What to Do BEFORE You Go Wedding Dress Shopping: Wedding Dress 101

Wedding Dress Shopping is probably one of the most stressful moments of my life. I know, that sounds dramatic but when you think about everything that your wedding dress stands for, it can be a little anxiety inducing. Some girls dream of their wedding dress their entire lives so finding the perfect one when you actually start getting into your wedding planning process can be… a lot. Now, if you’re not the type to freak out over a piece of clothing you’re probably only going to wear once then this post might not be for you but I wanted to bring my fellow bride-to-be's out there a thorough wedding dress shopping 101 post to help you shop for your wedding dress with ease.

If you want to hear more about my actual wedding dress shopping experience and why I ended up buying two wedding dresses, you can read about it here! My wedding dress shopping horror story is not ideal so hopefully between sharing my story and some killer advice, you’ll find your dream dress in no time (without the mistakes!).

The first step in wedding dress shopping is to prepare and do research ahead of time. By research, I don’t mean watch as many episodes of Say Yes to the Dress as possible.

Start with Pinterest

The very first thing you should do when you start the hunt for the perfect wedding dress is to start looking at wedding dresses on Pinterest or Instagram. I choose to focus on Pinterest because it’s easy to save images you like. On your first pass, just focus on the images you’re drawn to. Don’t worry about things like price and designer or availability just yet. Once you’ve pinned a good amount of images you feel comfortable with, take a look back through what you’ve saved. There should be some patterns you’re able to pick up on at this point.

Narrow Down Images

Once you’ve gone over your images, save your favorite ones to your phone. If you have an iPhone, it’s super easy to create an album to hold all of your wedding dress options. The reason I recommend saving images to your phone is because the last thing you want to have happen is to go to a dress shop and their not be service! It can be a hassle to open up Pinterest and get to the right board, etc. so having your favorite dresses saved to your phone is going to come in handy when you’re actually at a shop.

Research Wedding Dress Designers

Once you’ve chosen 5-10 images you really love, research those images. You’re going to want to find out the designer of the dresses, the style numbers, what shape the dress is, etc. Knowing all of these various descriptive items of the dresses you like will have you armed and ready when you go to a bridal salon. Knowing the designers of the dresses you like is also crucial for finding salons. If a salon doesn’t carry one of the designers you love, you may not want to start looking there. Researching the designers will also let you know their price range in most cases as well as seeing pictures of real brides in those dresses.

Pick the Right Shops/Boutiques

By this point, you’ve spent precious wedding planning hours narrowing down the list of designers and dresses you love. You might think that you can just waltz into any bridal shop and find a dress and while you can probably find a dress at any shop you visit, it might not necessarily be THE dress. Bridal salons are very selective of the designers they carry and even then, can be more selective of the specific lines and price points they carry. For example, I was obsessed with Hayley Paige and wanted to visit a salon that carried her lines. Unfortunately, I chose a salon that only carried a small selection of her Blush by Hayley Paige line. This severely limited my choices of dresses so keep that in mind when you begin making a list of salons to visit.

Choose Who Will Come to the Appointment

Choosing who will come to your first wedding dress appointment is probably the most important part of this first Wedding Dress 101 post. As I mentioned in my what I did wrong post, I brought way too many people to my first appointment. Think long and hard about who you truly want to come to the salon, who you think really has your best interest at heart, and who is going to make you feel your absolute best. In my experience, I think 2-3 people max is the sweet spot for wedding dress shopping.

And there you guys go, the second post in our Wedding Dress 101 series and your first real steps to wedding dress shopping. Brides: I want to hear from you! What was one thing you did or didn’t do before you went wedding dress shopping that you regret? Next week I’ll be talking all about what to expect from your actual wedding dress appointment so make sure to come back next Wednesday for more!