Key Tips for Dress Shopping Success


Engaged?  Congrats!  Now grab a nude Commando thong, a couple bridesmaids (and your mom), a bottle of champagne, and get dress shopping!  It’s never too early of a time to start searching for your wedding gown, but there is a time that’s too late.  In case you’re not a regular of Say Yes to the Dress, many gowns will need to be special ordered, which can take months.  After that, you will need time for alterations, especially if your rigorous efforts of carb-cutting and hot yoga are working out the way they should.

A few things to note:

1)  Many boutiques will have limits on the size of your posse.  This is a good thing; while it’s wonderful to get advice, it can be quite overwhelming to receive it in all different directions, all at the same time, all from people you don’t want to disappoint. 

2) Some boutiques don’t allow pictures to be taken.  If you have out of town bridesmaids, like I do, this can be a big bummer.  Seek out boutiques that aren’t so uptight!  They exist.

3) Make an appointment (early) and make conscientious decisions around it.  This means, no heavy make-up and no recent spray tans.  Make a decision to wear your hair up or down to the appointment, however you envision wearing it on your wedding day. 

4)  Most boutiques will have dresses that you can’t just buy, take home, and be done with.  These are sample dresses, and they come in one size.  Clips will be placed so you can envision the dress fitting correctly, measurements will be taken, and a custom order will be placed per your sizing.  Alterations will probably still need to be made in some areas.  Allow time.  Don’t delay – start dress shopping today!

My advice to you:

This approach may not be every bride-to-be’s cup of tea, but it worked well for me.  To begin, I went on Yelp and made a list of the Seattle wedding dress boutiques.  This search, of course, could be expanded to include neighboring cities, but I started local.  From there, I filtered the options to include only boutiques who showed some pictures or listed designers I was interested in (this requires some homework), and were within my budget.  I came out with this list to start with:

Unveiled Bridal

I Do Bridal

La Belle Elaine's

Belltown Bride

The Dress Theory

Dolce Bleu

I coordinated with my people for an appointment day that worked for everyone: 4/12.  I entered the addresses into Google Maps and created the most efficient appointment order, in terms of driving to each location.  I then called each boutique and made not just one, but two appointments: one for 4/12, and one for the previous week. 

You see, these appointments usually take 1-2 hours.  At 6 locations, this could make for an impossibly long day on 4/12.  As a solution, for my first appointment (the previous week), I went alone.  This allowed me time to narrow down my options at each boutique with ease.  I know my style, I know what I like, and I know what I don’t like – In a laid back and peaceful environment, I was able to select my top 2-3 picks at each boutique.  If there weren’t any I was interested in, I canceled my 4/12 appointment.  Now, when your Team of Opinions arrives the next weekend, you'll have a select few boutiques to visit, with your favorites all ready to go.  And you'll still have time for brunch!    

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