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The Divas’ Dos & Don’ts of Dress Shopping

By: Katy Hunt

If you’re anything like me and started watching “Say Yes to the Dress” before even your teen years, you know how big of a deal it is to find the dress. Almost every little girl dreams of finding that one perfect gown that makes her cry happy tears, takes the breath away from everyone in the room, and eventually takes center stage on her wedding day. The fact that this could potentially be one of the most important garments you’ll ever wear can make the act of shopping for a wedding dress both special and stressful in equal measure. It is a feeling like no other, and a completely unique experience to share with those close to you. However, it’s no secret that there can be tons of thoughts bouncing around your mind beforehand: styles, dates, hairstyles, shoes, budget, etc. It can be overwhelming!

Fret not, though, as the Divas are here to ensure your dress shopping experience is positive, healthy, and nothing short of special. Not only do we assist brides every day with all sorts of anxieties, including about dresses, but we also have a number of women on our Divas team who have gone through it all in their own weddings! Going off of our experiences, we’ve compiled a list of “Dos” and “Don’ts” to keep in mind when you decide it’s ready to take that plunge and go shopping.

DO have a general idea of what style dress you’d like beforehand. It definitely can’t hurt to do a little research to find out what shapes and designers you are drawn to. This will only help you in the long run, as the bridal consultant at your dress appointment can help pull styles based on what you like!

DON’T be closed-minded to dresses that are not what you originally envisioned as your look or vibe. Like the old saying goes: Never judge a book by its cover. You may be surprised with what you fall in love with!

DO have your wedding date set, or at least a general timeline. Bear in mind that a lot of dresses take time to ship and will need custom tailoring to fit your body. This means that your dress may take several months to be ready. Having an idea of your wedding date and letting the bridal consultants know ahead of time will ensure you are shown gowns that will be ready in time. For example, for a Spring wedding, you may consider going shopping in Summer. For a Fall wedding, in Winter, and so on!

DON’T wait until the last minute to shop. Hey, we are not ones to judge - it is certainly possible to get a wedding dress off the rack at the last minute. However, it definitely may be a gamble to wait too long. As a result, we recommend you start looking for a dress around 9-12 months before your big day.

DO invite your biggest cheerleaders to your dress appointments with you. This is a big one - you want to include those who are closest to you and will be honored to be there. It is a very special moment, and you should be surrounded by love and support.

DON’T invite everyone you’ve ever met to your appointment. One thing you have to keep in mind: the more people you bring with you, the more opinions you will get…the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s important that you feel supported, not conflicted on such an important day.

DO have a budget in mind. A wedding dress is often a big purchase, so it’s crucial to figure out how much you want to and/or can afford to spend. Ensure to let your bridal consultants know as well, as they will make sure they are pulling dresses that don’t break your bank.

DON’T put so much pressure on yourself to find the dress in one shopping session. Like I said, it’s a big purchase and a big decision, but overall it should be a fun experience! One of our Divas strongly recommends taking photos of yourself in dresses you think you like. That way, if you leave empty-handed you can take some time to reflect. If you find yourself continuously looking back at the pictures, you can go back and get the dress that speaks to you!

DO try to envision yourself as a bride. This includes playing with your hairstyle based on the neckline you’re trying on, practicing your walk to see how the dress moves, and accessorizing.

DON’T be afraid to ask your consultants for a veil or accessories. Especially if you keep coming back to a certain dress, but just can’t pull the trigger, sometimes it really helps to be able to see the full picture of you as a bride. Veils can make a world of a difference!

Once you’ve found that perfect dress, we also think it’s critical to remember the following when going for your dress fitting sessions.

DO bring all your shoe options to your first fitting. You will be able to see how they look with your dress. We all know a shoe will make or break your outfit, so it is best to see how your options look with the dress rather than just imagining it. It will also allow you to get your dress hemmed to the correct length.

DO take a video of your bustle. It may not be necessary if you have a trusted companion with you who has watched the bustle being done before, but it is definitely a helpful wedding-day tip!

Overall, choosing your wedding gown should be fun, and a chance to create a memorable experience with those close to you. If you keep the Divas’ Dos and Don’ts in mind, we think you’ll be able to do just that! Happy shopping!

Photo Credit: Cheryl Betances Photography


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