I am a consultant, and I know that from individual to individual, and shop to shop the experience is VERY different! The main questions I try to hit with my brides are as follows (and even if you aren’t asked these questions, I think it’s probably important for your consultant to know this about you in order to pull you your best options)
-Budget (ideal and “hard”; ie, what you are comfortable spending, and what is the splurgiest gown I could pull if I see something PERFECT but $200 over budget… It is a-ok if these are the same number, and there is no wrong answer. But be honest with yourself; if you say $2000 but you know you’ll feel sick to your stomach spending more than $1000, then just let your consultant know you want to spend $1000; we want you to feel good about your purchase, and frankly, I’d rather sell a less expensive dress than lose the sale because you fell in love with something you can’t afford.)
-Style (for wedding and the dress; give us some context!)
-If you have a favorite dress (either a picture or one you’ve tried on)
My advice is to go with an open mind, and be completely honest with your consultant. Unless she’s a newbie, you won’t hurt her feelings; feed back on the dresses, both positive and negative, is very useful. Let yourself be surprised. And finally, don’t be too nitpicky. That sounds awful, but I guess I just mean be realistic. I find in the two years that I’ve been doing this that the internet makes people think that EVERY SINGLE THING THEY IMAGINE exists. Two years ago, women said their “requirements” would be straps, lace, and not too tight. Now I hear very specific and sometimes contradictory things like “sparkle only above the waist, very soft drapey lace, a low back, and no straps [even though the low back structurally requires it].” You’ve instantly made both of our jobs harder, because now I’ll be afraid to pull you a dress that meets half of your requirements and would look AMAZING on you, because I know you’ll shoot it down for having soft all-over sparkle instead of the “above the waist only” requirement. You may not be able to find a dress that has more than 3 or 4 very specific qualities, and you’ll disappoint yourself if that’s what you’re looking for. That being said, don’t settle for something that doesn’t excite you. You may not cry when you find the one, but it needs to feel very special.
Finally, remember that your consultant is on your side! Yes, it is our job to sell you a dress, but the vast majority of women I have worked with would much rather see a client leave happy and find her dress elsewhere than leave conflicted with a dress that may or may not be the one. If you feel like your consultant isn’t being respectful of your style, budget, or anything else, feel free to end the appointment and call back requesting to work with someone else next time. Not everyone’s personalities click, and you deserve to have a great experience.
Have fun! 🙂