How to Prepare for Finding Your Perfect Wedding Dress!
First things first...celebrate! Congratulations on entering this next chapter of your life!
Your engagement was likely one of the best days of your life (up until this point). It’s the official kick off for celebrating you and your partner until the big event… your wedding day! But once the dust settles, where do you start? Quickly it can get overwhelming, there are so many things to plan. We think finding the perfect wedding dress is the most exciting part of the wedding planning process, but it can feel nerve-wracking, intimidating and scary.
To help ease the process, here are 5 things you can do to prepare you for finding "the one"...your perfect wedding dress!
1. FIND A VENUE AND SET YOUR WEDDING DATE
Before jumping into your wedding dress search, it’s helpful to know when and where you’re getting married. Your venue can set the tone for the style/vibe you’re going for, and knowing your wedding date will help determine what kind of time frame you’ll be working with when searching for your dress.
Will your wedding be indoor or outdoor? What season will it be in? These are all things to consider as you start to think about your dress. Getting that set in stone will make a huge difference.
Our wedding gowns are typically special ordered and the standard production/delivery time for most of our designers is approximately 6-8 months. You should factor in 2-3 months for the alterations process, which is why we recommend having your gown ordered about a year before your wedding - if your time frame allows! This is why knowing your wedding date is so important before you start shopping for your wedding dress. Don't have a full year between engagement and wedding date? No problem! Charlotte's stylists have the ability to pull gowns from stock and find pieces that may be coming earlier than the standard production time, or they may even have access to off the rack inventory! Knowing your wedding date before you shop allows your stylist to show you all the options that are perfect for your style, inspiration and your unique timeline!
2. RESEARCH DESIGNERS, DRESS STYLES, AND GOWN SHOPS IN YOUR AREA
Once you have your wedding date set and your venue booked, it’s time to start dreaming about wedding dresses!
Create your Pinterest Wedding Board (or review the board you created when you started dating your partner!) and start gathering new inspiration! Save pins of wedding dresses that you’re inspired by and silhouettes you could picture yourself wearing on your wedding day. Start paying attention to designers and dress features you gravitate towards.
When you start researching bridal shops in your area, read through their website to learn what designers they carry, the price point of their gowns, and read reviews from past brides to get an idea for the experience they offer. Our mission at Charlotte’s is to help all brides feel comfortable, confident, and at ease while creating a personalized and memorable gown shopping experience. We can’t wait to help you say yes to the dress that makes you feel your most confident and beautiful self!
Charlotte’s Tip: Follow us on Instagram! We love sharing the latest in bridal trends, designer spotlights, new gowns arriving in the store at our Portland and Ashland Oregon bridal boutiques, upcoming store events, and tips and tricks from our stylists to help you while planning your wedding!
3. CHOOSE YOUR “I DO CREW”
Before you start booking appointments, decide who you want to bring along for the journey! You want to make sure that you include all of the important people in your life who you look to for advice with any big decisions. Whose opinions do you value the most? Who will advocate for you and your style, even if it’s not what they had in mind for you? Who knows your vision and will support you in finding the style that makes you shine? The average party size when shopping for a wedding dress is typically 3-5 guests. Check with the bridal shop if your entourage is larger than that. We want you to be able to include everyone while keeping the environment as stress-free as possible!
4. BOOK YOUR BRIDAL APPOINTMENT
With those prep steps behind you, It’s time to book your bridal appointment! We recommend requesting your appointment at least two weeks in advance, to help ensure you get as close to the date and time of your request as possible. Weekend appointments tend to book up the fastest, so if you’re looking to shop for your wedding dress on a Saturday or Sunday it’s best to plan ahead!
How many bridal appointments should you book? That’s really up to you! When it comes to different wedding gown designers and styles, the options are almost limitless! We recommend booking 2-3 appointments and choosing the bridal shops that best suit your preferences and desires for an unforgettable experience. When should you stop looking? When you have that moment in a gown and it feels like the one! Many brides are afraid to “fall in love” with a gown at their first shop… but we’re here to tell you it CAN happen and when it does, it’s magic!
5. SAY YES TO THE DRESS!
One of the best pieces of advice we can give someone shopping for their wedding dress is to trust your stylist! They will be with you every step of the way, guiding you to find the wedding dress that is perfect for you! At Charlotte’s Weddings, we start with a Zoom or phone call prior to your appointment to get to know you better before you even come into the shop. We love hearing all about you and your partner, your plans for your wedding day, and what you’re most excited or nervous about when it comes to shopping for your wedding dress! When you arrive for your appointment, we’ll take you and your party to your private viewing area where we’ll talk about all things wedding dresses! Your stylist will then pull gowns for you specific to your preferences and inspiration photos, and we love to surprise you with styles you might not have thought of but we think will look amazing on you!
Charlotte’s Tip: In addition to looking for gown inspiration on Pinterest, you can view our designer galleries on our website and save a favorites list that you can share with your stylist! While we don’t have all of the dresses on our website in store at all times, we have A LOT of them, as well as similar variations by the same designers that we can show you during your appointment!
When you find “the one,” soak it all in. It’s ok to feel nervous in this moment, a lot of brides do! But this is what you’ve been waiting for! Trust yourself. If this is the dress you feel the best in, you can picture it on the day, and you’ve had the best experience with your loved ones by your side… Say Yes to the Dress!
We’re so excited to be part of your wedding planning journey and can’t wait to help you say yes to the wedding dress of your dreams at Charlotte’s Weddings!