5 Things to Know Before Dress Shopping

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

Saying yes to the dress may seem like a daunting and never-ending task, but these 5 tips are guaranteed to create a successful wedding gown experience!

Tips for saying yes to your dress

1. Do your research

Come up with a general idea of what style you’re into and the overall look you’d like to portray. Doing adequate research on the different dress styles, designers, and materials is key to figuring out what you really want in the end. At the same time, it’s also very limiting to be stuck on one certain idea before even trying any dresses on. Some styles, silhouettes and fits look different once on various body shapes. As with any big purchase, you want to come into it with background knowledge, but make sure you start with an open mind before you knock anything. It’s often that a bride leaves with a dress they would have never pictured for themselves before!


2. Less is more!

When planning your wedding dress shopping excursions, it’s important to realize that whoever you invite can and will give their opinion at any point–wanted or not. Invite only those people whose opinions mean the most to you in your decision making, whether that may be your parents, a maid of honor, a sibling, etc. It’s difficult to put a hard number on it, but it always seems better to keep the count down to 1-3 guests for your initial wedding gown search. That way you don’t get overwhelmed with tons of dresses, tons of guests, and tons of opinions. If you’re one who has many friends, invite them all back when you’ve narrowed your search down to 2 or 3 gowns. This way, it’s easier to handle your own emotions after figuring out the majority of your decision and it allows your friends to be happy they’re apart of the decision too! That’s what we call a win-win!

Know your budget

3. Know your budget

Whether yourself, a parent, or your fiancé is paying for your dress, make sure you have a gauge on what you’re going to spend. Unlike other vendors that make up your wedding, bridal stores drastically vary in price. Some stores sell dresses right off the rack and some sell dresses that are handmade to your measurements in another country. Make sure you discuss this concept with someone close (or the someone that’s paying for it) and come up with a price range or a maximum budget you’re comfortable with spending on your dress. This step alone will help narrow down your search and keep you from wasting time at places that are too low or high for what you’re looking for.

Come prepared for dress selection

4. Nude, nude, nude!

This may seem like a minute detail compared to all the other tips, but time and time again, it makes a difference–wear nude colored undergarments! Some materials are either a little thin or just plain see-through! Of course, you can always add layers, but be prepared to try on some dresses that could reveal a little more than grandma would approve. Wearing nude colors is a lot less noticeable than your bright pink Victoria’s Secret panties. It’s the little things that we notice around here that are easy to overlook when planning to dress shop!

Feel like a bride

5. Feel like a bride

Always come with your hair and makeup semi-done. In order to find the right one, you have to FEEL that it’s the right one, and if your hair and makeup are out of sorts, you may have a hard time visualizing the end result. Instead, wear a similar amount of makeup and style your hair how you imagine it looking on the big day–in a low bun, beachy waves, etc. Certainly, you don’t have to go out and pay for a blowout or anything, but the closer you look like a bride, the more you’ll feel like a bride (in the right dress, of course)!

Be ready for your big day with the right dress

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Bio: Samantha Townsend is Social Media and Marketing Coordinator at Kinsley James Couture Bridal, wedding coordinators in the Bay area. Founded by Dawn and Amber, recent brides themselves, the salon offers a bride both couture and style with gowns by well known, unique designers, as well as personal service.


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