Things You Wish You Knew Before Dress Shopping

posted 2 weeks ago in Dress
Post # 2
357 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

To go in with an open mind, a lot of times what you think you want isn’t what you get, so if you fall in love with something not on your list, don’t be surprised, set a budget and don’t try on things outside of that budget, DO NOT look at the size, I don’t know how the wedding dress industry came up with the sizes they put on the dresses but they are delusional, don’t try on too many dresses it’ll just confuse you. Have fun! Embrace the time and don’t stress too much!

Post # 3
3383 posts
Sugar bee

Go in with a completely open mind on style.

If the shop is staffed with skinny teens, flee. Go have some wine and head to your next appointment. Life is too short.

Bring spanx. 

Do you hair and makeup (if your normally wear makeup) so you feel great looking in the mirror.

Make an appointment with the shop owner if possible. They are often the most talented at picking dresses for your figure.

Go on a weekday if you can. Or early Saturday morning when the shop opens. Avoid Saturday afternoon like the plague.

Ignore sizes. They mean nothing.

Not everyone gets all verklempt when they find their dress. That’s okay 

Post # 4
3383 posts
Sugar bee

jaydeeplatinum :  the sizing is traditional sizing. Ready to wear sizing has been completely effed up over the last few decades.

Post # 5
2800 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

I wish I had gone braless! 95% of dresses had built-in cups and boning anyways, and my ugly strapless bra was really distracting in all of the photos that people took of me in the dresses. And also I went braless on my wedding day too, so my appointments weren’t an accurate portrayal of what the dresses actually would look like on me anyways. 

I second PP’s, don’t even look at the sizing. It doesn’t mean anything.

And finally, don’t expect free champagne. I have been to like 9 bridal shop appointments now in my life (all different stores) and have never seen anyone offered this. 

Post # 6
39 posts
  • Wedding: September 2020 - Beaver Creek, CO

The bees before me basically have it covered!  I’ll add that if you have an idea of how you want to wear your hair on your wedding day (up, down, half and half) wear it that way to your appointment to help you visualize the whole look. 

Post # 7
305 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2020

I was terrified of going dress shopping (plus size and all) so I made sure to choose a salon that could cater to me and had fantastic reviews.  I wore spanx and a strapless.  I also brought in pictures of dresses I liked – it helped to get the appointment started.  Luckily what I thought I wanted to wear looked great on me and was what I ultimately chose.  Also, ignore the sizing.  At the end of my appointment she told me my “bridal size” which is certainly bigger than my street size, but honestly, who cares.  As long as you love how you look it doesn’t matter. 

Also, just don’t be afraid to speak up about what you like/don’t like.  My little group loved this dress that had some sparkle on it and I wasn’t feeling it.  Let me tell you, as a people pleaser it was super hard for me to go against the grain, but I knew a dress without sparkle was the one for me.  Thankfully my group saw how I completely lit up in the dress I ultimately picked. 

Post # 8
2117 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

Wear underwear. Normal underwear. I wore just some beige ones that were laser cut and don’t leave lines.  The staff will be helping you in and out of the dress and you will feel better and so will they (a friend of mine used to work in a bridal salon). Also, like all PP said be completely open if the staff has an idea for you. Definitely try on the dresses you want to, but if they suggest something, give it a shot. If nothing else, it will cement what you don’t like! 

Post # 9
651 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2020

Eat before you go. Expect to be in your underwear in front of your consultant a lot – I didn’t realize this for some reason. If you have jewelry/shoes you know you will want to wear, bring them. I had done my hair and makeup beforehand but got caught in a crazy rainstorm so I looked like a drowned rat, haha.

Post # 10
111 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2020

– don’t eat immediately before the appointment since you’ll feel bloated

– don’t look at the dress sizes or pay attention to them, they’re irrelevant. all that matters is what looks good on you. once you choose a dress, they’ll take your measurements and order the size that will best suit your figure.

– wear spanx (and a strapless bra if possible) because it will give you a much better idea of how the dress will actually look on your wedding

– try to be open minded. so many women end up with a dress they didn’t expect to like

– be prepared to have your stylist see you in your bra & undies the entire time so just go with it

– not every dress shopping experience is magical. it can actually be quite a bit of a slog. keep your chin up! if you don’t find your dress right away, don’t get discouraged 🙂

Post # 11
2045 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

You will try some beautiful dresses on and it will be unflattering. It’s not you. Don’t lose hope, you will find something unbelievably flattering.

You might not cry. Your mum might not cry. But you can still look fantastic in a dress. Lack of tears doesn’t mean the dress isn’t great.

Try walking, sitting, moving your arms up and down in your dress. It needs to be comfortable. If it’s not comfortable in the shop, it’s not going to be comfortable after you’ve had it on for 13 hours.

Be prepared that it’s actually quite tiring. You’re literally just stood around having someone help you in a dress but I was exhausted after. It’s quite a full on day surprisingly.

Post # 12
614 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2019

Do your hair and makeup to whatever makes you feel your best wither thats a full face or a little bit of lipgloss only! Make sure you try on every style and fit, you’ll be suprised! Smile, be open, understand the dresses in the store are samples and a mess, don’t be pressured! 

Post # 13
819 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2020

I agree with the previous advice here, but I will expand on my experience with sizing/fit since that seems to be a big concern, and you are potentially interested in sheath/trumpet style. 

Not only do the numbers on the tags not matter, but size itself doesn’t really matter when it comes to trying on samples. Most shops won’t have multiple samples of every dress, so there’s a high probability that the samples you try won’t be the right size. 

So my advice is to not look at the tags at all and to not solely judge a dress by the size of the sample. You should expect to assess fit by proportion and style of each dress rather than by size. 

All of the samples I tried were too large for me, which made it harder to judge fit since I wanted a sheath/fit’n’flare style with allover lace and wanted to minimize the need for alterations. The consultants can clip a sample dress in all sorts of ways to make it look perfectly fitted, but alterations can’t always replicate the fit of clipped dress (especially for dresses with a lot of detail work), so I wanted a dress that best suited my shape rather than working against it. 

So what I looked at was the proportions of each dress in order to predict how the correct size would scale to my body. For example, a dress that seemed a near fit to my hips but was way too big in the chest probably wasn’t going to work for me. The dress I ended up picking looked great to me even in the wrong size because the proportions were right – it looked a little too big overall, but the shape still matched and flattered my body shape.


Post # 14
1216 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

I agree with everything everyone else has said but just want to add one thing- if a specific shop has some sort of “buy today and get 10% off your dress” or whatever deal, keep an eye out for the hard sell. I went to a place that had that and the salesperson was SO pushy about getting me to make a decision, even when it should have been clear I wasn’t super thrilled with any of the dresses she’d selected. Finally she got me in a dress that I’d admitted was a 9 out of 10 (but I’d tried a 10 out of 10 the day before that I couldn’t stop thinking about and eventually became my dress) and then she threw a veil on my head, jammed a bouquet in my hand and kept trying to get me to make a hasty decision based on emotions. I finally was like, oh, we have to run it past my dad first and she said “Facetime him!” Lol, at the time my dad had a flip phone. It just left a really bad taste in my mouth.

At the place where I eventually bought my dress, the salesperson was SUPER patient with me…I think I went back three different times to try on dresses? And that’s part of the reason they eventually got my business. It’s been almost three years and I STILL remember how pissed off I was at that one salon. Some of these places will try to force you into that “say yes to the dress” moment because it’s in their best interest, but if you’re like me and need some time to think over your options, make sure to be strong about it!

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