11 Wedding Dress Appointment Etiquette Tips
Worried about making a social faux pas at your wedding dress appointment? Here are some tips to set your mind at ease.
If you’ve never gone shopping for a wedding dress before, you may be feeling some anxiety about your upcoming appointment. Not only are you searching for a stunning bridal gown, you’re also about to engage in one of the great wedding planning traditions. As such, it will probably be very different from any other shopping experience you’ve ever had, which is why knowing the expectations ahead of time can be a relief.
Fortunately, as intimidating as it may seem at first, being prepared for your first appointment is not as difficult as you might think. Shopping for your wedding dress can be a stressful, wonderful experience. But if you’re wondering about the correct wedding dress appointment etiquette, here are some tips to set you straight.
1. Always make an appointment.
It’s one thing to step into a bridal boutique just to take a look a quick look around in order to decide whether you want to come back later. But showing up and expecting to try on dresses without an appointment is a major lapse in etiquette. Trying on wedding dresses requires the full attention of a bridal stylist, and if they’re all busy helping other brides, they won’t be able to give you the attention you need.
If it’s a slow period (early in the morning on a Wednesday), they may still be willing to slip you in, if they aren’t already booked. But there’s no guarantee they’ll have a space, and in any case, setting an appointment is far more considerate.
2. Check with the store about their picture policy.
You may be so excited during your appointment that you want to send pictures to all your friends, but some bridal boutiques have a policy against taking pictures. This is for a few reasons: if they’re the only boutique in the area to carry a certain selection of gowns, they may not want their competitors to know what they have. Or, if they work with a designer, that label may worry about other designers imitating their style.
There’s also a more pragmatic reason some stores may not want you taking selfies: they can disrupt some of the other brides and make the occasion feel less private. So, if you want to take pictures, ask about the store’s policy when you call to book your appointment. If they’re happy for you to snap a selfie, have at it! But if they ask you not to, it’s important to respect their request.
3. Do you research (and bring pictures).
Bridal stylists want to help you find your dream dress. But if you don’t know what you’re looking for, they’re going to have a hard time pulling selections that match your tastes! So, before you go to your first appointment, look through some bridal magazines or create a Pinterest board of your favorite styles. You will have so many styles to choose from that narrowing your choices down to a silhouette or a fabric choice can go a long way.
4. Dress appropriately.
Undergarments are important for your appointment. Your stylist will be helping you in and out of the wedding dresses, so you want to be sure your underwear isn’t anything you would feel embarrassed to be seen wearing. Shaping undergarments such as Spanks are also important, as they will affect the way a dress looks on you.
5. Be on time, and be respectful of your appointment slot.
Most boutiques will put you down for an hour and a half appointment when you call to book, and they will probably have brides booked after you. Because of this, if you arrive late, they probably won’t be able to extend your appointment. So, to get the most from your experience, be punctual and respect the limitations of your appointment.
6. Don’t hide your budget.
Some brides avoid disclosing their budget under the misapprehension that their stylist is trying to convince them to spend more than they had planned. Instead, the truth is the total opposite! Your stylist wants to help you find a dress you’re happy with, and if they push you toward something beyond your budget, it’s only likely to end badly for both of you.
Trust your stylist to be working in your best interest, and be honest about your budget. If you have some flexibility—wonderful. But if there’s a hard limit to what you can afford, let your stylist know so she can guide you to dresses that meet your budget.
7. Give feedback (politely).
While we’re on the subject of honesty, let your stylist know what you think of her selections. From her perspective, there’s nothing worse than pulling dress after dress and receiving a blank response or a bland “it’s nice.” Let her know what you do and don’t like about the dresses she pulls, and it will help her find something closer to what you want.
At the same time, there’s no need to be overly critical of the dresses. The gown you just called “ugly” in the middle of the shop may be the dress the bride next to you has been dying to try on. Remember that everybody’s tastes are different, and that you can express your own without tearing someone else’s down.
8. Eat something!
Never try to go wedding dress shopping when you’re hungry. You may be trying to keep a slim profile for your appointment, but if you skip breakfast you’re likely to feel too exhausted and hangry to make a good decision. Instead, come prepared: eat a healthy breakfast, and bring a small snack in case you start feeling tired. You’ll have a better experience if you keep your energy up.
9. Let your stylist select the dresses.
When you first walk into a store full of beautiful gowns, it’s tempting to want to start pulling them off the racks to try them on. Resist the temptation! Bridal stores are full of dresses, and stylists need to keep them organized. Instead, trust your stylist to find the dress that matches your tastes, and don’t start browsing yourself unless invited.
10. Respect the other brides in the store.
Remember that you’re not the only bride with an appointment. Everyone in the store is facing the same decision you are, and everyone wants their shopping experience to feel magical. So, while you should feel excited about your experience and finding your dress, also be considerate of those around you. Make sure to mention the same to anyone coming with you so that they know not to stir up too much commotion in the store.
11. Enjoy your experience!
Finally, remember that shopping for your wedding dress is meant to be a beautiful, wonderful experience. Set your fears aside and keep in mind that your stylist is there to make you feel comfortable. Wedding dress shopping etiquette is there to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed, and to help your appointment go as smoothly as possible. So don’t have fun and enjoy yourself! You may be about to find your perfect dress.