We often get asked a series of questions about the wedding dress shopping experience and how brides can best prepare for it; a few weeks ago, we did a Q & A session with the talented wedding photographer, Victoria Selman to try our best to answer such questions and thought we would share the information as well as some the beautiful images that came out of it!
When should you begin searching?
How early you should begin searching is a question that is most often determined not only by when your wedding is but by what kind of wedding you are having. Is your wedding going to be casual and informal? Is it going to be large and traditional? These questions most often guide the kind of wedding dress a bride plans to wear which in turn leads to where such gowns can be found and ultimately, the time needed to order one. As a smaller boutique that outsources alterations, the required lead times on our bridal gowns are anywhere from 12-18 weeks with some designers offering rush availability and others without such options.
For many brides, a vast amount of wedding-related knowledge has been inherited--from sisters, friends, cousins or simply from doing their own research! For those that aren't quite as familiar, that is okay too! In these cases, if a bride ever has a specific dress, style, designer, or boutique in mind, our advice would be to reach out and ask questions as soon as you have them--never be afraid to reach out to a store to ask about a specific designers' lead time, their rush options, styles, new collections, etc.
What should you bring with you?
Though this answer may vary by store, our gut response is simply to say, bring what will make you feel most comfortable! Though nothing is specifically necessary (as we have strapless bras and shoes for those that don't bring their own), the following are items we have seen make a bride feel most comfortable and an appointment even more seamless! First, a strapless (preferably nude) bra is often helpful, ( as are nude underwear!), and shoes that are a heel height you will most likely wear (and are comfortable in); or even more specifically, as some brides do--if you have the shoes you plan to wear day of, feel free to bring those!
Let us just say, more important that any of these more so "practical" items, is the audience and attitude brides bring with them to their appointment. A few posts back we talked about knowing the energy you want with you when looking for your dress--is it silly energy to put you at ease? Is it is sentimental energy to reflect the step being taken? Is it quiet energy to help you hear your own voice? Only you know the answers to these questions and such answers are often reflected in those who love and know you the most. When it comes down to it, you can always step on your tip toes, go braless, or borrow one from us, so don't stress if you end up forgetting something!
What should you expect?
This is a hard question, for many times there is an innate difference between what you should expect and what you can expect. Again, speaking only for our own store, however, we believe (within realistic confines of course), the two should in fact be quite similar.
First and foremost, expect someone who is kind and helpful--who will be nice to you and your loved ones, who is attempting to see the image inside your head, and who is trying to understand the tone and feel of your wedding.
In terms of appointment logistics, expect to pick out dresses (and have a hand in picking them out). Then expect to dislike things you thought you would like, like things you thought you wouldn't, and be surprised by what things look like on your body as opposed to on a hanger. Expect to get tired--trying on dresses (especially when it is a lot of them) is fun but also exhausting!
Lastly, expect to have a great time.
Though not a question exactly, there are a handful of myths that we have discovered in our short few months of being open and one in particular we thought we should share!
The "This is it" moment.
One of the trickiest myths in the business, we thought we would tackle the "This is it" moment head on and explain why its an important one to debunk. We think it is most difficult to address because for some brides, it is no myth at all, but for others, the very notion of this "moment" and the fear of not having it or feeling it, leaves brides unsure, questioning, or feeling as though they are missing out on something. The truth (as we see it) is that it won't happen for everyone, but that there is nothing wrong with that. We all have different personalities with different levels of emotionality, different impulsive instincts, and a million other different qualities that most likely contribute to our reactions to things. We have known many brides who have loved their dress but never had their "moment" and guess what? Their wedding day was just as memorable and happy as their "moment"-having counterparts'! Sometimes its not that you haven't loved a gown, it might even be that you have loved so many gowns! Let your experience be your own- moment or no moment, we are all so different in the way we respond to life in general, why would we ever assume that we would all react to a given situation the same way!? Finally, and most significantly, the "moment" you said yes when your partner asked you to marry them and the "moment" you say "I do" on your wedding day are truly the "moments" that matter most.
Erica & Christina
Images: Victoria Selman Photographer Hair & Makeup: Behind the Veil