When it comes to the many steps of wedding planning, shopping for your dream dress is often one of the most fun. Whether you bring your entire bridal squad or just your mom and maid of honor to the boutique with you, there’s just nothing like trying on beautiful gown after gown until you have that “Oh wow, this is the one” moment.
But for some, bridal shops are the definition of overwhelming. So many dress choices, so many veils, so many accessories, phew! For those of you out there who don’t feel super confident walking into your bridal appointment yet, here’s my best wedding dress shopping advice.
Explore and experiment.
When your bridal consultant directs you to wander around the shop and tag a handful of dresses you want to try on, go ahead and select a few that spark a sense of curiosity even if they don’t seem like your style while on the rack. Oftentimes, the first few dresses you try on are less about finding the gown and more about identifying different elements you love most in a wedding dress. Have some fun here and adventure a little bit! Eventually, you’ll narrow the options down to the gown that ties all of your favorite details together perfectly.
Keep an open mind.
When your mom or best friend insists you try on a dress or two, regardless of what they look like on the hanger, leave your comfort zone for a moment and go with it. You don’t have to spend your entire bridal appointment appeasing others, but it can be really fun for them (and you!) to see how a couple of gowns they picked look on you and what made them reach for them in the first place. You never know — these dresses might inspire part of the vision for the gown you ultimately choose. Worst case scenario, they make you laugh a bit and get you more comfortable with the whole process.
Look beyond your size.
Most dress shops have a limited number of gowns in each size out on display, so if you see one that sparks interest but it’s four sizes too big, bring it back to the fitting room and try it on anyway. Your bridal consultant is a literal magician with fabric clips to help you see how the dress would look on you if it were sized correctly. And then if it’s the one you absolutely love, they can easily order one in your size.
Trust your consultant.
A good bridal consultant will pay attention to every little detail of your shopping experience — how you react to certain dress elements, the comments your bridal squad offers as you navigate the pros and cons of various dresses together, how you’ve described your overall wedding vision, all of it. The gears in their mind are constantly turning, piecing the puzzle together to find the dress in their shop that checks all your boxes. They might even pull a dress from the back room you haven’t seen at all and insist you try it on after you’ve considered a handful of other dresses. Trust the professional. You might be surprised by how well they can match your vision.
I hope this advice helps you feel more confident during your time in the bridal shop and genuinely have fun with it! And remember: You are a stunning human as you are, and you will look stunning in whichever dress you choose for your wedding day.
Happy Wedding Planning!
Sarah Keenan, Wedding Photographer
Outer Banks, Williamsburg