I love weddings! I love everything about them. The ring, the cake, the flowers, the photographs but most of all I love “The Dress”. It probably comes as no surprise that I recently became a bridal consultant. That’s right – I sell wedding gowns.
About 15 years ago, a friend of mine proudly showed me her Mother’s Day gift – a gorgeous framed portrait of her five daughters and one daughter-in-law in their wedding dresses. I was enchanted! What an amazing picture – what an amazing gift. I wanted one for myself one day. Fast forward to 2010. My youngest daughter was about to be married. It was the perfect opportunity to get MY “Four Brides” picture. So I rounded up Tara, Liz and Shayla and convinced them to put on their wedding dresses and join Kelsey at the end of her appointment for bridal pictures for the long-anticipated photograph.
I love it! Makes me happy. Each of their gowns is different and reflects their own distinct personalities. They were all such beautiful brides. It is truly one of my most prized possessions.
Since that time, I have been involved in the selection process of many, many more wedding gowns. I would like to share some tips that I feel will be helpful to most brides in their
wedding gown selection.
1. Don’t shop alone. Take your mother or parents, your sister, a close friend, an aunt or cousin. Make sure the person who is going to be purchasing your dress is there. Don’t shop without someone who absolutely must see/approve the dress before you buy. There is a very good chance you will find a dress you LOVE but you will be unable to purchase it because the right people were not there to see you and give their approval.
2. Don’t shop with a huge group. Three or four people are more than enough. Groups larger than
that tend to sabotage the bride. Too many opinions and suggestions are offered and the bride tends to become confused and frustrated.
3. Do your homework. Before shopping, become familiar with dress styles, shapes and fabrics.
Educate yourself about what is out there and what you like.
4. Shop early. Don’t wait until eight weeks before your wedding to look for a gown. You will
have to purchase off the rack – ordering is virtually impossible in that time-frame. In addition, alterations will become an issue. Make sure you allow yourself time to order your gown if needed and have the necessary alterations done.
5. Have an opinion and communicate. Your bridal consultant wants to be the one who helps you find your dress. Of course, she gets a sale and commission. But the biggest reward for a consultant is seeing her bride glow with happiness, and perhaps shed a few tears when she realizes she has found her perfect dress. Tell her what you like and dislike about each gown you put on. That way, she can pull other styles that have the features you want.
6. Have an open mind. Be willing to try on a style you hadn’t yet considered. Consultants dress
a LOT of brides. They are trained to know what shapes and styles work best with certain body types. Often, when you describe what you want, a certain dress will pop into your consultant’s head. She can literally see you in that dress. Be willing to try her suggestions, even if you don’t think it’s what you want. Many times, the bride ends up purchasing that dress. You’d be surprised.
7. Be patient and kind. Hopefully, you will be the only bride your consultant works with.
However, that is not always the case. If she is busy working with two brides at one time, be patient and understanding. If your mother offers a suggestion you dislike, be kind. Nothing
is worse than a snippy, self-absorbed bride who is inconsiderate of the feelings of those around her.
8. Know your price point. Everyone has a budget and that’s great. Let your consultant know what you are willing to spend. She will probably show you many gowns that are UNDER your budget.
Communication is key on this point. No one wants a bride to fall in love with a dress she can’t afford.
9. When you find a dress you LOVE – stop looking! You stopped looking when you fell in love with your fiancé didn’t you? You didn’t say to him “ I love you so much but I really want to date a few more guys”. Well when you fall in love with a dress you should stop shopping. There will always be another store, there will always be more dresses. Know when to say – “this is it, I am done”.
10. And finally, YES you CAN buy a dress at the first place you shop. Many brides do, even the self-proclaimed picky ones. Consider yourself lucky. You have saved hours of frustration and expense by being one of those brides who finds her dress at the very first store she goes to!