by Livy Traczyk As any bride can attest, there are enough wedding details to worry about without adding the stress of shopping for the perfect bridal gown. Trying on dresses for the first time is exhilarating, but it can also be stressful if you are not prepared. To get the most out of your consultation, you need to know what to expect—and have your own expectations—before you set foot in the store. Aisle File gathered eight insider tips from the people who know the industry best. Below is advice from some of our favorite local boutiques to help you get the most from your bridal appointment. Tip No. 1: Avoid Saturdays To quote The Wedding Shoppe: “Saturdays at the Shoppe are bonkers!” There’s no way around it. Saturdays are the worst possible day to go shopping for a wedding dress. If you remember nothing else but this, you will avoid a major headache. We understand that your life didn’t stop moving just because you got engaged (though you might wish it had) but it’s worth going the extra mile to rearrange your schedule during the week to make your first bridal appointment experience less chaotic. Tip No. 2: Do Your Homework. Trying on wedding dresses isn’t all that different from trying different food options: you have to know your taste. Come prepared with an idea of what you like just as you would when visiting catering companies.
“Probably the most helpful thing for brides to do is to bring in pictures.” Raffiné Bridal says. “The consultants job is to help the bride narrow in on the wedding dress styles she likes the most, and ultimately find her dream gown. The consultant will begin the appointment by asking the bride what styles they are most interested in, and asking questions about venue and the setting of the wedding to understand the overall look the bride is trying to find.” In other words, knowing what you like will help the consultant tie it all together with the style of your dress. It is, after all, the centerpiece of the whole affair.
Tip No. 3: Remember Your Statement Pieces In addition to bringing in cutouts of the latest fashion trends you’re in to, The Wedding Shoppe recommends bringing pictures of family heirlooms along if you plan to include or replicate them into your overall style. Tip No. 4: Make It An Occasion l'atelier couture suggests coming to your bridal appointment with all the elements complete. “I would love if more brides came to the appointment with their hair done, makeup done, possibly nails painted a light nude,” Amanda Kautt, president of L’atelier says. “This will truly help her envision herself on her wedding day as she looks in themirror.” Tip No. 5: Take a Vow of Honesty Before showing up for your bridal appointment, make a vow of honesty to be upfront about what you do and don’t like.
Having a personal consultant for 90 minutes is an extravagance most of us are not used to having, but that time you will become comfortable with your stylist and, hopefully, will learn to trust her and be honest with her. The Wedding Shoppe points this out specifically in their blog, “Her job is to help you find YOUR dress—not the one she thinks you should wear.”
Tip No. 6: Less Is More Yes, it’s cliché but there’s a reason we all know the saying. When it comes to opinions ladies, less is definitely more. Every boutique we spoke with stressed this point: it’s YOUR dress, not your mom’s, your sister’s, or your best friend’s. In fact, Raffine Bridal recommends limiting guests for the bridal appointment to as few as three people: “Ultimately we encourage brides to invite those that they know will not sway her decision.” Tip No. 7: Be Aware of Your Underwear Your mother never aired your delicates outside for the neighbors to see, you shouldn't either!
Your relationship with your consultant will become intimate quickly, as it should be considering you are trusting her to help you make a very difficult decision. On a practical level, this means she will be helping you in and out of the dresses, so make sure to wear acceptable undergarments. In some boutiques, such as l'atelier couture, you may share one large dressing suite with your peers. Tip No. 8: Know Your Budget Our final take-away from speaking with the experts is the importance of knowing your budget. Come to your appointment with the dollar amount in mind so your consultant can pull the best dresses within your price range.