Top 10 Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

Shopping for your wedding dress can feel like an enormously complicated process! But, it doesn’t need to be that way! To make this feel a little more manageable to brides, here’s our top ten wedding dress shopping tips that we’ve found to be extremely helpful:

10. Shop Early

Wedding dresses can take a long time to come in! Here at Altar, the ordering process can take 4-5 months for the dress to arrive. Plus, you’ll want 2-3 months for alterations as well. As a general rule, 8-12 months is a great time to find your dress . That way, the process can be started and you can get on to other wedding planning without having to worry about the dress arriving on time.

Of course, if you have less time than that, it’s not too late! We have some great designers that can rush dresses to get them made sooner. Otherwise, you can look at some of our off the rack sample dress options.

9. Know your Budget

Only you can decide how much you want to spend on your dress. Every bride is different, and we love getting to help brides with a wide variety of price ranges. However, we can’t know what you’re comfortable spending if you don’t tell us. It makes us pretty sad when we accidentally help a bride fall in love with a dress outside her price range. Make sure you’re upfront about your price point with your consultant, and that will ensure we pull dresses that you can afford to fall in love with.

8. Book an Appointment

Booking an appointment means that we’ll have a consultant ready to help you! This also means you’ll get the most personal service possible. Not to mention, you’ll feel ready to try on dresses instead of a spur-of-the-moment instant where you’re not prepared to find “the one.”

7. Do a Little Research

It can be pretty overwhelming to walk into a store with not even a remote idea of what you want! Making a Pinterest board of your wedding inspiration is a great place to start! Don’t necessarily look for specific dresses you love. Instead, focus on silhouettes you like, details you think would be pretty, and dresses that fit the mood and theme of your wedding (like lots of lace detail for a rustic barn wedding!). Even if you don’t know exactly what you want, our consultants are experienced in finding a common theme to pull some beginning dresses for you.

6. Make Requests

At Altar, we take pride in our highly-curated collection of gowns. This means that even though we carry many designers, we don’t have every dress from every collection. However, we can sometimes borrow in dresses that we don’t have for a small fee. If you have a dress you’re dying to see, just let us know! We’ll do our best to get it in for you.

5. Come Prepared

It’s easiest to picture yourself on your wedding day when you’re feeling your prettiest! So come prepared with your hair a little done, and a small amount of makeup on. Also bring any undergarments and shape-wear you plan on wearing; Spanx and a strapless bra will make the gown feel more natural on your body. If you have some shoes, or a family heirloom you plan on wearing (mom’s veil, sister’s comb, grandma’s pearls), bring those, too! It will really help the whole look feel complete.

4. Limit your Group

As fun as it may sound to be surrounded by a huge entourage while you try on dresses, it can actually be exhausting to have that many different opinions being thrown at you. Usually 2-3 people is the perfect number to find the dress; mom, maid of honor, maybe grandma, whoever’s opinion matters to you should be there. Ultimately, the dress you choose should be your choice. Your friends and family will love you no matter what you pick.

3. Limit your Appointments

This is another hard one to follow, but trust us. Trying on dresses can be tiring very quickly, and the dresses can start to all look the same. If you want to do two or three appointments in one day, you definitely can; but be prepared to feel tired and make sure to bring water and snacks along to keep your energy up. It can also be helpful to take pictures of the favorites at each place you visit to remember them when you go to the next place. If possible, we recommend setting up one appointment at a time to ensure you have plenty of time to process the dresses between each appointment.

2. Don’t Limit your Style

If it’s your first time trying on dresses, feel free to branch out a little bit from what you think you’ll like! Our consultants know what looks best on different body types, so if we pull something you’re not sure about, don’t give up till you’ve tried it on! Dresses can take you by surprise putting them on versus seeing them on the hanger.

1. Everyone Finds the Dress Differently

This is the most important point that we wish all our brides knew. Not everyone cries! You may not need to go to every store in the area! Not every bride is sure of what she wants right away! We’ve seen thousands of brides, and each one has been unique in their process of finding the dress. Don’t set expectations on what you want to happen when you find “the one.” Sometimes, you do put it on and fall in love. Other times, you may not have thought about it up front, but after a few days, you just can’t get it out of your head.

Whatever your process is, we understand, and we want you to be comfortable while shopping so that you can feel excited when you’re ready to say “yes to the dress!”. Whether its the first dress you put on or the fiftieth, we can’t wait to help you during your wedding shopping adventure!


Are you ready to begin wedding dress shopping? Contact us with questions or set up an appointment!

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