December 27, 2022
With 2023 right around the corner, many brides will be gearing up to go full-speed ahead with wedding planning. As a former bride myself, I know the nerves and stress that can circle around the planning process… especially finding your dress!
At Gemma Bridal, our main goal is making finding your dream gown the most relaxing, enjoyable part of your planning experience! We understandably know that there can be nerves going into a bridal appointment, so we have gathered our best tips to help you feel prepared and excited to go dress shopping!
Do your research before scheduling appointments.
The research you will want to do includes finding a boutique that reflects your personality as a bride and developing a general idea of the style of gowns you are most interested in.
It is a good idea to narrow down your list of boutiques to a few stores that you would like to visit. Do you see yourself reflected in their Instagram posts? Do their values closely resemble your own? A quick search through a boutique’s website should tell you what to expect when walking through their doors, and if it doesn’t, it may not be the right place!
Some brides have their exact dream dress in mind that they have been swooning over for years, while others have no idea what silhouette they are interested in. Both are completely fine! Either way, your stylist is there to help you narrow down gowns based on your personality, venue, and overall interests. If you don’t know where to start, a simple search on Pinterest of an adjective that describes your style combined with wedding dresses should give you a good starting point. A few examples; “Modern bridal gowns”, “Ethereal bridal gowns”, “Classic bridal gowns”, “Garden bridal gowns”. From there, you might be presented with a few silhouettes, and it is completely okay if you’re still not completely sure what you’re looking for before trying gowns on! Not sure if you want an a-line or fit-and-flare? You can certainly try on both in person to get a better idea of what you love. Know for a fact you want a-line? Make sure to let your stylist know that is what you want.
Don’t overdo yourself by shopping too much, too fast!
Have you ever done an OG night of Black Friday shopping? Trust me, you do not want this to be your bridal shopping experience! We have had brides that have lined up 4+ appointments in a day. By the end of it, you start to forget which ones you truly loved and may end up picking the wrong gown. Plus you are just exhausted!
After doing your research and narrowing it down to a few boutiques to visit, you can start scheduling! Our recommendation is to limit the number of stores you go to in one day to one or two. You can take your time in between and grab a meal to reflect on your previous appointment before going to the next, You may even have time to go back to the first boutique if you find that your dream dress was there!
The planning piece is especially important if you are coming from out of town. You do not want to waste one of your appointments going to a traditional bridal salon when you are looking for a very modern gown!
Think about who you want to bring to your appointment.
You know your friends and family best. Gemma Bridal allows for up to six guests plus the bride based on our seating arrangement. That does not mean that you have to bring six people with you! Are your friends and family your personal hype people? Or can they tend to lean more towards giving a little too much of their personal opinions? If they lean towards the ladder, it might be a good idea to go with an intimate group at first. After you are able to narrow it down to a few gowns, then if you are comfortable, invite them to a second appointment. Overall, this is your day and you should do what is most helpful to finding your dream dress!
In our experience, 1-3 guests is the sweet spot. You get just enough opinions to point out things that you might not have noticed, but you are not completely overwhelmed by personal preferences.
Start shopping 9-12 months out from your wedding date.
If you are able to, the recommendation is to shop 9-12 months out from your wedding date. At most bridal stores, gowns are made-to-order for each bride and take 4-6 months for production. You will also need 2-3 months for alterations. If your timeline is 6 months or less, there are options such as rush shipments or off-the-rack gowns!
Don’t Get Wrapped Up In Bridal Sizing!
Each designer has a different size guide. A size 12 in one gown can be an 8 in another. The number on the gown does not change how perfect you are!
It is also important to order in the size that you are now. If a dress comes in too small, it is hard, if not almost impossible to alter in some cases. If you order in your current size, and you happen to go down in sizing, bridal gowns cans be altered 1-2 sizes easily!
Know your budget ahead of time!
As a good rule of thumb, the more beading, lace, train length, etc. will start bringing the cost of the dress up. You will want to know about how much you are looking to spend before going shopping. It is also important to look at the FAQs of the boutiques you are planning on going to. Each boutique has a varying price range. At Gemma Bridal. our gowns range from $1,500- $4,000. Based on the details that you know or think that you will want, set a realistic budget and try to stick to it! If your budget is $2,000, do not break your heart by trying on and falling in love with a gown that is $6,000!
Bring undergarments/shoes to your appointment that you feel most comfortable in.
There are no set “rules” when it comes to undergarments to try on gowns. Being comfortable is priority number one. If that means pasties, bra, no bra. Completely up to you! Keep in mind what you think you will want to do on your wedding day and try to stay close to that to give you the best idea of what it will look like on your wedding day. Most gowns also have support built in with cups in the gowns.
This also pertains to shoes! Have a dream pair of shoes you know you want to wear on your big day, bring ’em! Have a fav pair of fuzzy socks? That works too! Most bridal salons have pedestals to stand on that give a great idea of heel height.
Keep record of gowns that you love!
Nothing is more exciting to me as a bridal stylist than to get my hands on a bride’s Pinterest board. It really allows your stylist to get into your head of the exact style, fabric types, silhouettes, etc. that you are looking for. It it a great and quick way to get on the same page!
On the same note, take pictures while visiting a boutique of the gowns you tried on so you can remember. At Gemma Bridal, photos are always highly encouraged! However, some bridal stores do not allow for photos, so always be aware of each store’s photography policy beforehand.
Don’t be afraid to say yes!
So many times, brides have found the dress that feels like the “one”, but feel overwhelmed by the pressure of saying yes. This is totally normal! It is a big decision, but it is YOUR decision. If you feel like it is the “one” and you can see yourself on the day of your wedding wearing it, then pop the bubbly! You will feel relieved and excited to cross one huge thing off of your wedding planning list!
Relax, You did it!
After saying “yes’ to your gown, take a deep breath! You did something big on your list and deserve some R&R. Don’t spiral and continue to look at gowns on the internet. Trust yourself that you found the ONE! Look at pictures fondly, but try not to over analyze them. It is highly likely that the dress you tried on is not your perfect size and will require alterations to achieve your perfect fit!
We would love to answer any other questions that you have about Gemma Bridal! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be honored in helping you find your dream dress!