I absolutely concur with Jilliebean. Last week my mom was in town (she visits me once a year, lives on the other side of the country) and we went with my Maid/Matron of Honor to try on dresses. I had very definite ideas and took pictures.
The dresses I liked most looked nothing like what I envisioned. the dress I bought was selected by my consulatant and is simply stunning on me.
These would be my tips:
– keep an open mind and be flexible. An experienced consultant will know what looks good on your body shape, and will have a good idea based on your answers to the questions they ask on what will work for you
– don’t bring an entourage or people who will be critical of you. My mom and Maid/Matron of Honor gave me feedback, but neither would tell me which dress was their favourite because they didn’t want to influnece my decision (because…)
– screw what other people think–your wedding is YOUR day and you should buy a dress that YOU love and YOU feel good in. Regardless of what dress you wear, your guests will see a radiant bride and be happy to celebrate with you. No one is going to leave your wedding thinking “God, why didn’t she buy the other dress?”
– Most dresses can be adjusted in different ways (i.e. straps or sleeves added, decorative fourishes removed, etc) so don’t completely discount a dress because you don’t like some part of it that could be changed
– DO NOT TRY ON A DRESS THAT’S NOT IN YOUR BUDGET. I had the luxury of not having a budget for my wedding dress, but if I was the one paying for it, my dress would have been beyond it, and I would have likely been disappointed with whatever I bought because it wasn’t the one I preferred.
– You don’t have to decide that day. Take some pictures. Think it over. Don’t let anyone pressure you into buying RIGHT NOW. (The exception would be if you’re buying off the rack and that dress might be gone tomorrow).
– Be courteous to the consultant. Don’t go in there with an attitude. They deal with hundreds of brides who all think the world revolves around them. Set yourself apart by being humble, appreciative and respectful. (When I went back to the shop 4 days after I tried on my dresses to tell them I’d decided, I took my consultant a thank you gift. She gave me a big hug and thank you, and I have little doubt that going forward she’ll return my calls and I’ll get great service from her. Probably the best $20 i’ll spend in my wedding planning. Oh, and she knocked $100 off my final price)
– Once you find it, STOP LOOKING. You’re only setting yourself up to second guess yourself and disappointment. Why do that to yourself?
– Don’t go on a weekend. I won’t grocery shop on a Saturday because it’s so crowed with other people, so why would I shop for the most important dress I’ll ever wear on a Saturday? I went on a monday afternoon and we were the only people there and the service was excellent. Expect the bridal salon to be far busier on a Saturday, so don’t be surprised if you have to wait, or if the staff are busier. (My salon doesn’t take appointments. If your salon makes appointments, this may not apply).
– Just because you don’t break out bawling does not mean it’s not THE dress for you.
– Make sure your underwear is on right-side out. (Yes, I accidentally put my underwear on inside out the day I went dress shopping. LOL)
Take this all with a grain of salt. I’m no “expert”–this is my first go at this.
Good luck and I hope your dress shopping experience is wonderful. 🙂