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20 Tips For A Flawless Wedding Dress Shopping Experience

20 Tips For A Flawless Wedding Dress Shopping Experience | Moonlight Bridal Moonlight Couture 12

Welcome to the dreamy world of bridal fashion! We would imagine, since being engaged, you’ve been asked a dizzying array of wedding dress questions – what you like, when you’re shopping, who’s going, are you wearing sleeves, can they come, who’s your favorite designer, who’s buying? Who knew shopping could seem stressful?!

But worry not, thanks to our bridal friends at Moonlight Bridal, we have all the best wedding dress shopping tips! Follow our guide and not only will shopping for gown be your favorite planning to-do, the whole process can be the one totally flawless wedding excursion.

Once you’ve taken a gander through our expert bridal tips, start your research with Moonlight Bridal’s new wedding dress collections.  With three separate lines for brides of different style brides and budgets –  Moonlight CoutureMoonlight Collection, and Moonlight Tango – it would be hard not to find your dream dress. Find your nearest retailer to schedule your appointment and get shopping!

 

20 Tips For A Flawless Wedding Dress Shopping Experience | Moonlight Bridal Moonlight Collection 2

1. Set a Budget

Before you get carried away Pinning all those diamond encrusted wedding dresses, take a look at your wedding budget and set a number you’re willing to spend on your gown. This will not only narrow your choices (such an endless amount of beautiful gowns out there!) but also help you hone your expectations in the dress shopping process.

2. Start Shopping 9-12 Months Ahead (If You Can)

Believe it or not, gowns typically take anywhere from 4-10 month to be made. Factor in shipping times (is your dress coming from Paris?) alterations and multiple fittings – in the end, your gown could take up to 12 months to be ready.

Don’t have that kind of time? Some designers offer rush services, but be prepared to pay an extra fee. Out of timely options? If you’re happy to get a professional cleaning and are lucky enough to fit in sample sizes, salons often allow brides to buy samples off the rack for a lower price.

20 Tips For A Flawless Wedding Dress Shopping Experience | Moonlight Bridal Moonlight Couture 10

3. Do Your Research

Overwhelmed by the endless options and don’t know where to start? Take our wedding dress quiz to find what style of gown might be right for you. Want to know what silhouette best flatters your favorite bits? Take a scroll through our post on how to choose the best dress for your body type.

4. Use Social Media To Find & Save Gowns

Pinterest and Instagram are brilliant for discovering the endless gowns on the market these days. Follow your favorite blogs, designers and bridal salons to discover new collections, see your favorite gowns on real brides, find out about surprise sample sales and hear about nearby trunk shows. Save your faves on your wedding dress boards, and Instagram archives to bring with you to your appointments.

20 Tips For A Flawless Wedding Dress Shopping Experience | Moonlight Bridal Moonlight Collection 6

5. Pick A Few Wedding Dress Style Keywords

It’s great to be able to concisely articulate to your bridal stylist what wedding dress styles suit you. For me it was “sexy, silk & tailored” and every bridal stylist pulled gowns that were totally New York City “Claire”. Pick a famous bridal muse too that best represents your style (surprise, mine was Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy).

6. Make Bridal Salon Appointments

Try to schedule your bridal salon appointments all in one day or weekend. This way, each gown is fresh in your mind for comparison; you’re more likely to say “Yes!” if you’re not waiting on another appointment weeks later.

If you schedule your appointments all in one day, make a party of it! Plan a bridal lunch in between appointments to thank your bridal squad and do remember your ladies may not be able to make every single shop.

20 Tips For A Flawless Wedding Dress Shopping Experience | Moonlight Bridal Moonlight Couture 8

7. Call Your Bridal Salon Ahead

A top tip for a flawless dress buying experience: give your bridal salon a jingle to give them an idea of what you like. Bridal salons almost always keep notes with all your favorite gowns, what kind of bride you are, and when and where the big day is taking place. All of this helps them pull gowns perfect for you on the day you arrive.

While certain salons may have your favorite designers, they’ll likely only have a select number of gowns. Ask them if they have your favorite style and if they can order a sample if it’s not already in the shop. This is also a great time to ask questions like “Do you have plus sized samples of your gowns?”

If you plan to bring any treats or bubbly, be sure to ask if they’ll allow it. Many bridal salons offer champagne to their guests already, and some would prefer to keep stain creators away from the precious wedding dresses.

20 Tips For A Flawless Wedding Dress Shopping Experience | Moonlight Bridal Moonlight Tango 5

8. Choose Your Bride Tribe Wisely

Take special care when you select which guests will join you on this wedding dress hunt.

First, check how many guests your salon will allow in their rooms (most often 4-5 including the bride).  Second, take a good hard look at who needs to be there. For instance, is anyone helping pay for the gown? Finally, choose guests who are above all, positive people. Certain close friends may not be suited for this day due to general cynicism (no matter how fun they are as friends!) Make sure your bride tribe is uplifting, understands who you are, what you like, and understand that this day is about you choosing your gown.

Brides often ask if they should invite their future Mother in Law. Our take: if she’s someone you get along with and super supportive, absolutely, if you like! If you have a contentious relationship, or you worry about her judgment, perhaps invite her to another bridal event and let her know you’re shopping with a few close friends. You want to feel comfortable zipping and unzipping all day.

20 Tips For A Flawless Wedding Dress Shopping Experience | Moonlight Bridal Moonlight Couture 1

9. Have A List Of Questions Ready For Your Stylist

Bring along a list of questions only your bridal stylist can answer, including how long it takes to make the gown you love, whether or not they alter dresses in-house or suggest expert tailors, whether they ship the gown to you (and if there’s a shipping charge) or if you pick up in shop, the best way to travel with your gown and if steaming the dress day-of is the best strategy.

When you’ve chosen your dress, have your stylist show you and your ladies exactly how to bustle the dress (if it needs to be bustled). Make sure someone in your bride tribe totally understands so you can delegate the task on the day of your wedding.

10. Give Yourself A Beauty & Spa Morning

Consider this an optional luxury that will seriously give you a boost on a busy day. If you can budget in the time and money, head to your hairstylist for a blowout, get your makeup professionally done (maybe free at your favorite makeup counter?) and give yourself a zen spa morning. It’ll be easier to imagine yourself in the dress on your wedding day if you look and feel “wedding-day-ready”.

20 Tips For A Flawless Wedding Dress Shopping Experience | Moonlight Bridal Moonlight Collection 4

11. Bring The Proper Undergarments & Shoes

Our bridal experts suggest nude colored panties, and not to worry about the bra (unless you have an issue with support or want to be comfortable) aka go braless. Fun fact, strapless or plunging gowns are much more supportive than regular clothing. So for example, a strapless wedding gown is going to be more supportive than a regular strapless dress.

Everyone needs alterations, so that’s when you decide if you really want to wear a fancy bra underneath. Bring it with you to alterations to make sure it fits under the gown. Otherwise, it’s common to get cups sewn in during alterations.

Be sure to bring along heels at the height you think you will wear on your wedding day. Salons will have heels on hand, but they may not be your size, or the height you intend to wear.

12. Forget About Sizing

Wedding dress sizes are vastly different than street sizes (what you wear on a day-to-day basis) so don’t get worked up when you see your wedding dress size. In fact, when you’re at the salon, that sample you’re trying on is definitely “one-size-fits-no-one”.

Nearly everyone needs alterations, so the gown you buy will eventually be taken in and tailored to fit you perfectly – totally different from the usual “pick a size number” shopping experience.

20 Tips For A Flawless Wedding Dress Shopping Experience | Moonlight Bridal Moonlight Couture 2

13. Be Open To Different Gowns

It’s so helpful to know what you like, to narrow the gowns pulled at your dress appointment. But don’t be afraid to try on something totally out of the box.

For example, try on a gown that’s not white – maybe ivory, champagne, nude or even raincloud blue! You may be surprised to find out you like something different. I fell in love with a taupe colored gown and was totally surprised by how much a city girl like me loved twirling in a full skirt.

14. Remember Your Wedding Destination’s Climate

That being said, full skirts with loads of fabric weren’t fitting for a hot, Mexico beach wedding. Make sure you keep the season and destination in mind when you’re trying on gowns.

Worried about sweating through a summer wedding? Stick to silks and take this opportunity to show some skin. Planning a late fall, outdoor wedding? Perhaps sleeves would be fitting to keep you warm late into the party.

20 Tips For A Flawless Wedding Dress Shopping Experience | Moonlight Bridal Moonlight Couture 6

15. Listen To Your Bridal Stylist (& Your Gut!)

It’s true, your bride tribe knows you best. But no one knows the gowns at the shop like your bridal stylist. The person pulling gowns and jumping into the dressing room is paid to make this experience perfect for you. They’ve taken into account everything you love, and quite frankly is likely a more objective opinion than your family or friends. They are thinking of what you like, not what they like.

But ultimately, block out all the noise and listen to your gut. If you know deep down you don’t love something, it’s not your gown, no matter how “pretty” your bride tribe says you look. And if you, in your heart, know you prefer something different, listen! You’re the one who’s going to be wearing the gown, you make the ultimate choice.

20 Tips For A Flawless Wedding Dress Shopping Experience | Moonlight Bridal Moonlight Tango 2

16. Don’t Try On Dresses Out Of Budget & Factor Extra Costs

As a wedding professional, my bridal salons were happy to let me try on any dress in the shop just for fun, but I heeded the warnings of everyone in the industry: never try on a gown you can’t afford.

Two very unfortunate things could happen: 1) you may end up spending thousands more (that maybe you don’t have) putting serious strains on your wedding budget and giving you incredible guilt, or 2) you may fall in love with the gown and no cheaper dress will be able to match the luxury you now have the taste for, leaving you unable to find “the perfect dress”.

And remember, if your budget is $2000, plan to buy a dress less than that to factor in extra costs like alterations and possible shipping.

20 Tips For A Flawless Wedding Dress Shopping Experience | Moonlight Bridal Moonlight Couture 11

17. Take Pictures!

Have your bridal team take photos of you in every gown you love. When you head to your next appointment you’ll have a quick catalog to compare which is best. Be sure to twirl, walk, get photos of the front and back – you’ll likely try on so many dresses some details can be quickly forgotten.

18. Don’t Be Afraid To Say Yes To The First Dress You Love

Bridal stylists are super smart, and if they can tell you have a serious favorite during your salon walkthrough, they’ll likely put it on you first. Our experts say often brides think they are being too quick to decide, but then they come back to buy the first gown they loved anyway.

When I went shopping I had been waiting months to try on one particular dress from my favorite designer. My stylist put it on me first, and I immediately knew it was “the one”. We kept our other appointments but the whole time I was ready to go back and buy the first dress (which I did!)

20 Tips For A Flawless Wedding Dress Shopping Experience | Moonlight Bridal Moonlight Collection 3

19. See If Your Salon Will Bundle Your Gown, Veil & Accessories

Budget tip: see if your salon will discount if you buy your veil and accessories when you purchase your gown. This is a common practice to keep all sales within their salon, so don’t be afraid to ask!

20. Save Contracts, Delivery Dates & Schedule Alterations

Once you’ve made your purchase, keep a copy of your contract on hand (in case you ever need to double check the timeline and your measurements), keep a calendar with all your tentative delivery dates, and schedule alterations in a timely fashion – as they may take a few extra fittings.

20 Tips For A Flawless Wedding Dress Shopping Experience | Moonlight Bridal Moonlight Collection 5
20 Tips For A Flawless Wedding Dress Shopping Experience | Moonlight Bridal Moonlight Couture 7

Essential Info

For more information on where to buy these beautiful wedding dresses, head to the Moonlight Bridal website for stockist and trunk show information. Their gowns are stocked in North and South America, Canada, South Africa, Europe and China.

Follow Moonlight Bridal on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest for guaranteed gorgeousness in your feeds!

And be sure to check out our collaborative Pinterest board, where we’ve joined forces with Moonlight Bridal to share the most romantic wedding ideas and gowns.

This post is brought to you in partnership with Moonlight Bridal.

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