Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wedding Wednesday- Saying Yes to the Dress

Several of my engaged friends have started looking for wedding dresses and have asked me for any tips/advice on going dress shopping so here it is:

1) Wear real underwear.
Depending on where you go dress shopping, you may be in the changing room with your mom, your bridesmaids, your sisters, cousins, and/or any future in-laws while you get dressed. They don't all need to know that you wear hot pink underwear with giant polka dots on it. Trust me.

2) Be realistic about your budget.
The price tag of the dress is only about a percentage of what the final thing will cost. Alterations, tax, and a veil added on another $1,700 to the cost of my dress. Luckily I was prepared for that. Don't get surprised or get sticker shock at the last minute. This brings me to #3.

3) Veils are really, really expensive.
When I bought my dress, I wanted to see how it would look with a veil, so the consultants at Kleinfeld brought out this gorgeous veil that went with my dress perfectly. It was $1,250. I thought that my jaw was literally going to hit the floor when I saw that! Kleinfeld told me that they could do it for $1,000 and I said no thank you. That is more than some girls spend on their dresses! Eventually I did find a great veil, but it was still not cheap. Don't get sticker shock when you see that.

4) It's ok to shop around.
Places will try to pressure you to buy the dress, veil, accessories, etc. from there at once. (Remember- most of the consultants do work on commission.) If you're not ready, don't buy into it. It's better to sleep on it and shop around than drop a lot of money on a dress you end up regretting buying. Also, when I was buying my dress, I saw a gorgeous pair of chiffon flowers for my hair that went perfectly with my dress. I wanted to get them but once again could not justify that $350 price tag. I looked around and found something nearly identical on Etsy for $40.

5) Be open minded.
I tried on a lot of dresses and all of them were nice but were just missing something. I asked the consultant what she would recommend for me. When she came back with one dress, my mom and I both looked at each other like "is she deranged?" Guess which one I bought? Don't be afraid to ask for help if you're not loving anything.

6) Don't look at the size label.
This is for your own good. Bridal runs small. Really really small. Like several sizes small. The size that you are in street clothes is most likely not the size that your wedding dress will be. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the dress size on the order form. Trust me, it's better for your self-esteem if you don't look.

7) Don't buy your shoes first.
This may seem like a no-brainer to some, but it needs to be said. I have a friend who found the perfect dress online and knew that it was THE ONE. She found a pair of shoes on sale that matched the dress and asked for my advice. I told her that it was not a good idea to buy shoes until she had actually bought a dress. She ended up buying the shoes anyway because they were on sale and she was afraid that they would not be around for much longer. Turns out the dress she fell in love with did not work for her at all. Now she is stuck with a $100 pair of shoes that she can't return.


  1. Great tips! A friend was just telling me how much veils cost and I was floored!

  2. Great tips! I was shocked at the price of veils too! I found a lady that handmade beautiful veils for a fraction of the cost! It was lovely and I loved that it was handmade. Plus the ones they had in the salon were longer than what I wanted so it worked out for the best anyway!

  3. great tips!! the ONLY thing I wish I would have done differently was shopped more. I think I would have ended up with the same dress but I LOVED trying on dresses =)

  4. I hear you on the sizes - what kills me now (two years into marriage) is the size of the bridesmaid dresses I'm ordering! I'm a 10/12 and wind up with 18s!!!! Drives me nuts. Happy wedding planning!

  5. I agree with a lot of these tips... But also to note those who don't have thousands to spend on a dress: You could go to David's Bridal, and spend less than 1k on the dress, all undergarments, shoes, veil, tax, and alterations. My dress was awesome. Everyone thought I looked great, my consultant knew what she was doing, it was a great experience. Haha, and I thought $175 was ridiculous for a veil! I guess that was a deal, after all!

  6. Great tips. I'll share them w/ my friend. Sizing on bridal/bridesmaid dresses is insane.

  7. Great tips, all of them, and all very much needed by brides-to-be, you would not believe the common-sense things I didn't think of!

    Sending you a smile,

  8. Oh! Vera Wang now has a newsletter that gives out bridal tips (and promotes her own gowns, of course). It's a pretty good resource.

    I remember watching The Look for Less (an old show on Style(?) network hosted by Elisabeth Hasselbeck) and they made a veil. It seems easy to make unless you have a very specific style in mind.

  9. These are all great tips. It's very easy to spend $$$$ on a dress. I will admit I bought "last season's" sample at a Bridal Resale shop. I was able to get a $2500.00 Princess of Boston for $750.00. My veil was an even better score. I bought a very pretty comb and my mom attached the tulle to it. It was perfect and all under $1000.00.