You found your person, now go find your dress!

Alright, now that the dust has settled from the proposal, it's time to find your wedding dress. Because this can be a hefty investment for a once-in-a-lifetime moment, wedding dress shopping deserves a lot of thought and planning prior to visiting the shops. We compiled a list of what to bear in mind when finding the wedding gown of your dreams. Remember, this should be a fun and memorable experience leading up to your wedding day!

woman in illusion back wedding dress

Give Yourself Time

Start shopping around 9-12 months prior to your wedding day to have your dress order fulfilled with plenty of time for alterations. There are options to expedite the process for rush orders, but this often comes with larger fees in tow.

Book an Appointment

By having a time slot at the bridal salon you are guaranteeing one-on-one attention amid a slew of other brides who are also shopping for a gown. 

Ask About Dress Inventory

wedding dress hanging up

Don't be shy about asking for a certain style or designer prior to visiting a bridal shop -- knowledge is power and can save you a few precious hours in looking for a dress that wasn't there to begin with.

Stick to Your Budget

There's the cost of the dress and then there are the add-on fees of alterations, accessories, veil, post-ceremony cleaning, etc. Think about how much you are willing to spend in total and go from there. Remember, your dream dress can be found without spending the equivalent of a new BMW.

Don't Eat a Big Meal Before Trying on Dresses

They call it a "food baby" for a reason, and eating too much can make for an unpleasant shopping trip. Stick to a small meal with little salt content and avoid fizzy drinks to prevent bloating. Be sure to also avoid eating something questionable or cuisine you aren't accustomed to in order to not reenact *that* scene from Bridesmaids.

Don't Overdo Your Makeup & Hair

It's understandable that you'd want to see how you'd look on your wedding day all dolled up, but remember that less is more in this case. You don't want to get lipstick or foundation on a dress that isn't yours and the bridal salon doesn't want to have to invest in spot-treating their inventory.

Bring a Few Personal Essentials

A strapless bra, shapewear, as well as a pair of flats or heels should be at the ready so that you aren't having to use the communal supply the bridal salon keeps in the back. 

Keep Your Audience to a Minimum

three smiling female friends

Bring a few ladies along like your Maid-of-Honor, mother, sister, or mother-in-law (especially if she doesn't have a daughter to do this with!) wedding dress shopping but leave it at that. There's no need to bring in eight different opinions especially if there's a Negative Nancy in the bunch. 

Be Open to the Advice of the Sales Associate

Having an outsider's advice can be helpful in this situation and he or she can provide a different perspective on what looks good vs. what doesn't on your figure. They're in the business of making you look amazing for your wedding, so consider their opinion!

Ask to See How the Dress Looks Bustled

Your dress's train won't always be down throughout your wedding day so be sure to get a glimpse of how the dress will look when it's bustled for your reception. Depending on the silhouette, you may want to avoid choosing a dress with a train altogether.

Get Moving!

You need to feel comfortable standing in your dress as well as dancing, walking, raising your arms, and sitting down in it. Don't be shy about moving around the shop or asking for a chair to sit in while trying on gowns. 

Anyone else have any wedding dress shopping tips to share? Be sure to let us know in the comments!

Since we're dishing out advice, here's a list of helpful wedding day reminders from veteran bridesmaids.