You may not know this, but before I worked for myself full-time, I worked part-time at a bridal shop. Although it was a short stint, I learned SO MUCH about the industry, and was able to store away some valuable tips and tricks for future brides.
DO- Bring shoe options. Although you probably don’t know what type of shoes you will be wearing on the big day, it’s a good idea to bring both heels and flats to try both options with whatever dresses you’re looking at.
DON’T- Bring an entourage. Bringing 1-3 people is fine, but more people means more opinions, and you don’t want to be swayed by someone else’s opinion of a dress that you truly love. It’s always a good idea to bring a friend or family member who will be honest with you about how you look, but you don’t want to feel bullied or overwhelmed.
DO- Try on different styles. When I was scouring Pinterest, I thought for sure that I wanted a 3/4 sleeved dress tea length dress. After trying them on in person however, I hated how they looked on me, and ended up going for an A-line gown instead. You never know until you try!
DON’T- Worry about the size. Formal wear runs about 3 sizes larger than you’re used to, so don’t be completely heartbroken if you’ve been on a hard-core wedding diet and you still need to buy a dress with a double digit.
DO- Leave room for alterations in your budget. On top of the dress price tag, you have to consider undergarments and alterations-- which can be a couple of hundred dollars more before it’s all said and done. Oftentimes you don’t have to pay for them until they are completed, but it’s still an expense you don’t want to be surprised by later.
DON’T- Feel pressured to decide on your dress on the first day. Even if you fall in love with the first dress you try on, don’t be afraid to sleep on it and go back later to try it again. Obviously, the dress shop will want you to buy the same day you come in, but wedding dresses can’t be returned, so you want to make sure you love it before you “say yes”.
Above all, you want to enjoy the dress shopping process. It is definitely one of the more fun parts of wedding planning and it will be the most photographed dress you ever wear, so you want to make sure you love it!