Tips on Buying Your Wedding Gown

Tips on Buying Your Wedding GownTips on Buying Your Wedding Gown

Shopping for your wedding gown should be easy and stress free. For most brides, it is anything but! My name is Ingrid and I work for Mestads Bridal and Formal Wear in Rochester, MN. Over the last 6 years, I have worked with hundreds of brides and have noticed a few things that can make shopping for your gown pleasant and fun. So without further a-do here we go.


Take a little time to pull pictures of gowns you like from magazines and web sites. Look at silhouettes, fabric, and embellishment. Even if you don’t love the entire gown and only aspects of the dress, pull the picture and make notes of what you like about it. The array of designers and gowns available to you is ‘voluminous’ and having a picture of what you are drawn to helps your bridal consultant narrow down the choices for you to try. Don’t pay too much attention to cost at this point…you are merely making a wish list.

Educate yourself about wedding gowns.

If you are drawn to a designer, learn what you can about them. Know the price point before you shop to avoid sticker shock once you start. One thing to keep in mind is that there are usually gowns in various price points that are similar in look and overall feel to each other. So even if you have a favorite designer that is out of your budget chances are that there is a beautiful gown out there that is an interpretation of the gown/ designers you love.

It’s never too early to shop for your wedding gown!

Most bridal gowns take anywhere from 4-9 months to arrive once you order them. Don’t fret!!! There will still be a lot of shopping to do. Think bridesmaids, tuxedos, cake, invitations, decorations, and the list goes on and on.

Make an appointment at the bridal shop you plan on visiting.

Most bridal shops are extremely busy ,especially on the weekends, and having an appointment means your wait to see your consultant is dramatically decreased. Be on time for your appointment so you can maximize every minute of your time at the bridal shop.

What should I wear for my wedding gown appointment?

Pack along a strapless bra. Many bridal salons carry long line strapless bras that work brilliantly under gowns. I highly recommend using one of these. Your strapless bra is just in case they are out of your size. I also recommend wearing your hair in a style similar to how you think you may wear your hair on your wedding day. I am not suggesting that you go out and get yourself a fancy up do, but if you know you are going to wear your hair up that day, try to do a bun, French roll, or curly pony tail. Being prepared in this way, gives you a great visual for your wedding day…you will also look smashing in any pictures you take that day!

Who should I bring to my wedding gown shopping appointment?

In my perfect world, a bride would come shopping by herself first. When you don’t have opinions of others to cloud your vision, you can actually pick your gown very easily. Because it is just you, it is all about you – you don’t have to worry about pleasing anyone else’s tastes. If you have to have mom there, bring her back and show her the top 3 choices…she still gets to help decide but you have sifted through all the ‘no’s’ and are showing her the cream of the crop. How fun! She can help put together the finishing touches like veil, headpiece, and jewelry. Bringing more than 2 people can get overwhelming for the bride…remember, this shopping trip is about you; if you bring too many friends they will be all over the place, may become impatient, and you could have a barrage of conflicting opinions. Remember, this is YOUR wedding gown and you cannot please everyone. If you love it, you will wear it with pride and glow on your wedding day. I guarantee your groom will notice that kind of energy!
Once you are ready to start trying gowns, I recommend pulling a few different silhouettes: ball gown, A-line, fit and flare gown, strapless and something with a strap. Once you try on a gown, you will be able to tell very fast if you like that silhouette. Once you determine the shape of the gown you like, you can start working on embellishments, fabric, lace, straps, or strapless. I cannot stress enough that pulling a vast assortment of gowns is a recipe for disappointment. You can become overwhelmed in a hurry and after about a dozen gowns they really can all start to look the same.

Be open to a different wedding gown style than you first imagined.

The vast majority of brides end up choosing a gown that they never thought they would like and usually it is the opposite of what they thought they wanted in the first place. Go easy on yourself! Just think, most of us never have a chance to try on a gown this formal until it is actually our wedding. This means we personally have no experience with knowing what certain gowns will look like on our bodies. Buying a wedding gown is just not the same as buying a sweater or jeans – something we do on a regular basis.

White vs. Ivory wedding gowns.

In a nutshell, Ivory and Diamond White look the best on most skin tones. Especially with Diamond White or white silk, most people would never guess that a gown is not “white”. The color is so subtle unless you hold it up to something bright white you would just never know.

Get the goodies to go with your wedding gown.

If you put together the perfect look with your consultant: gown, veil, headpiece, etc…go for it all! Lots of brides opt to have their consultant write down accessories that they love so they can do those another day. I strongly advise against this if you find a look you love. Many items can be discontinued or retired and that veil that went perfectly with your gown they day you bought it may not be available any longer when you decide you are ready to buy it. Then you have to start over again. Starting over = stress! If you just can’t commit to the whole kit-and-caboodle go for the bra and the crinoline (if applicable) when you purchase the gown. That way, when your gown comes in you will have the perfect foundation to work with.

A word on budget.

Most brides have an idea of what they would like to spend on their gown. It may be that “the perfect gown” is $100, $500 or $1000 above what you wanted to spend. If you are the kind of bride that places a high value on your gown, be open to other ways you can save elsewhere on your wedding day. I believe a couple should have 2-4 things that they are really passionate about on their wedding day. If the gown is one of them – make it work. You will look at your pictures forever and be happy with choosing the gown you did. No regrets.

I hope that these guidelines have helped. Another thing that I have heard from a lot of brides is that they never expected to find and buy a gown on their first day out. I say “VICTORY” to you! You have just saved yourself countless hours of driving, comparing, and fretting. The key is – once you buy your gown, you have to stop shopping for them. But just like I said before, the fun (aka shopping) has just started!

Happy Wedding and good luck!

Tips on Buying Your Wedding Gown

Tips on Buying Your Wedding Gown

Tips on Buying Your Wedding Gown

Tips on Buying Your Wedding Gown

Tips on Buying Your Wedding Gown

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