Shopping for a wedding gown is unlike any other clothing shopping you’ll ever do. Most bridal salons don’t stock gowns in a variety of sizes – the inventory would be far too expensive – so they keep samples in only one or two sizes. Brides try a dress on, commit to it without ever seeing how it will fit, have their measurements taken, and wait for the designer to cut the gown to order. Another oddity is that the size of the dress will bear little relation to your regular size. For one thing, bridal gowns run one or two sizes smaller than other clothing. When your shopping around make sure to keep in mind some of these helpful tips that will help guide you to finding the perfect wedding gown.A salon will order the size based on your largest measurement, because it’s much easier to take in a dress than to let one out. Once you order, the gown typically takes four to six months to arrive at the salon, though a gown with heavy hand-beading done overseas could take up to ten months. Salons try to schedule it so the gown arrives eight weeks before the wedding, allowing time for multiple fittings. Bridal shops aren’t generally set up for browsing. Make sure to book appointments so that a sales associate can focus on one bride at a time.
You should ideally start shopping for your gown eight to eleven months before the wedding, but if possible it’s best to wait until you have decided on a date and location – these factors will affect your decision. Make sure to bring pictures of dresses you like. Bring pictures of dresses you don’t like. If you like the neckline of one gown and the draped back on another, point out exactly what you do and don’t like to the sales associate. Wear underwear you won’t be embarrassed to be seen in! Trying on wedding dresses is not a solo operation, so this isn’t the day to wear a peekaboo thong.Bring a camera. Not every salon will allow you to take photos, but if possible, get a photo of yourself in the dress you’re buying, not only for showing your mother but also for your florist, cake maker, and other vendors trying to assess the style of your wedding. Remember the dress sets the tone for the wedding. A photo will also help you when shopping for accessories, though a fabric swatch is important too.If you’re on a tight budget, check out the bridesmaids’ dresses at department stores and bridal salons. Many can be ordered in white. The styles tend to be simpler and less embellished, but that suits plenty of brides. The web allows you to shop at any hour, but obviously you won’t be able to try on the gown until you own it. You can buy online from retail stores like J.Crew, which gives you the ability to return and doesn’t involve a deposit. Craigslist, eBay, and message boards on sites like theknot.com are good sources for one-worn dresses at a great price. But do some research to make sure you’re getting a good deal.If you have your heard set on a particular designer, the sample sale can actually be worth the cost of travel to another city, since gowns from a previous season could be at least 50 percent off. Most sample sales are held in New York City, once or twice a year.
Source 1 When you’re making appointments, don’t be shy about asking the price range of gowns carried in the store. You want to make sure you’re shopping at places that fit your budget. Most bridal salons are extremely busy on weekends, especially in the peak shopping months of January through April. If you can take time off from work and shop on a weekday, you’ll get an appointment sooner and get more attention. I suggest visiting at least three stores when trying to find the perfect gown. That should be enough to expose you to a range of different designers and to carried opinions from different sales people. It’s not unusual for a bride to fall head over heels in love with the first dress she tries on, but most people will feel better if they’ve shopped around a bit before making such a major commitment.Stacey. Send article as PDF