I’m in the midst of planning our wedding and lets start with some basics. First you need to set a date and pick a venue. Once you do that, it’s safe to start wedding dress shopping a year in advance. I know it sounds crazy early, but some dresses can take 6-8 months to be delivered!
1. Know Your Style
Before heading to a store, browse Pinterest and some store websites so you have pictures and dresses/designers to mention to the sales associate.
For me, I knew exactly what I wanted in terms of style because of my body shape and the fact that our wedding is going to be on a beach. I showed my stylist 3-4 dresses from the Castle Couture website and they didn’t have any of them in stock – BUT she knew what look I was going for and pulled out some dresses for me to try on.
2. Try On Different Styles – Even If You’re Skeptical
My stylist (Hannah) was amazing. She even pulled some styles that were different (but still doable for beach weddings) and I tried them on just to make sure I wasn’t missing out on a potentially flattering style.
Trust your stylist, they do this daily so give them the benefit of the doubt even if they bring styles that scare you – it doesn’t hurt to try them on!
4. Set Your Budget & Tell Your Stylist
Most dress stores as about your budget, here is the thing – you might need to take into account sales tax. So maybe you only want to spend $3,000 but your state has a 7% sales tax. That means the dress should be a maximum of about $2,803 because once the 7% sales tax is added, your wedding dress will cost right around $3,000 (technically a little less but you get the idea). Not to mention alterations could be another $500+.
5. Be Brutally Honest
I was a little timid when I first tried on wedding dresses because I didn’t want to frustrate Hannah. I’ve seen so many Say Yes To The Dress episodes where brides are picky about every little thing and frustrate the stylists/sales associates – so I really didn’t want to be like that. (Luckily the first dress I tried on was the one, but I still tried on 5-6 more.)
After the first few wedding dresses, I was able to open up and tell Hannah what I liked, didn’t like, what a dress lacked, and what was too much. For example, I described the lace in one dress to be “church-y” and I wanted “beachy” I’m sure it doesn’t sound like much, but she understood.
Another thing to take in mind is the weight of the dress, I definitely let her know what dresses were too heavy for the beach. Some dresses didn’t have enough sparkle to me, but that is something that a good seamstress can add (the seamstress at Castle Couture could add more sparkle if I want it).
What Happens After You Order Your Dress
I waited about 5 months and then Castle Couture called me and let me know my wedding dress was delivered and it was time to schedule a try-on appointment. I had no clue if try-on meant it would be the first fitting or not, but they clarified. A try-on appointment is just where you go in to the store, try-on the dress to confirm it’s what you ordered and that you still love it.
My dress was ordered custom made to my measurements in September 2018 and it was delivered in March 2019. I made my try-on appointment for the wedding dress May 12th 2019, and holy crap. I still love love LOVE my wedding dress, but it was definitely big. Which is fine because I will be starting my fitting 3 months before the wedding (which will be August for me) and the seamstress will be able to alter the dress to my needs. So don’t stress if you’re wedding dress is big on you.
Honestly, you don’t even have to worry if your dress is a little tight because a seamstress can make the dress bigger by about 2 sizes or smaller by 2 sizes. Thank goodness!
Anyway, that is where I’m at in my wedding dress process for now! Oh, another thing to mention is that I was able to leave the dress at the store even though it is officially paid for, but I had to bring the veil home. That’s not a big deal, I just have to remember that the veil is in my closet at home and I might need to bring it to dress fittings – I’m not sure, but I’m just being prepared!