Wedding Dress Shopping: Do’s and Dont’s

First of all, CONGRATS to all of you soon to be brides! You better be excited! Shopping for my wedding dress was one of the funnest weekends of my life! You’re going to have such an amazing time. ♥ We all know that wedding dress shopping can be stressful so to ensure that you have a the best experience possible make sure to follow my list of Do’s and Don’ts of wedding dress shopping…

Do Your Research

You should have a pretty good idea of what type of gown you envision yourself wearing on your wedding day. Most of us have probably spent hours swooning over dresses in magazines and Pinterest.  If you are unsure of what you want take some time to research dresses online. Make a list of what you want and don’t want and narrow down your choices as much as possible.

Trust me, as fun as wedding dress shopping is, it’s also a lot of work!  You don’t want to be trying on a million different styles of wedding dresses. Talk about a massive headache!

I knew I wanted a very fitted dress that was beaded and sheer with a low back. I told my bridal consultant exactly what I wanted so we didn’t waste any time. Like I said, trying on a lot of dresses is exhausting and you want to be efficient and smart!

Pre-Shop Before Bringing Family/Friends

Sometimes you’ll get lucky and find ‘the one‘ on your first stop; but most likely you will end up going to a few different bridal shops. Do your bridal gang a favor, and don’t drag them around to hundreds of bridal shops to watch you try on dresses.

Pick out a handful of dress boutiques and check out their selection by yourself. If you see a few options that catch your eye, then schedule an official appointment to try on dresses with your bridal posse.

If you have no clue what kind of dress you are looking for, this is a great time to try on a few different styles and narrow down your selection BEFORE bringing friends and family.

Remember, wedding dress shopping should be fun for everyone! You don’t want your day ruined by a grumpy or hangry aunt or bestie. Hit up one or two bridal shops and then treat your gang to brunch and plenty of champagne!

Do Set a budget AND stick with it

Do not, I repeat DO NOT try dress on that are over your budget! You WILL fall in love with the more expensive style and anything else you try on after that will be a disappointment. Trust me, I know. I ended up trying on a Berta gown knowing damn well that that it was way over my budget. Can you guess what happened? I couldn’t get it out of my mind and every dress afterwards was ‘meh’.

There is a reason why some dresses are more expensive than others and trying on a dress that you can not afford is honestly just stupid! There are beautiful gowns for all budgets so be firm and do not allow yourself to try on a Couture Vera Wang unless you can afford it!

Also, don’t forget about sales taxes and the cost of alterations. So if you’re budget is VERY firm make sure to try on dresses BELOW your budget.

Do Get Ready For Your Appointment!

My bridal consultant told me to get ready like I was going out with the girls to a nice brunch. Don’t try on dresses after a hot yoga class. Do whatever you need to do to feel confident and beautiful! This is your day to feel like a princess!

Don’t Put Off Wedding Dress Shopping

A lot of brides don’t realize that many wedding dress designers require 4-6 months to make their dresses and then an additional month is needed for in-house alterations. If you wait to long to order your dress you may have to pay a 10% rush fee which can get pretty pricey depending on the cost of your dress.

I recommend starting as soon as you have your date/venue picked out. I’m also all about consistency and flow so it’s very important for me to make sure my dress matches the overall style and feel of my wedding. If this is something that you care about then make your dress the number one priority!

Say No To Major Alterations

My wedding dress consultant told me to follow this rule: If you try on a dress and start finding a bunch of things that need to be altered then it’s not the one. (This doesn’t relate to simple alterations like length or sleeve styles.) You shouldn’t be making major alterations to your dress. First, it’s expensive and second, the more you change the more likely something will go wrong.

For example, I loved a dress I tried on but in order to make it ‘perfect’ I had to have the neckline adjusted, the back lowered, and the fabric swapped out for something more sheer. Clearly, this dress was not the one for me. You should fall in love with the dress as is!

Don’t over do it

You’re going to try on a lot of dresses and a lot of them will be beautiful in their own way. Don’t over do it by going to 10 wedding dress shops because chances are you will fall in love with a lot of dresses which will only make your decision that much harder.

If you already have a dress that you love you should just stop searching immediately! But if you’re like me, and you can’t commit to anything, and you have to try on a few more dresses ‘just in case‘ then follow this rule: If you put on the dress and it’s not BETTER than the one you already love then immediately take it off.  By the time I got to my last dress appointment I was going through dresses in 30 seconds or less.  At one point the bridal consultant stopped me and said, “Babe, I think you already have your dress.” And she was right, I had found my dress about three bridal boutiques ago. I stopped searching right then and there.

Don’t Be Scared to Say NO

This is YOUR dress and YOUR wedding so don’t feel bad telling your bridal consultant no. You don’t want to waste your time and energy trying on dresses that you do not like. I ran into a few ‘pushy’ consultants that tried to convince me to like a dress that I just wasn’t feeling. If you run into a pushy bridal consultant I recommend going somewhere else or finding someone else to help you.

You need to put on a dress and LOVE it yourself. You don’t need convincing and a good bridal consultant should already know this.

Ask For Discounts

Most wedding dress designers offer discounts during trunk shows. I got 10% off on my Berta dress because they had a trunk show a few weeks before I came in. I also had a wedding dress boutiques offer to wave alteration fees and one designer even offered to alter my dress completely for free because she liked the idea I came up with!

Bottom line is it never hurts to ask! Everyone knows wedding dresses are expensive and bridal boutiques want your business !


I hope I was able to give you some tips and pointers when it comes to shopping for your perfect wedding dress! Remember to have fun and enjoy EVERY moment of planning your wedding!