Tips for wedding dress shopping from an Austin wedding planner and former bridal stylist. Finding your wedding dress is one of the most important parts of wedding planning, I mean it is your outfit for the day so you want to look your best! As a bridal stylist, I often heard brides talk about how nervous or overwhelmed they were for dress shopping so here are some tips to make the experience a little easier for you!
Such a big one! You should think about your budget before your appointment and be honest with your stylist about it. As a bridal consultant I heard of budgets anywhere from $100 to $10,000. So when they ask what is your dress budget they are genuinely asking because they want to show you dresses in your price range. It’s an awful feeling when a bride falls in love with a dress and then can’t buy it because its actually $1000 over her budget. Just be honest, and the stylist will try their best to find your dream dress in that price point.
Myths- Just try it on so you can see the style. This is a common myth, but the truth is there are mermaids and ballgowns and every other silhouette in every price range. So you don’t need to try on that dress that is $2000 over your budget just to see the style or silhouette, instead ask your stylists if there is a dress similar to that but in your price point.
So often brides would come in with inspiration images and were so sure of what they wanted but often once they tried it on, they realized they didn’t like it as much as they thought. Often brides would be against trying on a fitted or strapless dress but then would be pleasantly surprised when they did try it on and fell in love! The dresses are very different on your body versus on the hanger or even on a model in a picture, just try it on and see what you think!
Every dress will need alterations. When you think about the budget for your dress, add on a few hundred dollars for alteration costs. Depending on your city and the design of your dress, alterations can cost $200 to $1000. Wedding dresses are made at a standard length so unless you are a very tall bride possibly 5′ 10″ or taller, your dress will need to be hemmed. In addition, if your dress has a train, which most do, you will need to have a “bustle” added which is added-on buttons or ribbons that are added to the dress to help hold the train up after your ceremony so you can dance and walk around freely. These are standard alterations, but you will most likely have to also alter the straps of the dress or the top to fit your bust area perfectly, along with other areas.
Dress shops are given a suggested selling price by the designers. A dress you find in New York is going to cost the same if you buy it in Ohio or Texas, etc. Buying a dress in a different regions or state won’t change the price of the gown.
The only time you may find a dress for a lesser price would be if you’re able to find the gown at a “Sample Sale which means you are buying that sample try-on dress, you are not ordering the dress brand new. These dresses are heavily discounted for various reasons, most commonly because the designer has discontinued the dress, meaning it is no longer being produced and can’t be ordered any longer so the store is forced to remove that dress from their inventory. Sample sales are great for brides in a time crunch or with a smaller budgets as these dresses can be discounted up to 75% off the original price, so if you find a dress in great condition on a sample sale, you better buy it quick!
For more advice on wedding dress shopping see my post “What You Can Learn from “TLC” Say Yes to the Dress.”
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Bianca Nichole Events is an Austin wedding planner, and will travel to Dripping Springs, San Antonio, Fredericksburg, and the surrounding Texas Hill Country area.