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Aisle Ready: Must-Know Tips When Wedding Dress Shopping
Reality television is created with one purpose in mind— to produce exciting programs by maximizing drama. While you may be familiar with Say Yes to the Dress, it’s not always an accurate depiction of the ideal bridal gown shopping experience. In fact, it can often be a perfect example of what not to do. More drama equals more stress, so most brides are seeking the exact opposite when it comes to dress shopping. We welcome you to take a look at a more accurate portrayal of shopping for your wedding gown.
It is completely within your control to make your dress shopping a positive experience that dreams are made of. In the reality show, brides flock to a popular bridal salon with close friends, family members and assorted others to select their wedding gown. However, as the bride slips into different dresses, her large entourage may have differing opinions rather than gushing over each gown. Usually the bride enters the salon with a budget in mind but may end up breaking the bank when the gown of her dreams is significantly more expensive than her budget allows.
While seeing the drama of dress shopping on television can be highly entertaining, it is not the best model to follow when shopping for your own gown. We’re setting the record straight on a few key misconceptions.
TOO MANY COOKS IN THE KITCHEN
When you are dealing with a smaller bridal boutique, bringing a large entourage to shop for wedding gowns just won’t work. It may sound like a great idea to have all of your family and friends there, but inevitably the situation will cause more confusion and stress, making the entire experience less enjoyable for you.
Once you start trying on gowns, you will find that everyone may suddenly have their own strong opinion. While it is nice to receive feedback from one or two loved ones, bringing along multiple people could create unnecessary anxiety. Set yourself up for success by taking along a select few trusted individuals that will provide the quality feedback you seek.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
Before you set out to gown shop, be certain to set a budget that reflects the exact amount you can afford and communicate it with your shopping companions. If setting a higher budget for your gown is a top priority, look for other areas of your wedding budget to trim, thereby allocating a little more for your gown. Just be cautious about eliminating any of the necessary elements of your wedding simply to increase your gown budget. Ultimately, you will not be happy if you have not allocated properly to pay for the cake or to provide enough tips for the wedding vendors who have worked so hard to make your day perfect.
If your dress is a priority, acknowledge it as one of your top budget items. This can work if you realize you may need to make other choices with vendors, like rethinking those delicious minicakes you wanted to provide as favors or the expensive orchids you were having flown in for the centerpieces. If you have a strict budget, you need to honor it. Trying to negotiate more money for a gown with your fiancé or parents can cause stress in other aspects of your wedding planning, as well as add tension to the relationships.
BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR MAXIMUM BUDGET
Nothing causes more frustration for both the bride and the bridal boutique as when you are uncertain about what you can truly afford. If you tell your bridal consultant that your budget is around $4,000, she will bring out breathtaking couture gowns within the $4,000 budget. But, if your maximum budget is really $3,000, you risk falling in love with a gown that is beyond your means. At some point, you will have to be honest with the consultant—and yourself—about your true budget. Then, the process can begin with gowns that fit your budget. Sadly, if you do try on the expensive gown “for fun,” you may find yourself frustrated and longing for that $4,000 couture gown you simply could not afford.
Don’t set yourself up for disappointment and frustrate your bridal consultant by wasting time on gowns you can’t consider purchasing. You will benefit greatly from building an open and honest relationship with your consultant. When it comes to shipping, measurements and all the details, you will want to make sure you are getting the best service possible. A good relationship goes a long way to that end. Taking up unnecessary time not only costs the boutique money, but it is also disrespectful to other brides waiting to shop for their gowns. Many salons work on an appointment-only basis, so those brides with appointments following yours might be delayed or rescheduled to another day if you aren’t communicating with your stylist.
The best approach is to always be honest from the very beginning, with both the consultant and yourself. The bridal boutique will work within your budget—no matter how high or low it may be. Above all else, they want you to leave a happy bride. Being straightforward ensures your gown-buying experience will be a positive one.
Wisconsin has so many wonderful bridal boutiques with knowledgeable consultants looking forward to helping you find the perfect gown at the perfect price. Simply come prepared with a list of your wants and needs. Above all else, cherish the experience.