We asked brides to share a dress tip they wish someone had told them before they went dress shopping. We’ve collected the top 11 dress tips for you here, and added a couple of bonuses at the end, because we liked them too. Read and learn before you shop. You’ll be happy you did.
Dress Tip 1 from Ashley W.: What Do You Want to Wear?
Thinking about what to wear for your wedding?
Past brides tell us they wished they had been more selective in choosing their wedding attire to reflect their personal style.
Your wedding attire no longer needs to be white or a dress!
Wear whatever dress, skirt, pants, pink tutu, sparkling leotard, or outfit that makes you feel fabulous and gorgeous.
How about your favorite cowboy boots, comfy Cinderella ballet slippers, or 5 inch stilettos showered in faceted crystal embellishments? Your day. Your choice.
Choose a color you love and that compliments your skin tone.
If you are not smiling, you’re wearing the wrong thing for the biggest day of your life.
Look and feel marvelous, darling. It is your day.
Dress Tip 2 from Rebecca C.: Destination Wedding
When planning a destination wedding, carry your wedding gown with you Must airlines will allow you to take it as a carry-on, but be sure to check before you book your flight.
If you must ship you dress, be sure to do so in advance. Insure it, and ship to your onsite coordinator or someone who can unpack and hang your dress to get rid of wrinkles.
Dress Tip 3 from Lauren B.: Buy the Best Size
Many brides plan to lose weight before their wedding day. (Sigh)
When shopping for your wedding dress, shop for your current size, not the size you are hoping to be. It is much easier and less expensive for a seamstress to work with a dress that is too large than one that is too small.
Most dresses can be altered down two sizes, but only up one size.
And, not be a downer, but wedding planning is stressful, and you may not be able to lose the weight you planned. (Sorry.)
Dress Tip 4 from Sabine J.: When to Shop
Wedding gowns take four to six months to arrive – sometimes longer for designer gowns.
Then you will need time to accessorize and for alterations.
Shop during the off-wedding and end of season sales for the best buys.
Wedding shops anticipate many holiday engagements and tend to stock up on dresses to accommodate brides who will soon be shopping.
If you shop for your dress before the new year, you will beat all the newly engaged rush that comes in January
You may even get a good deal on some of the older stock that salons have on hand and want to move to make space for their new inventory.
Dress Tip 5 from Jane H.: Your Wedding Undergarments
Wear the right undergarments when dress shopping. Nude bra (strapless if you are looking for a strapless dress) and panties.
Bring your shape-wear if you plan to wear it for the wedding.
You want the complete look, not guessing and hoping it will look better when you have the right undergarments.
And don’t forget to bring shoes like the style and height you plan to wear on your wedding day. Your shoes can have an enormous impact on how your dress looks on you, not only for length, but the overall hang of the dress on your frame.
Dress Tip 6 from Hannah P.: Trust Your Consultant
Wedding dresses often look very different on the hanger than they will on you.
If your consultant recommends you try on a dress that you did not pick out, have faith in her/his experience and try the dress on. She can often detect the perfect dress for you based on your height, size and overall wedding vision.
It will only take a few minutes and it may be your perfect dress.
Dress Tip 7 from Joy W.: Embellishments are Expensive
Embroidery, beading and embellishments always add to the cost of the dress.
They are often applied painstakingly by hand. They will also increase your alterations budget.
If glitz and glam is your style, go for it. Just be sure to consider it in your dress budget.
Dress Tip 8 from Misty K.: Belt Your Dress
Adding a belt helps define your waist.
You can either choose a belted wedding dress or ask your bridal consultant to suggest some beaded or embellished belts that will accent your dress and your waist.
A personalized belt could also be the perfect way to add “Mom’s dress” into your wedding. Have embellishments from her dress made into a belt to compliment your dress. She’ll love it.
Dress Tip 9 from Priscilla H.: Storing Your Dress
After you purchase your dress, ask the bridal salon if they will store it until close to your wedding day.
It can be kept safely in the store, not crushed in your personal closet.(And out of view from those who want to sneak a peek.)
Ask the salon to freshly steam your dress before you pick it up and you’ll be ready for your special day.
After you pick up your dress, be sure to try it on with all your accessories – shoes,veil, and jewelry.
Make sure it all fits your vision and make any necessary adjustments.
Don’t forget to try going to the bathroom in your dress too. You will need to know how to handle the logistics before your wedding day.
Dress Tip 10 from Shannon H.: Alterations
Alterations are normal for wedding dresses.
The average dress will require three alterations before achieving the perfect fit. Don’t expect your dress to fit perfectly after your first alteration appointment.
Cost of alterations can be as much as 30% – 50% of your wedding dress purchase price. Be sure to ask the costs before you buy the dress, so you can calculate them into your budget.
One way to save on alteration costs, is to order your dress early and schedule them during the off-wedding seasons when demand is lower.
Dress Tip 11 from Lisa P.: Mom’s Dress
Is your mom infatuated with the idea of you wearing her wedding dress, while you want something that reflects you and your style?
Consider a compromise by having beaded accents or embellishments from your mom’s gown or veil added to your veil or dress.
Or use portion of the dress to wrap your bridal bouquet, make a belt, or lightweight wrap for a chilly wedding evening.
Bonus Tip 1: from Uma L.: Back of the Dress
Don’t forget to give your attention to the back of your wedding dress when shopping. Take pictures so you can clearly see how the back looks.
You will have your back to your guests for most of your ceremony and you want to be sure to awe guests as they watch you take your vows.
Bonus Tip 2 from Kathy M.: Sit Down
If you cannot sit in your dress, it is going to be a very long day- and not in a good way.
Test it before you purchase or alter. (No one looks gorgeous when they have been standing in heels for 8 hours.)
Thank you to all the brides who contributed to this post. For those who did not make it this time, we love your tips and just ran out of space. We will be sharing more tips in future posts.
If you have a tip you would like to share, we’d love to hear from you. It can be anything wedding related that will help other brides. After all, you are the expert.
Forward your ideas and comments either by posting them in the comments or sending me an email.
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. There is no additional cost to you, but I will earn a small commission if you purchase through those links.
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