As I'm beginning to write this blog post, it has already been almost a year (March 9th is the exact date) since I said "YES!" to my wedding dress that I fell in love with! I can't even believe it's been that long, and I miss it so much already! Shopping for that dress that you will stand next to your fiancé in as you say "I Do", dance with your girlfriends on the dance floor in, walk down the aisle with your Daddy in, and the one that your Momma will zip or button up before everything begins, is such an experience. But after reading that last sentence, did you just feel a ton of pressure? To find "the one" ! This part of wedding planning is supposed to be such a fun and exciting event and I want to help Brides as best as I can based on my own experience to have a stress free and enjoyable time. If you have stumbled upon this post and are sitting here reading this, I'm assuming you are an engaged woman! CONGRATULATIONS! Cheers to YOU girly for being a Bride to be!
1 | The very first tip I want to mention that I feel like is SO important is to do your research! There are tons and tons of different styles, colors, shapes, neck lines, train lengths, fabric materials, all kinds of things that have to do with wedding dresses! If you skip this step, this will definitely lead to a very overwhelming first start to the day! The consultant will most likely ask you a couple questions before you get started so she knows what to look for. My biggest suggestion, get a few bridal magazines and flip through every page. Find out what styles you love, what you don't love about certain dresses, and start to get an idea. You can also create a Pinterest board of pins you like! Keep a folder where you can keep tear-outs, fabric samples, and anything else you love! Maybe it's easier to start out with what you DON'T like and go from there. Do you like tulle? Strapless? Sequins? Lace? A low back? Trust me, don't step foot into a bridal boutique until you have somewhat of an idea of what you like! You will be in that store for hours if you don't!
2 | Make a day out of this! This should not be an "in and out" errand that you make time in your schedule for. Plan it out! Go out to lunch with who ever is coming with you that day so you are fully energized and ready for important decision making. (But maybe not too much, you don't want to feel bloated and too full, right! haha!) Map out a couple boutiques in your area that you want to visit! If you only settle on going to one place, this might put more pressure on you to have to say yes.
3 | Make appointments! It is common for some boutiques to require an appointment and won't let you in if you don't have one. Give yourself as least an hour for every place you go to. This will also help you get a game plan for the whole day! Write everything down, the place and the appointment time, and you'll be just fine! Also, if you can arrange with your schedule, make your shopping day during the week! It is WAY less crowded than on the weekends. This will help your overall experience in the boutique much more enjoyable if you are one of the only brides in the place!
4 | Pamper yourself! Schedule a hair and makeup appointment before your big day of shopping! This will give you that extra boost of confidence when your looking in the mirror with these gorgeous designer gowns on! I would suggest wearing a little more make up than you normally would because that is probably going to be the case for your actual wedding day. Also, if you know you are going to wear your hair down on your wedding day, wear it down today. If you like updos, throw that hair up girl! This will help with the vision of how you will look on your big day! This will also be a big help when choosing between necklines and styles!
5 | Have a price in mind and stick to it! If you have a certain budget, only try on dresses IN that budget. I will say this, in these beautiful bridal boutiques, they do not sort their dresses by price range. So this could make it very hard and tempting to fall in love with a dress that is completely out of range when you start to browse. Before you even try one dress on, make sure you talk with your consultant and say you want to stick with the price tag you have in mind. They will help with choosing what's in that price and the styles that you like. Keep in mind all of the extra costs that come later on after saying "YES!" to that dress. There might be a good chance you may need alterations. There might be a shipping cost, a rush fee, and then there are the accessories. Your dress is not the only piece to the puzzle that completes your "bridal look". You will also need a veil, your shoes, maybe a sash or belt, special undergarments, your jewelry, etc. Make sure you keep in mind these extra costs when figuring out your overall budget for your dress.
6 | Start looking early! When you are trying on these dresses in stores, these are just the floor samples. The dress you will wear on your wedding day is custom made and they have to order it for you! This process could take anywhere from 6 to 12 months! (yikes!) And then you have to remember that alterations could also take a few weeks once it finally does come in. The best thing you could do is right after that ring hits your finger, start looking!
7 | Don't bring a lot of people with you. This really should be tip #1. This is not the time to bring so many different personalities, and generations, and tastes to the table. You might want to have a couple special people there with you to experience this moment with you, but choose carefully. Chose the ones who know you inside and out. They know what you like to wear. They know your style and taste. The more people that are there, the more opinions you will get that you probably won't like, and that is more voices that will be in your head when you are trying dresses on. At the end of the day, it is YOU who will be wearing this dress down the aisle, not them. If you absolutely love a dress but maybe your mom or best friend doesn't like it on you, but again-- you LOVE it, go with your gut and your heart!
8 | Move around in it! You are going to be doing so much more than just walking down the aisle in this dress. There will be dancing, squatting, bending over, sitting, twirling, and all kinds of movements. When you try these dresses on, take a seat. Are you comfortable? Turn on one of your favorite songs and start dancing. Is it falling down and you are seeing that you are constantly having to hold on to it and pull it up? Don't be afraid to move around the boutique and take it for a test run.
9 | Don't feel like you HAVE to say "yes!" today! Don't feel that just because you gathered some of your friends together to have your "wedding dress shopping day" that it means you need to make a decision today. If you are an over thinker, take a step back and think about it! If that dress is all you can think about when you go home and you don't have the curiosity to step into another dress store ever again, that might be the one! I didn't say yes the very first day I went shopping. Did I feel that pressure that I had to say yes just because everyone was already there? Yes. But I knew that I didn't find "the one" yet and I couldn't just settle on one. My dress was out there and I just didn't find it the first day. And that's okay!! We went to two stores the first day, and the 2nd shopping day we went to one store and my dress was there! At Magnolia Bridal. And it was perfect! Your moment will come, and you will know it when you see it.
10 | This tip really helped me a lot when I was trying on dress after dress that I figured out on my own. Every dress that I laid eyes on was beautiful. All the sparkles, the elegance, the details, how could you say no to ANY of them? The very first dress I ever tried on, I cried. I thought it was the one. Or maybe it was the fact that I was ACTUALLY trying on wedding dresses that finally hit me that I was getting married. I don't know, but after ever time I put a dress on and absolutely loved it on me, I asked myself a question.
"Do you feel like your wearing a pretty white dress, or do you feel like your wearing your wedding dress?"
After I would ask myself this, I immediately would come to the conclusion that this was not it. It might of been the most beautiful dress I ever tried on, but do I feel like a bride in this dress? Can I picture myself on my wedding day wearing this very dress. Is this the dress that I will pack up and preserve for years and years after my big day was over and show to my daughter?
Probably one of the most important tips I or anyone could ever give you about wedding dress shopping is, remember-- it's just a dress. It may be a big important part of the day but the MAIN reason you are shopping in the first place is that you are marrying your best friend. You are saying "I Do" to the person that would think you were beautiful if you walked down the aisle in a brown paper bag. Don't get stressed over this part of planning. Make this an enjoyable and memorable time. This is just the beginning, girly! Have FUN with it!
Thank you to Magnolia Bridal for welcoming me back into their boutique so I can grab some shots for this blog post. This is the very place that I said "yes" to my dress! Isn't it beautiful inside! If you are in the St. Charles, IL area you MUST go visit them! They are just the sweetest people! Here are some ways you can contact them!