Congratulations on your engagement!

We are so excited for you and would love to help you with one of the first tasks a bride typically takes on: finding her dream gown. Shopping for a wedding dress is like no other purchase the typically bride to be has ever made before, so we’d like to provide just a few rules to keep in mind to make the trip as fun as possible:

1. Set a Realistic Budget – and Stick to It!

Bridal gowns come in a wide variety of prices depending on several factors such as the structure of the gown, the material that goes into it, details such as lace and beading, and so on. There are beautiful gowns in every price range, but with no idea of how much she wants to spend, a bridal appointment can be very difficult for a bride. Experts suggest budgeting about 15-20% of the cost of the total wedding, but this can vary (especially if, as is often the case, a relative is planning on chipping in). Regardless of who is paying, a bride should come in to her appointment with a fairly clear idea of how much she wants to spend. Additionally, when a budget is set, the bride should stick as closely to it as she can and should eliminate potential dresses that are out of her price range. There is nothing worse for a bridal appointment than a bride trying on a dress on a whim and falling in love with it, only to find that it costs far more than she anticipated. To spare yourself that heartache, set a budget and don’t stray from it.

2. Limit Your Guests

It’s totally understandable for a bride to want to bring a large group to this special occasion – after all, shopping for a wedding dress is a huge deal, and it’s natural to want to share the experience. However, a lot of people can mean a lot of opinions, and it becomes very easy for appointments to get out of hand and get away from what’s really important – the bride picking out her dress. To avoid this, a bride should select a small group (three is a good number) that will be positive, supportive, and completely there for her on this special day. If there are other people she’d like to bring who might not be the most supportive, the bride can always involve them in the selection of jewelry or accessories – but for the bridal gown appointment, less is absolutely more when it comes to guests.

3. Allow for Enough Time for Your Appointment

A typical bridal appointment runs anywhere between an hour and an hour and a half, which usually allows for between five and seven dresses. It’s important to not try to take on too much – bridal gown shopping can easily become very overwhelming when a bride tries on too many dresses at one time – but an appointment of the aforementioned length is typically just about perfect for allowing brides to narrow down their options and find the perfect dress.

4. Eat Beforehand! (and Stay Hydrated!)

It happens time and time again – brides book appointments for around the noon hour with plans to eat afterward, and spend the whole appointment feeling hungry or faint, and unable to focus on the dresses or enjoy the appointment. It’s a little thing, but eating before a bridal appointment can make all the difference in the experience. Additionally, it can be quite warm in a wedding dress, and to avoid feeling faint, it’s smart for a bride to make sure she has had plenty of water before her appointment.

5. Leave the Kids at Home

We completely understand that children may be a part of your wedding party, but that doesn’t mean that they should attend bridal appointments. To be completely honest, the vast majority of children simply cannot focus after a certain amount of time and there is very little to keep them entertained in a bridal salon. As a result, they often start to act out and pull the attention away from the bride at best, and can even damage store property or, worse, injure themselves in running around the store. Save yourself a potential headache and find a babysitter for children under the age of 12 for bridal appointments.

6. Be Honest with Your Consultant

Though consultants are very knowledgeable about bridal gowns, they aren’t going to start the appointment knowing exactly what a bride is looking for in HER gown; it’s the bride’s job to let her consultant know what she’s looking for. It can be tempting to try to avoid to hurt feelings and to try to look for positives in a dress that just isn’t “the one” – but resist the temptation! A consultant can often learn far more about what a bride is looking for by learning her dislikes than her likes, so if there’s something in a dress that just isn’t right, the bride should let her consultant know. That way, wrong dresses can quickly be eliminated and make more time for finding the perfect dress.