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You’re Engaged? Me Too! — Wedding Dress Shopping 101

April 7, 2021

For Couples


How has it been over a year since I’ve written in this series? Well, I mean, 2020 did kind of flip things upside down in the wedding world — so it makes sense. As of today, I am just under 200 days until my wedding! Crazy, right? Garren and I have been engaged since September of 2019 so that fact that we are only months away feels so bizarre. It really hasn’t kicked in yet!

Since we’re around 6 months out until our big day, I wanted to start this series back up, so I can help any new brides or grooms to be out there with their wedding planning. Also, because I’m in the industry, I feel like I get a totally different perspective and a little more insight into the different parts of wedding planning. Today, I wanted to talk about…wedding dress shopping!

Before the pandemic hit last year, I had the chance to go wedding dress shopping. I wasn’t planning on going so early, but I had won a $200 off coupon at a bridal show and decided, why not? While I was waiting for my appointment day to roll around, I went through different dresses I thought I would like. I wanted long sleeves, something that wasn’t pure white, and I didn’t want poof. When I arrived at the dress shop, the first dress was almost completely opposite of everything I wanted. And, well, I bought it!

Tip #1: Don’t Go in With High Expectations

This is my first piece of advice! And this isn’t only coming from me, but from many of the brides I’ve worked with. Most of them had told me that they picked a dress that wasn’t what they originally expected. I really think this is because we go into a dress appointment with high expectations on how we’re supposed to look in a dress. And then when we try on that dress of our dreams, it’s just…ehh.

This was what I thought I wanted in a wedding dress. But! When I tried it on, I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.

So while you’re picking out dresses at your appointment, try a variety! You may end up liking something that you never thought you would like.

Tip #2: Bring a Small Group!

When I went to my appointment, I just took my mom. Now, this was mainly due to me just going for fun and not planning on buying anything. But, it turned out to being for the best. If you’ve watched Say Yes to the Dress before, you’ll know that the bigger the crowd that is brought to dress try-on’s, the worst it is going to be for the bride. While, yes, having your very best friends and family there is special — a lot of opinions are not. And can be SUPER overwhelming. Having just my mom there to give me her opinion, definitely helped when picking out my dress. Plus it made for a way more relaxing experience.

Tip #3: Eat Something and Drink Water Beforehand

This is advice that I received from a previous bride of mine — and it helped so much! Trying on wedding dresses is, well, a little bit of a workout. Some of these dresses are heavy and pulling them on and off and maybe on again, it could work up a little sweat. So make sure you have drank water before your appointment and bring some with you, if the shop doesn’t have any. Also — snacks! I didn’t have breakfast before my appointment but that was just because of the nerves and excitement! I did, though, have a protein bar, and that helped for sure. If you get the nervous tummy like I do, at least eat something small before your appointment. Or if you can, have a small breakfast.

Tip #4: Take Pictures!

Not only to document the day, but also to look back at your dresses to help make a better decision. I had my mom take a picture of each dress I tried on. My consultant then said to get back into the dress I liked the best and then look at the pictures I took of the other dresses to compare. This helped me so much! When I put on the original dress I tried on and then looked at the pictures, I just knew the dress I had on was the one. So, have someone take pictures of each dress. Even if you don’t make a decision the day of your appointment, you can always look back on the dresses to see if there are any that you’d wanted to back and purchase.

Tip #5: It’s OK if you Don’t Have That “Moment”

Okay — raise your hand if you’ve seen Say Yes to the Dress? Probably a lot of you reading this have! And while I love the show and seeing all of the pretty dresses, I think the show warped our way of thinking about wedding dress shopping. I remember when I was younger, before I became a videographer, I thought that all wedding dresses cost $5000+ and that if you found the right one you’d just start crying and “know”. But when I got older and started filming weddings and really getting to know about how wedding dress shopping worked, I realized that isn’t the case at all.

When I tried on my dress for the first time, I didn’t cry. I knew the dress was pretty and that I liked how I looked in it, but I didn’t have that moment that everyone talks about. Then I thought, is there something wrong? Is this not the one? But I took a moment to realize that what you see on TV isn’t everyone’s experience and I was really happy with my choice. So, if you don’t have that moment, it’s ok! Not every bride does.

Don’t forget to take a picture if you found the dress!

Need some more advice on wedding dress shopping or which dress shops to go to? I would be happy to help! Reach out to me at tori@toridanielleweddings.com.

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