Planning Advice

Wedding Dress Shopping: What to Know!

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Gown Designer: Essense of Australia – Available at Prescott Bridal, Photography: Ashton Marie Photography

One of the most exciting parts of wedding planning… wedding dress shopping! It’s every girls dream to walk down the aisle feeling so confident and beautiful to the love of her life. It can be overwhelming not knowing where to start or how to know when you’ve found “the one.” But we believe just like you knew when you found your dream partner for life, you’ll know when you’ve found your dream wedding dress! In case you need a little assistance though, we’re sharing some insight with the help of Mackenzie Prescott of Prescott Bridal (follow along @prescottbridal)!

Basic Information

Before heading to any dress boutique here are a few key things to make note of:

Style of Your Wedding
Research and get an idea of dress Styles You Like (Pinterest will be your best friend!)
Anything specific you want your dress to include (lace, embellishments, etc.)

Biggest thing to keep in mind: if you’re unsure of what you want, that’s perfectly okay! Not every bride knows until they start trying dresses on.

The Process

Once you’ve narrowed those few things down or what you think you’re looking for, you can then look into which boutiques you’d like to visit. Make sure you make an appointment for the places you want to visit. This way you’ll know for sure that you’re going to have an optimal experience. (Also a lot of places are appointment only, so be sure to keep that in mind!)

Then the search begins! Don’t feel pressured to say yes to the dress the first place you’ve been to, however if you’re feeling it and you know, well then don’t hesitate to say you’ve found the one!


You don’t want to go dress shopping too early, but also don’t want to wait super late – because let’s be real that can cause some excess stress! So, what’s the sweet spot?

From Mackenzie Prescott of Prescott Bridal: “8-12 months before your wedding is ideal to shop for your dress! Things to consider are: 1. The time it will take you personally to make a decision, 2. Ordering can take anywhere from 4-6 months, 3. Alterations can take 8-10 weeks, and 4. Will you be doing bridal portraits before the wedding? We know it takes a long time to get dresses in but it is such a huge part of your day that once you nail down the dress some other details tend to become decided on as well. Give yourself time to not be stressed. The shopping experience is only fun when you can relax and won’t feel pressured to pay rush fees or know that a certain designer can’t meet your timeline.”

Tips & Tricks

“You don’t need an expensive bra, or any bra for that matter for your wedding dress. Most dresses have molded bust cups so you will be supported without wearing one of your own. Plus you don’t have to worry about straps, sticky boobs falling or any other fashion fails that occur with brides. (the seamstress can always add in extra padding in your alterations for a little extra lift!)”

“Only bring the people you need to help you make a decision with you to your appointment. (REPEAT) While this is a really fun and exciting moment during the planning process for those closest to you, it is still about YOU. It can be overwhelming to make a decision when your second cousin is telling you she doesn’t like the dress. It is hard to hear your voice when there are 10 people talking. Many brides delay saying yes because a bridesmaid, an aunt or even a mother in law aren’t there in that moment. Sometimes not everyone can be there and while that isn’t ideal, you will never get back the moment of realizing you found your wedding dress! Remember that is why you are here in this appointment, for you and your dress.”

“Bring champagne! It’s fun and it can help relieve the stress of dress shopping!”

“TRUST your consultant.”

“Bring in photos so you can visually show us what your style is.”

“Don’t book more than two appointments to begin with. Anymore and it will get exhausting and not fun. The goal isn’t to see every dress in a 100 mile radius, the goal is FIND YOUR DRESS. Feel confident that you will find it and if you need more appointments you can always book later on.”

“If you find you find your dress, STOP SHOPPING. I know as a generation we like to see all of our options. BUT if you think you found your husband, you wouldn’t keep dating around, you would want to lock him down.”

“Speaking of husbands, think of shopping for dresses like dating. You will have one or two people in your life you could see yourself saying yes to. But there will always be one that stands above the rest. It doesn’t mean the second option isn’t great but in your gut/heart/brain you know that this is the one you want to choose. Your dress is the same. You have to make a choice and while there are always great options, know that it just comes down to the one that makes your stomach flip!”

Questions + Things to Consider

“Don’t worry about losing/gaining weight. Every bride will fluctuate between ordering her dress and her wedding day. That is what the fairy godmothers we call seamstresses are for. In my six years of working in the bridal industry I have never had a bride that gained or lost so much weight that we couldn’t alter her dress. So don’t worry about us taking your measurements the day you say yes, because no matter what it will fit perfectly come time to walk down the aisle!”

“Remember that the budget you give your consultant is what you expect to pay for your dress only. This will not cover alterations, veils, accessories or anything else for your wedding day look.”

With these tips, we hope you feel confident in knowing when to say yes to the dress and have no doubt that you’ll be walking down the aisle in style!

Need help finding the right vendors or interested in more of our services at Harper Mae Events? Let’s chat!

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