our guide to finding THE dress

In our “what to do to start planning your wedding” guide, we told you to focus on some other stuff before running out and trying on every dress you can find. Well, now the time has come! Are you so excited?? Finding your perfect dress is a big deal, and we want to make sure your shopping experience is as fabulous as the gown. First, check out some of the wedding gown trends we predict for 2012.

Then, make sure to keep these key points in mind when shopping for THE dress:

Timing is important.

You should ideally start shopping for your dress about 9 months before the wedding date, but definitely give yourself at least 6 months. If you find yourself short on time, that’s okay, but be sure to budget for rush fees. Many designers will ask for three fittings so that they can tailor your dress. Be sure to bring your wedding shoes and undergarments along to those fittings.

Appointments- make them, even if not required.

Most bridal boutiques require an appointment, so make sure to book in advance to avoid having to wait for more than an hour. That wouldn’t be fun at all!

Where to find THE dress.

Check out bridal boutiques. In San Francisco, our favorites are Amy Kushel, Jin Wang, Jinza Couture Bridal, and  if you’re out in the East Bay, Clarissa Bridal Salon in Walnut Creek.

If you’re looking for a custom designer, we highly recommend Suzzane over at Atelier Des Modistes.

Buying a dress off the rack at a sample sale might be a good option if you’re on a tighter budget or dealing with time constraints. In the SF Bay Area, we recommend Glamour Closet for finding fabulous gowns off the rack. Remember, if you’re buying off the rack, budget money for taking the dress to a good tailor.

“I have no idea what I’m looking for!”

That’s okay, you’ll find it! Even if you have an idea of what you want, we suggest still trying on something totally different, too. You never know! To give you a head start, flip through bridal magazines and check out websites. Bookmark or print pictures of dresses you like, and show them to the bridal consultant. Also, make sure your gown fits in with your wedding style. If it’s a beach wedding, maybe go for something more flowy and re-consider the extra-long train.

See here for some gorgeous gowns.

Your “search party”.

You may be thinking of brining everyone and their mom (literally) to come wedding dress shopping with you. Your family, friends, their families….while it sounds like it might be fun, trust us, it’s not. It can be overwhelming and you want to avoid too many cooks in the kitchen. Our advice is to limit the amount of people that come with you. Ugh, that’s hard! Yep, it can be. But think about this: who knows you best? Who would support you in your decision and not judge you? We suggest limiting the number of people that come dress shopping with you to no more than 3. And a little note: if someone else LOVES the dress on you, most certainly doesn’t mean you should love it too. Your day, your dress.

Bring a camera and ask to take pictures.

Most boutiques will allow you to take photos of you in your gown, but always ask first. Oftentimes, you might find multiple gowns that you like, but just aren’t quite sure. We suggest you sleep on it. Take some pictures of your favorite dresses, and compare them. If you can’t take photos, have someone jot down the designer and dress number so you can find it online.

How will you know it’s the one?

For most of us, finding “the one” might have taken some time (yes, we’re talking about that wonderful fiancé of yours!) Same thing might happen with your dress. The first one you try on may not be the one, keep your options open and keep looking. And then…there it is. It’ll just feel right, like the day you knew you wanted to marry this person.

You should feel comfortable (make sure you can dance, sit in the dress, still be able to breathe and eat!) Most importantly, your dress should make you feel absolutely beautiful and confident.

Happy shopping and have fun!

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5 thoughts on “our guide to finding THE dress

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