Finding the perfect wedding dress can be stressful. While the closest I’ve come to picking out my own white gown is spending a full day with my older sister on the hunt for her “I do” outfit, I learned a thing or two about the pressure, importance, and overall stress that comes between saying “yes” and “I do.”
In an effort to save you from dress-shopping shockers, we’ve rounded up the top five things you should know about dress shopping.
Featured: Elizabeth Goldman, Digital Editor Emily Goldman's stunning sister
1. It’s Not like the Movies
While my older sister, Elizabeth, may look like a movie-star, she never had a Hollywood “this is my dress moment,” but rather painstakingly weighed the pros and cons of her favorite three dresses. Lucky for her, she looked stunning in everything she tried on–which caused a unique issue that felt like each dress was another stressor, adding to her collection of choices. Surprisingly, not a single store we visited offered champagne to my sister or the bridal party...
2. The Price Tag
When looking for a dress, the price you see on the price tag rarely ends up being what you pay for the gown. Be sure to ask if alterations are included in the final price. In many cases you can also bargain your price down, paying less than the suggested retail price.
3. Factor in Tax
Taxes are a horse of a different color for every state. My sister is getting married in Florida, where our parents (and previously we) call home. One dress might have the same price tag in Florida as New York, but the taxes in each individual state differ–leaving the final price to be different as well. Not to mention, the taxes and added costs to ship a wedding dress varies based on how far you ship the dress. Ultimately, my sister plans to have her dress shipped to her future in-laws in New Jersey to save on shipping and New York taxes. Of course, she will have to deal with getting the dress to Florida at some point, but sending from New Jersey to Florida might have different perks than sending directly from New York to Florida.
While shows like “Say Yes to the Dress” often feature brides wearing veils to give them the full effect before their final purchase, some bridal boutiques only allow customers to look at veils during a separate veil appointment. This means that you'll might need to book a separate veil consultation after you pick your dress.
5. Personalities Galore
Picking who to bring along with you to find your dress can feel just as stressful as planning the wedding. When extending invites to your bridal party and close family members, factor in the various personalities of who you're bringing, and try to stick to your main gals and your mom–and in my sister’s case, her fiancé’s mom who is amazing and fits in super well with our family. The more people you bring, the more people will fight to be heard and the more (sometimes unwanted) opinions you’ll have to field.
For more shopping advice, visit Wedding Gowns 101: Learn the Silhouettes.