1. Take photos
We suggest that you take photos of the dresses as you go. This will allow you to go through them at a later stage in the comfort of your home (with bestie) to compare, especially if you have been to more than 1 boutique.
Just make sure that the boutique allows for photos, some don’t.
2. Stick to your budget
This is VERY VERY IMPORTANT…..never ever try on a dress that is above your budget (especially if you have a very tight budget and don’t have room to play around).
Chances are you will fall in love with it but will not be able to afford it and then will not be able to find a dress within your budget that you love as much - so whichever dress you then decide on will feel like you had to settle for second best, and no bride want a second-best dress on her special day.
3. What to wear when shopping
When going for fittings you need to consider what to wear carefully as you will be getting undressed and dressed several time during the day and you will want something that is easy to get in and out off.
You can wear a simple (pull-on/pull-off) dress or perhaps just a jean and t-shirt. If you are a bit more self-conscious you can wear some tights or leggings - they will not affect the way the dress looks and you will not have to stand around in your g-sting.
Lastly, it is best to wear flats - and even better if you can easily just slide them on and off. If you are planning to wear heels at the wedding just pack a pair in that you can use during the fitting, but don’t schlep from store to store in them - this will just tire you out.
4. When to shop
Weekends tend to be the most popular time to dress shop so boutiques tend to be booked out several weekends in advance.
If you don’t have a lot of time or you are simply just eager to get started look at making an appointment on a weekday morning.
5. Buy a dress that fits
It is always best to get a dress that fits at the time you buy it - do not get a dress that is a couple of sizes smaller because you are planning to lose weight before your big day.
Things don’t always go as planned and you might not lose as much as you want and then you are stuck with a dress that is too small. Keep in mind that it is a lot easier (and cheaper) to take a gown in than to try and make a too-small dress bigger.
6. Speak up and be clear on the details
This is your day and your dress, it is always good to get other people’s opinions and advice but ultimately it is your choice and if you aren’t comfortable with a dress, or you feel something isn’t right, don’t be afraid to speak up.
Just because the consultant or your mother or bridesmaids think it is perfect, does not mean you should.
When you do order your gown, make sure everyone is on the same page regarding what you want - and if required get it in writing. You don’t want to end up with the wrong size, colour or style dress.
7. Once you have bought your dress
STOP LOOKING....when you have your dress (especially of you get it several months in advance) you should make a point not to look at - and never try on - other dresses. This can confuse you and even make you second guess your original choice.
If you feel that you have found THE dress but you still have a long time before the wedding and are not quite if you should get it or not, we recommend you take some photos of yourself in it and then sleep on it. Make a note of the boutique and the dress name and also make sure they will be able to supply that specific dress in a couple of months. This way if you do come across a dress that you love more you are free to get it; and if not - you know exactly where to get the perfect dress.
8. Designer dress or not?
There is nothing wrong with getting the designer dress of your dreams, but unless you run in the right circles’ chances are that none of your guests will have a clue (or even care) that your dress is designer.
So, unless you specifically have you heart set on it, you can get the perfect dress for cheaper elsewhere.
9. Second hand
This option is perfect for those who are on a tight budget or a short time line - there are boutiques that have beautiful pre-owned gowns that you can buy or even rent.
You now have your gown....and it is perfect - you will want to keep it that way.
Some boutiques can give you the option to store your dress with them - no one better that the experts to keep it pristine - for you to collect the day before.
But if they do not have that option, make sure to get specific instructions from them on the best way to transport and store the dress so it will look its best on your wedding day.
11. Wearing the dress
When you collect the dress make sure you know exactly how to put it on....I know this sounds silly but it’s not always as simple as just putting a dress on.
On the day it will be the responsibility of your bridal party to get you dressed and it can become a complicated process - especially when nerves and emotions are involved. So, on your final fitting bring the whole lot of them with you so they can see how it is done, this will make the process much easier on the day.
Also, make sure you know how the dress works....again, this sounds silly I know.....but sometimes designers wil incorporate small things to help make the dress more practical - like adding a button on the back of the dress where you can secure your train should you need it out of the way for dancing and.
It is very important to keep in mind that your wedding dress budget is not only for the dress... you also need to include the shoes, veil, lingerie, jewellery and any other accessories you might need or want.
Additionally to this you need to take into account the cost for alterations, storage and/or consultation fees.