How Do I Buy My Wedding Dress? Tips and Tricks to Find The One!

It’s time!! It’s time to find THE dress. The dress that makes you feel like a princess, a goddess, the one that will make you glow with bridal glory on your wedding day. Dramatic? Maybe. Necessary? Completely. But where to start? Today’s blog will take you through the ins and outs of dress buying. You’ll be covered from veil to train!!

Jenny Roc Photography


We always want you to be empowered with any and all of the knowledge you may need to make the best decision for YOU! Be sure to take these tips and any other questions you may have to your bridal shopping day so you aren’t caught by any surprises. So let’s dive right in and get you ready to say yes to that dress!!!

  • Timeline: Dresses can take anywhere from 4-7 months to be ready if you’re ordering and not buying right off the rack. Some shops won’t even let you buy right off the rack – you need to order them specifically for you. Be sure to ask how long it will take for your dream dress to come in and leave at least three months for alterations. If your timeline is shorter be sure to call stores you’re interested in and ask if they do off the rack sales or can make a special order work.

  • Make an appointment! Not only is this the kind thing to do for the shop you’re visiting, but it’s sometimes even required. “Appointments necessary” is not unheard of! It will help you and your bridal stylist have a smooth and fun experience.

  • When picking who to bring, consider bringing SUPPORTIVE (key word, supportive) and close family and friends. Some bridal salons may have a limit to how many people you can bring, so be sure to clarify when you make your appointment. The opinions you bring with should be ones you trust and make sure that if you NEED mom to be there to make any financial or style decisions, that she’s there!

  • Be honest with your stylist about your budget so you only get shown dresses you know you will be financially comfortable purchasing. We always find it best to try on dresses that already work within your budget so not to cause extra strain on the day. More expensive does not necessarily mean a “the better dress”. Go with the price point you are comfortable with and stick to it, I promise you, you do not want that kind of heartbreak if you find something you know you won’t be able to get.

Anna So Photography


  • Having trouble matching a style to your body type? Check out this great guide to find the best dress shape!

  • Make sure to pin some inspiration photos before you go, that way you can show your bridal consultant what you're looking for. Don’t worry if you can’t find the WHOLE dress you are in love with for your inspo photos. If you like certain aspects of different dresses, put all those photos together and your stylist can help bring that concept to life!

  • Remember to listen to your stylist! They do this all day, every day. Lot’s of times a dress might not look like anything special on the hanger, but once it’s on that gorgeous body it has a whole new appeal!! Your stylist will know how those dresses transform and they may suggest something completely out of left field that they think might work with your figure and BAM, it’ll be the ONE.

  • We recommend booking no more than two appointments a day. If you are the type of girl that knows what she wants, is on a mission and knows you’re going to shop till you either drop or find the right one, then get you that all-day shopping fest!! But what we want to help you avoid is maybe finding that dress earlier in the day and being too tired after your 3rd, 4th or 5th shop to go back and get it. You don’t want to miss out on the dress of your dreams in the first shop because you're so exhausted from the day. Those long shopping days can be extremely overwhelming.

Lindsey Alaine Photography

  • Remember to wear neutral colored underwear, bra, Spanx (any of those underthings!) if you plan on wearing them at all. In fact, be sure to bring anything you’re planning on wearing on wedding day. That means you might want to bring a couple different bra styles (unless you plan to go without one), any underwear options, and accessories (jewelry, hair pieces, and shoes). Wearing what you would like to wear for your wedding day will help you visualize styles without your hot pink Hello Kitty underwear distracting you from the overall look.

  • Consider leaving time to eat between appointments. Nobody wants a hangry bride!

  • You are on mission to find what is probably your favorite and fanciest dress you will ever have on. The vibe is not quite complete with the messy bun from the night before. We aren't saying don't be comfortable, but it really helps you "know" when the right dress shows up with just a little bit of hair and makeup. Plus you'll be taking photos so you want to be photo ready.

  • PRO TIP: Two birds, one stone. Schedule your hair and make-up trial the morning of dress shopping. That way you get the “whole look”!

  • Did you know that there are multiple shades of “white”? Most dresses you see are actually ivory. Think about being open to all shades of white, you never know what a shade might look like until it’s right next to your skin. Also many lace overlay will be on the hanger in a darker ivory to showcase the details. This does not mean your dress will be that color, so be sure to ask if you have a preference.

  • Speaking of color - feeling adventurous? Try on that black gown in the store! Or red! Or whatever color you’re dreaming of. My friend got married in a purple gown because purple is her die hard color - it was glorious! Be you, boo!!

  • Remember, this is your dress. Not your mom’s, not your best friend’s, not your cousin’s. You want to feel comfortable, confident and beautiful!!

  • Do you feel comfortable, confident, and beautiful? That’s how you know it’s the one. Tears are not necessary. You’ll know it’s the one when you feel like the gorgeous woman you are!


Exclusive Lens Photography


Honorable Mention: Alterations

  • Alterations typically begin about three months before your big day and can be perfected up until a week or so before your wedding. Be sure to calculate plenty of time between when your dress will arrive, how long alterations will take and when your wedding day is.

  • Size Up! When ordering your dress, consider buying a size larger than you're expecting. It’s better to have more material to work with and take in than to not have enough material to make it comfortable.

  • Is your ordered dress slightly on the tight side? Did you know that a beautiful corset closing can be added to the back of most dresses to make it fit just right? Don’t panic - wonders can be done with the right alterations team.

  • Just like when you brought these items to your dress buying experience, remember to bring your accessories, undergarments and shoes to your fittings.

  • We recommend bringing a bridesmaid or trusted friend to your final fitting to record a video and practice how to bustle your dress. Bustling a dress is a whole thing - it can be super simple or utterly complex. Best to have multiple eyes and ideally the person that will be bustling your dress on wedding day there, learning from the person who created it.

Blak and Tammy Photography


Honorable Mention: Veils

Veils are completely a personal choice. Short, dress length, cathedral length or even go no veil and get a cape or have nothing at all! Play with all different styles at your appointment and don’t worry about making a final decision. Veils don’t often need altering so you can choose one closer to your wedding date if you’re unsure. Also, consider bustling your veil so that you can wear it all night long!



In closing, I am going to repeat two points I’ve already made - just to make sure you hear them! 1) This is YOUR dress, not anybody else’s. Get what YOU want, not what others think you should get. 2) Do you feel comfortable, confident, and beautiful? That’s how you know it’s the one. Make sure that you feel like the gorgeous goddess you are - you know you will feel spectacular when everyone looks down the aisle as you make your grand entrance! You got this girl - now, go find the one!


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