He’s popped the question, the ring is sparkling on your finger, and the date is set…time to start the hunt for the perfect dress! While a few fearless brides-to-be can’t wait to twirl in front of that dressing room mirror, most of us get a little nervous anticipating the shopping experience. Here are some tips and tricks to help you walk through those boutique doors with a spring in your step:
First, do your research. Nothing calms pre-appointment jitters like a little preparation, so take the time to find out key information that will help you and your stylist find the right match. Learn the vocabulary to help you describe the elements you would like (or absolutely can’t stand) in a gown, especially focusing on silhouette (A-line, ballgown, fit-and-flare), materials (chiffon, beading, lace), and detailing (neckline, sleeves, back).
That being said, it is equally important to keep an open mind. Your stylist has intimate knowledge of the gowns and designers offered in their store, so don’t be afraid to try on something that looks scary on the hanger if she suggests it might be a great fit for you. You may discover that the ballgown you were afraid would make you look like a cupcake actually gives you an incredible waist, or that the Vegas showgirl veil looks subtly incredible when those crystals pick up the light.
Thirdly, set your budget (and stick to it!). The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a gown that is five times your price point, so have a range in mind before you sit down with a stylist. The Knot recommends planning to spend about 8-10% of your total wedding budget on attire, and don’t forget accessories and alterations. The veil, shoes, jewelry, undergarments, and tailoring can all take a bite out of the amount you’ve set aside, but are essential for a fabulous wedding ensemble.
Finally, pick your entourage carefully. Too many opinions (even positive ones) can drown out your own voice and make the process more frustrating. Harper’s Bazaar recommends being honest with yourself and making finding your gown a priority over including everyone. Consider inviting friends or family to the first gown viewing; they’ll be present at that special moment when you first lay eyes on YOUR gown, but won’t feel obligated to help with the decision.
While the process may seem daunting, don’t forget to have fun! Enjoy your experience and allow yourself to revel in the moment; this is your chance to express your style. The gown for you is out there waiting, now all you have to do is find it!