How to Shop for a Wedding Dress, Part 1

posted in: FAQs, Tips & Tricks | 6

It’s bridal season, which means that thousands of you newly engaged brides (congrats!) are starting your wedding planning! It can be a daunting process, for sure, but we find that the timelines and checklists provided in the national bridal magazines are really helpful. They’ll give you great guidelines for chosing vendors and budget tips as well. But as for dress shopping, where do you start? After all of our years in the business, we’ve come up with some helpful guidelines on how to shop for a wedding dress.

First, it’s fun to look around online at wedding dresses, just to get ideas. We’re obsessed with Pinterest, too, so you could start a wedding dress board, and then share it with your Strut stylist when you come shopping! Keep in mind that dresses you find online might not be available in the States, in your budget or size, or you might not even like them once you try it on, but we are always happy to look at inspiration images when you come shopping.

Before you go wedding dress shopping we generally have three recommendations:

1. Have a venue chosen. Yes, you could pick the dress first, but what happens if you chose an amazing blinged out satin ballgown and then decide to get married on the beach? Sure, you could wear it there, but we’ve heard of too many brideswho have had to buy a second dress to fit their venue!

2. Have a firm date.  You’ve probably heard that you should buy your wedding dress a year in advance, and that’s totally true. So when you come wedding dress shopping at Strut, we want to know if we have time to order a wedding gown, if we need to do a rush or find an in stock, ready to wear option.

3. Have a dress budget, and know who is paying for it. With the average wedding dress running about $1200, it’s important to know what your wedding dress budget is. While we have great payment plans, we never want to have you fall in love with a dress that’s just beyond what you can afford to pay. If you think mom (or someone else) is buying or helping with the cost, it’s a good idea to ask before you come shopping.

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We know that there are always exceptions to these guidelines with our brides, so we do try to be flexible. But we don’t want to waste your time finding the perfect wedding dress only to have you get confused at the end because you haven’t chosen a venue yet!

Stay tuned for Part Two of wedding dress shopping.

6 Responses

    • acampeau

      Lisa, blue is a popular color right now by couture designers. You could also look for a quince gown, or consider dying a wedding dress blue!

  1. chioma

    I am plump with a full bust and have a nice figure. I have also got big upper arms. I am trying to find a design that will be flattering to my shape without having to wear sleeves.

    • acampeau

      Chioma, there are lots of options and tricks of the trade to help you find a flattering gown without having to wear sleeves. Give us a call if you’d like to visit one of our stores!

  2. Andrea

    I plan on coming in for the sample sale but have never tried on dresses before. What do I need to bring with me (if anything)?
    Thanks!

    • acampeau

      Andrea, you’re welcome to bring photos of dresses you like, from magazines or on Pinterest. You don’t need to bring a bra (ours are great, if you’re between 38C and 50DD). You don’t need to bring shoes, unless you’ve already bought *the* shoes since we’ll put you on a platform. And if you think you’ll want to try a fitted or flowy style, you might want to bring Spanx or a tummy sucker/girdle. That’s it! Let us know if you have any other questions!

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