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Fashion & Beauty

Everything You Need To Know About Wedding Dress Shopping

  |  By Alison McGill

Photo courtesy of Loversland.

A question we at Weddingbells hear from brides ALL the time is “where do I start when it comes to dress shopping??!” As ever, we are here to help you navigate all the ins and outs of wedding planning, so we put together this primer on everything you need to know about how to get started, important timelines and things you may not have considered (as you’ve never done this before, you simply don’t know!). We spoke to Danielle Gulic and Yvonne Reidy, co-owners of Toronto’s uber-cool bridal boutique LoversLand to give you the goods on wedding dress shopping.

How far in advance of a wedding should you order your dress?
“This one has every bride stumped, but it is by FAR one of the most crucial details to know when shopping for your dream dress,” Reidy shares. “We recommend giving yourselfeight months to order your dress. This allows enough time for the designer to make your dress, ship it, and for your seamstress to do alternations. Give yourself plenty of time; this way you can avoid rush fees (these can cost a pretty penny). Remember, you aren’t the only bride in the world getting married.”

What is the minimum amount of time required for a dress? What if you are getting married in six months or less?
“Don't worry if your wedding is six months or sooner from your engagement,” Gulic says. “Depending on availability from our designer(s), we are able to accommodate rush orders. In our store, we have a great selection of ready-to-wear options you can buy off the rack, or sample gowns in great condition! Our designers can usually accommodate a rush order (there may be a fee, depending on the designer and the date of your wedding).

How many fittings are generally required to get the dress fitted perfectly?
“Depending on the gown and fit, one or two fittings are generally required,” Gulic explains. Here’s a pro-trip I love to share with brides: it can be difficult to imagine how a dress will look when you have your hot pink thong illuminating under it, or your black bra straps poking out. For your fittings, wear skin-tone undergarments and a strapless bra, even better if they are the ones you are going to wear on your wedding day! We can also help with that and make recommendations of what to shop for before you come for a fitting.”

When should a bride be picking up her wedding dress?
“It depends on the ordering time before the wedding,” Reidy says. “In most cases brides pick up their gowns from their seamstress one week before their wedding.”

What are some other insider tips of expertise you can share about wedding gown shopping?
“Our most important piece of advice is to do you homework,” both Reidy and Gulic agree. “Raid your friends’ Instagrams, re-pin on Pinterest, collect up magazine tear sheets. Look for commonalities in silhouettes, fabrics, and detailing to help establish your overall vibe and then bring these ideas to your appointments. You also have to come in with an idea of cost and budget. A dress made specifically for you, that incorporates natural silks, fine lace, or beadwork, does cost a pretty penny! So before you set a budget, try to do some research on the creative process involved with producing a wedding gown. Trust your instincts when you do set out shopping, you know what feels you and it’s your wedding! We always suggest leaving the entourage at home and bring only one or two key people with you who are supportive and will give you an honest answer on what they love and don’t love on you. Lastly, remember the experience of gown shopping is FUN! And so is wedding planning and your wedding day, don’t forget to enjoy it all.”


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