What To Know BEFORE

Wedding Dress Shopping

Gown Shopping Guide

Why Should You Prepare?

I personally am a bridal consultant and I have indeed seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. At least with preparedness. I see multiple brides a week, some come very prepared and ready to find their dream dress, while others, not so much. I genuinely have seen a difference in brides who have clearly thought the whole experience through and ones who clearly have not. I have come up with a list of what to know before gown shopping and EVERY bride needs to know these things before very possibly stepping into the dress of her dreams.

Hair and Makeup

It is really hard to say yes to the dress without a good idea of what you will look like on your wedding day. Most brides plan to have their makeup and hair done! For those brides, I always suggest to have at least a little make up on, hair brushed, or maybe some lip-gloss in your purse. This helps elevate the experience of saying yes, and creates a much more accurate image of what you picture yourself looking like on your special day.


Along the same lines of picturing yourself in your dress, hair and makeup done, and of course a big smile, think about what you will be wearing underneath! If you are a bride that knows you will want to wear shapewear of any kind, bring it along to all of your appointments. Also if you know you will want to wear some kind of bra on your day, bring that to! This will also help you picture how YOU want to look.

Who to Bring

Picking who you want to be with you while bridal shopping can be tricky. So let me break it down for you. The most important part of this decision is that your guests are positive and supportive. When you invite someone that is known to be negative, it can ruin the experience for your other guests and even worse, for yourself. There really is no need to invite that aunt who never has anything nice to say. It is also important to not bring too many guests. A lot of guests comes with a lot of opinions. Choosing your dream wedding dress is ultimately your decision and with too many opinions, it gets confusing and overwhelming, which is the last thing you want it to be. I recommend four guests as good number. 


Not every bride knows exactly what they want to wear on their wedding day, and that’s fine! You don’t really know until you try on different styles, colors, etc. But, it is good to have some idea of what you like. This not only helps you feel organized and prepared, but this really helps out your stylist in choosing dresses for you to try on. You don’t need to have a full Pinterest board, a couple pictures works wonders. Feel free to have pictures of your venue and colors too! This helps the stylist see the vibe you want for your wedding.

Full Belly and Water

It is really hard to make any decision when you’re hungry, let alone choosing your wedding dress. Some brides won’t eat before their appointments because they are worried about bloating, and I can’t stress enough to not do this! Eating before your appointments is so important for you physically and mentally while wedding dress shopping. Don’t forget to bring water along with you as well, water can help calm you down if you get overwhelmed, and of course to stay hydrated!

Positive and Open Mind

I don’t think there is a worse mix than a bad mood and wedding dress shopping. I would argue that one of the most fun experiences of planning your wedding is dress shopping, and without a positive mindset, it makes it difficult to be fun. So, have that extra yummy breakfast that morning, spend a little extra at Starbucks, put on a new outfit, or anything that makes you happy and positive. Not only do you want to come with a positive mind, but also an open mind. Remind yourself it is okay to try on something you make not have picked yourself. Also, that it is okay to say yes to a dress you didn’t think you would like! There are so many styles of gowns out there, and it is perfectly fine to change your mind.

You Might Not Cry

Despite what TLC shows say, most brides don’t cry when they say yes to the dress. I know, I know, you probably have been picturing that moment but there is a chance it won’t happen. That doesn’t mean that because you didn’t cry that it isn’t your dress. It simply means that you may not be emotional in that moment. The last thing your consultant wants is you to second guess your choice because of the lack of tears. Trust me, if they don’t come at your appointment, they will come on your wedding day.

You’re Allowed to Schedule a 2nd Appointment 

A bridal shop has an environment of dresses, on dresses, on dresses, which can get overwhelming. If you love a dress but the jewelry, the belts, and the five different veils you tried on are making you a little bit more stressed than you’d like, it is okay to step away. I always love the idea of going to get some lunch or a nap after shopping, taking a look back at all the photos, and to relax and feel in your zone. This is perfectly okay, and whoever your consultant is, they will be understanding. No one will ever be offended by your decision to make a decision about your dress a little further from the floor-length mirror. 

Scheduling Your Appointments

When you start to schedule your appointments, I will forever recommend to not schedule more that two appointments in a day for a couple reasons. One reason being the physical aspect. It is really exhausting getting gowns on and off all day. Not only that, but you’re constantly standing, which is a lot in itself. Another reason is the mental/emotional aspect. I have had brides who come to me as their 4th appointment of the day, and they are always the most overwhelmed brides. Once you get to your 3rd or 4th appointment, dresses start to look the same, and your hope of finding a dress shoots to the floor. If you spread out your appointments, you will be happier both physically and mentally.

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