A few weeks back, we shared an Honest Guide To Wedding Dress Shopping, and it felt great to pass on such practical and helpful advice on an experience that’s fun and exciting, but often romanticised in movies and TV shows.

So today, we’re back with another expert, who’s sharing more (super useful!) tips you’ve simply got to read before you hit the shops.

Malinda Macari, is the owner of Your Dream Bridal, a bridal salon in Boston’s Metrowest that specialises in making its brides’ wedding dress shopping experience as enjoyable, intimate and personalised as possible. 

So, who better to share her advice on packing your Spanx, choosing your boutiques, and making sure you’ve cash on stand-by for the deposit on the dress of your dreams?

Over to you Malinda…

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Dress by Sarah Houston, Photo by Brian Reilly Photography via Bridal Musings

When it comes to finding your dream bridal gown, it’s important to trust your gut and follow your natural instincts – only then will you feel your most beautiful on the big day.

Whether you just started searching or you have been at it for months, these tips will ease the worry and anxiety some brides-to-be experience when on the hunt for their wedding gown.

Be Prepared

Dress by Jesus Peiro, Photo by Gabby Sutori, En Route Photography via Bridal Musings

Trying on a wedding dress isn’t like shopping for a new pair of jeans. A bridal shop purchases select styles by designers in a range of sizes, meaning every dress will fit differently – some small, some big. And, every designer’s size chart is a bit different than the next.

The stylist will help you in and out of these dresses so you can best visualize what it will look like in your size.

In advance of your salon appointment, be sure to bring a comfortable set of heels that are similar in heel height to the ones you anticipate wearing on your wedding day.

While most gowns will be hemmed during the alteration period, you may feel more confident when trying on dresses if you have a bit of height. You’ll be able to see how the dress falls naturally and what it will look like bustled (if it applies).

Also, wear proper undergarments, like a well-fitting bra or Spanx. If you are naturally drawn to strapless gowns, be sure to bring a strapless bra to your appointment.

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Dress by One Day Bridal, Photo by T&S Hughes Photography via Bridal Musings

Finally, be prepared to commit if your natural instincts tell you you’ve found the gown. Some brides get the jittery, magic feeling you see portrayed in movies and on TV, while others just feel great.

Both are great indications that you’ve found your dress – even if it’s from the first shop you have visited.

But before you can pop the bubbly, the salon will request a deposit from you to secure that beautiful gown.

Being unprepared can certainly suck the wind right out of your billowing sails and, worse, potentially ruin the experience of finding the wedding gown of your dreams.

Avoid Being Overwhelmed

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Dress by Monique Lhuillier, Photo by Brian Wright, French Grey Photography via Bridal Musings

Avoid the triple threat; Too many people, too many shops, too many dresses.

Wedding dress shopping is such an exciting time for a bride and the ones closest to her. In full transparency, it’s not uncommon for brides to succumb to the overwhelming opinions of others during the entire wedding planning process.

To avoid buyer’s remorse when shopping for your gown, limit your entourage to three people if possible. You’ll have an easier time recognizing your true emotions about each gown independently, rather than adopting on the opinions of others.

If you truly feel beautiful in a gown, whether it is the first one or the 20th you’ve tried, listen to your instincts. You’re less likely to doubt the decision if it is completely your own, rather than if it is based on someone else’s view of the gown.

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Dress by Atelier Des Modistes, Photo by Maui Maka Photography via Bridal Musings

Visit a maximum of three shops during your shopping experience, as challenging as that may seem.

After you’re finished researching potential gowns that you may like online, check the websites of a few local shops in your area. Many will have a list of the designers they carry, which can help you weed out the boutiques that may not be a fit.

If you truly feel like you’ve exhausted the inventory of three shops, it may be time to reconsider your likes and dislikes of the gowns you’ve already tried, and consider another silhouette.

Keep An Open Mind

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Dress by Badgley Mischka, Photo by Jenny Soi Photography via Bridal Musings

This final piece of advice is simple, but often the hardest for brides to adhere to during wedding dress shopping.

Echoing the previous advice to consider other styles, it’s important to give each gown a fighting chance.

A good stylist will show you designs you’ve requested, but also introduce you to a few you may have otherwise dismissed.

Many times, those are the ones that stand out to a bride and sometimes even end up being ‘the one.’

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Photo by Terralogical Photography via Bridal Musings

Such great advice! I really like the one about only visiting three shops, so many brides pick boutiques at random, but knowing the designers you want to try, and finding the boutiques that stock them, makes the process so much easier.

Thanks so much to Malinda Macari, of Your Dream Bridal for sharing her expert insights!

Your Dream Bridal stocks a collection of beautiful designer gowns exclusive to New England brides, and offers 90 minute private appointments, so you’ll have the whole boutique to yourself, and plenty of time to browse and try on gowns without feeling rushed (so important!), and Malinda’s own guidance and undivided attention.

Visit the Your Dream Bridal for more information on their gowns and appointments. 

Check out our guide to how much your dream wedding dress really costs