bride getting ready

Photo: Bernadette Pollard

Once you’ve found "the one," it’s time to find the other one, a.k.a. the wedding dress of your dreams. Shopping for a wdding dress, however, requires a little more work than simply grabbing your favorite style off the rack. Shopping for a wedding dress is a very different experience than shopping for everyday clothing.

Expert bridal consultants shared their top tips on what NOT to do while wedding dress shopping. 

Q: What is a common mistake you see brides make while they’re wedding dress shopping?


“We have seen brides limit their selections because of what they have seen in a picture or because they are uncomfortable with certain silhouettes when they haven’t even seen them on...it’s okay to experiment with different silhouettes, details and designs you may have never thought of.” -Jen Arredia of Reddington Bridal in Park Ridge, Illinois

“They do not have a budget established for their wedding gown. This is important to know so that they are honest with the stylist about what they can spend, there is nothing worse than falling in love with a gown that is much too expensive for you.” -Terri Espy of Gown Boutique of Charleston in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

“When brides are overwhelmed, they tend to mistakenly follow the opinions of family and friends.” -Diane Bond of White of Dublin in Dublin, Ohio

bride getting ready

Photo: Jason Burns Photography

Q: What is something brides don’t know before beginning the dress shopping process but should?


“The most significant pieces of information brides should know is the timeframe of getting a custom gown...this way you know when to be shopping and won’t miss the opportunity of a certain gown because of the production time.” -Ivy Kaplin of Lovely Bride Philly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“Bridal gowns are sized differently than regular store sizing and all designers have their own size charts. Brides are sometimes shocked when the size ordered can be up to two sizes bigger than what they would normally buy in a regular store. Knowing this little bit of information can prevent a bride from feeling bad about her body image.” -Diane Bond of White of Dublin in Dublin, Ohio

“Just because a bridal shop is listed for carrying a certain designer it does not mean every single dress by that designer is in store for them to try on. Call the shop ahead of time, see if they carry that sample, it is the best way to help narrow down your search and see who had the biggest selection of what you’re looking for.” -Jen Arredia of Reddington Bridal in Park Ridge, Illinois

“Having your gown selected and on order nine months prior to the wedding date leaves sufficient time without having added stress and having to rush the gown and alterations process.” -Terri Espy of Gown Boutique of Charleston in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

bride getting ready

Photo: Melvin Gilbert Photography

Q: Who shouldn't the bride bring with her when she goes dress shopping for the very first time?


“Anyone who does not share your vision and personal style; be sure they understand your style/look you desire on your wedding day.” -Nayri K. of Lovella Bridal in Glendale, California

“People who might be hurtful in their words or too focused on themselves are not good guests during bridal appointments.” -Ivy Kaplin of Lovely Bride Philly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“Every bride’s support system is different. Some brides should really come alone to shop for their dress. Others benefit from a close family member only. And some brides trust a close friend over their family members.” -Diane Bond of White of Dublin in Dublin, Ohio

Q: What should a bride NOT forget to do before her first fitting?


“Make sure to have your shoes finalized! Your wedding shoes determine the length of your dress. You don’t want to pay to have your hem done multiple times. Pick a shoe that fits your dress and is comfortable for you. Be sure not to change your shoe after your first fitting unless it is the EXACT same heel height.” -Nayri K. of Lovella Bridal in Glendale, California

“Don’t forget to wear whatever you are comfortable in.” -Jen Arredia of Reddington Bridal in Park Ridge, Illinois

“If there is someone the bride feels like she cannot buy a dress without, that person should be present at every appointment.” -Ivy Kaplin of Lovely Bride Philly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

bride getting ready

Photo: Reese Moore Weddings

Q: What is a big misconception brides have about wedding dress shopping?


“That wedding gowns can come in right away when ordered, they think that the gown in their size is already manufactured and ready to ship! Also, that alterations are not needed…every gown almost always needs some altering to fit her perfectly!” -Terri Espy of Gown Boutique of Charleston in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

“Brides believe that they will feel a euphoric ‘this is the one’ feeling when trying on their wedding gown. However, it is often times a process of elimination between a few dresses. Brides are inundated with Pinterest, bridal television shows, etc. that overwhelm them with so many different styles. It can be confusing for a bride with all of the media influence.” -Diane Bond of White of Dublin in Dublin, Ohio

“It’s not about the sale. There is a huge misconception about the bridal business being pushy. Not all shops are sharks.” -Jen Arredia of Reddington Bridal in Park Ridge, Illinois

bride getting dressed

Photo: Misha Media Photography

Q: Do you have any final tips or advice?


“A trained bridal consultant should be able to help you define what shape and style look best on your body. A beautiful bride is a bride that is wearing a gown that is the best proportion and shape for her body.” -Terri Espy of Gown Boutique of Charleston in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

“Enjoy the journey of your wedding planning process and be open to ideas that you may not have envisioned.” -Nayri K. of Lovella Bridal in Glendale, California

“Enjoy the experience! You are trying on gorgeous gowns and will be marrying the man you love…it’s an exciting time…don’t forget that!” -Ivy Kaplin of Lovely Bride Philly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania