10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping for a Wedding Dress

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping for a Wedding Dress

Shopping for a wedding dress can be a very exciting time for a bride-to-be. But it can also be a nightmare if they aren’t prepared for the process. There are many common mistakes that many brides-to-be make that can affect finding the perfect wedding dress.

We’ve compiled a list of the 10 most common mistakes and what you can do to avoid them. If you want to test your knowledge, you can take our quiz here.

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping for a Wedding Dress

1. Start Your Shopping Early

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Start Early

When it comes to shopping for a wedding dress, brides should ideally start looking at least 10 months prior to their wedding. You want to be sure you have enough time to order and receive your dress if necessary. When ordering, it should be no later than 6-7 months out from your wedding date. Bridal gowns are typically made-to-order, so if your lead time is less than 6 months, you may incur rush fees or risk not getting your dress in time.

On the other side of the argument, you don’t want to start shopping too early, either. If you start more than a year in advance, you may end up looking at too many dresses and not choose the perfect dress. It’s important to note that new styles are released around October and April, so it can be worth it to wait to avoid buyer’s remorse.

2. Choosing Your Entourage

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Choosing Your Entourage

We all know that buying the perfect wedding dress can be an overwhelming experience. Most brides-to-be want to include as many people as they can in the process. But it’s important to keep your group small and intimate when shopping for a wedding dress. It only takes one Negative Nellie to destroy the positive tone.

Take time to really think about who you want to take to your bridal appointment with you. You want to be sure you’re surrounding yourself with people who will tell you the truth without being hurtful, and who understands your personal style. It’s important for you to have your best group there to make the process a little less stressful.

And hey! If you can’t think of anyone who fits this description, or if it’s too tough to decide, it’s perfectly okay to go alone, too!

3. Defining a Budget

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Define a Budget

A common mistake that brides-to-be make is not determining a wedding dress budget. It seems simple, but if you don’t have a solid budget going in, you may end up paying way more than you need or want to for your dress. Decide how much you want to spend, then go into your bridal appointments with a game plan to stay in budget!

Having a budget will not only help you save money, but will help anyone who is assisting you show you dresses within your range. You should never feel forced into trying on a more expensive dress just because someone thinks it may be “the one”. You also have to remember that the price tag on the dress doesn’t include alterations, accessories, or any dress preservation. It’s important to calculate these into your budget so you know exactly how much you can spend when you go shopping for a wedding dress.

4. Incentive Shopping

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Incentive Shopping

Every bride-to-be says the same thing: “If I buy it smaller, then I have to lose weight before the wedding!” We’re all for you working towards having a healthier lifestyle, but if you’re doing it just to fit into your dress, chances are you will never reach your goal.

Buying a dress based on what you think your future body will look like is a mistake that many brides-to-be make. While your alterations may end up being more intensive than you originally planned, it’s always easier to alter your dress to your body than the other way around. Purchasing a dress to force yourself to lose weight is a dangerous game plan that we don’t advise for any reason.

5. Trying on Gowns

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Trying on Dresses

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as trying on too many dresses. If you try on too many, chances are that whites and ivories will begin to blend together and the attention you should put into your dress gets lost.

Some of the most common problems brides encounter when they try on too many dresses include:

  • Forgetting what you really loved about the style that should have been
  • Re-appropriating details from past try-ons and fittings
  • Losing the wow factor of finding “The One”

As a rule, try to keep the number under 20 to avoid being too overwhelmed.

6. Giving Others Too Much Power

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Giving Power

It seems like such a simple thing, but a lot of brides-to-be can get caught up in the opinions of others. Ultimately, it’s your wedding dress and you should have the final say on the style, look, and feel.

When you bring others to your bridal appointment, it’s important to remember that those you brought along are there to support you and your decision. They should help you in the process rather than hinder you. You should always as yourself how the dress makes you feel first, and use them as a second opinion. When you find an opinion is opposite from yours, ask yourself which one you trust more. Be wary of anyone who is too quick to offer their opinion or speak too quickly before hearing you out.

7. Keeping an Open Mind

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Open Mind

As the bride, we know you probably know exactly what you want in a wedding dress. But it’s important to keep an open mind when you go into your bridal appointment. The style you’ve chosen may no do your body justice the way another silhouette might. You might have a style in your head, but that style may not exist the way it does in your mind.

On the flip side, if you go in with zero idea of what you want, your mind may get muddled when it comes to narrowing it down to the perfect wedding dress. Have answers to some of the basic questions, including:

  • Do you like a full skirt?
  • How do you feel about lace?
  • How do you feel about strapless styles or sleeves?

Having the answers to these questions will help your consultant find the best styles to show you.

8. Shopping Without Context

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Context

Unfortunately not enough brides-to-be take things like their venue or time of year into consideration when choosing their wedding dress. But it can make a difference in the style based on your comfort.

Ask yourself questions to determine the context for what setting your gown will be placed in. Are you looking for black-tie formal or something more casual? Are you getting married in a grand cathedral or have you opted for a backyard ceremony and reception? All these things can affect what you consider for styles, as what you had in mind might not fit the aesthetic of the wedding you’re planning. We suggest taking along notes or images when shopping for a wedding dress to help make the task easier!

9. Custom Dresses

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Custom Dress

While not for everyone, some brides-to-be may want to consider a custom dress for their wedding. If you’re set in your ways and know you can only have one dress, you may want to consider collaborating with a designer to make a one-of-a-kind dress.

One thing you need to keep in mind when it comes to a custom dress is that it will take time. First you need to find a designer and meet with them to ensure it’s a good match. From there, you will need to discuss style, budget, etc. Your designer will then sketch some designs for you to look at, and finding “The One” can take a few rounds of sketches. Once that step is done, the designer will make a mock-up for you to tweak in fittings. Only when you’ve approved the mock-up and fabric choices will the designer make your dress. This whole process can take months, so you want to make sure you decided early on if custom is what you want.

10. Buying Everything at Once

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Accessories

It’s common practice for bridal consultants to try and match accessories to your wedding dress during your bridal appointment. They will usually try to pair a veil, jewelry, and shoes to try and help you envision the completed look (and make that sale!). But should you feel obligated to buy these accessories just because she showed them to you?

The short answer? NO! Well, at least not right away. Yes, they may look good, and yes, they may work with your dress, but they may not be what you had in mind. Chances are that whatever accessories were grabbed aren’t exactly right for your look. You need to focus on making sure that your accessories compliment your dress, not overshadow it. The add-ons can be a distraction from one of the largest fashion purchases you will ever make. Trust us when we suggest waiting it out until closer to the wedding!

We hope that this list will help you avoid making some of the most common mistakes when it comes to shopping for a wedding dress! Are there any other mistakes that you’ve seen or heard of being made? Let us know!