Creative signs add a fun twist to the dress-selection process | Rachel Miller

Do's and Don’ts of Dress Shopping

One of the most exciting elements of the wedding planning process is dress shopping for the big day. Whether you’ve done your research and know your style or are keeping an open mind, there are a few things you should know before stepping into your first bridal boutique.

Do make an appointment
Some boutiques allow for walk-ins, but most bridal shops are by appointment only. Making an appointment ensures you’ll have a consultant to help fit you and find the style you’re looking for.

Do bring people you trust
Having those closest to you there for honest input can help the decision process.

Don’t bring an entourage
Bringing too many people can lead to stress and frustration. The more people, the more opinions.

Do have a budget
Don’t let the price tags scare you – there is a dress for every budget. Letting your consultant know your budget from the beginning helps you find your dream dress quicker.

Don’t try on dresses you can’t afford
There’s no sense in falling in love with a wedding gown you can’t afford. Set your standards and be realistic about your budget.

Do wear comfortable undergarments
You’ll be trying on a lot of dresses, which means you’ll be in your underwear quite a while, so wear comfortable undergarments to eliminate underlines and help ease the fitting process.

Don’t wear a lot of makeup
Wedding dresses are expensive – and white. Wear minimal makeup so you don’t make the mistake of smudging makeup on a pricey wedding gown and having to pay for it later.

Do try on all styles
A-lines, ball gowns, strapless and fit-and-flares – keeping an open mind to various styles can lead to surprises.

Don’t knock it until you try it
You may enter your appointment set on a specific style. The only way you’ll know if you like something – or don’t – is if you try it on.

Do the accessories
Found a dress you really like but it’s missing something? Add a glittery gemstone belt to bring definition to your waist. Put on a floor-length veil and dangly earrings for the full bridal effect.

Don’t overload yourself
Try on as many gowns as you can, but don’t overdo it. Two appointments should be your max in one day. Try narrowing it down to one or two dresses at each stop.

Do take pictures
Pictures always look different than what you’re seeing in the mirror. Take tons of pictures of yourself in the gowns to make sure the dress looks the way you want – from every angle.

Don’t feel pressured to say yes to the dress
Don’t feel obligated to pick a dress the day-of. Remember: you want to be comfortable doing every activity on your wedding day. Take a lot of pictures, revisit them later and just focus on having fun in the moment.