Shopping for a wedding dress is a momentous occasion, one that can be both exhilarating and exhausting. Many brides mull over the big decision for months, dutifully studying bridal magazines, visiting dress shops, and contemplating every possible style on the runway.
Since you’re likely to be investing a pretty hefty amount of time and cash into your once-in-a-lifetime wedding dress, here are 10 great tips for keeping your sanity while you’re on your mission to find the dress of your dreams.
1. Begin with the basics, and do some research. Decide which silhouettes flatter your figure best and which styles are most suited for the type of wedding you’re planning: formal, semi-formal, and so on.
2. Flip through bridal magazines and surf Internet wedding sites to get ideas. Save the ones you like best in a notebook, and see if a pattern starts to develop. Having a basic idea of what you like before hitting the dress shops will save lots of time and energy, and if you bring the notebook with you, the consultants at the dress shops will instantly have a much better idea of what you’re looking for.
3. Stick to the budget. Falling in love with an extravagant dress that costs more than your next car will only make it harder for any reasonably priced dress to measure up. Shop within your budget from the get-go, and you’ll save yourself a lot of heartache later on.
4. Compare prices. If you like a dress you’ve tried on, write down the brand and style number while you’re still in the dressing room. When you get home, you can check prices online. Some bridal shops are willing to match or beat competitors' prices for the exact same items.
5. Ask for a discount. If you’re buying your dress in a bridal shop, don’t be shy about asking for a price break, particularly if you can find a small flaw or blemish. You never know — and the worst they can do is say “no.”
6. Bring some sustenance on your shopping excursions. A bottle of water and a protein bar can go a long way toward fighting off crabby moods—whether yours or the people shopping with you.
7. Listen to the sales consultants, and be willing to try on a dress or two that they suggest, even if it isn’t “you.” You never know — and usually, these folks really do know what they’re doing.
8. Don’t feel pressured to buy too soon. Often, stores will offer a discount if you “buy today.” But more than likely, that same discount will still be good when you come back, and you don’t want to be stuck with a dress that you bought too hastily.
9. Take a break if you need it. If you’re paralyzed by indecision, go have lunch and come back. Or give it a few days, and if you’re still thinking about that certain dress, then maybe it’s meant to be.
10. Don’t make it a life-or-death issue. After all, you’re not marrying the wedding dress. If you find a gorgeous dress that fits you well and makes you feel beautiful, you’ve found a keeper. If it happens to make your heart beat a little faster too, then consider it a bonus.
Finding the right wedding dress takes perseverance, patience, and planning, not to mention a hefty chunk of cash. The experience of shopping for the dress is one you’ll remember forever, so try to enjoy every minute of it, and don’t forget the real reason for all this hard work—you’re getting married, you lucky girl!