops have an approximate appointment time that they allot for each appointment. In our shop we have 1.5 hours for our bridal appointments. Many weekends we have to be strict with our appointment times because we will have back to back appointments. To make sure to maximize your appointment time make sure you and your entourage are 5-10 minutes early to your appointment. This will allow everyone to get there, get settled in, use the bathroom and overall just be able to breathe before your appointment begins. This will also allow you to maximize your appointment time. Another helpful tip is if you don't like the dress don't spend too much time in it! If you put the dress on and you 100% don't like or you get up on the pedestal and know its not the one, keep moving yourself along. This will allow you to maximize the time you spend in the dresses you do like and give yourself time to just hang out in the dress when it is the one! If you feel like you will need more time for your appointment think about possibly doing an appointment not on a busy Saturday. For us, we are open later on Thursdays and offer private Sunday appointments. During these appointments we can usually be more flexible with how long the appointment takes because you will be the only appointment during those time slots. So if you cantake advantage of the opportunity of appointments not during peak days!
10) Judging a dress on the hanger
When you start your appointment at most shops you will be able to view the dresses and pick out which ones you would like to try. The stylist might also have some suggestions for you based on body type, budget and things you like or don't like in a dress. Sometimes those dresses may be what we call "hanger ugly" they usually just don't hang well for one reason or another but be open to trying on those dresses. There is usually a reason the stylist is pulling it and trust their expertise. Even if it ends up not being the one I bet you will like it a lot more on then you did on the hanger. Just like you can't judge a book by its cover don't judge a dress by how it hangs!