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The Bridal Gown Shopping Experience – What to Expect

Bridal gown shopping is the most stylish aspect of wedding planning! Your dress says so much about you, your personality, and your style, and making sure you’ve found “the one” is no easy task. Navigating all the questions of cut, length and neckline can be overwhelming, and that’s why we’re here with some expert advise from The Bridal Boutique owner, Alex Long! In this blog, Alex discusses all you’ll need to do to be ready for your appointment, from research to COVID-19 guidelines to choosing which boutique to visit. Keep all of this info in mind when you’re searching for your gown and you’ll be golden, guaranteed! Happy shopping!

(guest post by The Bridal Boutique owner Alex Long)

the bridal gown shopping experience

Photo // Courtesy of The Bridal Boutique

It’s Never *Too* Early to Start Wedding Dress Shopping

It’s never too early to start shopping for your wedding gown – truly! We do recommend ordering your gown at least 8-10 months before the wedding (if possible!) to allow enough time for production, shipping, alterations, bridal portraits, etc. Most designers do also offer rush options for an extra fee, so it is possible to get a gown sooner if needed! We also always have gowns on our sale rack that are available right off the rack if your wedding is right around the corner.

Keep an Open Mind

Before you come to an appointment, we have all our newest collections pinned on Pinterest, so you can browse and save ideas there. We like to see what you like and then we pull gowns from there. Often times though, we’ll pull something completely different than what you thought, so it’s best to keep an open mind! It is extremely common to end up with a gown that is completely different than what you had originally expected.

Try on as Many Dresses as You Need – Don’t be Shy!

We try to get to know each bride a bit before their initial appointment so we know what they’re looking for, what their vision is and when their wedding is. We do this so that when they arrive to their appointment we can begin right away and get to the fun stuff! We typically pull gowns alongside the bride – we like to see what they gravitate towards on the rack. We pull about 6-8 gowns to start with, if we need to switch directions midway through the appointment, the consultant will pull more gowns from there. Each bride is different! Some are satisfied with our initial pull of 6-8 gowns and some need to see more. I would say though that most brides try on about 10 gowns during an appointment here.

We help each bride narrow her choices down to 2-3 favorites, then we will style each gown with veils and accessories to narrow down further. Once she’s found the “one” we celebrate and get her paperwork started!

Limit the Number of Boutiques you Visit

A bride should visit no more than 2-3 boutiques. Any more than that and she’ll be seriously confused! It’s also totally normal to find your dress after visiting just one shop! There are so many great shops in Oklahoma that we do highly recommend doing a lot of research before you book appointments. Make sure the shops you are planning to visit have styles you’re interested in that are also in your size and price range.

Who to Invite

We have found that the smaller the group the better. Often when brides bring larger groups their opinions get lost and they get confused. We know how exciting this time is, and we are always happy to allow FaceTime, Zoom or pictures so that you can share this experience with those who couldn’t come.

Check their COVID-19 Guidelines

So much has changed, and we have adapted as best we can to be able to give brides the experience they deserve. At this time, we only allow one appointment in the store at a time, we have limited the number of guests allowed with each bride (typically 3-4 guests), and we routinely clean before, during and after appointments. We do also require masks at all times in the store and have hand sanitizer, masks and Clorox wipes readily available for anyone who needs them.

Once you’ve Found your Perfect Fit, it’s Time to Order

Once you’ve found “the one” we will take your measurements and help you choose the best size. We then go over payment, we have a generous payment plan, if needed. Once the gown is ordered, it will take anywhere from 15-20 weeks for your gown to arrive, sometimes sooner if you’ve placed a rush order. Once your gown has arrived, we steam and inspect it and notify you that it is ready to be picked up and tried on!

Key Points to Remember:

  • Be selective on who you bring.
  • Know your budget, and stick to it.
  • Research stores before you make any appointments.
  • Keep an open mind, especially if you’re not loving what you thought you might – it’s ok!
  • Trust your consultant – we do this every day, we know these gowns inside and out, and we are here for you!

Just enjoy the process and remember what this time is all about! At the end of the day you get to marry your best friend and we are so thrilled to be a small part of that!

You’ve found your perfect dress, now it’s time for your perfect hair and makeup! Check out these amazing Oklahoma hair + makeup vendors!

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