We will walk you through what to expect and how to prepare. 

It’s time to pick out your wedding dress! Maybe you’ve had a dream dress in mind for years. Or maybe you’ve never given it much thought and are now faced with the challenge of navigating what feels like an endless selection of silhouettes. Either way wedding dress shopping is likely a new experience for you. We’ve created this guide to help find the perfect dress. 

  1. Start by Finding Inspiration. Explore Pinterest, flip through bridal magazines and scroll bridal accounts on Instagram. When you see something that catches your eye, save it. Chances are a few likes and dislikes will start to emerge. Check out our Dress Pinterest board for a bit of inspiration!
  1. Set Your Budget. Set your dress budget before stepping into a salon. It’s especially important to discuss budget expectations if someone else is purchasing the dress for you before you start shopping. 
Photography: Hannah Baldwin Photography
  1. Research Boutiques. Spend some time researching your local boutiques before you book an appointment to make sure they fit your style and budget. 
  1. Keep an Open Mind. We can’t tell you how many times we have heard, “It wasn’t the dress I was expecting to buy!”.  We recommend trying on a few silhouettes – your dream dress may just surprise you! 
  1. Be Prepared For Bridal Sizing. Bridal sizing isn’t the same as streetwear sizing. You can expect your bridal size number to be about 2 sizes larger than your normal size. If you typically wear a size 8 you can expect your bridal gown to be a 12. Don’t sweat the number – the size is not important, it’s the fit that matters! 
Photography: Gretchen Gause
  1. They May Not Have Your Exact Size. Your bridal boutique typically won’t carry every sample gown in every size. You’ll likely have clips or extenders depending on whether the sample gown is smaller or larger than your size. It may not feel ideal but it is normal and your stylist will be able to help you determine the perfect size to order. 
  1. Shop Your Current Size. Even if you have a goal weight in mind, it is always best to purchase your dress in your current size. During your alterations they will be able to adjust for any changes that need to be made. It is much easier (and less expensive) to take in a dress than to work with a dress that’s too small. 
  1. Shop Early. It’s not unusual for a dress to take 6-9 months to arrive so don’t put off your dress shopping! 
Photography: Megan Graham
  1. Consider Your Wedding Vibe. You may want to consider your wedding theme and location when choosing a dress. Are you planning a whimsical garden-style wedding at an Arboretum or a glamorous black-tie affair at a hotel? Your dress should complement your overall wedding style. 
  1. Wear Heels. If you’ve already purchased your wedding shoes, wear them to your dress appointment! If not, wear heels or shoes that are a similar height to the ones you plan on purchasing. 
  1. Bring a Few Friends & Family Members. Assemble a few friends and/or family to come with you to your dress appointment. Invite people whose options you trust and who will help make the experience fun! 
Photography: Barbarah Perttula
  1. Stay True to Yourself. I’m talking to you people-pleasing brides! Take your mom/sister/friends option into consideration but don’t let them sway you away from a dress you love. 
  1. Set Expectations. Try not to be disappointed if you don’t find your dream dress at your first dress appointment. Use it as a learning experience to better inform your next dress appointment!
  1. Don’t Fear the Non- Traditional. If you are secretly dying to try on a two piece set, fun jumpsuit, or pantsuit, then do it! Don’t worry too much about other people’s expectations of what your dress “should” look like. Go with what excites you!
Photography: Ashley Boyan
  1. Consider Comfort. Can you dance in the dress? Is the dress too heavy? You’re gonna be sporting this dress for hours so it’s important you can move in it. If you’re uncomfortable, it will be noticeable when you walk and in your photos! 

Remember to have fun and keep an open mind during your dress shopping experience! There are gorgeous wedding dresses at every price point. You will find something you love!

For style inspiration check out our Dress Pinterest board!


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