Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Dress Experience: Lessons Learned

Last weekend, my girls and I went to David's Bridal for my first wedding dress shopping experience. Despite all my previous hesitations, I was so glad I did it. I had so much fun, and I'm pretty sure my girls did too! Before I talk about my experience in trying on such beautiful dresses, I wanted to share with you some of my Lessons Learned from last Saturday.

1. Bring someone - But not a full entourage. Whatever you do, don't go alone, especially if it's your first time. Bring a few girls that you want to share this experience with. Not only will they provide you with emotional support but for practical reasons: taking notes, taking pictures, helping you in and out of dresses, etc. In my case, since it was a Saturday (and quite busy) my wedding consultant was helping two brides at a time. My MOH came into the dressing room with me and helped me put on (and take off) multiple gowns.

2. Don't wear make-up - Although this one is not truly a lessons learned, I think it's still a good tip. The morning of the appointment, I was tempted to put on make-up but, trust me, you won't want to. You'll be, most likely, maneuvering in a dressing room with another person, figuring out the best way to put on a particular dress. Smearing lipstick on your face (or the dress) is not something you should be worrying about while trying to find your dream dress.

3. Bring a notepad and pen/pencil - You will try on many, many dresses. There will be things you'll love and hate about them. Have someone with you taking notes, they might come in handy - especially if you want to take some time to decide which dress to choose or if you have multiple appointments.

4. Bring a camera - I know some places don't let you take pictures of the dresses you try on, but David's Bridal does. If the store you go to allows you to take pictures, go ahead and bring your camera. Trust me, you will want to document this experience! It will also help you make a decision on a dress, since you can go back and look at all the dresses you tried on from a different perspective.

5. Do your homework in advance - Check out the store's website and bring your favorite dresses with you. This will save a lot of time and will make it easier for you and your bridal consultant. It will give her an idea of what you're looking for and gives you the chance to try on the dresses you loved. You won't be able to try on every single one (time flies!) but it will definitely narrow down your search for your top ones!

6. Double-check everything - This is my single most important lesson learned of all: Ask questions, even if you have already asked them. If I had done this, it would have saved me a mini-heart attack two days after ordering the dress. We are all human, including bridal consultants, we all make mistakes. Confusion can happen, especially on a busy morning at the store. If you try on a dress you love twice, and the first time you asked if it came without a train and they said no, ask again the second time you try it on. Trust me, it won't hurt to double-check.

7. Don't be afraid to ask - The worst that can happen is that they say no. Although it sounds similar to #6, this is in a completely different context. When I was ordering my dress, and prior to me signing the receipt, they told me that "all sales are final." Two days later, I found out there was an option in the color of the dress although I was told at the time that it only came in one color. Despite what they had told me before ordering the dress, I called the store to find out if the dress did come in a second color and, if so, could I please change the dress to that second color. Don't let whatever they tell you at the store stop you from asking! Trust me, I sat at my desk for 10 or 15 minutes deciding whether to call or not. I almost didn't call, and, if I hadn't, I would have missed out in having my absolutely dream gown.

What are some of your lessons learned from your own dress shopping experience?

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