Dress shopping for the first time

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from kdw1003. Show kdw1003's posts

    Dress shopping for the first time

    I'm going shopping for my wedding dress tomorrow for the first time.  I have a bunch of magazine clippings of styles I like that I'll bring.  My mom and two sisters are coming along with me.  Any last minute advice?
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from lucy7368. Show lucy7368's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    Bring a good shaper.  And don't wear a thong, unless you want the salespeople to see your bum.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from cosmogirl. Show cosmogirl's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    Oh, I'm so jealous!

    Here is my advice:

    1.  On a Saturday, you will be much better off if you have an appointment.  Some places may not be able to help you if you don't have one.

    2.  Wear or bring a spanx, a strapless bra, a one-piece girdle, a thong, or whatever else you would expect to wear with your dress.  Wear or bring heels.

    3.  For your first time, at least, try on ALL styles of dresses....even if you have your heart set on one particular style.   You will be surprised what will and will not look good on you.

    4.  Never, ever, ever try on a dress that is more than you can afford.  Ever. 

    5.  Alterations can cost a fortune.  Figure a minimum of $300 for a simple hem and maybe something else. 

    6.  Bring at least ONE person with you who will tell you the truth.  Not mean about it - just a simple shake of her head to indicate that a mermaid style makes your butt look bigger than Nebraska, or your DDs are falling out of your strapless dress.

    7.  Personally, I found it helpful to have a cocktail for lunch and a 1 p.m. appointment.

    8.  Try sitting down in the dress.

    9.  Never have the alterations done by the salon.  Find an independent person. 

    10.  Ask to see the measurement guidelines for the manufacturer and make sure you agree with what size you are buying.  Scrutinize the order form with a fine tooth comb.

    11.  Lie about your ceremony date by at least a month. 

    12.  All the dresses you try on have been stretched somewhat from being tried on so many times - and are possibly a whole size bigger than what you would get for a brand new dress. 

    13.  Don't get discouraged if you don't find something right away. 

    14.  David's Bridal is NOT cheaper than other stores.

    15.  Cleaning wedding dresses is expensive, too.  If you want to buy a sample, make THEM include the cleaning in the price.

    That's all I can think of for now!  Have a blast!  Where are you going?
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from Rirlo01. Show Rirlo01's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    I like Lucy's advice, but I went a different route: I wore my own slip.  Actually, one store gave me one to use, and most of the others operated so that the saleslady was never behind the curtain with me; but at the couple places where they didn't provide a slip and someone was with me, I wore my own. 

    I suggest taking a camera, too.  They'll let you know if you can't take photos, but some places allow it, and the pics can be very helpful.  If you can't photograph your favorite(s), write down the name and/or style number so you can find a pic online at home. 

    Oh, and don't be afraid to tell them the max you're willing to spend and ask them not to show you anything more expensive.  They've heard it many times, and it really does serve to save you time (and, potentially, heartache)!

    Have fun!!
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from Rirlo01. Show Rirlo01's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    I was posting at the same time as Cosmo.  Great advice!  Especially the part about the cocktail.  :)

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from trex509. Show trex509's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    Wow, Cos, your list of advice is awesome!  You covered almost everything!

    My advice:

    1)  Dress shopping can be fun, but it can also be a bit stressful and overwhelming.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, don't be afraid to just stop for the day and start again another time.

    2)  Don't feel pressured to buy a dress the first time out.  It is a big purchase, feel free to take your time and think about it.  I had to visit my dress 3 times before I was ready to buy it!

    3)  You may or may not have that emotional, crying response that you see people on TV have when they find their dress.   I did not.  It took me a long time to find a dress.  About 2 months and like 15 appointments later I finally did!  But I still never had an emotional response, I just realized that this dress had everything I wanted and I was ready to stop shopping.  Anyway, just don't feel bad if you don't cry when you put on a dress!

    4)  Once you buy a dress:  STOP SHOPPING!  Stop looking, stop watching Say Yes to the Dress.  It is just torture!

    I heartily second Cos's advice about alterations.  The dress shop where I bought my dress quoted me over $400 for the alterations I wanted (which was cost prohibitive for my $800 dress).  I am having it all done for $200 with an independent seamstress.

    Good luck and have fun!!
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    Great advice Cos!
    Completely agree with 1) trying on different styles, 2) being very clear about what your budget is, and 3) no more shopping once you purchase!  You could drive yourself crazy looking at dresses online.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from kdw1003. Show kdw1003's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    Ladies,
    Thanks for all your great ideas.  I have two appointments scheduled tomorrow and one on Monday if I don't find "the one" tomorrow.  I will be sure to be very specific with my budget and I'm excited to try on styles that I never thought I would like.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    Have your friend take pictures.  Then, if you aren't sure and want to mull it over, you can flip through them at home or show them to others.  It's not good to take a crowd to the dress shop.  Also, you can use the photos at to tell the salesperson which ones to get if you end up going back to the store a second time to try something on, again.  And, of course, you end up with some fun photos of your day for posterity.

    P.S.  Mom and two sisters is two too many, imo.  Of course, if it's already planned you'll probably hurt feelings to change the plan, now.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    Great advice by all!

    My one addition: bring water.  I didn't do this the first time I went shopping and got so parched I had a complete meltdown.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    I agree with everything everyone has said and will add only this: Keep your expectations realistic and find a dress that makes you shine. You don't have to spend a fortune to look like a million bucks. and while you should listen to what the people you bring along say, do not buy a dress just because they love it and don't let them talk you out of a dress that you love.

    p.s. I think David's Bridal is worth checking out. I found my dress there for $99, it was everyhing I wanted it to be, and I can honestly say there is no shame in being a DB bride. Just either make an appointment or go in on a weekday afternoon, but they're not going to fawn over you. But do not do not do not go to them for alterations.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from Winter2011Bride. Show Winter2011Bride's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    Have fun.  I know you, your mom and sisters will have a great time. 

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from WhirledPeasPlease. Show WhirledPeasPlease's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    Wow, Cosmo has an awesome list. 

    I'm curious, why do you say lie about the ceremony date at least a month? And in which direction?

    I had a horrible experience at David's Bridal, but my BMs found their dresses there for cheap, so that worked out.

    Where are you planning to go? Do you have a couple different places lined up?
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    You don't need a shaper, but it does make the dresses slide on and off more easily and it gives you a clearer idea of how the dress will look on you and how good it can look.  Before alterations it's hard enough to imagine it how it might be after it fits you perfectly.  Also, if you do want to lose a few pounds before the wedding, the shaper will help you "acheive" that instantly.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from bostonslp. Show bostonslp's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    The others gave some great advice. 

    Mine is, don't try to go to too many places in one day.  It is A LOT of work to try on all of those dresses and can be tiring.  I was p00ped after I went. 
    You seem to be really excited, which is good.  I was super stressed and hated the whole process.  But just have fun with it and don't have any expectations of finding "the dress" this weekend. 

    I love the advice of trying on different dresses.  I know that they dress I wore (and loved) was not one that I had ever thought of. 

    Have fun!!

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from Rapunzel41. Show Rapunzel41's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    I too am a David's Bridal buyer, and my dress was also not something I had picked out myself.  The salesgirl picked my dress, and a different salesgirl picked my MOH's dress.  If they're good, they're really good and they can get a sense of what will look good on you.

    My salesgirl was so cute.  She said she knew the second I put "my" dress on that it was the one.  She said if you watch people enough, you know when they know.  With most dresses, the person will stand in front of the mirror, tilt their head this way and that, turn and check out the back and the butt, and just kind of shrug a little.  You know it's not the "one".  With the "one", she will walk out of the dressing room straight and tall, with her head high and her shoulders back.  She'll twirl a little on the pedestal, and she'll run her hands down the skirt of the dress, touching it in all the places where she loves the fit.  The salesgirl said it's her way of saying, "Pretttttyyyy....  Miiiiiinnnnnneeee...  Pretttttyyyyy...."

    And she was right.  I couldn't stop running my hands over the dress and I was immediately shocked at how beautiful I looked - and I'm not a girl who considers myself beautiful!

    I didn't cry, but I did know it was the one.  :-)
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from kdw1003. Show kdw1003's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    These suggestions are excellent!  Thank you for the reminder to bring water. 

    I am going to two places this afternoon and one on Monday.  I'll reveal the places after Monday and give a little review.  I don't want to get any bias opinions before then.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    One more thing - I'm not sure when your wedding is, but if it is less than 8ish months away, the salespeople might try to put the fear of God into you that if you do not order a wedding dress TODAY you will not get one in time for your wedding.

    Do NOT let them scare you like that.  I ordered mine in late-January for a mid-june wedding and had time to spare. But it's true that different dresses take different amounts of time to be made/come in/be altered, so it is good to find out how long that will take.  Just don't let them bully you into think you have to order it that MOMENT.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    Yes, indeed, Poppy, they can be like unscrupulous used car salesmen, pushing, pushing, pushing.  I had that experience myself, and it took a lot to withstand the pressure and leave the store without buying because I wasn't ready yet.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    In Response to Re: Dress shopping for the first time:
    With the "one", she will walk out of the dressing room straight and tall, with her head high and her shoulders back.  She'll twirl a little on the pedestal, and she'll run her hands down the skirt of the dress, touching it in all the places where she loves the fit.  The salesgirl said it's her way of saying, "Pretttttyyyy....  Miiiiiinnnnnneeee...  Pretttttyyyyy...." And she was right.  I couldn't stop running my hands over the dress and I was immediately shocked at how beautiful I looked - and I'm not a girl who considers myself beautiful! I didn't cry, but I did know it was the one.  :-)
    Posted by Rapunzel41


    LOL, that was my reaction to my dress, too! I came out of the fitting room like I was the grand marshall of a parade and I couldn't stop touching the dress.
    Since it was first time dress shopping and it was the first dress I tried on, the woman was shocked when I said "Yep, I love it, I'll take it." and didn't want to try on anything else. All the people working there kept saying "You must have just set some kind of dress-sopping record."
    In reality, it was just a really awesome coincidence.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from cosmogirl. Show cosmogirl's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    I meant, tell them your wedding date is a month earlier than it really is.  They put the "need by" date on the order and the dresses are made in that order. 

    That just helps ensure that you'll have your dress with time to spare.  There have been nightmare stories from brides whose dresses didn't come in until a week or two to go.  I would be hospitalized from the stress!

    Re: the spanx, etc.  If you need some form-shaping device, it helps to have one with you.   Of course you don't need to bring a suitcase of possibilities.  I just wasn't interested in using the bridal salon's stuff. 

     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from lucy7368. Show lucy7368's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    Even if you don't need a form shaping device, it'll smooth you out and make you stand up straighter, so the dresses will still look better.
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from Peonie. Show Peonie's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    I agree with Trex in when you find a dress you LOVE when you put it on, STOP looking. I fell in love with the 4th dress, but my mom insisted I try on more. I tried on about 6 more afterwards and it wasn't as enjoyable. At first I was a little afraid, something a long the lines of it being possible to really find the one after only trying on four. But I have still continued to look at dresses online, and Maggie just came out with her new line, and I still love my dress.

    Also, like everyone else said, try on every style, even styles you think would look awful on you. I went in thinking a ball gown was going to look awesome on me and it looked like trash! The second I saw myself in the mirror I said to the consultant, take it off!! I never thought I would go for a more form fitting a-line.
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from kdw1003. Show kdw1003's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    Thanks to all your great tips, dress shopping was somewhat successful (I'll explain further down).

    Thursday
    First stop was to Vows in Watertown.  I went into the appointment with an open mind and wanted to try on all different styles.  I pulled some dresses on my own and a consultant pulled a few others based upon the pictures I brought with me.  My sisters helped me in and out of the dresses.  Most were a little tattered (due to the dresses all being sold (as is)).  I had two dresses on that were "ok" but not the "one".

    Second stop was to Camilla's in Arlington.  I immediately loved this boutique dress shop.  The employees were friendly and eager to help me find dresses to try on that matched my pictures.  Although the shop was busy, they let me try on as many dresses as I wished...I would say I tried on 20+.  I left the shop with four dresses written on a card, I was not ready to commit.  One that I liked (not sure if I love) and one my family liked.

    Monday
    Third stop was to Marry and Tux in Nashua, NH.  The consultants are very hands on here.  The particular consultant I had walked me through almost every dress in the store and asked me to say yes or no to trying it on.  I was a little uncomfortable with this.  She brought the dresses into the dressing room two at a time and helped me into the dress.  I was hoping that the consultant would be a little more opinionated...but every dress to her was "nice".  I only liked one or two that I tried on. 

    So I have not yet said YES TO THE DRESS

    However, I do have some good news.  My sisters browsed bridesmaid dresses after my appointment at Marry and Tux and found one we all like.  Pic attached (in navy). 



    I called Marry and Tux on Tuesday to make an appointment to bring my third bridesmaid in to be measured next Saturday.  I also asked to speak to the manager about my dress shopping experience.  The owner actually called me back (I was very impressed).  I told her that I don't think I clicked with the consultant but would like to try there again with another consultant.  She was more than happy to set me up with a younger, more outgoing consultant next Saturday and appreciated my honesty.

    If I don't find my dress next Saturday I have a few more shops in mind to try...however, this process is going to take a lot longer than I thought it would.
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Dress shopping for the first time

    Sounds like a great experience overall even if you didn't come out having definitely found "the one."  Good for you for speaking up at M&T, too; not only does it help you get what you need, it helps the consultant and the store.  Win, win, win, and yet so many women are afraid to say something and would have just suffered needlessly with the same consultant or gone somewhere else.  Kudos!

    Lovely BM dress!!  Very classy and elegant.  Looks like it would flatter many body types, too, with a beautiful bodice shape.


     
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