I’ve worn many hats since I first became a part of the wedding community – coordinator, designer, marketing specialist – but one of my favorites has to be bridal consultant! Working with brides to find the perfect wedding dress is incredibly rewarding, and today I wanted to share some of my key tips to finding The One!
Do your research
One of the most important things you can do before stepping foot into a bridal salon is to make sure that it’s a fit. Call or email ahead to book a fitting – having an appointment ensures that a bridal consultant will be free to answer questions and help you try on gowns. Before stepping foot in the salon, you want to make sure you have an idea of the designers they carry, the price range of their dresses, and how long you will have to try on gowns.
By this point, you’ve probably logged hours on Pinterest or perused bridal style posts and have an idea of the dress you want. Whether you envision a low backed sheath dress with long sleeves or a sweetheart fit and flare gown, chances are good you have a style in mind when you walk into the salon. Don’t be afraid to try on something completely unexpected – a dress will look entirely different on the hanger than it will on your body.
Don’t be afraid to say no
Bridal consultants are there to help you narrow down your vision to the perfect dress, but they’re not mind readers. They take your key words and budget and attempt to find gowns that will suit your style, but there is no harm in saying that it’s just not the dress for you. Discovering what you don’t like can be just as important as finding out what you do like, helping to narrow down the vast sea of choices.
Ask the right questions
Does the dress come in other color options? Can the train be lengthened? Can you add a cap sleeve or a strap? Many wedding dresses are made to order – which accounts for a significant chunk of that price tag – meaning they are made to your measurements. The designer works off an existing pattern but there’s no reason you can’t ask if they can add a custom detail to your dress, from buttons down the back to altering the neckline. Adding a fit customization, like an open bust cup or a more accurate hem measurement, before the dress is even made can save you hundred in alterations when the dress comes in.
See the big picture
The gown is only one part of your wedding day – although it is the most important. Every time you put on a dress, envision it in your venue, alongside your bridesmaids, with your bouquet held against it. The bride and the dress are the focal point of a wedding (sorry, guys), so it’s important to find a dress that fits your vision for the whole day, down to the last detail. Sometimes the perfect dress is the catalyst for the rest of the wedding decor, informing the rest of your style decisions.
Timing is everything
Depending on the style and designer of your dress, the timeframe for orders can take anywhere from 12 weeks to 6 months. The more complicated and customized a dress, the more time it takes. Ask your consultant for a timeframe before your place your order to ensure that you will have plenty of time. An ideal time to order is 6-8 months prior to the wedding date, to allow for production time and a month and a half for alterations. If you are working in a shorter timeframe, ask your salon to see if the designer can a
Listen to your heart
It can be fun to make a day of dress shopping, bringing moms, sisters, bridesmaids, aunts, and your next door neighbor along to help you find the right dress. That many voices can complicate finding the dress that looks, and feels, most like you. As much as you value their opinion, it can be best to keep the shopping partners to a minimum. Bring people you trust to tell you the truth but who recognize that this needs to be your choice.
Sleep on it
No matter what your timeframe, there’s no reason to rush ordering the dress. Take a day or two at the least to reflect on the gowns you tried on, look at pictures, and think about which style and which dress feels the most you. When you’re confident in your choice, it’s time to move forward and keep planning!