After you get engaged, set a date and book a venue, the next most important thing on your wedding to-do list is finding a dress. All eyes will be on you, so it’s important that you look great, but more importantly, feel comfortable and confident in your wedding gown.
Now if you’re not a crazed shopaholic, finding “the one” can seem daunting, but remember this is supposed to be fun.
So before you ever step foot in a bridal salon, trunk show or sample sale (more on that later), make sure you understand what you’re getting into–and what you should be looking for–with the helpful wedding gown shopping advice in the slideshow below.
Trunk Shows vs. Sample Sales. Many brides often mistake trunk shows for sample sales. Be forewarned: they are different. Trunk shows provide designers an opportunity to showcase their latest collection in an intimate setting and generally only boast minor discounts. Sample sales, on the other hand, often feature past season gowns discounted by as much as 75%.
Here Comes the Guide has tips on how to survive a trunk show.
Where to Browse Dresses.
Obviously wedding mags are a great place to start, but the Internet is even better. Sites like Brides and
The Knot have massive wedding dress archives that will help you figure out what style you like best.
Learn the Terms. When someone is trying to sell you a dress with “Alencon lace” or a “hi lo hem,” you want to know what they’re talking about. At David’s Bridal, you’ll find a great glossary of all the common wedding dress terms–pictures included! Study it before your first appointment.
[Photo: David’s Bridal]
Where to Shop. If you’re striking out at your local bridal salon–or even if you’re not–you should 100% check out the top online wedding dress retailers. It may seem terrifying to purchase your wedding dress online, but there are sales to entice you. Here are our top three:
1. Net-A-Porter carries the all the best high-end designer dresses.
2. Shopbop carries designer gowns as well, but also stocks for mid-range designers like Theia and Badgley Mischka.
3. J. Crew offers gorgeous, affordable options–and they often have coupon codes.
Narrow Down the Color and Style. Again, the Internet is your friend here. You should research which gown silhouette(s) will best flatter your body type. Bridal Guide has an awesome primer
Similarly, wedding dresses come in different shades of white, so it’s important to find the hue that complements your skin tone best. Check out Wedding Ideas for a great breakdown of the hues that best flatter every type of skin.
[Photo: Bridal Guide’s]
Understand How Much You’re Going To Spend. Before any wedding dress appointments begin, it’s essential that you decide how much you’re willing to spend on a wedding gown–and stick to it. Wedding dresses vary greatly in price, so you should research what fabrics and level of detail and embellishment your budget will get you. Once you have your limit, don’t look at dresses above that price point. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with a dress you can’t afford.[Photo: Amsale]