I'm Finally Going Dress Shopping! What do I Need to Know?

posted 9 months ago in Dress
Post # 2
822 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

My advice is simple: Know your budget (including accessories and alterations) and don’t try on dresses that don’t fit within that budget.

As far as undergarments, wear what you are comfortable in and comfortable with your cousin and Future Mother-In-Law seeing as they may have to help you in and out.

and most importantly, HAVE FUN!

Post # 3
828 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2019

Have fun!!! For undergarments, I’d wear a strapless bra and nude/light colored underwear so you can’t see them under dresses. I agree make sure you’re comfortable in it, because either your entourage or the sales lady will help you change. I also recommend to not even bother looking at sizing! Bridal sizing is ridiculously small, and it was kinda a shock to me when I saw the sizes of dresses I was trying on.

Lastly, get a little dolled up! I made sure to do my makeup and make my hair look nice. It made me feel more confident and helped me picture myself more like a bride than if I had shown up with dirty hair and bags under my eyes.

Post # 4
2794 posts
Sugar bee

Keep your mind open on dress style. You never know what will look amazing on you as bridal dresses are constructed differently than normal gowns. If a dress doesn’t look good, it is the dress, not you. There is a right dress out there for everybody.

Wear undergarments that you don’t mind people seeing you in. If you think you will wear spanx on your wedding day, then bring some along. 

Bring heals that approximate the height you think you will wear the day of your wedding. Heals change your posture significantly – usually for the better.

Agree with PP on doing your hair but I would be careful with makeup as you don’t want to get any on the dress you will be buying.

Inspect the dress super carefully in good light before you buy it.

Post # 6
201 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2018

First off, congrats!  ๐Ÿ™‚

I found wedding dress shopping to be like nothing on the TV shows, haha..  Some tidbits:

1. Know your budget (This goes for all of wedding planning: decide what you want to splurge or save on)

2. I’d have a strapless bra and neutral underwear (close to your skin tone) and heels

3. This is more just my own thing, but you’ll figure out what’s most important to you after trying on a few dresses.

4. Be open-minded.  I started the dress shopping process saying, “Definitely no strapless, corset, princess-y looking anytyhing.”  Guess what I ended up getting?  Yuppers, haha..  At the end up the day, I chose comfort (not wearing any weird underwear and not feeling like I was wearing a backpack)


Good luck, can’t wait to see your pics!



Post # 7
822 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2019

Thanks for making this thread, lots of good advice! 

Post # 8
28 posts

Bring shoes that are the height you will wear. The store will have shoes, but if you’re wanting 2 inches but they only have sky high ones, or let you step on a high platform, you won’t be able to see how you will actually look like.

Bring any important jewellery..if you have a heirloom necklace or something you might want to see if it goes well with the dress.

You don’t have to go full on makeup or hairdo, but try to have your hair in the way you want to look on your wedding day. For example I wanted to braid my hair so I made sure to do that so that I’m able to pick a dress that goes well with my hairstyle. If you’re having long hair down your back, then it makes more sense to pick a dress with a more interesting front than back!

If the price is out of your budget, you can always try to negotiate a deal. Give yourself time to think about it, they will be all like “the dress will be gone the next minute!” but try to have a few days or even a few hours out of the salon because you really don’t want to regret the purchase.


Post # 9
707 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2019

Definitely shop in your price range there’s pretty dress out there you may have to look harder. We all have an idea of what we want but don’t get stuck on that be open to trying everything. Stuff you thought you would hate your going to love stuff you thought you would love your going to hate. If you have a larger chest you may like a bustier better then a strapless bra I found it made huge difference in how I looked in dresses. You may want to bring spanx or at least where full coverage underwear. Take pictures and don’t pick out anything that first day I found I liked a different dress better then one I picked out after looking at pictures luckily I was able to switch it out for the one I ended up liking. Let the consultant know what stuff you like and what you don’t it may help narrow what important. It’s good to go to at least two shops but don’t go to to many. I found one store I was liking anything the second store there were a lot of pretty dresses so if your not feeling a store don’t get upset. Always ask do they have in-house alterations can they send you to someone are they able to add sleeves bring up or low waist if you wanted more sparkle could they add a layer of sparkle or sequin tulle. If your wanting something else they may be better at guiding you to a certain dress. Ask what other colors the dress comes if you can add shorten a train fill in a back a good dress consultant should be able to show you different ways you could change a dress around. If you can see it in sunlight some time the lights in stores are weird try sitting down and walking make sure your comfortable. Wash your face when you get home those dresses can be dirty and make you breakout. If you do find something you like make sure you really look at it the first dress I thought I liked until I got home and realized I hated the beading on the chest but it wasn’t something I noticed when I had it on. Have fun make sure you eat.

Post # 10
2618 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

I actually wish I had gone braless for my first dress appointment. In all the photos you can see my ugly beige strapless bra, and 99% of the dresses had built in cups and boning anyways so aren’t really meant to be worn with a bra. 

Post # 11
90 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2019 - City, State

I went to a Brides for a Cause store too! It’s not traditional in the sense that they will help you in and out of dresses, they just hang them in the fitting room and it’s up to you to get the dress on. I wore white underwear and a bralette and took the bralette off because I knew I didn’t want to wear a bra with my dress. 

I didn’t end up finding my dress there but they have a great selection and all the staff are super nice! Good luck!

Post # 12
192 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

In my experience most dresses you can just step into yourself, and then your cousin or mother in law can help zip you up if you don’t have a sales assistant to help ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Everyone has given great advice! My biggest tips would be to not be pressured by what anyone else wants and take photos if you can! The first shop I went to my mum and the sales assistant encouraged me to try on mermaids simply because I’m slim, despite me really wanting a flowy a line. I did think they were flattering in person (still not what I wanted as my wedding dress though), but then I looked at the photos and hated them! I got my flowy a line in the end (when I went to a different store – without mum!) 

Good luck and have fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 13
2356 posts
Buzzing bee

I would bring a few bra options with you.  It’s amazing how a different bra can change the shape of your bust and sometimes it’s worth trying a dress with a different bra.

i often suggest bringing a very lightweight robe so you can slip into it if you want to pop back out to the racks.  Much easier than getting fully dresses.  A lot of dress shops provide robes but in my experience they are often satin, very short, and run very small.  I felt more comfortable and less naked knowing I had a robe in my bag that was less like lingerie.  

 Be open to different silhouettes and styles.  And sometimes a dress looks awful on the hanger but amazing on the body. (I never dreamed I would wind up with a sheath dress and didn’t even plan to try any!)

Ultimately, pick the dress for you.  Go for the one you love and that makes your heart sing.  It may not be the same one that your mom, future Mother-In-Law, or best friend love.  But in my experience, brides who pick the dress  that their family/friends preferred are more likely to have dress regret.  


Post # 14
627 posts
Busy bee

try on lots of dresses, also, it’s better if you stick to your own size when trying things on, then you’ll be able to see the fit of the dress on your bodyshape. Some of the ones I tried, were my size but didn’t have a flattering fit. This is what I did and found something perfect that didn’t need any alterations other than length. 

Post # 15
690 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012 - Iowa

My advice would be to not make anu spur-of-the moment decisions. If you can sleep on it, do! I ‘thought’ I had the perfect dress b/c it was everything I thought I wanted – lace, fitted, vintage feel – and as soon as I walked out of the store I had major regret and went through 3 days of trying to cancel it and ended up with store credit. My final dress was totally opposite, ball gown with pockets and no lace.

It may be different buying used, but if you can hold the dress before you buy it I’d go that route! And yes to all PP’s who said to keep an open mind, what you think you want and what you fall in love with may be totally different!

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