How to Shop for Your Wedding Dress 

This article is part of our Ultimate Wedding Dress Shopping Guide.

You’re engaged to the love of your life and the wedding planning process is in full swing! Among the many to-dos on your list, perhaps one of the most exciting is shopping for your wedding dress. If you aren’t sure how to begin your search, we have you covered with all the wedding dress shopping tips and tricks you need, from prepping before your appointment to finding your dream dress.  

When and Where to Begin your Search 

Ready to begin shopping for your wedding dress?! It is best to start shopping at least a year before your wedding so you can leave enough time to shop, order your dress and make necessary alterations. While all designers and brands have different lead times, it is typically best to order your dress 8 to 12 months before your wedding day to allow time for timely delivery. Keep in mind that we also offer in-stock options too for quick-wear wedding dates, but the selection might be limited compared to our special-order gowns. 

Before you book your appointment, we encourage you to do your research! Search Instagram, Pinterest, bridal blogs and magazines to collect photos of gowns you like. Keep in mind where you are getting married and the season, but also have an open mind and look at a variety of silhouettes, fabrics and styles. You may notice that one fabric or a particular designer’s gown catches your eye or that you don’t like a certain silhouette. This information will help guide your bridal stylist when it is time for your appointment! 

Booking your Appointments 

After you’ve done some preliminary online research, it’s time to book your appointments! Before committing to an appointment, research the bridal boutiques in your area. You’ll want to ensure they carry gowns within your price point, size range and from designers that interest you. Falling in love with a dress over budget often puts a damper on the appointment and causes financial strain if you choose to say, “I do”. A good budget range is one that is comfortable for you and leaves room for alterations and accessories.  

Appointments at bridal salons also vary depending on the length and perks offered. At True Society, we offer different types of appointments that will ensure you have the best wedding dress shopping experience. 

Our standard appointment is an hour and a half. It involves one-on-one time with your expert True Crew stylist discussing your overall vision and budget and trying on your gown choices in one of our private and spacious fitting rooms.  

Trunk Shows 

If you book your appointment during a trunk show, this means that a particular designer and/or their representative is present and has brought along either new gowns or the current collection. Sometimes, perks are offered for this type of appointment, including being among the first to try on new styles, a special discount or making minor customizations to the gown without a fee.  

If you love dresses from a particular designer or brand, trunk shows are an ideal way to shop! One thing to keep in mind with this style of appointment is that the boutique may not own the samples, so if you find your dream dress, you’ll need to purchase it before the trunk show is over. 

How Many Appointments Should you Schedule? 

Make sure not to overbook your day and don’t forget to hydrate and grab a bite to eat. After all, shopping for your wedding dress should be fun!  

You Booked your Appointment Now What? 

Now that you’ve booked your appointment, here is some advice on who and what to bring so you feel prepared, confident and excited! 

Who Should you Bring to your Appointment? 

When deciding who to bring to your wedding dress shopping appointment, we recommend bringing two to three people in your closest circle! Often more people include more opinions, which can make your dress shopping experience more confusing and stressful than needed. Remember, you can always include additional loved ones in other aspects of your wedding planning. 

What Should you Bring and Wear when Shopping for your Wedding Dress? 

To prepare for wedding dress shopping, make a list of all the essentials you will need to bring with you! A Pinterest board or photos of gowns you like will help your bridal stylist get an idea of the look you want to achieve.  

We recommend wearing a nude pair of seamless underwear, strapless bra and clothes that are easy to slip into and out of while trying on gowns. If you think you’ll wear shapewear under your gown, bring that with you. Bringing a pair of heels, doing your hair and putting on a bit of makeup helps bring your bridal vision to life.  

We also recommend packing a snack and a water bottle to keep your energy up between appointments.  

At your Appointment 

Once you arrive at your wedding dress appointment, it’s time for the fun to begin! Give your bridal stylist as much detail as possible including your venue, overall vision, concerns and budget. Your True Crew stylist has so much experience working with brides every day and wants to help you feel and look your best, so don’t be shy! Remember that as you try on wedding dresses, what you liked online you may not like on you — and sometimes brides end up falling in love with a gown they never considered. Keep an open mind and trust your bridal stylist if they suggest something a little out of the box. It may just be the gown for you!  

Pro Tip: If you’re a bride on a budget and looking for a gorgeous wedding dress at an affordable price, shop at trunk shows for a discount or ask your bridal stylist if any sample sales are happening at the salon. 

You Found the One 

Think you found the right gown after slipping into and out of some gorgeous wedding dresses? Congratulations! Your True Crew stylist may help accessorize your dress, measure you and talk through what you can expect when your gown arrives. Make sure to celebrate with your crew!    

Now that you have all the tips, tricks and information you need, it’s time to start your dress search! Schedule an appointment at one of our True Society bridal boutiques. Our True Crew stylists can’t wait to assist you and be a part of your special day! Dress availability varies per store.   

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