You know you’re going to have fun, try on some wedding dresses, and hopefully buy one, but beyond that you have no idea what to expect. Well we want you to be prepared, so read ahead to find out exactly what will happen during your bridal appointments!
Plan ahead! Bridal salons aren’t like any other store where you can just walk in and try on clothes. They have limited space and stylists so you have to make an appointment. You should expect to make your appointments up to one or two months ahead of time, depending on where you are going.
Once you’ve made all of your appointments and are about to walk out the door, what should you bring?
Bring a pair of comfortable high heels. Most of the dresses were made for a very tall person so you should bring some even if you are not planning on wearing heels on your wedding day. It may be difficult to tell what the bottom of the dress looks like if it is 6 inches too long.
Bring a strapless bra. A lot of wedding gowns are strapless or involve illusion necklines, so a strapless bra will help you to better see what the dress will look like on your wedding day. Many of them have structured bodices, so it may not even be necessary to wear a bra, but bring one anyways for the ones that don’t.
Bring people whose opinions you trust and who you know won’t make you feel bad about yourself. This isn’t a chance to critique your body it is a chance to critique the dresses you are trying on. You want to bring people who will have your back, not try to break it.
What to expect when you get to the appointments:
Each bridal salon is different, so when you walk through the door you may be faced with a serene room filled with many wedding gowns and few people, or a bustling store with brides running this way and that! Each bridal salon will have someone greeting you when you walk in the door to take your name and introduce you to your stylist. Your stylist is the person who will work magic by picking out the dresses for you to try on, helping you into them, and always being on your side.
DON’T expect champagne at all of your appointments. Some places will offer it to you, and by all means indulge yourself, but most places will not, so don’t go into each appointment expecting free champagne.
Some stylists will take you around the store, showing you all of the different dresses and pulling the ones that you like for you to try on. Others will ask you to describe what you are looking for, and it’s up to the stylist to figure out the dresses that you try on. This is the time for you to speak up about your budget! While some stylists will ask you about your budget upfront, others may let you try on everything in the store without even mentioning the price until it’s time to buy! It’s up to you to let your stylist know what your budget is, and to be vigilant about asking the price of each dress before you try it on.
Expect to use your imagination! Most bridal salons only have one of each dress. This means that the chances of that dress fitting you perfectly are very slim. Some of the dresses will be too big, in which case the stylist will use clips to tighten the dress to your dimensions. Some of the dresses will be too small, so the stylist will clip the dress to your strapless bra. This makes it hard to tell exactly what the dress will look like when it’s made to your specifications, so you will have to use your imagination.
You will probably need help putting on the dresses. This will include you being (mostly) naked in front of someone who is a complete stranger. They are used to this, and while it may feel weird having someone zip you up and put your shoes on for you, consider it practice for the big day!
Ask before you take pictures. Some places allow you to take as many pictures as you want in each dress, but many do not unless it is the dress you are buying. Respect their rules and just try to remember your favorites as best you can.
DON’T expect to know your dress is the one the second you put it on. Most brides go into wedding dress shopping with the idea that they may try on a couple of dresses that they like, but the second that they step into their dress will be a magical moment, with tears and agreement from everyone. This might happen for some, but don’t write off every dress that doesn’t signal a fanfare of trumpets. When you decide on your dress you should be excited, and you may even tear up, but it might take a couple of minutes, or even a night’s sleep, to realize!
Congratulations! You bought a dress! Now it’s time to wait:
Unless you bought the actual sample dress that you tried on, you’re going to have to wait at least several months before it arrives. Once it does don’t expect it to look exactly the same as the dress you tried on in the store. It will be brighter, fuller, and in better condition, because it’s brand new! You should also expect to get several fittings leading up to your wedding day, so that it fits you better than any dress you have ever worn before.