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A to Z with T&C: Everything You Need to Know About Finding Your Wedding Dress – Part 1

Shopping for the most important dress you will ever wear can be overwhelming and incredible at the same time. But there is so much to know and we are here to help. Our next three blog posts will be all the A to Z’s of shopping for wedding dresses. You deserve your experience to be the most special shopping experience you have ever had, but being educated will also ease your nerves and make you feel confident in your decision. So here we go…

A – Alterations – When it comes to alterations, in-house may not always be best. If you feel comfortable with the seamstress at the salon, definitely consider that option. However, many independent seamstresses will specialize in wedding dresses, and you might save money too. After all, a bridal store will want to make money on their in house seamstress, which could mean that you pay more.  

Also, make sure to plan ahead for the when you’ll be getting the alterations done. We recommend starting your alterations about 3 months before the wedding.  Plan to attend multiple fittings, and while you don’t want to get them done too early (in case your weight changes, for example), you want to allow plenty of time before the final alteration so that you have time for any last-minute changes. You have enough going on in those final weeks before the wedding, squeezing in your dress fittings should not add to that stress!

B – Budget – It is so helpful to set a realistic budget for the gown and make sure to communicate this to your stylist from the very beginning – you don’t want to fall in love with a dress that’s outside your budget! But a realistic budget is so challenging in the Pinterest world that we live in. You see the same incredible gowns over and over and assume they are within reach only to discover they cost the same price as a new car! UGH! Just remember that your dress and the impact that it will have on your day and those memories will last a lifetime. But will your guests really remember your flowers, those matching napkins, and all the money you spent on steak instead of chicken? If you fall in love with a dress that is outside your budget, there is likely room in the wedding budget to make your dream a reality. If you’re not the one who is paying for the dress, it’s also important to be on the same page when it comes to what they’re comfortable spending and make sure that’s established prior to trying on gowns!

C – Customizations – Sometimes customizing a dress can help make it the perfect dress just for you – adding sleeves, changing the neckline, extending a train, changing the color – we have even taken the top of one gown and put it on the skirt of another! However, it’s important to inquire whether any customization you’re interested in can be done directly by the designer or will need to be done by a seamstress in alterations and what the associated costs will be. Here at T & C, we are so fortunate to work with so many designers that can do such incredible customizations for our amazing brides. Many of our brides discover their inner wedding dress designer!

D – Drinks and food – We know that shopping for your dress is an endurance sport and you will get thirsty and hungry. But please take care of that before you get to the bridal salon. Do not bring any food or drink when shopping for a wedding dress – most stores have a “no food or drink allowed” policy. For the protection of their beautiful gowns, please respect this policy and request the same of your guests coming with you. At T & C, we serve all our bridal appointment guests a champagne, mimosa, or bottled water. But, please, don’t bring anything else with you.  

E – Events – A great way to familiarize yourself with different designers and their collections is by attending trunk shows. Trunk shows are special events that salons will host to feature a specific designer and where you’ll be able to see the newest designs! You may also get access to an expanded collection for that designer and normally there is a special discount during this event too! Make sure to sign up to receive e-mails from your local or favorite bridal salons so you’ll be sure to know when trunk shows and events are happening in your area! Appointments during popular trunk shows usually get snatched up quickly, so schedule that appointment as soon as possible.  

F – Fabrics – Prior to trying on dresses for the first time, make sure to do some research online about the types of fabrics used in bridal gowns and which you might prefer. Tulle, Chiffon, Organza, Satin, Lace, Crepe, Taffeta – all fabrics behave differently, so find the fabrics that make your feel beautiful. It will help when narrowing down the types of dresses you’d like to try on so you are not so overwhelmed, and also you can get an idea ahead of time about the types of fabric that will cost more and what is within your budget. At your bridal appointment, you will be working with a bridal stylist that can answer all your questions about fabrics. Don’t hesitate to ask questions!

G – Guests – Deciding who to bring (or not!) wedding dress shopping with you can be especially challenging. Some brides may choose to bring along family members as well as several bridesmaids. While having your close friends there can be a lot of fun, make sure to take into consideration the location – will there be enough space for everyone you’d like to invite? – and whether having that many opinions is helpful to you or will only hinder your decision-making. Decide what’s best for YOU and don’t worry about what others will think. At the end of the day, this is a big decision (emotionally and financially!) and you want to feel as comfortable and confident as possible.  

H – Hair – Thinking about how you want to style your hair for the big day can help when it comes to envisioning your entire look for your Best Day Ever! A gown with a low back might complement an up-do more than wearing your hair down. And how does your hairstyle fit with the style of dress you’re choosing, such as a princess ball gown vs. a sexy dramatic show stopper.  

If you’re a visual person and want to be on the safe side, consider styling your hair in the way you have in mind for the day you go try on gowns. That way you’ll be able to see how both come together and know what to expect!

I – Images – It’s important to consider what your dress will look like in photographs and how it completes your vision for that day. Have someone in your party take photos of your favorite dresses while you’re trying them on so you can take a peek during your appointment. Don’t be afraid to ask your bridal stylist to help with “fluffing” the train so that you can see how well the dress performs in pictures too.  If a salon has a No Photos policy, please be respectful of this policy – personally, we would recommend leaving this salon immediately as we don’t agree with a no photo policy at all 😉 The images your photographer captures will last a lifetime – these will be photos you will show your kids someday and you want them to be timeless!

Make sure to check out our next post for more of our A to Z series!

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