Is your best friend (or someone close to you) getting married? Have you become the elected wedding planner? Is your bride clueless? Wedding planning can be overwhelming to a newly engaged bride. There’s an endless list of things to do and remember- from details about the venue to picking out flowers that are in season, and of course, choosing the perfect dress. We’ve put together a quick guide on bridal gown shopping tips to help you and your bride stay on top of all the planning.
Of course, the first step to all wedding planning should be picking the date. This will let you know how much time you have to order a gown, and will drastically affect the options available to your bride.
Know what to expect at a bridal appointment. Not everyone cries or has that big moment like on Say Yes to the Dress- and that’s okay! Most brides try on their top three dresses a couple of times before they know, although there are always those special few who find their gown on the first appointment. Remember that finding a dress is like finding your guy: once you find him, you don’t keep shopping around for something better.
Make sure your bride gives herself enough time to plan and enjoy the bridal gown shopping experience. Brides should start look looking about 10 months before the first wear date, and order no later than 8 months before the wear date. (Remember, your wear date may not be the same as the wedding date- bridal portraits are usually prior to the wedding.) Why so much time? Bridal gowns are not like normal off the rack clothes; they can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to make and ship to the store. You also want to make sure you have a cushion for shipping or vendor delays that may occur. Alterations also should be factored in. Most tailors want at least 8 weeks to tailor a wedding gown. While this can be rushed at times, there is only so much that can be done in a shorter time period, which might mean sacrificing a bit on fitting.
Does your bride not have this timeline? If the wedding is in just a few months, there are other options. The first option is to ask your store about rushes. Some designers can rush a gown. At our store, we can get some gowns in as little as 8 weeks. However, remember that alterations can only be rushed so much, and you still need some cushion time for shipping. The second option is to buy a sample off the floor and get alterations made so that the gown will fit your bride. Just remember that less time means less options since not all gowns can be rushed, and not all samples are for sale.
Keep your bride’s gown expectation realistic within her budget. Pinterest is a great place for inspiration, but that head to toe crystal gown your bride is lusting over may be a bit out of her budget. Make sure your bride knows that a realistic budget won’t get her a couture gown. Details, materials, quality, and brand are all factors that contribute to the cost of the gown.
Prepare your bride for bridal sizes. Bridal sizes are not like street sizes. A bridal sample size is about a 10 or 12- which is a street size 6 or 8. Your bride will be ordering a size much larger than she normal does, and that’s totally normal! Remind her that no one else will know the size she is ordering, and that it is only a number on a chart.
These are just some quick bridal gown shopping tips and tricks. Print it out, pin it, keep it in your planner, or email it to your bride! Do you still have a question? Leave us a comment and we’ll be sure to answer, or feel free to call our store.