• Gladys Olivia Murray

5 Things to Do Before You Say Yes to the Dress

So you're engaged! You're planning a wedding, and there are a million details flying through your mind. From picking a date, to choosing your bridesmaids and finding a venue, it's easy for one of the most important elements to get pushed back on your to-do list: finding a dress! And not just a dress, THE dress.

Interestingly enough, several people asked me about this specific component, and I had an "I'll get to it when I get to it" mindset. Thankfully, I had a few people in my corner who implored me to start the dress search this month, and as a result, I have 5 significant pointers to share that will make your experience enjoyable, efficient, and stress-free!

#1 Do Your Research

In 2019, there are countless styles of wedding gowns. From various silhouettes, to different fabrics, textures, and colors, it's important to research all of your options and identify the styles/features that stick out to you the most. If you recognize that you want a sweetheart neckline, dramatic train, ballgown silhouette, or satin fabric, this will help narrow down the type of dress you're looking for and make finding your dress a much more efficient process.

If you have no idea what you want to look like, you're in good company, because I didn't either! So, I created a wedding dress Pinterest Board and pinned gowns that I liked, period--regardless of the style. Once I did this, I was able to go back to my board and note the similarities between most of the gowns I was pinning. This will help you identify the style you didn't know you wanted! If you go back to your board and realize that most of the gowns you like are bardot, lace, and mermaid--this will steer you in the right direction when it's time to communicate what you're looking for.

Tip: Print or send photos of the dresses you love to your bridal styling consultant.

#2 Set Your Budget

I mean, can you really put a price on what it takes to feel like the most breathtaking woman in the room on the biggest day of your life? According to my mom, YES. lol The truth is, a lot of the beautiful Instagram wedding dresses we see are THOUSANDS of dollars. So while we can use them as a guide to help us eye a style we like, if you want your dress to look exactly like that or come from the same designer, be prepared to pay top dollar.

On the contrary, if you are a budget-conscious bride who believes in drawing the line somewhere, set your overall wedding budget, gather price quotes for various line items (Photographer, DJ, Catering, Cake, Venue, etc.), and see how much you can realistically allocate to the line item of your dress. Also, feel free to cut back on your budget for other line items if having more money for your dress is more important to you.

Tip: Keep in mind that if a dress is right at the amount you budgeted for, you will still need to pay taxes plus the cost of alterations.

#2a Don't Try on Dresses That Aren't In Your Budget

There were a few dresses that caught my eye that the styling consultant let me know exceeded my budget. If it was more than $200-$300 dollars in price difference, I did not try it on. What you don't want to do is try on a gown that you absolutely adore but is WAY more than you planned on spending. Stick to dresses in your budget and choose the one you love, that's in your budget!

#3 Book Appointments at Multiple Stores

I had no idea that booking appointments was a no brainer when it came to beginning the dress search. I thought I would just stroll into the store and look at gowns on a whim. However, most bridal salons REQUIRE appointments, and they only service a few brides at a time to keep the experience intimate and cater to you and your guests. When you book an appointment, you are securing a bridal consultant to aid you throughout your entire time there. They will help you pick dresses, help you get INTO the dresses, and answer all of the questions you have about sizing, price, production time, alterations, accessories, etc.

Tip: Look up what bridal boutiques are in your area, and then call each store and ask for the price range of gowns they carry. This way, you don't end up wasting time at a bridal boutique that carries little to no dresses within your budget.

#3a Split Up Your Appointments Between Two Different Days

This will keep you from wearing you and your crew out. Instead of jumping from appointment to appointment every 2 hours, make it a girls day, have a lunch date, chat about wedding stuff, and visit 2-3 boutiques. Then, reconvene either the next day or the next weekend and visit the remainder of appointments.

#4 Bring a Tight-Knit Support Group

This is one of the most precious memories that will forever be etched in your heart! Go with at least two people who are near and dear to you, but will be honest with you. This isn't the time to have an amen corner--if you want honest feedback, don't bring people who will say they like everything you try on, or those who have an indifferent "if you like it I love it" mindset.

Also, know that too many opinions can be overwhelming. I believe that 3 is a perfect number that allows for a tie-breaker if need be, but I wouldn't exceed 5. I brought my mom, sister, and best friend, and they were the perfect combo.

Tip: Plan ahead and ask for the availability of those you know you want to accompany you. Then see what appointments are available on those dates and go from there.

#4a Go to All of Your Appointments

Don't say yes to your favorite dress at the first store you visit. Yes, you like it. Yes, it's in your budget. But you still have an appointment at 3 other bridal stores--so visit those stores and try on their gowns before you make a final decision. You might find something you love even more!

#5a Try On Various Styles, Even If You Think You Know What You Want

There are some dresses that look way better on a body than they do on a hanger--don't count them out! There were dresses I wouldn't have taken to the dressing room that I let my consultant pull and they were BEAUTIFUL on. You could very well end up choosing a dress that you didn't foresee yourself falling in love with.

#5b Don't Let Anybody Pressure You Into Making a Purchase Decision

We all know salespeople can be very persuasive, and sometimes they make valid points. However, this is YOUR money girl, and you should not pull out your credit card until you have 100% peace about buying THAT dress. If there is any inkling of uncertainty, DON'T BUY IT. Your mom may love it; your friend may love it, but at the end of the day, if YOU are second guessing it--it's not the one. You'll know beyond a shadow of doubt when you have found YOUR dress.

Final Tip: Take Plenty of Pictures and Videos in Each Gown!

This will allow you to go back and see if you truly love what you look like in that dress. Also, it's great to have the memories. Snap some photos with your loved ones who accompany you as well.

I was literally on a high after finding the dress that made me feel like a Queen #MurrayingAKing! I hope these tips are an excellent aid in your dress shopping experience. Happy Wedding Planning, 2019/2020 Brides!

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