💍First of all, Congratulations on your engagement!💍
Now the fun begins to make you the most beautiful bride. The big question is, where to start?
Well I'm so lucky that by chance I ran into the owner of Anna Bé and a&bé, Anna Walsh, at a Bad News Babes networking event. I mentioned something about the pampas grass on the table and how I'd love to incorporate it into my wedding. From there, the conversation took off, she told me about her bridal shops and had her brand manager set up my appointments.
Do I need to make a look book on Pinterest of gowns I like or know the style I want before my appointment?
This was my first question because I had friends tell me yes and others tell me no. Anna was so sweet and answered all my questions. She told me that I can do either but if I make a look book, allow myself to step out of my comfort zone and try on different styles. The easiest and most fun experience is going in without expectations. I chose to not make a look book or research any dresses. I knew I wanted something Bohemian with a flower crown but I didn't know anything about the style top, how much lace was too much lace, or how I wanted the dress to fit me.
After trying on dresses for the first time, I made a wedding gown look book. I loved dresses that were two pieces, champagne or ivory, short trains, and opaque details. The pins helped me know what I wanted and to look for at my next dress appointments.
What is my budget?
Well this is completely up to you. I had to think hard about this. Our wedding was coming in under budget and I knew that for each dollar I took for my dress, was one less dollar towards the other wedding items (such as bridesmaid gifts, honeymoon splurging, etc). If the dress is the most important thing to you then spend your money there.
If you are shopping with your friends or family and not comfortable disclosing your budget, you can call your personal stylist and share the budget. Most bridal boutiques will have a stylist connect with you before your appointment to make sure they confirm all the details to make your shopping experience a fun and exciting time.
Never over state your budget or let a stylist put you in a dress that is outside of your budget. Most stylists will respect this but I cannot speak for every boutique. Both Anna Bé and a&bé were strict about stating the dress price before I tried it on. They also didn't bring a dress outside of my budget into the dressing room.
What do I wear to try on dresses?
Wear normal clothes or get fancy: The day is yours!
However, bring nude underwear that doesn't hug your body, spanx if you plan to wear it on your wedding day, and a nude bra. If you are comfortable trying on dresses topless, then this is the best recommendation. If your dress requires a bra, the shop will have different cups to go over your breast. Depending on the bridal boutique, some will offer the bride a robe.
Should I bring heels?
You do not need to. If you have an idea of the size of heel you want, then bring something comparable. I brought shoes but didn't use them. You will get your measurements taken for the dress size to order but you will have an alterations appointment at a later date. Also, some boutiques have heels in multiple sizes.
How many dresses should I try on?
As many as possible! Don't feel defeated when you are trying on the 15th dress and still not happy. With each dress you try on, you will be able to find what you love or hate to help narrow down your selection.
Do all brides have the "Yes to the Dress" moment?
No. I wasn't feeling that feeling each time I found my favorite dress at each bridal boutique. I started to feel bad about it and when I asked the stylist she told me that Say Yes to the Dress is over the top about the excitement. She reminded me that reality TV is over dramatized and I should focus on the other feelings: is it comfortable, can I dance in it, do I feel amazing, will my groom be surprised, and more.
When you think you found the dress, add a veil (or cape or crown), grab some flowers and take a walk in it. Have your friends/family film you walking in the dress. Then decide if it's the one.
Should I buy my dress right away?
No, you should sleep on it. The best advice my bridal stylist gave me was to take my time and don't rush. This is a big purchase and a very personal one so you should take time to think about it.
Anna started her bridal shops because of her horrific experience when she was a bride to be. She wanted to make the dress experience a magical one for every bride. While I did not purchase my dress from either of her shops, I had the best experience at her shops.
Now that COVID has postponed our wedding to 2021 [Read about that here], I have decided to try on dresses again in September. I hired a personal trainer, joined WW and have lost over 20 lbs. I want to see what I look like in the same dresses with a more toned body. I know the two bridal shops I will be returning to ;)