Wedding Dress Shopping Tips
Hello lovely Sparrows, Megan here! With the help of some amazing friends, I'm giving some tips on how to have the best bridal gown shopping experience. In all honestly, I was quite nervous for my first bridal gown appointment. Although nearly every bride I had spoken to assured me it is an unforgettable experience, I had my doubts. Despite my hesitations and insecurities, I ended up finding my gown at the first appointment I had and did, in fact, have a wonderful time.
In efforts to help ease the minds of future brides, I headed down to Nashville to work with Camille from The Dress Theory, photographer Nicole Berrett, stylist Lindsey Zamora, and hair & makeup artist Amanda Gros. For all of you future brides, take note and fear not: I promise it is an amazing experience! And no, this is not MY bridal gown appointment. That has to be a secret, right?
When should you begin your search?
From Camille of The Dress Theory: “Shopping 7 to 10 months before your wedding is ideal! Both for the brides and the designers/boutiques. Under seven months there are some gowns we actually cannot order in time for our brides (no matter how badly we wish we could), or there might be rush fees. However, even if you are on a tight/short timeline that does not mean you have to avoid boutiques all together! You never know if we can sample sale your dream dress! And some designers have shorter timelines that still make beautiful, unique gowns.”
What undergarments should you wear?
“Skin tone/nude undergarments work best! Even though gowns are lined, hot pink, red, black, or any bold colors will show though in some dresses. If you’re feeling a little bit shy or modest, don't worry about us (we've seen it all) and we do this all day everyday. Just like someone in the medical profession, seeing brides in their undergarments does not make us uncomfortable. But, if you will feel a little less awkward at first in seamless undergarments, like Spanx, then definitely go for it!”
I’ll add that I went to my appointment wearing a hot pink bra, and yes, it was quite distracting! I also want to note that bridal gowns are way more supportive and lined than you think. Braless is often easier and results in a better fit and cups/padding can be added in!
Are there any items you suggest bringing with you?
“Champagne, ideas and anyone you feel like you must have there to help you decide!”
I loved this quote from Camille. My bridal gown appointment went by so much faster than I had imagined and I am so glad we stopped to soak it all in with a yummy mimosa (be sure to snap an iphone pic for memories and hide from the groom!). Speaking to the guests portion of her answer: we chatted about this as well. In her experience, bringing a whole entourage of mixed opinions much different than yours when you’re indecisive will NOT end well. Every single bride is different, but think for yourself and only bring the most important to your decision making process. There are plenty of other ways to involve loved ones like fittings, alterations, and dress pickup days!
Hair! How should you wear your tresses for your bridal appointment?
During my special day, I was in and out of dresses faster than a blink of an eye (for the ones I didn’t like anyway). I’d suggest pinning it up loosely or wearing it just down. Nothing too high maintenance! Don’t focus on the hair, that will become more apparent closer to your big day.
From Camille: “We hear about wedding day hairstyles a bit too much in our boutiques actually.Watching a bride fall in love with a gown and a friend who won't stop reminding her that she can't wear her hair down like she wanted with that dress is difficult to see. Especially because most brides are willing to wear their hair however looks best with their gown, and if you are thinking of hairstyle ideas before you have a dress the chances are you might fall in love with a dress that might look best with your hair a different way. And we really aren't ones for rules, so if you have a lace illusion neckline on the gown you love and you still want to wear your hair down, we say go for it! Whatever makes you feel most beautiful and confident that day is always the best decision!”
Is there any other advice you’d like to give brides for their first appointment?
“Booking at every shop in town when you are only interested in one boutique's style is only going to be exhausting. With pinterest and blogs brides generally have an idea of what they want, even if they think they don't. You'll surprise yourself! Shop at the boutique that is right for your style, if you find the gown celebrate and let it happen! Spend the rest of the day with your favorite people picking out bridesmaid dresses and jewelry, or finishing that bottle of Champagne!”
I’ll also add that bridal gown sizes run differently than street sizes, which is something that surprised me! If you have a boutique in mind, give them a call and ask what sizes they carry if you’re curious. Although the size conversion differs greatly from designer to designer, most boutiques carry dress sizes between 6 and 12, which can equate to between street sizes 4 and 10.
Thank you to the lovely and talented team for working on this project with us! Nicole Berrett Photography and Lindsey Zamora are both Wedding Sparrow approved vendors and proudly part of the Fine Art Curation.
Photography: Nicole Berrett Photography | Film Lab: Film Box | Styling: Lindsey Zamora | Dress Shop: The Dress Theory Nashville | Hair & Makeup: Amanda Gros | Model: Renee via Amax Talent | Gowns by Temperley London, Rue De Seine, Claire Pettibone, Sarah Seven, and Tara Keeley | Crown: vintage