des moines, iowa and beyond

workflow & systems strategist

Tips for Wedding Dress Shopping

Sweet Beginnings

Oh, wedding dress shopping! It is one of the most exciting parts of planning and likely the part you’ve dreamt of the longest. C’mon, you know you were the 4 year old making toilet paper dresses. No, just me? Well, whether you did or not, I’m so excited for you to hear from my dear friend Kristen, of Ivory and Lace Events, as she shares her top tips for dress shopping!

Kristen and I were introduced by Kathryn a couple years ago and have been fast friends ever since. We both moved to Dallas at the same time and love what we do so deeply. We have so much in common, but also keep each other on our toes. She is one of my closest friends and my sounding board. I am so grateful for her friendship and guidance, as she recently became a mama, too! I hope y’all soak in all of her advise – this girl knows what she’s talking about!

Hey there! I am so excited and honored to have the opportunity to write to you all today. Jenn is a dear friend of mine and I am thrilled she asked me to be a guest speaker on her blog. It is my hope that the tips and tricks I’ve provided below might help you find the perfect wedding dress. This topic is near and dear to me as I used to be a bridal consultant before I decided to venture off and start my own event planning business.

Shopping for a wedding dress can be a very special time, filled with laughter, crying and pure excitement. Finding a dress is an important part of the overall wedding planning process and sets the tone for the day. I’ve gotten to work with some of the sweetest brides throughout the process and getting to know them was pure joy. It is my hope you find a bridal shop that offers a unique experience, tailored specifically to you. It will make the entire process rich and full of love. I hope you find joy in this post and can take away a few helpful tips when dress shopping. Enjoy!

Be open to different styles

Allow yourself to try on different gown silhouettes.  You might go into the appointment thinking you don’t want lace, and try on a lace gown and fall completely in love. I have seen this happen many times! Or you might think you want a fit and flair and end up purchasing a ball gown with additional crinoline built in. I have seen this happen as well! 😉 Trying on different gown shapes is helpful, however limit yourself to no more than 10! Anything over this number will just be far too much and the gowns you’ve tried on might start to blur together and then you leave feeling frustrated and exhausted.

Only one shop a day!

If your schedule allows it, I would recommend only going to one bridal shop a day and take your time throughout the process. If you have a list of three bridal shops you want to check out, try to space them out best you can! I’ve seen girls go to 2-3 bridal shops a day and when they came to me their last stop they
were just plain exhausted, usually did not end up making a decision and scheduled another time to come back with fresh eyes.

Bring your bridal inspiration

There is so much out there, so try not to get overwhelmed with the many Pinterest boards and inspiration found on various social media platforms.  Bring a few images that you can show your bridal consultant. This will help guide your consultant as well as narrow in on what you’re most attracted to. Sometimes talking about what you like and don’t like out loud can clarify a lot.

Always book an appointment

Most bridal shops are appointment only. It would be disappointing to coordinate all of your family and friends to come dress shopping with you only to be turned down because you didn’t book an appointment. Call ahead.  It’s important to call bridal shops and ask for their starting price points.  If you know you only want to spend $1,000 on your gown, and the bridal shop has 2 gowns that start at that and the rest at $3,000 it might not be the best appointment to attend.  Also, check to see if the bridal shop is hosting a sample sale.  A lot of the time bridal shop owners will sell off the floor to clear out inventory for new samples to come in.

Bras/ undergarments

This is usually not necessary to bring unless you feel more comfortable having your own then go for it! I would recommend purchasing a bra after you purchase your wedding dress. You may need a specific bra for the gown, or the seamstress may be able to build one in for you. A lot of bridal shops will offer a longline bra and heels for you to use during the appointment, but it’s always better to be prepared so wear and bring the right garments.


If you plan on using a veil that has been passed down, feel free to bring this along to the appointment as this can help determine the gown you might want. Additionally, if the bridal shop has an in house seamstress they may be able to take a look at the veil if reconstruction is needed. However, I would not recommend bringing tons of accessories to the appointment. Finding your dress can be overwhelming enough if you try to pair accessories with the dress you might start to get stressed out. The bridal consultant can offer a few suggestions throughout the appointment so you can get a good idea of what might work later down the line. I would suggest scheduling a separate appointment to try on accessories.


I would not recommend bringing an army to watch you try on wedding dresses.  For starters, most bridal shops are small and have a limited amount of space for their appointments.  At the bridal shop I used to work, we would only recommend a maximum of 4 people.  Ask the bridal shop you are attending how
many guests they allow/prefer for the appointment. Keep in mind that less opinions are better especially if you’re easily influenced.  At the end of the day, you have to wear the gown and love it and no one else.

Eat something and stay hydrated!

I’ve had girls nearly faint from trying on wedding gowns. This process can be exhausting, so please properly fuel before your appointment and bring a few snacks/water after you finish.

Scrub Scrub!

I would recommend taking a shower before your appointment and put on a light face of makeup.  You might have a different experience when trying on gowns if you’re clean and feel good.

Trust your stylist

Finally, trust your consultant.  Your consultant knows what they’re doing. They work with countless brides throughout the day and have met with most of the designers, sales reps, and know the overall quality and fit of the gown inside and out. However, if you’re really leaning toward another gown then go for it! After all, it’s your day and others opinions shouldn’t matter.
Happy dress shopping!

Much love,


Connect with Kristen | website | intagram | facebook

photo credit | SC Stock Shop | Ellen Ashton | Everlasting Love Photography

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