1 Research Styles.
Start by taking a look at bridal magazines and online to see a variety of different gowns. This will give you a good idea of what is currently in-style and give you a preview of what you like prior to entering a bridal salon.
2 Research Bridal Consultations.
Shopping in bridal is different then other shopping experiences. Depending on where you decide to shop they may offer more then one type of bridal consultation. Depending on where you book, certain fees may apply. Currently at Taylor's Bridal there is no booking fee for a regular consultation. However, when you choose a V.I.P. package, it is a more luxurious experience and it happens outside of regular store hours, so fees do apply.
3 No One Likes Bridal Sizing.
Generally bridal sizes go off of European sizing, which means it tends to run one to two sizes smaller then what you would usually wear. At Taylor's Bridal we carry a variety of samples in different sizes and have a collection of samples that are dedicated to the curvier bride. Not every bridal salon will cater to curvier brides and often bridal samples run small. When you find your dress and you're ready to order, you will need to be measured. Listen to your consultants advice on sizing and ask questions if you are unsure as to why they are recommending a specific size.
4 Book an Appointment.
With bridal being more of a personal shopping experience it is important that you call or email ahead or book online. At Taylor's Bridal when you schedule a consultation you are guaranteed a consultant to help you, your own change room as well as over an hour window to shop. Without booking a consultation, there may not be a change room or consultant available. It is of the upmost importance to book ahead to ensure that you are receiving the best bridal experience possible.
5 Choose your Entourage Wisely.
Wedding dress shopping is an exciting experience and a lot of your friends and family may want to come along. If you've ever tried to plan an outing with a big group before, you can imagine how hard it can be to get everyone to agree on a wedding dress. Try and limit yourself to 2 or 3 people whose opinions matter the most to you.
6 Have Your Person With You, Always.
If there is someone in your life that you want with you when you say, "Yes!" make sure they are available for every consultation you book. You may miss out on a deal or promotion by coming back to order at a later date.
7 Start Shopping Early.
There is no overnight or express shipping in bridal. Depending on where you shop, a wedding gown can take up to 6 months to order in and it will need alterations. Generally, you want to leave three months for alterations, as bridal is a very custom fit. You want your gown to fit you perfectly. Starting your search a little over a year in advance will allow you the time to look without fear of shipping and alteration restrictions.
8 Know Your Wedding.
Prior to gown shopping, know the what, when and where of your wedding. If you have a theme, you should know what it is prior to shopping. Whether it's rustic or classic and elegant or an actual theme like Harry Potter. You should know when and where you are getting married and actually have your venue booked. This is a crucial step because it will set the shipping time line. Without a set venue or date, if you end up getting married sooner then anticipated your wedding gown may not arrive in time.
9 Have A Budget.
Prior to shopping you should have a set budget in mind for your wedding gown with a little leniency. No one likes to talk numbers but it is important to know what your budget is and whether or not that includes alterations. Be honest with your consultant about your budget. If you can't go any higher than your set budget let them know so that they can ensure you don't fall in love with a gown that is over budget. If you can go higher, let them know, they may have a gown in mind that's everything you've described, but it's a little over your set budget.
10 Choose 3 or 4 Descriptive Words.
Knowing the bridal styles and silhouettes is not a necessity. Telling your consultant a few descriptive words about how you want to look or feel on your wedding day will allow them to pull gowns that suit your style. If you want to feel elegant, sophisticated and sexy, your consultant might pull a classic crepe gown with some sleek side cut outs and a low back. If you want to look and feel like a princess, they might pull a detailed ball gown with sparkle.
11 Be Open.
Every bridal consultant will tell you that often the style you think you want is not the style you will end up with. Sometimes a new style may catch you off guard and you may like it more then your initial choice. You may also find a style you hadn't considered that may suit your body type better then you imagined. If you are not open, you could find yourself stuck on a gown you thought you wanted and unable to accept the possibility of something greater that looks even better on you.
12 Shop On A Weekday.
Saturdays at a bridal salon may be your first choice for your bridal shopping experience, your first choice and every one else's. Saturday's are the busiest day of the week for bridal salons and typically there are more appointments going on at one time then there is during the week. When you shop during the week it can be more relaxed, often it's just yourself and your group and maybe one or two other brides and their groups trying on at the same time. There is less pressure when there isn't six other brides around you all finding their wedding gowns and saying yes when you haven't found yours yet. Plus depending on how quiet the salon is during your consultation you may be able to take a little extra time.
13 Pick Your Silhouette.
Once you've tried on a variety of different silhouettes it becomes easier to narrow down what you prefer. If you find that you aren't liking ball gowns because you miss how the gown hugs your hips, then stop trying on ball gowns and try on more of the fitted silhouette that you have been preferring. Tell your consultant what silhouette you like so they can bring you more options in that silhouette that suits your taste.
14 It Looks Better On.
Sometimes dresses don't look like much on the hanger, they need a body to carry them to really make them shine. If your consultant tells you that it looks better on, believe them and try it on. You never know, it may be the one.
15 Book for Trunk Shows.
Trunk Shows are a great opportunity to see a new line of wedding gowns from a designer before they officially arrive in stores. You have a real chance of falling in love with a gown before anyone else and you can usually order them brand new at a discounted rate. Plus you don't have to worry as much about wearing the same dress as a friend.
16 Know What You Love.
It can be easy to bend on a whim and choose something that someone else likes on you more. At the end of the day though, it's your wedding day and you should be able to wear what you feel the best in. If you love your curves in a fitted wedding gown and you love how it looks on you but everyone else is telling you to go with a ball gown, go with your gut. At the end of the day your opinion of the gown is the most important because you're the one wearing it.
17 Don't Try On ANYTHING That's Over Budget.
It is not recommended to try on anything over your budget. It's not worth the risk of trying the gown on and falling in love. If you like the look of the gown on the hanger but the price is out of the question, your best bet is to be up front with your consultant and ask if they have something similar to try on. There is nothing more heart breaking for a consultant to watch than knowing your bride has found her gown but it's over the budget.
18 Know When To Stop.
Try to limit yourself to the amount of gowns that you try on at each salon to under 10. Otherwise it can get confusing and overwhelming. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed it's best to take a step back and sleep on it. When you are ready, try them back on and determine if one of your favourites is actually the one.
19 Be Sure You Love It.
If you're not 100% sure then don't buy it. You shouldn't have any hesitation. Sometimes it's beneficial to spend some time in your favourite gown before committing to it being the dress, walk around and make sure you feel relatively comfortable. Let your consultant know what your hesitations are, sometimes it is something that can be fixed. If all else fails and you are not 100% sure, go for a coffee or sleep on it.
20 Not Everyone Cries.
If the tears don't come, don't worry about it. Not everyone cries in their wedding dress. It can be an overwhelming experience. Some people cry when they see themselves in the first wedding dress they try on just because it's shocking to see themselves in a wedding gown. Tears have different meanings for different people. Some people just feel amazing while others get really giddy. If you go with what you feel beautiful in, you can't go wrong.