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The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Dress Shopping!


If you're reading this post, you probably have a wedding happening soon in your life. Whether you are the bride yourself, or a loved-one going wedding dress shopping with the bride - you probably have some questions or you just want some insight to make the process as simple, and enjoyable as possible. In today's world of the internet, there is TONS of information out there (kind of an overwhelming amount to be honest) & it's pretty easy to become stressed or overwhelmed. After 38 years in the bridal business, we have put our expert minds together, and are here to help you prepare for the day!

Your wedding gown is the most important dress you will ever wear. We have come up with the ultimate guide to make wedding dress shopping a joyful occasion for everyone!

Keep reading for our tips on how to make finding your dream wedding gown a piece of cake. - mmmm wedding cake!

1. Check your Timeline!

It's the million dollar question for every bride. "When should I start shopping for my wedding dress??" Our advice is to plan ahead!!!!! Checking your wedding dress off your to-do list should be top priority for a bride! Depending on the dress that you choose, a gown special ordered in for a bride can take up to 6 months to arrive (shipping is crazy in the bridal industry). Once the gown arrives, you will then need 8-10 weeks for any alterations that are needed to be done to the gown. To avoid feeling stressed, or having to pay last minute rush fees, we recommend purchasing your wedding gown 9 months to a year before your big day! That way you can just take a deep breath, and know you are one step closer to your special day. If this timeline applies to you, book your appointment with us at Diane's today!

At this point we want to take a pause to say - If you are behind this timeline, please do not fret! We have hundreds of gowns available for you to purchase straight off our floor, and some of our manufacturers have quick ship dates available. The tighter the timeline, the more difficult the process becomes, but we will be here to guide you every step of the way!

2. Keep an Open Mind!

Do your homework ahead of the appointment! We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the different styles and colors of wedding dresses and have some pictures ready to show your bridal consultant some ideas of what you would like to try on. We created a "wishlist" feature on our website that enables you to curate a collection of your favorite wedding gowns available in store!

The key word to remember here is "idea". We always recommend being willing to try on a dress, even if it doesn't align with your initial vision. Many of our brides end of purchasing a dress totally opposite from what they originally thought they would wear. Just because you love it in pictures, doesn't always mean you will love the style when you put it on your body! Walking into your appointment, be willing and ready to step outside of the box if need be. You never know, your dream wedding gown may be something totally different than you imagined!

3. Set a Budget.

We ask every bride that walks through our doors if they have a budget, and we do everything in our power to make sure that budget is adhered to! Go ahead and decide if your budget is a "no-budge" budget, or if you have some wiggle room and communicate that not only with your bridal entourage, but your bridal consultant too! Do some research ahead of time on the price ranges of wedding gowns. (In our store, we range from about $750 to $4,000). Different manufacturers have different price-points and knowing that information ahead of time will help you find the one!

Our biggest piece of advice, NEVER EVER try on a wedding dress that is over your budget unless you are willing and able to spend that amount. We have seen it before where a bride falls in love with that - too expensive - dress, and has to walk away empty handed because she couldn't find anything else to compare. There's really no going back from this, and we just really, really advise against it.

4. Choose your Entourage Wisely.

Finding your wedding dress is a joyful occasion, and it's a day that should be all about y-o-u! Take it from us, the people you bring to your appointment-make or break the appointment. Only bring those whose opinions you trust and respect. We recommend you bring no more than three people to shop with you as too many opinions can leave a bride torn and confused! We want you to be yourself at your appointment, and have your voice heard! Your guests should be your support team, and if they are, your appointment will be that much more enjoyable.

5. Be Willing to Commit.

When you walk in to your appointment, be willing to commit to a dress. I am not saying this to put pressure on you, it's more like making positive use of the time your spending at this appointment. Be self-aware enough to know when you have found the one and when you have, be okay with pulling the trigger and purchasing your gown! If you start your appointment with the mindset of I am walking out of here empty handed - you're probably not being open minded enough to truly experience how beautiful it is to find your wedding gown!

Let's go back to the internet - There has been this big stigma created that you will cry uncontrollably and the stars, moon, and sun will all align when you have found the one. That does NOT happen for every bride, not even for most brides really. They will tell you that you must try on gown after gown just to be sure, and you must visit 15 different bridal shops to have this extreme experience. Honestly, if you follow that advice, you will end up way more confused that you started.

Just be focused, positive, and (again) open-minded, and you will find the perfect dress for your special day. We like to say finding your dream dress is an awful lot like finding your perfect partner. No second guessing or comparing, you just know that it's the one!

6. Don't Obsess about the Size on the Tag!

We are not sure who invented the way wedding gowns (and really any other formal gown) were sized, but it sure wasn't us! Wedding gowns typically run about 2 sizes smaller than your regular street clothes. So if you are a typical size 8, your wedding gown might be a size 12. Crazy right? To top it all off different manufacturers craft their dresses using different size charts. So just because one size 12 gown fits you perfectly, in another one you may need a 14!

Our advice, ignore the size on the tag, and just focus on how you look and feel in the dress! & know that alterations are available to help you achieve the perfect look!

7. Be a "Little Bit" Selfish!

At the end of the day, you are the bride and you will be the one walking down the aisle in the dress that you choose. So make sure you follow your heart! If you know that you have found the one, don't worry about what anyone else will think! Mom, mother in-law, grandmother, sister, best friend, ... they all have different opinions, but the most important once is yours! Your dream dress should be a reflection of your personality and how you want to look on your special day. Take a step back from the outside advice when needed, and focus on the emotion that each dress you try on makes you feel.

Whew! It seems like a lot of prep work, but once it's done finding your wedding dress will be such a fun and joyful experience for you and your bridal entourage! We can't wait to see you at Diane's Formal Affair!

Make your Wishlist, grab your entourage, and book your appointment with us today! We can't wait for you to become a Diane's Bride!

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