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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went Wedding Dress Shopping

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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went Wedding Dress Shopping
Laura W

Wedding dress shopping is a unique experience and it’s important to be prepared. Learn some key things to know before you go shopping for your wedding dress!

Wedding Dress Shopping: Things to Know

5 Things to Know Before You Go Wedding Dress Shopping

Recently I was reflecting on my wedding dress experience. I felt extremely uncomfortable because I don’t like having the attention on me. I was a bit at a loss with all the details involved. I am sure there are brides out there who feel just like I did, so as a product of my reflection, I give you my best advice…

1. Keep your personal info on lock.

Chances are, they WILL contact you. I am a bit of hermit when it comes to my phone. I don’t like talking on it, and I certainly won’t answer it if I don’t know the number. So if you’re the same way I am, watch yourself when it comes to filling out the initial paperwork. Sure, they might need your phone number to call you about alterations, etc. But if you go with a big chain, they will call you weekly to ask about your wedding planning and your dress experience, etc. Just be aware.

2. There’s no such thing as ‘browsing’.

Girlfriends are out to make a sale. I had good customer service both times I went dress shopping, but the first time I was a year out from my wedding and the girl was packing in the slip I tried on and asking if it’d be cash or credit. I looked at my mother in horror because we hadn’t discussed actually buying it that day. Ultimately, I had to speak up and say, “I’m not ready.” I’m glad I did, but I got the impression that most brides don’t “just browse” when it comes to their wedding dress. But if you are, just say so. You’re the bride, and they should respect that.

3. Try on underthings and accessories BUT don’t purchase them.

That slip I tried on? It was about $60. You can go on eBay and purchase it for much cheaper. I bought my crinoline slip on eBay from a bride who had worn it once. I paid half price, and I plan on reselling it too. Don’t waste your time on stuff in the store (this includes veils, jewelry, and shoes) unless you are 100% completely in love with it. 

If you already have some shapewear and a strapless bra, bring them on your wedding dress shopping trip

4. You may not need alterations.

I’m a snot about alterations. I don’t go to a seamstress or a tailor ever, so I didn’t see the point in getting alterations on my wedding dress. I’m wearing this thing exactly once, so why do I even need alterations? Thankfully, my mom is a sewer by hobby, and we made sure before we bought it that it fit in all the right places. The most I would have needed is it to be hemmed. Ultimately, I’m ecstatic I didn’t need alterations because I hated dress shopping (sorry y’all!), and I didn’t want to go into the bridal boutique any more than I had to. If you don’t have someone who sews, you could probably get your parent or friend eye it for you. Anyone can see if it’s a good fit or not (IMHO), and you should be able to chime in about it being comfortable.

5. Buy the preservation kit.

My mom paid $99 when we bought my dress, and it’s basically just a box to stuff your dress in. Now I haven’t sent mine off yet, and yes, I was skeptical. However, it has pretty good reviews from other brides, and you’re going to want it cleaned somehow. A friend of mine plans on stuffing hers in a shadow box, but I’d rather cut my labor out of it completely and just sent it in. My dad wasn’t sure about this process and thought you had to pay for shipping, but that’s already covered for you when you buy it. So if you plan on keeping your dress, I recommend buying it.

Any pieces of advice you’d give brides going wedding dress shopping for the first time?

Laura W

is a school counselor living in Hendersonville, North Carolina. She got married in 2014. You can read her wedding planning posts here.