Every bride envisions the moment when they find the “the one”—and I’m not talking about their fiancé here, but the other one: their dream wedding dress. As planners, our focus usually lies on helping our brides throughout the event planning process with things like budget, timeline, and guest lists—but, if your bride books you before selecting her dress, you have a unique opportunity to provide some seriously savvy wedding-dress tips in addition to all of the other guidance you provide (adding even more value to your services). Today, then, we wanted to offer up our top four wedding gown tips to share with your brides.
1. Only try on dresses in your budget.
If there’s one rule you share with your clients before they head to the bridal salon, let it be this one. Being engaged can turn even the most budget-conscious bride into a softie when it comes to shopping—leading her to throw all sense of budget out of the window if a stunning gown catches her eye. But wedding dress shopping should be an enjoyable experience above all us—and there’s no quicker way to put a damper on what should be a great time than to try on (and fall in love with) a $10,000 couture gown that’s out of your budget. If a bride falls in love with a gown she can’t afford, suddenly the one she did choose feels lackluster and like it will never live up to all of the feels she got from the other one. If your bride commits to only trying on gowns that fall within her budget, she’ll never know what she’s missing out on and will avoid a world of disappointment. (So, in this case, ignorance totally is bliss.)
Pro Tip: Alterations and accessories aren’t cheap—don’t forget to remind your brides to factor those costs in when looking at dresses.
2. Make appointments.
It’s very rare that you can just stop into a bridal salon and try on dresses without any notice. Most salons want to create a personal experience for their brides, so they require appointments in order to pair you with a bridal stylist who can help guide you through the process and offer styles and designers you might like. It’s tempting to just stop in a store on a whim—but brides should let their shopping experience be a memorable one. Making an appointment will ensure they’re treated like royalty (some salons will even have champagne on ice waiting)—and that the process is as personalized and seamless as it should be.
Pro Tip: If your bride has a favorite designer or style in mind, remind her to call the bridal salon beforehand to make sure they have a sample of that style or designer. If they don’t have one on hand, they can often call in one for you if enough notice is given.
3. Give yourself plenty of time.
We suggest trying on gowns at least 6-8 months ahead of your wedding day. Most custom gowns can take up to 6-8 months to create—and ones that are even more detailed can take more time. Plus, you have to factor in alterations and accessory shopping. In addition, your bride will likely want to have her dress purchased before she has her hair and makeup trial appointments (different necklines will look better with different hair styles, after all)—so make sure you remind her to factor that into her shopping timeline as well.
Pro Tip: Most wedding gowns are shipped from overseas, so starting the process well in advance will help your bride avoid pricey rush shipping charges.
4. Make plans to preserve your gown.
If your bride doesn’t plan on donating her gown, be sure you let her know about the importance of preserving it. The only way to guarantee a wedding dress will remain in perfect condition is to have it professionally cleaned and preserved before storing it. Dresses can yellow, dull, and collect dust over time if they’re not properly stored. The main reason gowns age and turn yellow is due to stains that may not be visible on the dress (like sweat or oils from the skin). A professional will know how to handle this to ensure your gown stays in mint condition.
Pro Tip: Make sure your bride researches preservation options in her area ahead of time so that, immediately after the wedding, she can drop it at a dry cleaner or other professional before any stains (i.e. red wine splashes) sit for too long and are untreatable.