1. Start your search about nine months to a year prior to your wedding date
Designer gowns should be ordered six to nine months in advance to ensure there is enough time for delivery and alterations If you want to customize your dress by adding beading or lace or by modifying the neckline or train, it can take even longer, so plan accordingly.
2. Come up with a realistic budget
Just because you have $1,500 set aside for your wedding dress doesn't necessarily mean that you can buy a $1,500 gown. Factor in tax, shipping (if you're not buying off-the-rack) and alterations. Some salons cap alterations at a certain amount whereas others charge a flat fee. Most salons require a deposit that accounts for 50% of the ticket price of the gown — pay by credit card so that you have a record of the payment in case problems arise.
3. Narrow down your favorite wedding dresses in a private Pinterest board
Browse hundreds of the latest styles in BG's gown gallery and pin your favorites. Then take a step back and look for similarities amongst the dresses.
4. Consider scheduling your appointment on a weekday
When there are fewer crowds, and you may get more time to shop. If you have a personal day to spare, or even a half day, it might be worth taking off work to go gown shopping at 1 p.m. on a Tuesday or another off-peak time. That way, you can get the best service and attention possible from the sales staff.
5. Limit your dress shopping entourage
Although it might be tempting to poll everyone on what will be the most important fashion purchase of your life, the more people you invite, the greater the chance that you'll end up overwhelmed or confused. Bridal consultants advise selecting two or three loved ones (five at the max), to accompany you to gown appointments.
6. Keep an open mind when trying on gowns
A dress that seems so-so on the hanger may end up looking spectacular once you actually try it on your body. On the flip side, a gown that you've been pining over online might fall flat in person.
7. Give your gown consultant constructive feedback and your dress-shopping experience will remain exciting, rather than becoming exhausting or stressful after the first five or six dresses. Don't make the mistake of keeping your thoughts to yourself out of fear that you'll hurt their feelings. Your stylist needs to know if you dislike poufy ball gowns or if you love the skirt of one dress but not the bodice so they can choose options that are more on-target for your style.
8. Test how comfortable a prospective gown is by moving around in it
Sit down, dance, and walk up and down the store aisles. Follow your gut: Choose a dress that is flattering to your body, rather than what is trending. If you have to keep pulling up the top because you're worried about a wardrobe malfunction, do yourself a favor and skip it. If a gown is so tight that breathing seems like a luxury, ditch that too.
9. Don't get hung up on the dress size
Which may be two sizes bigger than your normal, everyday clothing. When it's time to buy, you will order the dress that comes closest to your size and have it altered or custom-made for you. It's always safer to order based on your current bust, waist, and hip measurements, rather than sizing down and counting on the fact that you'll slim down in time for the big day.
10.Choose the dress that feels right for you.
You should feel beautiful and confident in your wedding gown; only you can make the right choice, not your maid of honor, Mom, or whomever else. Unsure if it's truly "The One?" Try adding a veil to help get yourself in the wedding-day mindset and see if you could imagine yourself walking down the aisle in this dress. If the answer is "yes" and you don't want to take it off, that's a sure sign that your search is over!