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How to Shop For (And Say Yes to) Your Dream Wedding Dress

Bridal Tips

How to Shop For (And Say Yes to) Your Dream Wedding Dress

As every bride knows, wedding dress shopping can be a bit overwhelming. The dress, and how you feel in it, is one of the most memorable parts of planning a wedding. Your gown will set the tone for the wedding theme and all of the details that follow, whether you’re planning a luxe ballroom gala or a backyard barbecue. It’s often referred to as the most important outfit of your life, but you’ll only be able to wear it once. Oh, and to top it all off, it’s definitely going to be the most expensive garment you’ll ever wear. So, no pressure, right?

How to Shop for a Wedding Dress?

Whether you’re shopping frugally for a sexy fit-and-flare or going all out on an extravagant ballgown, our top tips will help every bride sort through the thousands of options, designers and styles so you can confidently say “YES” to your dream wedding dress!

Find Your Inspiration

Before you start scheduling bridal shop appointments or gathering your entourage, take some time to yourself to research current wedding dress styles and trends and take note of what you like. Check out Pinterest boards, bridal boutiques and designers’ instagrams and even your favourite celebrity wedding gowns. Seeing a trend within the ones you love? Whether it’s a halter neckline or tiered tulle that makes you swoon, keep these similarities in mind as you prepare for your first appointment.

Confirm Your Budget

We get it. Money isn’t the most comfortable topic to talk about, but you’re going to have to figure out who is paying for the dress and how it will affect your overall wedding budget. If your parents are paying for the dress, hash out that conversation beforehand so you don’t end up trying on gowns out of your price range. Brides report that couples usually spend about 5% of the budget on their attire, so if you’re fronting the cost of the gown, pick a price range together.

Timing is Everything

Plan your appointments with enough time to order and complete alterations. It takes roughly six to eight months to create your wedding dress, so we recommend starting dress shopping at least 12 months prior to your wedding date. Place your order at least 10/12 months prior to ensure the dress comes in time to be altered. 

Making Your Appointment

Ready to make your appointment at local bridal shops? First, take a look at the boutiques in your area (and don’t forget to read the reviews!) If you’re looking for a specific designer, ensure they carry the line. Call ahead, or schedule online, based on your availability. We recommend considering a weekday appointment. “It’s much more of a sentimental, private appointment.”  Remember to bring a strapless bra (don’t forget nude underwear!) and a pair of heels to practice walking.

Who to Bring

When choosing the entourage for your dress shopping experience, think of the people whose opinions matter the most. Finding your Wedding dress is such a special time and is one that needs to be shared with your nearest and dearest. Make sure they are available when scheduling your appointment, as you wouldn’t want to find your dress without them. 

Keep An Open Mind

It’s so important to keep an open mind while dress shopping! Your consultant will be very mindful of your likes and dislikes, but they’ll also throw in some wild cards. Sometimes, dresses take you by surprise and those end up being the best option. You might not have considered how flattering a certain shape would look on your build, so try it on and give it a go! Consultants often say that some gowns look completely different on a bride than they do on the hanger, so keep an open mind! 


Wedding dress sizing is much different than regular clothing. Sizing differs among designers, so trust in your consultant’s measurements. Ordering a different size to normal might sound crazy, but your bridal shop and alterations specialist will make sure your wedding gown fits perfectly on your big day!

Say Yes!

Okay – you’re ready to say yes! When you’ve truly found “the one,” you will know. Don’t second guess your own opinion or let anyone else tell you to keep looking. 

You can confide closely with your consultant as their top priority is to help you find the dream dress. Some bridal shops require payment upfront while others take deposits, so keep that in mind when you’re ready to purchase your dress.

Finishing Touches

After you’ve secured your gown, it’s time to start thinking about the finishing touches that will complete your bridal vision. Are you going to wear a veil or opt for a flower crown? Will you accessorise with pearl earrings or a simple silver bracelet? Select your heels, hair and makeup at least 2-3 months before the big day so you’re completely set for the week of the wedding.

Plan Fittings

Plan your first fitting about three months prior to your wedding with your preferred alterations specialist. Your second fitting will fall about a fortnight before your wedding date. At your fittings, you’ll learn how to properly bustle your gown to make an easy transformation post-ceremony. Practice walking in your heels and move around to make sure the dress is completely comfortable. After this step, your wedding dress will be ready to make its aisle debut!

bride squad

xoxo The Wedding Belles