As with everything wedding-related, juts in case you hadn’t guessed already, there is a set of etiquette rules.  And the same applies for wedding dress shopping. Bridal consultants love to work with brides who understand and adhere to the basic rules of wedding shopping.  This allows them to plan your shopping appointment better and give you the best experience for your time. Hence, the success of your shopping trip is closely linked to how well you prepare for your shopping experience.

Here’s some helpful hints to find ‘The One’.

Know what you want

Wedding dress shopping can be like looking for a needle in a haystack, unless you have a rough idea of what you want, or don’t want. Avoid getting confused on your shopping trip, by doing some research before you go shopping. Start by looking online or in bridal magazines to identify wedding dress styles that flatter you, and shortlist your favourite dress features. When you have a general idea of what your wedding dress should be like, your consultant at the boutique will be able to direct you towards the right gowns easily. Plus, they’ll also appreciate clear inputs so they don’t have to haul a bunch of gowns out that you won’t like!

Book an appointment before you visit

Remember, most wedding boutiques are appointment-only. Even if a boutique can accommodate you without an appointment, it is beneficial for both parties when you have one. When you book an appointment, the boutique assigns you a bridal consultant who will dedicate time and effort to your service during the specified time. This will help you avoid a long wait, especially during peak times (ie a Saturday).

Discuss the budget upfront

It is sensible to plan your wedding dress budget prior to your appointment. Your budget should also account for additional expenses like alterations and accessories. Tell your consultant the maximum amount you can afford to spend on your dress, this means she can pick dresses for you to try on accordingly. Avoid looking at dresses that are above your budget, just incase you fall in love with a dress that you cannot afford. It’s heart-breaking.

Limit your entourage

Give due thought to who’s coming along with you. Limit the party to two or three close friends or relatives, who can positively contribute to your shopping experience. Too many people can lead to too many opinions, and this can often cause confusion and chaos. You may jeopardise your chances of making the right decision when there are differing opinions. So, only invite those who share your taste in fashion, are supportive and can give honest and constructive opinions.

Take along the essentials

Your bridal consultant will help you in and out of dresses. So, wear decent underwear to avoid any embarrassment. If possible, wear shoes with the same heel height as you intend to use for your wedding. Also take along any accessories you plan to wear for your wedding, to make sure you pick a gown that looks good with it.

Keep your makeup light

Although you will be trying on floor samples, take care to avoid staining your dress with makeup. Keep your makeup light and make sure it has set before you start trying dresses on. Remember that boutique will have to get the stains out of the dress, if your lipstick or mascara transfers to the dress. So, stay away from that red, glossy lipstick or fake tan on the day you go shopping, to avoid an accident.

Ask before you click pictures

Not all bridal boutiques allow brides to take pictures of the different dresses you try on. This is usually to prevent copying the designs and styles, if you decide to make your own dress elsewhere. So, don’t take any pictures of yourself in the dresses without first confirming that it is alright.

Be honest about what you feel about a dress

Bridal consultants don’t know you personally, and rely on your inputs and feedback to pick dresses for you to try on. In your attempt to be polite, don’t be reluctant to share your feedback about a dress that you aren’t happy with. Share your true feelings and tell your bridal consultant what you like or do not like in a dress. By comparing your feedback on the different dresses you have tried, your consultant will be able to narrow down choices to ones that you may actually end up buying.

Shop with an open mind

Although you should have an idea of how your wedding dress should be, don’t be too particular about every detail. Remember that your dress should not only fit your budget, it should be practical, pretty and flatter your figure. So, be flexible and try out different options, including ones that you hadn’t originally considered. Some dresses look better when worn than they do on a hanger. Your consultant has the expertise to recognise such dresses. So, if she suggests a dress that doesn’t have hanger-appeal, don’t reject it immediately. Try it on, and you may actually like it! Shop with an open mind and you can improve your chances of finding your dream dress sooner.