17 Essential Wedding Gown Shopping Tips
(that will make you want to book an appointment for next weekend)
For Greta from GretaKate, her affinity for fashion design runs much deeper than simply creating garments.
She feels incredibly lucky to be part of a bride's wedding day and the preparation and planning stages as well: "I often spend over a year getting to know a bride and her life. It’s wonderful sharing all her excitement leading up to the big day."
To help you with selecting, shopping for and ordering the perfect wedding gown for you, Greta has pulled together her 17 Essential Wedding Dress Shopping Tips.
Thank you, Greta!
Before You Make An Appointment
1. Start looking well in advance
A lot of bridal stores require a minimum of 6 months’ notice, but one year in advance (if possible) is ideal. This allows plenty of time for shopping, ordering, delivery and alterations.
2. Work out what you like and what suits you
It’s really important to feel comfortable in your wedding gown.
If you feel amazing, you will look amazing.
So I would suggest that you start by collecting images you like - it might be the lace, the style or the silhouette that appeals to you.
I often ask my brides what types of clothes they naturally feel good in, as this can sometimes be translated into a wedding gown style. For instance, you might love wearing crew-neck Ts and this could mean that you would feel great in a high neck lace gown with sleeves.
Then I would recommend trying on a range of different gowns, as sometimes 'the one' is a surprise to the bride.
3. Make your first appointment After you have worked out the big picture
I suggest starting to shop for your gown after your wedding date has been set and maybe even after you’ve booked your venue.
4. It’s important to know what your budget is before you set foot into a store
Prices can vary between costs for an off-the-rack gown collection vs a couture gown. It really depends on the brand.
A GretaKate off-the-rack gown that is custom made to fit you, starts at $2800. This means the design has already been established, but the gown is made to fit you.
You should also keep in mind that, it is common for off-the-rack gowns to incur an extra fee (especially the hem), as they are ordered in a standard size and then alterations are needed to make them fit. These alterations could cost anything from $200 to $1200, depending on the work required.
Getting Ready For Your Appointment
5. Skip the spray tan
I would not recommend having a spray tan within a few days of a shopping or fitting appointment, as it will rub off on the gowns.
6. If you feel better wearing makeup, wear makeup!
You will step into most gowns, but please be a little careful and considerate when trying them on.
7. If you know how you might want your hair on the big day, wear your hair like that
For a shopping appointment, it doesn’t really matter, but bring a hair tie regardless!
8. Bring along appropriate and versatile underwear
A pair of nude coloured knickers and a strapless bra are ideal.
9. If you already have your bridal shoes, bring them with you
Usually the shop will have a pair of heels, but you could always bring another pair if you wish, with a similar heel height to what you feel most comfortable wearing.
Dress Shopping Etiquette
10. Make sure that you have breakfast and make time for a break
Some brides think that you shouldn’t eat before gown shopping, but it doesn’t really matter as (we hope!) you will be eating and drinking on your wedding day.
If it’s a big day of shopping I would definitely recommend eating brekky and stopping for lunch or coffee as the day can be a little overwhelming. A break is definitely necessary!
11. Leave the entourage at home
I think the first time you go shopping for your wedding gown, it is best to go either by yourself or with your mum and best friend or sister. Any more than 3 people and you will get totally confused with too many opinions.
12. There’s no need for you to road-test the gown
If you have any concerns about sitting, walking or going to the toilet in your gown, I would raise them with the designer as soon as possible.
13. Always trust your instincts
The designer will always have your best interest at heart as they want their label to look as good as it can on you. Friends and family always have different views - I think this will depend on who it is and your relationship with them.
14. Ensure that your gown will be delivered no later than 3 months prior to your wedding day
This will allow plenty of time for any unforeseen errors to be rectified or alterations to be made.
15. Be prepared to pay the deposit upfront
Every shop works differently – at GretaKate we work on a 50% deposit with the rest to be paid on collection. Some shops may take 30% and then more after each fitting.
16. If you are planning on losing some weight before the wedding and are not sure on which size to order, always take the advice of the professionals
It is much easier to take in, than let out, a gown.
17. Ask if there are extra charges or fees that will apply for change of size or colour, number of fittings etc
This is specific to each individual shop and availability of fabrics, etc. GretaKate try to create fixed prices so there are no nasty surprises at the end.