Dress shopping tips for the bride-to-be from bridal designers

How often have we all uttered the phrase, “If I only knew then what I know now…”

This age old saying can encompass everything from relationships, health, investments to even raising children. But one thing has often been over looked, shopping for your wedding dress!

Yes, it’s an investment per-se but not the “Wall Street” kind. Oh, there may be some “bull” and “bear” moments, but many a bride-to-be would sure benefit from getting a few helpful and handy tips from our bridal designers here at CLD PR! Here are a few “insider tips” on timing, budgeting, style and fittings, these designers would love to share with you on how to make this journey a less stressful one for an already stressed out bride-to-be!

TIMING & BUDGET

How far in advance of my wedding should I begin my search?

ALLURE BRIDALS
We recommend searching casually about a year before the wedding, to see which silhouettes and styles you fall in love with.

BERTA
We suggest to start the search at least one year prior to the wedding. Our one of a kind BERTA dresses take 6 months to create and there must be time left for fittings, alterations, etc.

COCOMELODY
Start the hunt for the dress early. My advice is to start at least 6-8 months before your wedding day. I have encountered brides wait until the last minute to find their dress. This is a big mistake! Brides need to know that it’s best to start early, this will give them ample time for their fittings and alterations needed for the dress.

WINNIE COUTURE
Every shopping journey has a different timeline! Enjoy being engaged, wait a little while! Take time to discuss key details, talk logistics and have an ideal timeline in mind (maybe look at a few venues). Commit to your wedding plans then your dress is next!

By when should I have made my selection (in contrast to the actual wedding date)?

ALLURE BRIDALS
Brides should order the gown according to the designer’s timelines – so we suggest placing your gown order seven or eight months out, to ensure ample delivery and alterations time.

WINNIE COUTURE
At 9 months to a year out from your wedding date. If you have already committed to a date and venue further than 2 years out, wait until the 18-month mark to shop for gowns then plan on from that point!

How much time should a couple allow beforehand to put funds aside to make the purchase?

COCOMELODY
Before anything else, sit down and think about the budget allotted for your wedding dress. Begin by deciding who is paying for your wedding dress. Once you have this information,you will have a better understanding of how much you can spend. This will save you from trying on gowns that are way above your budget. Also, consider shopping online. If you’re working on a budget, don’t be afraid to look and shop online. Hidden bridal gems can befound online if you’re looking at the right places. You can check if these online stores have their brick and mortar place and if they do call them to ask questions, like their return policy.

WINNIE COUTURE
You should look at your options and talk with your family before discussing gown prices with your fiancé. The gown as an object is more important to the bride than the groom before he sees her wearing it. Don’t settle on your gown price but don’t put yourself in a bind up front.

STYLE

Finding the right style. (i.e. how to decide if I should go with modern/classic/vintage?)

BERTA
We like to suggest styles based on what the bride envisi ons on her special day. This is, of course, only a suggestion and our stylists are always extremely open with our brides. We think it’s important to have some type of style in mind when on the search, however we tend to see that many brides usually find the “one” and sometimes it is not what they even had in mind! Whatever feels good for the bride is the most important! Bridal trends will always come andgo but our BERTA dresses are truly one of a kind pieces.

COCOMELODY
When you’re choosing which silhouette to use for your wedding dress, take into consideration the venue and the theme of your wedding, and of course what best suits your body type. During your appointments, don’t hesitate to ask for the help from an expert and ask them to show you the different silhouette types: a-line, trumpet, mermaid, sheath, fit-and-flare, and ball gowns.

RANDI RAHM
Advice on silhouettes based on body type… try to trust the judgment and expertise of your designer especially if you are having something custom made. Usually your designer will have many years of experience in determining what silhouettes will flatter you most.

Suggestions regarding ‘length’. (i.e. if you are short, a long train may not be a good idea, if you have large hips or narrow shoulders, X style would be better for you)

WINNIE COUTURE
Your gown will be a reflection of you and what makes you feel beautiful. If you like the way you look in the gown take in the style and constructive details, don’t rush too quickly out of your first few gowns but take your time wearing every dress and if this dress makes you feel special it’s not one to over look! But chances are this gown makes you feel special because this is probably the best silhouette for your body and mind. Prime example; Some ladies can getaway with going braless when wearing a backless top. If you are not one of those girls in your day to day life, your wedding day might not be the best day to test that out. Wear a gown that highlights and enhances your natural shape. You want feel secure from the waist up on your wedding day.

Should I stay away from non-traditional ‘trends’? Will I regret it later if I do go with a “trend”?

ALLURE BRIDALS
We’ve all seen our parents’ and grandparents’ wedding albums. Some trends wear beautifully; others do not. If your wedding is bucking tradition – embrace it! Fashion is fluid, and it’s meant to be fun.
If this is your mindset: wear the crop top or that adventurous pantsuit. If you want to hold to more traditional wedding attire, there are ways to embrace classic looks while playing with lines and details. It’s entirely possible to blend trends and traditional bridal gowns!

COCOMELODY
Create your mood board. Explore on current trends, fabrics, and designs. Check out bridal magazines, websites and online forums. This will give you a background on where to start and will certainly help you choose your dream wedding dress in no time.

RANDI RAHM
Randi Rahm’s sensibility has always been to be as comfortable with the fashion quotient of your wedding dress as you are everyday in your life” You want to be able to recognize and relate to your true self in your wedding photos for many years to come.

WINNIE COUTURE
The crop top trend is the only current trend you will regret! You have your entire life to wear a crop top!

How do I choose a color if I want to go with something other than traditional white. Do brides regret going with alternative colors?

WINNIE COUTURE
Pick a color that you will never call ugly for the rest of your life. If you can’t choose a specific unique color combo you truly love on Pinterest, go neutral and natural. Let the venue do the showing off and work around it.

FITTINGS

Is it important to bring the underpinnings/accessories/heel height I will be wearing, with me when trying on dresses/being fitted?

ALLURE BRIDALS
Nude, properly-fitted undergarments make fittings infinitely easier. And, although unnecessary for the gown purchase itself, accurate heel height lends a truer look at the lines of the gown as they will appear on your wedding day. By the time you are in the alterations stage, however, you should absolutely bring your wedding shoes!

BERTA
Yes, the more the merrier! Heel height is crucial during the fittings so the stylist can make sure the length of the dress is just right.

WINNIE COUTURE
At 9 months to a year out from your wedding date. If you have already committed to a date and venue further than 2 years out, wait until the 18-month mark to shop for gowns then plan on from that point!

Things to take note of when going in for your fitting.

BERTA
It’s definitely important to have something in mind when coming into your fitting. After you’ve already chosen your style, the bride usually can envision the whole look. The more thought you put into your fitting, the better! We love to hear our brides’ requests and do it all just to make sure she leaves satisfied.
Will bringing my “entourage” along help or hinder my decision making process during my search? Does having “too many cooks in the kitchen” cause havoc for the bride, the designer?

ALLURE BRIDALS
Only you can know the dynamics brought into play between your family and friends,
so choose wisely. Will your (sometimes overly opinionated) college roommate bump your stress level up? Will your aunt calm you down when you feel indecisive? These are things to consider when choosing who accompanies you to your appointments.

BERTA
We think this is totally up to the bride, as some of our BERTA brides like to bring their mom or best friend and some love to bring as many as possible. It all fits with the bride’s personality usually and what she has in mind. Our stylists quickly becomes the bride’s friend as they are part of the whole process!

WINNIE COUTURE
Less is always more 🙂 Weddings bring families together! Close family members should be the first on your guest list. But still ask yourself this question when choosing your friend category entourage. Could I see myself taking a long road trip with this friend?. You need a Thelma and Louise style party. “Your ride or die” few friends that will be supportive and have fun with who ever else you decide to bring! Only bring those who make an effort to make your experience a positive and empowering one!

How do I address an issue during a fitting if I feel my dress is not fitting me properly?

RANDI RAHM
It’s your day and you deserve to feel your best. However, you must have a realistic expectation of fit as well as the movement your dress will inherently allow. For example, if you decide on an off the shoulder style, you must understand, it may limit the full mobility of your arms vs. a strapless or sleeveless style. Also keep in mind that your dress will only fit you most perfectly when you are standing with your most perfect posture. Try to find a style in which you can have fun and be comfortable, not one in which you be preoccupied on your special day.

WINNIE COUTURE
If something feels “funny” or “off” then ask the seamstress why the gowns feels a certain way on your body.

The proper way to make and/or cancel/reschedule an appointment. What they should take into consideration in regards to the designers time.

RANDI RAHM
Always consider that when cancelling an appointment it can interrupt the rhythm of the construction and completion of your dress as designers often have many things in the works for other clients as the same time.

WINNIE COUTURE
You need to feel ready to shop for your gown. Plan in advanced and clear your schedule. If you are eager to find your gown then you are most likely going to find it. The number one mistake is canceling because someone else can’t make it. If your family or closets friend is unable to make it but you are eager to start shopping, you can still go look and scale back the level of your appointment. The salon is ready for you to arrive, let them know that you wish to shop and look then schedule a time to comeback and try on the gowns. Designers and stylist appreciate your interest in them, they will understand needing to extend your appointment process.

Allure Bridal – www.allurebridals.com
Berta – www.berta.com
CocoMelody – www.cocomelody.com
Randi Rahm – www.randirahm.com
Winnie Couture – www.winniecouture.com

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