As most of ya’ll probably already know I’m engaged! Which means LOTS of white dresses in my future! Ha but the one everyone worries and stresses about is the actual wedding dress of course ! Here is a little guideline on how to find your perfect wedding dress! I’ve also reviewed some Kansas City bridal boutiques for you local ladies as well!
Just a little disclaimer- I debated a lot about posting this. No, none of these are my dress but there are pictures of me in a wedding dress, which to some is very taboo! (For anyone wondering i’ve already shown Matt a few pics of me in dresses, but of course not THE ONE). I finally decided to post this because here are so many things I wish someone told me before I went to try on. Having all this knowledge was too important not to share! I truly hopes this helps you!
1- First and foremost set your budget. I know tons of girls set a budget but in their mind think it’s okay if I’m X amount over. While that is fine to do, review your entire wedding budget and make sure that going X amount over doesn’t completely ruin your whole budget! Yes, IMO it’s the most important part of the wedding (aside from getting to marry the love of your life 😉 ) but don’t let it ruin your wedding by going over budget. Also think about accessories and tailoring, are these included in your dress budget or separate? Take it from a girl who did NOT include these, and found out her alterations were MORE than her dress – sadface lol.
2– Consider your venue! You probably don’t want a ballgown on a beach. Maybe you do, just be mindful of all that wind and sand 😉
3- After you have set your budget! Make sure you communicate this budget to whomever you are bringing with you on your dress hunt. Make sure everyone involved including the sales person knows you are firm on that budget. They will have a tendency to bring you dresses that are considerably more expensive than what you tell them. Tell them you HAVE to stick to your budget. Because let’s be honest, if you had to pick between Louis Vuitton bag and a Rebecca Minkofff (and price was no worry) we’d all pick the Louis! But price is a really thing and most of us cannot afford the Louis and the Rebecca is just as nice! But once we put something on that is more expensive our brains have a tendency to think its nicer. So take it from me and my dream but over budget Lazzaro (pictured above) dress, don’t let them put you in something over your budget!
4 –Research. Pinterest, Google, Instagram look up all the designers you like and really get a good feel for the style you are looking for! Take screenshots of your favorites or have your Pinterest board easily accessible so you can show the sales person. Or be like me and heed none of this advice and end up feeling overwhelmed and not have the best experience ever (aka DO NOT do this– coming prepared makes life a whole lot BETTER for everyone!) Doing this also will help you narrow down where you want to go. Not all bridal boutiques carry all designers so going to a boutique that doesn’t have any of the designers you want gets you well…nowhere!
5- Make appointments. Bridal boutiques book up quickly! Appointments typically take 2-3 hours and make sure to account for travel time. Pretty much all year round is wedding season so all places will normally have back to back appointments. I would start looking for your dress as soon as possible, because many times they have to order it and then tailor it, which ends up being months and this is not an item you can afford to have missing from your day! Make sure to ask how many people each appointment allows, many bridal boutiques have a max of 4 persons per appointment!
6 –Discuss with your party who will be taking pictures at your appointments. ALWAYS ALWAYS ask the sales person before you take pictures, many places do not allow pics bc so many brides go online and try and find their dress cheaper. Have them air drop them all to you when you are done, or just have them use your phone. Seeing them in person and seeing them in a photo can really change your opinion of the dress!
7 – Coordinate and schedule the entire day of your hunt. Make sure to have a good (but not huge breakfast). Pack snacks, my sister and I packed drinks and snacks and it saved us! Most likely you will not have time to stop for lunch that day and trying on tons of dresses is exhausting!!! No one wants a cranky bride or bridal party. NO ONE 😉 Wear a strapless nude bra and nude underwear, you want to get as best feeling for how the dress will look the day you go.
8 – Don’t be afraid to tell the sales person “no”. I had a big problem with this at first. I was very timid and didn’t want to offend the ladies with their selections they presented to me. By the end of the day I found out that it makes things a lot faster to turn down dresses before I got them on! However, don’t be afraid to take a risk and try something you wouldn’t normally pick out!
9 –If you think you’ve found the dress and it’s designer ask when their next trunk show is. There is no reason to pay full price for something if you don’t have to! Typically, a trunk show will offset you 10-20% of the dress (trunk shows are only during certain times of the year). Some designers will even customize the dress just to your liking! Once you think you’ve found it, take time and think about it. I never had the crying this is my dress moment. I kind of loved all of them. But when I put the one I choose on it just felt good and felt like me. I sat down in it and could breathe and could even move my arms all around without feeling constricted! You will want to be somewhat comfortable this day otherwise your face will strain and you’ll end up looking constipated in your pics- not a cute look 😉
10- HAVE FUN. You only get married once! The people who came out to support you trying on dresses took time out of their busy lives to help you and are very excited for you. Don’t get discouraged when you won’t love every dress, if you did that would make the decision way too difficult! Relax and enjoy the experience. Also don’t invite anyone who you think will put a damper on the fun. I initially just went with my sister until we got a better idea of what I wanted bc I knew she was the one person I trusted to give me her honest opinion without worrying about hurting my feelings and has the best sense of my style (thanks sister love you!)
11- Always always always ask for champagne! (DUH right?!) So many places offer it for free but might not come out and say that, no shame in asking, it’s part of it experience! You are also potentially spending thousands of dollars, so they should cater to YOU.
Here are a few pics of some gowns I tried on…sorry no pics of my dress yet 😉 All but the last one are from gown gallery (amazing natural light in there). Clamps and a box to stand on or heels are ESSENTIAL for gaining actual perspective of the dress. If a place does not have a box stand or clamps I would seriously question their legitimacy. Also ignore my face ha I was too busy assessing the dresses to look normal or pose! Or um my weird hand? (below)
Kansas City Bridal Boutique recommendations:
Amazing space to try on! Staff is sweet and very catering to your every need. Be very upfront about price with them (they got me on this!) If you buy from them they will also keep your dress until the big day!
Cute and small. Not as awe inspiring views as gown gallery, but amazing staff that listens to your wants and needs. We came here 3 times and finally found my dress! I explained to them my dream dress that was over budget and we came up with something classic yet original, which is EXACTLY what I wanted! They offer a package to keep and steam your dress, I opted for that as well!
I hate to be negative, but this was the worst experience EVER. Not only does their stock seem outdated, they didn’t even have clamps or a box for me to stand on, so getting an idea of how it actually looked on didn’t happen…. they didn’t understand any of what I wanted… we literally faked a phone call and said I had to run home bc my dishwasher was broken…. that bad.
I hope this helps you when you go to pick out your dream dress! If you ever have any questions, feel free to ask away!