Last week was a week filled with appointments with wedding vendors. I met up with my potential florist (whom I had a ball sharing ideas with) and did my rounds of gown shopping. I never used to appreciate bridal gowns all that much because they were irrelevant to me. Now I’m not one of those girls who dreamt of her wedding day since young so I’m fairly clueless about it all.
Imho, bridal shopping falls on a whole new level of experience. It’s one that’s filled with curiosity, anticipation, delight (not always), fantasy and of course decisions. Unlike shopping for a dress, shopping for a wedding gown could also be classified as stressful because of the enormous pressure of selecting the one. I was told by bridal consultants that a number of brides bought their dress within the hour of consultation. I certainly wasn’t one of them. I managed to narrow down my options to 4 dresses but there was just something about each one of them that I was unsure about. I must have tried on at least 25-30 dresses so it would be fair to say that I know the entire process quite well.
So what are some of the things that should be taken into consideration before you rush out to hunt for your gown?
It would be wise to do some research to ascertain what’s out there in the market. Wedding gowns come in all kinds of styles, colours and price points and even if you don’t know what you want (yet), it would be useful to get your visual system going. Make a mental note of what you like and learn how to describe them because bridal consultants will definitely ask you this question. If you have a strict budget to stick to, keep a look out for sales while you’re on the road or do a google search first before making any appointments because that will save you a lot of time, disappointment and frustration in the future.
Most bridal shops require an appointment to be made before visits and each session takes approximately an hour. Throughout the hour, the bridal consultant will help you with the dresses and answer your questions. Believe me, you will have plenty of questions for her. For shops that don’t take appointments, they would likely to utilise a waiting list. In some cases you might need to wait for an hour or 2 so take the opportunity to rest and fill your stomach or have some errands done but make sure the shop isn’t too far out of your radar.
This is a big one for me. If you don’t have a dress budget, you are very very blessed. If you do like me, ascertain how much over the budget you’re willing to stretch. More often than not you’re faced with a situation that requires you to fork out more than you intended to. Whatever your decision is, the rule of thumb is to avoid breaking the bank at all cost. It is not worthwhile to put yourself in financial distress for a dress. I know it’s once in a lifetime but you’ll be much happier if you don’t have to spend your wedding day thinking how you’re going to pay off the dress. Don’t forget to set some money aside for the veil or headpiece because they can be expensive.
Wear decent underwear when going shopping. By that I don’t mean purchasing an extravagant set but avoid wearing old, mismatched undies because that could be quite off-putting for bridal consultant. Nudes or whites are your best bet.
I cannot emphasise the importance of this, especially when the weather is warm and sticky. Things could get stuffy under layers of materials so it’s good to have it handy in case of emergency.
Try and group your appointments into locations as this will save you a lot of time. Also make sure you allow yourself enough time between appointments because parking may be an issue sometimes.
Having company or not is entirely up to your own discretion. If you like to get some trustworthy feedback, take 1/2 family members or good friends with you at the most as too many cooks spoil the broth. As for me, I spent half of it shopping alone and the other half with someone. To be perfectly honest, I actually enjoyed shopping alone so if you want to do so just go ahead and do it! I’m sure you could make as good of a decision yourself.
#8 Outfit and shoes
Wear comfortable clothes that could easily be removed and flats. Gown shopping could zap a lot of energy out of a person so the last thing you want is to fiddle around with your own outfit.
Hope you find the tips above useful. Of course there are many other channels which could be used to obtain your gown such as online or have it custom made by a family member/friend/designer. You could even make the gown yourself if you’re good with your hands.
As for my own gown, I’ve made the decision to have it custom made and I’m quite excited about it. I will tell you more about it in future posts.
Have a great Monday!
All images obtained from Carol Hannah