We all know the timeless proverb, “a smart man learns from his mistakes, but a wise man learns from other’s mistakes.” Within the wedding sphere no one wants a second wedding, but rather a single marriage and lasting love. Ergo there’s a lack of opportunity to learn from your own mistakes. When it comes to purchasing a gown, that mistake can cost you thousands of dollars, your luscious hair along with your peace of mind. However, wise brides have a chance to learn from the mistakes of others. Here’s a list of 7 mistakes brides make when shopping for their wedding gown and how you can easily avoid them:
1. Give yourself ample time.
I went recently with my dear friend Christina to look for her wedding dress. Her Wedding date is October 15th and her two shopping appointments were scheduled for Feb 27th. She had 33 weeks to go, over 8 months, yet she was in “the danger zone” We were told that if she had waited 1-2 more weeks, she would have had to pull off the rack. It takes time to build a wedding dress from scratch and you’re paying the money to do so, so give yourself enough time! I’ve heard of wedding sites saying don’t go too early, but trust me the last thing you want is to do a final fitting weeks before your wedding date- the stress of getting your dress on time could literally thin your hair and what bride wants that. Once you have the date and venue chosen, don’t delay!
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2. Get a head start.
Not just by looking online. Dresses look different online vs. in person. Surely you’ve seen warnings from sites like the bridal guide cautioning brides against saving a buck by purchasing online sales. The light, often heavily embellished material is not easily visible from a full body shot. For instance, my bride loves lace. There are countless variations of lace, such as bobbin lace and needle lace, which differ based on the country of origin. As it is a fine material with delicate details, the pattern doesn’t clearly come through online or in photos. Get a good sense of what what you want by taking a private visit to the boutique to view your top choices in person. Do this before you round up your mom and all the girls. Pressure falls easily on the bride of a large wedding party. Even dear friends are opinionated, especially when a bride is indecisive. You can skip others overpowering your opinion by knowing what you want and not-like the below lady-being surprised by the gowns you so loved online that now seem plain or overdone in person.
3. Bring More Than Just Your Accessories and High Heels
Lots of dresses have built in bras so you won’t need a bra necessarily. However, if you’re a bit shy getting naked in front of the store associates, stop by a ballet boutique or store that sells nude leotards. It’s a dancer’s trick but it works for brides too!
4. Bring Champagne, Glasses, and Fresh Fruit for Garnishes
This should be a fun classy experience no matter where you choose to go. Call in advance or check when making the appointment if there’s complimentary champagne. If they don’t offer you champagne, bring your own!
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5. Be Patient
Don’t buy the dress on a whim or solely to complete another wedding task. There’s a non-refundable deposit so don’t buy until you’re without a doubt in love with the dress. Give yourself enough time to sleep on it or go to a second location before signing the contract. When you move too fast, you don’t give yourself enough time to get emotionally attached to the dress. Not that every bride needs to cry when you find “the one” dress, but if you are just checking off your list of to dos it can lead to second thoughts even about “the one” dress. If you have second thoughts after putting down the deposit, you have to eat the deposit or hope that the designer has an alternative dress you like better. Another option would be to buy a simple reception dress. Christina had second thoughts. It was hard to imagine the finished dress with all her requested alterations. She had the back changed, the sleeves changed, and the skirt thinned. It was a lot to imagine and she began to get nervous.
6. Visit multiple shops
As I’ve said, this is an emotional experience and not simply another task to check of the long list of to-dos. It’s great when a bride can be decisive but spending too little time and visiting too few places can be a subsequent stress rather than relief. The last thing you want is to regret your choice. Christina was plagued by nightmares for weeks after she’d picked her dress. When she had cancelled her second appointment, she was confident she had found her dress. She proudly checked off another task from her list, as she was in a hurry. She had a wedding to plan in less than 11 months and she was already down to 8 months. We had traveled from San Francisco to a cute boutique in Sacramento. We planned to return to the city that night, so when she found her dress at the first location she didn’t give a second thought to canceling the next appointment… until the nightmares.
7. Don’t Blindly Trust Online Listed Retailers
Get confirmation - After Christina’s restless week she was left with little options due to the time restraint and deposit. She had less than a week to decide - should she change her dress? The store gave her the option of exchanging the dress for another one by the same designer. We found listed retailers for that designer - Mori Lee and made an appointment. Christina emailed the boutique with pictures from their website of the dresses she wanted to try. However, to our dismay, the boutique had not checked their email and thus did not reveal until our arrival that they did not carry a single Mori Lee design. We decided to bail from the Daly City area to San Bruno where another retailer had been listed. Similarly when we arrived at the boutique again no dresses despite being a listed retailer. As tempting as it is to drop by, it will save you time and miles to have the store confirm their selection first.
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Armed with these tips, I’m confident any bride will have a more valuable experience shopping for that perfect wedding gown. As busy and stressful as planning a wedding can be, at least you have peace of mind about the gown buying process! For other stress relieving wedding tips stay tune for the next blog. For grooms gift stress relief, be sure to check out our product page and grooms discount page for more inspiration and deals, as well as our Instagram @treehutco for engraving ideas!