Maggie’s Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

DressesTips and Trends | January 2, 2024
Bride going wedding dress shopping

So, you’ve announced your engagement. Magic is in the air, your bridesmaids are buzzing, you’ve got your perfect venue booked, and the next big question remains: Is it time to find the perfect wedding dress? We may be biased, but YES! This is your moment! To help make the process as elegant and romantic as you are, we’ve compiled a few expert insights — from wedding dress shopping tips and booking your appointment to mapping out your checkpoints to find your perfect silhouette… Scroll on for all the goodies!

Before we get ahead of ourselves, step one is taking our style quiz so you can have an idea of what kind of dress is right for you before your bridal appointment! You have to browse before you buy, after all!

How To Prepare for Wedding Dress Shopping: What Dress Do You Feel Best In?

PC: The Bridal Closet

You’re at a pivotal moment: finding the perfect wedding dress! With all the options you have available, it’s not just about the style or the trends… It’s about finding a dress that resonates with you and makes you feel like the absolute best version of yourself on this super important day. And part of that means setting yourself up for a successful shopping experience. Consider the following:

  • Start by doing some research. Look into various bridal styles, fabrics, and trends to get a sense of what appeals to you. This groundwork will make your shopping experience more focused and enjoyable. (It’s not just about following the latest fashion, but about choosing a gown that feels authentically yours!)
  • Consider your body type when exploring different dress silhouettes. Different styles complement various figures, so understanding what works best for your body shape will guide you towards dresses that enhance your natural beauty. From A-line to mermaid, there’s a meant-to-be silhouette that will accentuate your best features. (Explore more silhouette styles in this rundown from The Knot!)
  • Timing and location are crucial when it comes to wedding dress shopping. Ideally, you should have your venue secured before you start trying on dresses, as the setting of your wedding can significantly influence the style of your dress. (Think beach ceremony, a garden affair, or a formal ballroom celebration!) Knowing your venue will help you select a gown that harmonizes seamlessly with your overall aesthetic.

PC: Jessica Parsons

In the end, the key to finding your dream dress is to trust your instincts and choose the one that makes you feel like the most beautiful version of yourself! If you’re looking for more inspiration, take our Find Your Style quiz for personalized style recommendations based on your venue, budget, and more. 

Anticipating Delivery Times

PC: Lola Grace Bridal | The Bridal Closet

Next up for a stress-free experience? Placing your order for the optimal delivery window before your wedding! Here’s what to consider:

  • While most brides set their wedding dress appointment and shop around 6 months before their wear dates, it’s advisable to start the process 9-12 months in advance to allow ample time for delivery and alterations.
  • Inquire about specific styles with varying delivery windows to align with your timeline. For those with shorter engagements, you’ve got options! Explore our Quick Ship gallery to ensure you find the perfect gown in time for your big day. 
  • Don’t forget to factor in time for alterations! Speak to your bridal stylist about what to expect for fitting appointments and customizations. (See more in the next section.)

Wedding Dress Shopping Tips: Everything You Need To Know About Alterations, Fees, and Availability

PC: Ro Odeh

Alterations, fees, and style availability — essentials to gown shopping, yet so easy to forget. To keep things easy-breezy and on time for your big day, it’s important to keep track of a few important factors with your Authorized Retailer: 

  • Alterations-wise, speak with your stylists about in-house services or recommendations for skilled seamstresses. Plan for approximately two fitting sessions, though adjustments may vary based on your body type, dress style, and customization requests.
  • Beyond the dress cost, consider the expenses associated with alterations and additional fees, such as rush charges or customizations. Allocate a portion of your budget to these potential costs to avoid any surprises.
  • Prepare for possible changes in gown and accessory availability. The wedding dress market is dynamic, and gowns may unexpectedly go off the market. (Many boutiques offer incentives for purchasing on your first visit to ensure your dream dress doesn’t slip away!)

Above all, stay informed, plan meticulously, and enjoy a seamless journey to finding the perfect gown for your special day!

Comfort Versus Fit When Wedding Dress Shopping

PC: K Star’s Photography

When getting ready for your wedding dress shopping appointment, it’s a good idea to consider your ideal comfort and fit. 

Since wedding dresses are made with expensive and delicate materials, some styles may limit your range of motion. Can you raise your arms in a dress? Does the skirt feel heavy? Will the fabric breathe well for your season and venue? These factors help you lock down beauty AND function for your big day.

Consider our recent collections for inspiration on comfort and fit:

  • Hattie by Rebecca Ingram is a figure-hugging style designed to enhance your curves. This gown is a favorite among our Rebecca Brides, and for good reason! We love Hattie’s stunning lace detailing and plunge neckline.
  • Dresses with stretchy and breathable fabrics like Francine by Rebecca Ingram are perfect for brides who are looking for a comfortable gown to wear for hours at a time. With its stretchy and luxurious crepe, you’ll stay cool and unhindered all evening long. 
  • A style like Frederique by Maggie Sottero, though not uncomfortable, is more about style than comfort. Glam brides will love the figure-hugging silhouette and off-the-shoulder sleeves.

What Size Should You Order?

PC: The Bridal Closet | Chandni Shah

One key thing to keep in mind when ordering your gown: bridal sizes differ from regular street sizes, which means your typical clothing size may not align with your wedding dress size. This is due to the alterations process… Wedding dress sizing is based on your largest measurement, thus allowing for easier alterations by removing fabric as needed. 

Once you’re ready to start submitting your order, use your stylist’s expertise to guide you in selecting the right size. (You can also look at the size chart included on all our dress details pages.) It’s essential to consider potential weight fluctuations before the big day, account for undergarments, and ensure your dress fits perfectly when you walk down the aisle. Trusting your stylist and planning for changes ensures a seamless and flattering fit!

Wedding Dress Shopping Advice: Always Book An Appointment

PC: Ming Cee | Chandni Shah

Next up: Booking your appointment! This is a crucial step in the journey to finding your dream gown — not just for the practicality of trying on your gowns and consulting with experts, but also for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of wedding dress shopping with your loved ones. 

Reach out to Authorized Retailers in your area to check availability (most require a set appointment), upcoming events, and any seasonal promotions. Be sure to coordinate with your entourage so they can join and support you during this magical moment. 

Booking in advance is also essential to avoid missing out on coveted designs you’ve been eyeing online, and can also help you streamline the dress selection and ordering process. Expert retailers are the best guides for availability, delivery times, sample requests, accessory options, alterations, and more wedding dress shopping tips.  

Who To Bring With You To Your Wedding Dress Appointment

PC: Louie Angeles | K Star’s Photography

Trying on your wedding dress can be an exciting (and stressful!) time in your life. That’s why you should share it with only your most supportive and loving people! Keep these in mind to keep the experience both happy and productive: 

  • Having a lot of voices in the appointment can make the experience overwhelming and can quickly break the experience. A good rule of thumb for most appointments is to include select members of your bridal party, and any important family members and in-laws who will add to your special day.
  • Ask your Authorized Retailer about any restrictions or requests for your appointment. (For example, they may have a set count for your entourage.)

PC: K Star’s Photography

Wedding Dress Shopping Tips: Choosing Your Gown

PC: Julia Crist

Picking your gown style is one of the most important wedding dress shopping tips to think about! Fabric, fit, size, and cost should certainly be top of mind, but we think it’s so important to also choose a gown that’s authentic to your style and personality. 

Maybe you’re looking for a boho kind of gown, like Janine by Rebecca Ingram. Whether you’re looking to feel sexy (we’re personally a fan of Baxley by Maggie Sottero for this look), have an open back (Zander by Sottero and Midgley) or sparkly (hello, Anniston by Sottero and Midgely), we have perfect gowns from our latest collections. 

PC: The Bridal Closet

There’s a lot to consider when choosing your perfect wedding dress. Whatever you’re tracking for cost, silhouette, season, or “helpful” input from family members, you deserve to pick a gown that truly feels like you!

Ready to book your wedding dress appointment? Get in touch with an Authorized Retailer for all the magic! 

Happy wedding dress shopping for your best day ever! 

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10 Wedding Dress Shopping Tips for Your Bridal Appointment

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Down the Aisle in Style: Wedding Shoes and Styling Inspiration for Your Overall Bridal Look