Shopping for a Wedding Dress

SHOP EARLY

Think ahead and shop well in advance. Most designers require four to six months to produce a gown so you should be shopping at least nine months in advance. Some brides purchase their gowns as much as 18 months before the big day. Shopping early will give you the most choices.

You’ll often get the widest range of choices at an independent bridal salon that can do special orders from designers with distinctive styles, rather than the mass market chain stores.

APPOINTMENTS

Find out if you should make an appointment with the store where you intend to look at wedding dresses. Many bridal salons prefer to have brides make appointments, and some require it. Find out ahead of time. If you make an appointment but need to cancel, let the store know in plenty of time. If you are not considerate enough to cancel an appointment properly, you are not enough of a grownup to be getting married.

TRY-ON FEES

Find out if the store charges a service fee for trying on dresses. Bridal industries sees a growing trend for bridal stores to charge a consulting fee which is credited to the price when you order your dress. This is a sensible approach when you consider the store’s costs for providing services. You just want to know what to expect.

NO COMMITTEES, PLEASE

Go shopping by yourself, or with one or two trusted friends at most. This is YOUR decision, and you need to be able to listen to your own instincts about what dress makes you feel great. It’s easier to hear what your heart says if you don’t have a crowd with you.

GET A BABYSITTER

If you or the friends who shop with you have children, arrange for a sitter. This needs to be stressed: a bridal store is NO place for kids. While the adults are looking at dresses, a curious or bored child can cause hundreds of dollars in damages, or even get hurt. If you want to shop for a flower girl dress