Things You Wish You Knew Before Dress Shopping

posted 1 month ago in Dress
Post # 16
1243 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2019 - USA

futuremrsmcl :  Don’t limit yourself by designer, style, etc. Just be open and see what happens, you’ll be surprised what you end up loving! Also, don’t feel pressured into something by those around you- make you that YOU feel great and that’s what is important! 

Also, I am petite and the wedding dress I got was like 4 sizes too big- don’t let that deter you, most all wedding dresses (even if you order them in) have to be altered anyway. Most bridal shops have an in-house seamstress- if you are concerned, have them take a look at the dress while you’re there and tell you if the alterations would change the structure of the dress. Hopefully that will put you more at ease. Being clipped in actually helps you to see what it will look like altered. 

Post # 17
2064 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

futuremrsmcl :  spanks are sucking in knickers. I was plus size when I went dress shopping and I didn’t wear them. I didn’t want to wear them on my wedding day so I didn’t wear them for a fitting. I let the dress do all the work for me rather than uncomfortable knickers.

Post # 18
164 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

My best advice is really think on it before you decide. If you find a dress you love you may be able to find it online for a lot cheaper. My gown sells for $1800 in salons but I purchased the same gown, new with tag for $450 online on poshmark (I’d also recommend Accessories sold in salons are also very over priced I’ve seen one tier cathedral veils sell for $300 at salons and I got one off Amazon for $12 (I mean $300 for a piece of tulle is crazy). Just learn the size you’d need before you go to the internet and don’t let any sales person pressure you into something you aren’t ready for 

Post # 19
5 posts
  • Wedding: February 2014

The other posters made some great points. Getting into character with the right undergarments, accessories, shoes, as well as doing your makeup and hair in a similar style to your wedding plans really helps you envision how the dress will look.

If you don’t find your dress at the 3 boutiques you’ve already made appointments with, some things to keep in mind that could help you find boutiques with a better selection for you personally is researching things like how much inventory they carry in your size and price range. If they only carry a few dresses that match your size and budget, it’s possible you could find a hidden gem, but the chances are less likely than a boutique with more options.

I would also recommend asking any of your married friends for recommendations of places they loved or saving any images you find on Pinterest so you can show the staff. This way they can show you similar dresses they have in stock or introduce you to similar designers you may never have heard of but really love.

Also, be aware that the number on the price tag isn’t always the final price you pay. Consider additional costs like tailoring, cleaning, preserving, and even accessories when planning your wedding dress budget.

If you would like a few more tips (this response is already getting a little long) here are 2 blogs I wrote on this topic that go into more detail.


Good luck on finding your dream dress!

Post # 20
2468 posts
Buzzing bee

The dresses do run small, so don’t freak out if you don’t fit into the samples correctly or if they tell you you wear a size 4 sizes larger than normal.  They can do a lot of magic with dress clips to give you a good idea of how the dress will fit.

You might want to bring a lightweight robe with you. A lot of dress shops provide robes in the fitting rooms so you can have some modesty while waiting for them to bring you a dress or so you can pop out of the fitting rooms to look around the floor.  But in my experience, the robes can be skimpy.  I went to some shops where the provided robe wouldn’t even wrap all the way around my boobs!

Wear nude colored undergarments so you don’t get distracted by a pair of black or red knickers showing.  And while a lot of women wind up going braless under the dress, I also think it’s a good idea to bring a couple of nude colored bras with you in different styles.. strapless, convertible/halter, etc.   Maybe some spanx if you think you might wear them, too.

If you usually wear makeup, definitely make sure you’re wearing some, and have your hair looking nice.  It’s easier to picture how the dress will look if you feel good and confident about how you look.

I also suggest bringing a pair of shoes similar in height to what you expect you will wear.  My first dress shopping appointment, I forgot to bring a pair with me, and all the sample shoes they had available were 2 sizes smaller than I wear.  It was really uncomfortable, cramming my feet into those shoes!

Remember that very few of us have the emotional, crying, Say Yes to the Dress moment.  You’re probably not going to hear angels singing once you find your dress.  

If the store allows it, make sure you get photos.  I think it’s really important to be mindful of how a dress photographs, given how often you’ll have your picture taken wearing it!  Sometimes a dress looks lovely in person but photographs looking really strange, or you might realize you like the way the dress photographs better in ivory or champagne than white, or vice versa.  

Be open minded about style.  I never would have considered a form fitting sheath/column dress, but I’m glad they encouraged me to try one on; it looked so much better than I would have imagined!

Remember that alterations are going to be much more expensive on more intricate dresses.

And don’t forget about things like how easy it is to maneuver in a dress, sit down, visit the bathroom, etc.  

Post # 21
1225 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

Also, other Bees have recommended Spanx but I just wore a nude pair of Jockey slipshorts- they’re kind of the same idea but don’t have as much of a “squeeze you in” kind of thing. I ended up wearing the same pair under my dress at my wedding since I didn’t really want to be in tight uncomfortable shapewear the whole day.

Post # 22
1068 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

I 100% thought I would cry when I found “the one” but I didn’t. I am an easy crier, so I was surprised when I didn’t cry.

Post # 23
1806 posts
Buzzing bee

This isn’t something I wish I had known, just common sense that saved me money. The dress I bought fit fine in a size 8 off the rack. When she measured me she said “you’re a size 10”. I didn’t care about the number, but I asked why they would order a size 10 if the size 8 fit fine. She showed me her chart and my measurements to “prove” I was a size 10 in wedding dresses. Hmmm… so this one fits fine, but you want me to order a 10 that will require extra alterations to become a size 8?  Nope. I ordered the 8 and only needed to have it shortened. My dress was a ballgown, so only the top had to fit correctly – no worries about tight hips.

When I went in for the alterations, they wanted to take in the bodice “just a little”. It fit and looked fine – nothing else I wear is perfectly sculpted to my body, so I declined that too.

The other thing I did was lie about my wedding date – I moved it up a month earlier to ensure my dress would come in with plenty of time to spare. I’d heard nightmares about dresses that didn’t come in until 3 weeks before the wedding and didn’t want that stress.


Post # 24
2134 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

futuremrsmcl :  I was clipped into quite a few dresses. I am tall, but have a short waist, so I did have some issues figuring out where everything would be for a couple of dresses. It is easier if you try on something that you usually wear first, so you can see how that looks. If you usually wear things at your natural waist, try on a dress that falls there so you can see how everything looks when it is clipped. They also do a pretty good job with the clips so you can see where everything is supposed to go.

Post # 25
88 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2020 - Concord, Ontario

Wear underwear with full coverage and a proper bra

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