A Brief Guide to Bridal Dress Shopping: A Must-Have Resource for Any Bride Planning Her Big Day!


Forget the venue, the food, and even the groom! The ultimate highlight of every bride’s wedding is her dress. From the moment the lucky bride-to-be says YES and puts on that ring, she starts planning the wedding of her dreams down to the last details. But what takes center stage is the wedding dress – that one dress that will make or break every bride’s day. So, where to start? What to go for? How to choose the right dress? All these questions must be going through your head if it’s time to go for the “big” shopping spree. Fortunately, you won’t have to put up with looking at dresses you don’t like. Since, with our complete guide, the only thing you’ll find when you go shopping is the wedding gown of your dreams. 

When to start shopping and how? 

To set your bridal dress shopping timeline, you first need to know how long you have until your wedding? While it’s natural to jump right to the dress the moment you get engaged, there’s no use getting a dress if you are on a two-year wedding mark. Experts recommend that brides start dress hunting at least eight to ten weeks before their big day. That’s because made-to-order can sometimes take up to six to eight months to be ready. So, you better hit the stores about ten months before if your wedding is a year away. Start searching for design ideas and inspiration, the designers you’ve got your eyes on, and the stores that will meet your expectations. You can also check online stores for their bridal dresses collection. It will give you a rough idea about the cost and the latest trends.

Plan your wedding dress budget

No matter how much we want to go all-out when buying the “perfect” dress, it’s best to stick to a budget. It’s uncanny to talk about numbers, but bridal gowns don’t come cheap, especially if you are going for a designer. Therefore, be upfront about your budget, whether it’s to the person who will be paying or the store. Wasting your tears on a $10,000 dress when your budget is close to $3k is a no-go and will only lead to heartbreak. Are you on a tight budget but can’t do without a designer dress? Try dresses from previous seasons or sample sales as they offer choices for every budget

Consider your preference and wedding theme

The wedding theme and setting will have an undeniable effect on the choice of the wedding dress. Whether it’s an outdoor wedding or a casual affair, your gown should complete the theme you are going for. Therefore, decide on a wedding theme before you go shopping and your personal preferences such as your body shape, the type of silhouettes you are going for, etc. Consider everything, the kind of fabric you want, the sleeves’ design, the train, the neckline, and even the waistline. Knowing which type of structure and design will best complement your body shape will help narrow down the search. 

Take the right support party

We cannot stress enough how important it is to take the right people along when going bridal dress shopping. Bringing along the entire crew is the epitome of going through a wedding dress disaster that ends in catfights, broken relations, and a whole lot of insecurities. So, the best bet is to leave the entourage at home and bring along your most trusted advisors only. Your support party should consist of no more than three to four of your closes people whom you know would give valuable input in choosing the right dress. You can bring along your mother, sister, best friend, and even the maid of honor who understands and respects your style. You shouldn’t feel pressured while shopping for your dream dress.  

Dive deep into finding the right place to shop

You’ve decided on a date, a budget, the type of dress, and the people to take – now it’s time to find the best shops. How to choose the best shops? It would be best to go to bridal shops that you know will appreciate your sense of style, what you desire in your dress and the budget. We recommend that you trim down to at least two or three for a better shopping experience among hundreds of shops. You can start your research online before booking an appointment by going through the potential shop’s websites, reviews, and the dresses they offer. You have various options, including bridal salons, consignment shops, sample sales, trunk sales, etc. Make phone calls if you have to, but you should know where to go when you step out for the big shopping spree. 

Get ready for your appointment

When you’ve shortlisted your options and compiled a list of dress preferences, it is now time to book an appointment. Even though many stores cater to a walk-in session, you should book an appointment ahead of time if you want to receive attention for the full allotted time. When going for your appointment, ensure that you carry everything you’ll need to help you select the dress. Take the design samples or your “inspiration” dress, if you have any, along with the accessories that you’d like to match with the dress. Also, wear clothing that’s easy to change out of so that you can try a bit of everything before making the big decision. While it’s great to rely on your instincts, it’s safe to say that you can also trust your sales assistants as they have experience in dealing with what brides want. 

Don’t just go with the flow

While it’s necessary to have an open mind while shopping for your wedding dress, it is also important that you don’t give in because of the pressure. Don’t let the sales assistant or your entourage force you to buy something you don’t like. Expand your horizons and explore your style by trying on a bit of everything without overwhelming yourself. You shouldn’t settle for less, even if the day ended with you visiting a dozen shops and coming out empty-handed. Your wedding dress will be the highlight of your wedding, so take your time and put your foot down for the right dress. 


While lavish wedding receptions and fancy gowns don’t exactly define what it means to become one with someone, it is something that every bride wishes for. Every bride-to-be fantasizes about going down the aisle with her love in a stunning gown as guests fawn over your bridal gown selection. However, the process isn’t easy and can get the bride stressed easily. Therefore, we’ve come up with an easy-to-follow guide that will make every bride’s wedding dress shopping experience worth the while. 

Written by Megan Taylor
Megan is a beauty expert who is passionate about all things makeup and glam! Her love for makeup has brought her to become a beauty pro at Glamour Garden Cosmetics.