Bridal Gown Shopping bookmark

The 8 Rules of Bridal Gown Shopping

Remember these important rules of shopping for your bridal gown as you head out into the world of wedding retailers:

Bridal Gown
1. Do your homework before you go shopping.
Check with your ceremony site. Beach weddings or outdoor weddings create unique problems for brides in long wedding gowns. Check if you will be staying on a path, etc. Bring shoes that will be similar in height to what you plan to wear for your wedding day.

2. Plan in advance.
Most bridal gowns have to be special-ordered, and it can take up to six months to order certain dresses. Another couple of weeks are needed for alterations. A word to the wise: start shopping for a bridal gown nine months to a year before your wedding.

3. Always call ahead to make an appointment.
If the bridal salon you want to visit does not accept appointments ask what days are the busiest and try to avoid them.

4. Demand excellent service.
Your bridal gown is a large part of your wedding budget and you have the right to expect top-notch customer service. Unfortunately, some bridal shops are overwhelmed with brides and have yet to learn this concept. If you believe you're being mistreated, take charge of the situation and go to another shop that values you as a customer.

5. Keep an open mind.
It is easy to fall in love with a certain style you see in a magazine. Yet bridal gowns look much different in real life on real brides. The best advice is to keep an open mind and try on a wide variety of styles.

6. Take along only one or two trusted "shopping partners."
Whether it is your mom, a close friend or your fiancé, it's always helpful to get a second opinion. On the other hand, shopping with an army of well-meaning friends or relatives is usually a mistake. 

7. Get it in writing.
Make sure all the details of your bridal gown order (and any promises the shop makes about delivery, sizing, etc.) are in writing BEFORE you place your deposit.  

8. Put your deposit on a credit card.
Credit card purchases are protected by special consumer protection laws; paying with a check or cash is much more risky.

More wedding planning tips.