That moment when you find the perfect wedding dress … It is one of the most exhilarating moments a bride feels prior to her wedding day, and truly one my favorite moments to witness as a wedding planner! However, the process of finding a wedding dress can become frustrating and stressful for some brides. That doesn’t need to be the case though. As with any investment, some preparation ahead of time will help easily guide you towards the right decision. Just remember these five guiding principles I share with my brides before you embark on your ‘Quest for the Dress’.
1.) Be Patient – For some, finding a wedding dress becomes THE single most important activity following the proposal. Don’t fall into the trap of shopping to early. Take some time to figure out the other major elements of your wedding first, such as the wedding date and the location for the ceremony & reception. Remember, your dress needs to be both beautiful and functional. Knowing things like the season and whether you will be married indoors or outdoors all make a difference and help determine the best suited material for your dress.
2.) Shop with a Budget – Setting an overall budget for your wedding is critical. Setting the budget for your wedding dress is just as important. Generally speaking, the baseline budget for your wedding dress should be around 10% of your overall wedding budget. Going higher than 10% makes sense if the wedding dress is more important to you than other elements of your wedding. However, I typically recommend capping the wedding dress budget at 15% of the overall budget. You want to make sure you have enough funds for the other major wedding components such as food, photography, and the reception space. Furthermore, only try on dresses that fit within your established budget. You don’t want to come home and explain why your meat dishes are being replaced with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the reception.
3.) Consider the Other Elements of your Wedding – Before attending your first dress appointment, you should have a general design concept and overall idea of how you want your wedding day to look and feel. Just as the venue, decorations, and overall experience should speak to you and your personality, so should your wedding dress. Granted, sometimes the dress drives the design, which is completely fine provided you establish that budget first J. The idea here is to keep your overall design and experience consistent, which will come naturally so long as you stay true to you throughout the whole process.
4.) Remain Open and Receptive – Prior to your first dress appointment, make sure to browse the bridal magazines and search the Internet for various dress styles that speak to you. Try to avoid staying focused on only one dress type though. What happens if you don’t like the fit of the mermaid dress you had your heart set on? You can avoid those feelings of disappointment and frustration by staying open to multiple style options and by listening to the suggestions of your friends, family, and the bridal consultants that you work with. The perfect dress is out there. Just make sure you are open to receiving it.
5.) Stay in Control – It is important to bring your trusted network of friends and family to your dress appointment. However, know when to draw the line on the invites. Does your aunt’s, best friend’s, sister’s, cousin really need to attend? Probably not. Try to limit your entourage to a maximum of 10 people and make sure to call ahead to ask how many people you may bring. It may help to have the boutique make the decision for you. Most important, make sure you stay in control of your appointment. No one knows you better than you. Be open to the opinions of your group, but make sure the purchase decision is yours. You should feel like the most beautiful woman in the world on your wedding day, so don’t detract from that feeling by purchasing a dress that pleases everyone else except you.
Remember…this is your day, your moment, and your dress. Best of luck on your search!