How To Prepare for the Dress Shopping Experience

As a new bride, you get thrown into the world of bridal the moment that ring is on your finger. Aside from all the excitement of getting engaged, you’re also expected to plan and coordinate an event that is so different than anything else in life. I mean, it’s your wedding!!! It’s a big deal - it should be a fun and memorable process not a stressful mess. 

So let’s build that excitement back up and talk wedding dresses!

After landing your honey, the next big step is finding your dress! We have designed an entire blog series dedicated to making the dress shopping experience as smooth as possible for our brides. Keep scrolling for tips on how to prepare for finding your dream dress! 

What is the Difference Between Ordering and Off the Rack?

In most bridal boutiques, you order your wedding dress - which typically takes anywhere from 4-9 months for you to receive the dress. The process is longer because the dresses are made to order. This means that when you go in for your dress appointment - you will be trying on sample sizes (usually a bridal size 10 or 12) then get measured to order your size. This does not mean it will fit perfectly. Wedding dresses are made to be altered - even though the dress will technically be in your size, you will still need work done to hug your body properly. 

When buying your wedding dress off the rack - the major difference is that you get to take it home that day! This style of bridal boutique is perfect for the bride who doesn’t have 4-9 months to wait on a dress or if you’d just prefer to have the dress in your possession. 

There are numerous types of off the rack bridal options - some ordering stores sell off the rack for select sample dresses. Or in a shop like Brilliant Bridal, we sell high-end designers and brand new off the rack gowns.

TIP: Do your research when scheduling dress appointments and read reviews. 

Brilliant Bridal Dallas

Brilliant Bridal Dallas

Know Your Timeframe

So now that you’re engaged and are ready to start dress shopping, plan out how many months you have until the wedding day and consider the time needed for alterations. Staying on top of this will allow you to actually enjoy the experience and save you from settling. Girl, you didn’t settle on your partner for life, so don’t settle on your dress! 

Whether your wedding is in a few months or a year or more out - time flies. It will be here sooner than you think! The best way you can avoid the headache is to plan. 

Ideally, brides begin their dress search 10 months out. This way you can enjoy the process rather than rush it. 

Why start so early? One word - alterations. Wedding dresses are a lot different than normal clothes and are designed to be tailored so it custom fits your body. This process does take time. In bridal, whether you order or buy off the rack - alterations will typically begin 2-3 months before the wedding day.  This is key! Many stressed brides find themselves forgetting about the alterations timeline and it could potentially keep you from getting the dress you want - so be prepared and you won’t run into this issue. 

If you and your fiancé are eager to tie the knot - don’t fret! Brilliant Bridal caters to brides with shorter time frames - you can walk out with your dress the day you buy it! **We also offer a list of alteration specialists in your area, many of whom are great with shorter time frames. We got you girl!**

Figuring Out Your Dress Budget

Purchasing your wedding dress is much more special and intimate than buying regular attire. This is a garment you will be wearing one of the most important days of your life! 

Price point is a big factor when it comes to finding your dream dress. So be prepared with an ideal budget. According to The Knot 2018 Real Weddings Study, the average cost of a wedding dress in the US was just over $1600. But, we have good news! At Brilliant Bridal, our average dress price is just $750! Whether you’re paying for it yourself or getting assistance on cost, make sure to talk it over with your fiancé or whoever is helping you pay. Really discuss it and determine how much you’re willing to set aside for this portion of the wedding funds. This too will help save you from stress and heartache! 

Remember that pesky alterations timeline? Well, alterations cost is another important expense to factor in. In bridal, the average cost of alterations is between $300-$500. However, the cost can range quite a bit depending on the seamstress and how much the dress needs to be altered. So when planning your dress budget, don’t forget to include this important step. The alterations cost won’t be upfront like it will be for the dress. That cost occurs in that 2-3 month period before the wedding.

TIP: Whether it’s your first shop or third - you never know when you are going to fall in love. Always be prepared with your dress budget on hand. 

Get Inspired! 

This is probably one of the most exciting parts of the dress experience! It doesn’t matter if you’ve had a vision of your dream wedding dress since childhood like Monica from Friends or have never thought about it until now - preparing with dress inspo will not only help you, but it will help your stylist in the dress appointment. 

Ohhh, the wonderful world of Pinterest! Thank goodness for this lovely online platform. Pinterest is a fabulous way to get dress inspiration - pin anything and everything that screams out to you! It’s okay if your inspo is all over the place -  this just shows what draws you in. The trying on process is when you’ll truly get an idea of what you want.

Gathering dress inspiration does not mean this is what you have to end up with. Do not get hung up on your inspiration photos. Your inspo should be used as a guide for your search not a definite “must-have”. 90% of the time, brides walk out with something completely different than what they originally thought. The purpose of gathering dress inspo is to see what vibe you’re leaning towards. Remember, they always look different once they are on your own body than they do in stock photos. Be open to options and that will help tame your inner bridezilla. 

With that being said - just have fun with it! You’re a BRIDE!!! Revel in every moment of the process and try to not get lost in the stress of it all. 

Brilliant Bridal dallas

Brilliant Bridal dallas

We hope this blog was a useful tool for preparing for your dress search and stay tuned for the next blog on “What To Expect”. Now that you’re prepared, we’ll share what to expect in your bridal appointments.