How to shop for your wedding dress - Raleigh, NC

How to shop for your wedding dress - Raleigh, NC.

All it takes are some simple tips, a little bridal salon support and the right entourage to help you know how to shop for a wedding dress. And while the idea of finding the perfect gown might seem daunting, the pressure to find your dream dress will fade and you’ll find yourself in a bridal gown shop staring back at a gorgeous bridal vision.


1. Know your budget and find a shop within that range. This might seem obvious but once you find yourself pouring over racks of gorgeous gowns, falling in love with a gown higher than your budget is easier – and more heartbreaking – than you think. The best way to prepare is to research bridal gown shops that carry designers in your price range. This will help keep you on track and avoid the pitfalls of falling in love with a gown you mistakenly tried on without consulting the price tag.

2. Research—and have fun doing it. Once you’re engaged, there’s really nothing more fun than flipping through bridal magazines and scouring online blogs to look at dreamy designer bridal gowns. This is a great way to find out what you like and don’t like. Get a sense for designers that fit your personality and ones that don’t. Get to know the different silhouettes, fabrics and current bridal fashion trends. The more you know going in, the more prepared you’ll be when considering options.

3. Start early. The earlier in the wedding planning process you begin to shop for gowns, the easier it will be to find the one you love and to get it fitted. Most designers need a few months to make your gown so start at least six months before your big day.

4. Make an appointment. While it might be tempting to just pop in a bridal salon on a whim, make an appointment so you have the undivided attention of the staff and have the best experience possible.

5. Take along only your trusted confidants. You may have a gaggle of good friends and a large, loving extended family but consider only taking a small group of those whom you trust, respect and admire to give their opinions. Take those who have your best interest at heart to offer their perspective on this most-important gown.

6. Try on things you might not have considered before. This is the only time in your life you will do this. And oftentimes, we find the way gowns look on hangers have a completely different appearance on our bodies. If you’ve always wondered what a mermaid gown would look like but have always assumed a drop-waist is best, try on the mermaid! You have nothing to lose and you never know, you might uncover your best silhouette.

7. Take recommendations from the salon staff. They are the experts and can give you advice on what might be ideal for your body type, skin tone and for the environment of your wedding.

8. Be realistic. While you may adore that feathered princess ball gown with the 10-foot train, will it really work for your beach wedding in August? Consider the location of your wedding, if you’ll have help getting to and from your wedding activities and of course, the weather and season.

9. Bring along the accessories you will wear. What you wear underneath your gown, in your hair and on your feet can impact the kind of gown you choose or what it will ultimately look like when completely styled. If you know for certain you have to wear that pair of Badgley Mischkas, bring them to your appointment.

10. Remember: you’re perfect right now. Choose a gown that fits you the day you shop (with the exception of a few nips and tucks from alterations). Don’t put undue pressure and stress on yourself by ordering a gown two sizes smaller than your current size. You are a beautiful bride now and you will be a beautiful bride on your wedding day.

11. Listen to your heart. If your entourage is absolutely smitten over a dress you tried on but something just nags at you that it’s not right, listen to that inner voice. This is your gown and your day. If you are undecided and can’t make a decision, sleep on it! Take some time to mull it over and if you can’t stop thinking about it days and weeks later, you’ll know it’s the gown for you.

By knowing how to shop for a wedding gown before stepping foot in a salon, you’re helping yourself have the experience you’ve always wanted. Stay true to yourself, your budget and the wedding you’re planning. No matter what, never forget that you will always be a stunning bride if you go with the gown you love.

Photo: Sophie Kaye Photography