After the excitement of your engagement settles and you’ve picked your venue, it’s finally time for the moment every bride waits for: dress shopping! While this is definitely one of the most fun parts of wedding planning, it can also be one of the most stressful if you head into the experience unprepared. To ensure dress success and a dream shopping experience, we asked Andrea Anastasiou fashion stylist and owner of White, Toronto and White, Montreal what you should start thinking about before even scheduling that first atelier appointment.
1. Keep to a schedule. “I advise brides to schedule the start of the dress-shopping process eight to 10 months from the wedding day. This allows you to visit various shops and keeps you from stressing about ordering time once you find the dress you love. This time frame also helps brides factor in final details like the alterations, which are just as crucial to the process.”
2. Know that your venue will dictate your wedding style. “You must consider what type of venue you are getting married in and what type of dress is suitable to the setting,” Anastastiou says. “If you’re tying the knot on a tropical island you are going to want to avoid wearing a full ballgown with a never-ending train. If you’ve having a big wedding with a black-tie theme, you will want to kick up the wow factor to another level. Venue and wedding style have a huge connection!”
3. Prepare to share your research and ideas. “This is the first thing you need to do when you meet with your retailer and consultant so be prepared,” Anastasiou explains. “You should have a good idea of what you like and what you don’t. Once you begin working with your consultant, don’t be afraid to trust some of the suggestions he or she will give you. You may find these suggestions lead you to a dream dress you would never have considered, which makes for a totally amazing shopping experience.”
4. Think carefully about who to bring shopping with you. “Limit your first bridal appointment to your bestie or a few people you really trust,” Anastasiou says. “There’s nothing worse than having a disappointing first experience trying on dresses, and then getting overwhelmed by other people’s opinions. Everything about your first appointment should be happy.”
5. Keep your budget in mind. “It’s important to have your budget in mind at all times as well as a realistic idea of what you are willing to spend on your wedding dress,” Anastasiou stresses. “You need to share this with your bridal consultant who will help keep the budget on track and prevent the shopping experience from being a frustrating one. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a gown that you can’t afford and then forever comparing every other gown you try to it. Save yourself the heartache.”