0 Items
  • No Products in the Cart

What You Really Need to Know About Wedding Dress Shopping

Jun, 04, 2024

“Make this once-in-a-lifetime experience as special and exciting as possible.”

You’re getting married! Whether there’s a ring on your finger already or you’re waiting on it any day now, the first thing that comes to mind when planning the wedding of your dreams is what your dress is going to look like. With millions of options, from ballgowns to getaway dresses, how do you know where to start?

I​f this is your first wedding, odds are you’ve never been wedding dress shopping before in your life. The idea of going out and finding the perfect dress can be daunting. Brides have big expectations when it comes to finding the one for them. It doesn’t have to be a painful process, and going into it with as much knowledge as possible can help make this once-in-a-lifetime experience as special and exciting as possible.

A​s someone who worked as a bridal consultant at two different stores, here is some of the best advice I can give to new brides who don’t know what to expect when they go dress shopping for the first time.

W​hat to Wear to Your Appointment

Y​ou’re going to be looking at yourself in the mirror all day long. You’re also going to be considering how you’ll look on your wedding day with the dress, veil, accessories, and everything else that comes with it. 

You’ll feel better about yourself if you go into your bridal appointments with your hair and makeup done, and you’ll be able to focus better on what you actually like about each of the dresses you try on, rather than feeling insecure because you don’t like the way you happen to look that day. 

It’s helpful to do your hair and makeup similar to how you want it to look on the big day. Even if you’re not sure how you want to do it yet, it’s still nice to see what the dresses look like when you’re more done up. 

Unless of course, you feel confident in your natural beauty! A good friend of mine didn’t wear makeup on her wedding day because she never wore makeup any other day, and she is stunning without it. Whatever the case—the important thing is that you feel confident. Without the distraction of self-deprecation, dress shopping will be a better experience.

Most bridal stores recommend wearing a nice supportive bra, in a neutral color that will match your skin. Wear comfortable no-show underwear or spanks. Depending on the shop you visit, the consultants may be in the dressing room with you helping you in and out of dresses. If you don’t feel comfortable hanging out in your underwear in front of a stranger, it may be helpful to bring a slip or something similar to wear over the top. S​ome people like to bring shapewear with them as well. If that’s something you want, bring it! But of course, it isn’t necessary at all. Some stores, like the ones I worked at, may even provide you with a slip or shapewear to use when trying on their dresses.

I​’ve seen brides bring heels with them as well, whether it’s the exact ones they plan to wear at their wedding or shoes that are a similar height. It’s not necessary, and most people don’t even end up putting them on at all. It just makes it harder to change in and out of dresses. Sometimes it’s nice to have them if you end up finding a dress that you love, to see what it would look like with shoes on. But again, it’s not that important. You’ll really only need them for your alterations appointments after you’ve chosen a gown.

Who to Bring

M​ost bridal shops you visit will recommend only bringing around three to five people with you to your appointment because many stores have limited space. But the main reason is that the more people you bring, the more opinions you’re going to have to juggle. While it’s fun to have a big group of Aunt Susan and Great-Grandma and your three best friends from college and the neighbor from your childhood, the odds of that many people agreeing on something is slim. 

What’s more likely to happen is the attention won’t be focused on you, and what you want in a dress. Brides that come in with larger groups usually end up having a much harder time finding a dress, and are more worried about pleasing everyone else over themselves.

T​ry to stick with the three-to-five rule. Typically, people will bring their mom, sisters or siblings, or their best friend. It’s also common for people to invite a future mother-in-law or siblings-in-law. You don’t have to bring anyone you don’t want to. Just bringing one person with you is enough. 

Don’t be afraid to come alone either if that’s what you want! The most important thing when considering who to invite dress shopping with you is how these people make you feel, if they’re going to hype you up, and how much you value their opinion on dresses.

H​ow Many Dresses Should I Try On? How Many Stores Should I Visit?

People are often surprised to learn that a lot of brides will buy the first dress they try on, or at least one of the first. This makes sense though, because you’re likely to grab dresses that you already think are pretty, and you’ll want to start with the ones that catch your eye the most. 

There is no rule that says you have to try on a certain number of dresses before being able to pick one. There also isn’t a rule that says you can only try on a certain amount. Be aware though, that the more you try on, the more they will start to blend together. You can only see so many white dresses before they all start to look the same.

I​f you end up loving the first one you try on, that’s okay! In fact, it’s the ideal situation. Try on at least a couple after that, and if you’re still comparing each dress to the first one, put it back on and see how you feel about it again. Throw on a veil and earrings. Maybe you’ll love the first one, try on a few more, and then love the fourth one even more. The point is, you never know when you’re going to fall in love with a dress and have that special moment. It’s okay to buy from the first store you visit, and it’s also okay to buy from the third store you visit.

Shop for a Feeling

A white dress is a white dress, and they’re all gorgeous. At the end of the day, you’ll look good in whatever you end up picking. So shop for a feeling! Use your emotions and how you feel in each of the dresses you try on to help narrow it down between a few favorites. Which one are you most excited about? Which one did you have the biggest smile or laugh in? Even your body language in the dresses is a good tell of how it makes you feel. Whichever one you feel the most confident, beautiful, and authentically yourself in, is going to be the one you’ll end up choosing.

Many times the first few stores you visit you’ll be looking for what sort of styles you like on yourself. Often brides will have an idea of what they want, with inspiration pictures, but then they realize that once they see those styles on themselves, they don’t end up loving them. A dress will look different on you than it does on the hanger or a model. That’s why we try them on! You may end up getting the exact dress of your Pinterest dreams, or you could leave with something completely different from what you expected. Again, it all comes down to how you feel in the dress.

Trust Your Consultant

Sometimes people are wary of bridal consultants because they think we just want to make a sale. If your consultant is good at their job, it won’t matter to them where you get your dress from, only that you found it. Like other companies based on sales, bridal shops are going to put their best employee forward. Your consultant has been there for long enough to know their way around the store and what sort of dresses they have in stock. Don’t be afraid to ask them if they have a certain style or dress that you want to try. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinions on what you like and don’t like about the dresses that you’re trying on. It makes it easier for them to narrow down your options and pull dresses that you might like. Your consultant knows an alarming amount of information on wedding dresses, take advantage of that.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun

T​he most important thing to remember when you’re looking at yourself in the mirror all day long is that you will be stunning in any dress on your wedding day. No one is going to know how many dresses you tried on or what they looked like unless they were shopping with you. As long as you feel beautiful, and you feel like a bride, whatever you end up wearing will be the best dress you could have picked.

“Whatever you end up wearing will be the best dress you could have picked.”

Photography: Courtney Gracie Photography
Dress: Moments Made Bridal
Model: Casey Macula
Hair and Makeup: Maria Hannifin Makeup

Wedding Dress Vendors to Shop in Utah:
Frankie Jane Couture Bridal
Allyse’s Bridal
ALP Bridal
Boda Bridal
Bridal Center
Fantasy Bridal
Mary’s Bridal
Moments Made Bridal
Pritchett Bridal
Tommaso Cardullo
Veronica Micheals Bridal
Versailles Atelier Bridal

Related Posts