How long does it typically take to find the perfect wedding dress?
Nov 30, 2023
Real Bride Stories
Whether you’ve dreamt about it since you were a little girl or only started thinking about it after getting engaged, finding the ideal wedding dress is one of the most important decisions for brides. And we know many of you have questions about the wedding dress shopping experience. So we’re taking our expertise and sharing it with you! We’re breaking down dress shopping timelines, budget questions, how many dresses to try on, and so much more. Keep reading to feel confident when saying yes to your dream dress!
How many wedding dresses should I try on before buying?
First time brides might be wondering how many are too many dresses to try on before you commit to “the one.” Well, the truth is there is no correct number. The number of gowns will differ for every bride. On average, brides try on about 4–7 dresses, but we recommend no more than 10. The more wedding gowns you try on, the more confusing things may get. When the bridal gown selection is too big, brides tend to get overwhelmed and struggle to remember what the first gown they tried on looked like. If you’re looking for some helpful tips to know you’ve found your dream dress, consider things like your ideal wedding dress silhouette, neckline, and embellishments. Finding the right wedding dress for your body type, that accentuates all your best features, can go a long way to making sure you pick the perfect dress. This will also help your bridal stylist narrow down what exactly you’re looking for and pull gowns to try on that are right for you. Going into your appointment with a wedding dress fitting guide can also help you make the right dress selections to try on. Knowing what kind of silhouettes look good on your figure or what necklines flatter you most can help in your decision-making process.
What is the average number of bridal shops to visit to find the right dress?
In the same vein as wondering how many dresses you should try on, many brides want to know how many wedding dress shops they should visit when searching. Again there is no singular answer to this question, but we recommend booking appointments at no more than 3 shops. Visiting too many stores might give you “dress fatigue” and leave you more confused. Wedding dress shopping is more exhausting than you might think, especially if you’re going to more than one bridal appointment on the same day. Also, don’t feel pressured to go to other scheduled appointments if you feel like you’ve found the right dress at the first or second store. Shopping around further may cause you to second guess yourself, getting stuck in a loop of searching for something better that may not exist. You wouldn’t shop around for other fianceés after getting engaged, so don’t shop around for other wedding dresses after you’ve found “the one!” There’s also some other etiquette to keep in mind when scheduling your bridal shop appointments. It’s better to book your visit sooner rather than later. We recommend anywhere from 8–12 months before your wedding date. Morilee wedding dresses are custom made for each bride so, with this time frame in mind, buying your dress early in your wedding planning process will help alleviate the stress of last minute shopping. Starting during COVID, many bridal salons limited the number of guests you could bring to your appointment, and some still have these restrictions in place. As a general rule, we recommend bringing along no more than 5 people. Too many people can lead to too many opinions, which may influence your thoughts and feelings about the dresses you try on. Stick to bringing on those most important to you, like family members or close friends, such as your maid of honor. If you know what kind of dress you’re looking for, be sure to share that info with your entourage, so they can help guide you in the right direction and give positive feedback on the dresses you try on.
How much time should I allocate for wedding dress shopping?
When thinking about your wedding dress shopping timeline, we recommend starting wedding dress shopping early in your planning process. Because Morilee wedding dresses are hand-made for each bride, it can take anywhere from 8–10 months for a bride to receive their dress. You also have to factor in the time it will take to get your dress altered, which could take another month or two. With this in mind, many brides purchase their wedding dress a year in advance. If you’ve already booked your appointment to try on wedding dresses, congrats! But you might have questions about what to expect with the timing of your appointment. How long will you get to try on dresses? Is there a limit to how many you can try on? To answer these questions, bridal appointments are anywhere from 1–2 hours long. Many stores offer different experiences as well, from a standard wedding dress appointment to a full-on affair where they close down the store for you and your entourage and provide things like champagne and light bites. Depending on the type of appointment you book, you may be allotted more time. In general, brides try on anywhere from 4–7 dresses during a bridal appointment, so it’s important to try and really hone in on what it is you’re looking for, so you can have the best chances of finding your perfect wedding dress!
Tips for finding the perfect wedding dress on a tight timeline
If you’ve waited past the recommended timeline to buy your dress you’re still able to wear a gorgeous Morilee gown! Ask your bridal consultant if they have any quick ship styles for you to try on. These wedding dresses are part of a special program where they can be shipped to you faster than our other gowns. While our regular styles can take anywhere from 8-10 months to be made and delivered, our quick ship gowns will get to you much faster. If your wedding is right around the corner, see if any retailers are having a sample sale, or ask your bridal consultant if they’d be willing to sell you a dress off the rack—which you could take home that day. Something to keep in mind, waiting that long to buy your wedding dress means you’ll have fewer options on styles and sizes. To try and avoid this stressful situation, we recommend keeping a wedding dress shopping checklist detailing a timeline to purchase/alter all necessary items to complete your wedding day look.
Common mistakes to avoid when searching for a wedding dress
One of the most important things to consider when looking for your wedding dress is the budget. Generally speaking, it’s recommended to allocate 10% of your budget to spend on wedding attire. So if you’re spending $30,000 on your wedding, then set aside at most $3,000 for your dress. This is a flexible formula and can be adjusted depending on what you and your partner believe are the most important aspects of your wedding. If you’re fortunate enough to have your family buy your wedding gown for you, be sure to have a discussion about how much they are willing to spend. Setting, and sticking to, a budget for your dress will help you to avoid the mistake of trying on a gown you can’t afford. Nothing is worse than falling in love with a dress, then finding out later it’s out of your budget. If you’re looking for budget-friendly wedding dress options consider looking at The Other White Dress Collection, where gowns range from $700–$1200. This collection is simple and sleek with understated pieces that offer you versatility in how you style them. We love dresses like Nyssa, style 12613 a chic slip dress with trendy details like the cowl neck and romantic pops of lace, or Nitza, style 12618 an effortless A-line with a sexy plunging bodice and subtle sparkle from the delicately beaded waistband. This more affordable collection is perfect for our budget-conscious brides or anyone who is looking for a cool and clean wedding dress. Besides going outside your budget, another mistake to avoid when searching for your dream dress is sticking to only one style. You might hate the look of fuller styles like A-lines or ball gowns, or think that because of your body type your wedding dress options are limited. Having this mindset might keep you from finding your perfect gown. Trying on wedding dresses is your time to explore all styles and silhouettes, so you can be sure you’ve found “the one.” We’ve had many brides tell us they thought they wanted a fitted gown, but ended up falling in love with a princess ball gown. Who knows, if you try on a dress you never would have picked, you just might be surprised by how much you love it. One final wedding dress shopping mistake we want you to avoid is ordering the wrong size. It might be easy to assume that your wedding dress should be the same size as all your other dresses, but that’s not the case. Bridal gowns run about two sizes smaller than regular, ready-to-wear clothing. Brides can get scared when the stylist tells them to order their gown in a larger size than they’re used to, but not trusting the advice of your bridal consultant will lead to larger problems down the road.
How to know when you’ve found the perfect wedding dress
While we wish we could give you an absolute answer for how to know when you’ve found the right dress, it really is a gut feeling. It might be the first wedding dress you try on, the last, or somewhere in between, but so many of our brides describe a special feeling—a knowing intuition—that a specific gown they tried on is “the one.” If you’re feeling unsure that you’re choosing the right bridal gown, think back to all of the styles you tried on. Is there a specific gown that you keep going back to? Is there a dress that elicited more of an emotional response from you than others? These kinds of things are signs you’ve found your dream wedding dress. If this feeling comes about with the first or second dress you try on, don’t second guess yourself! Shopping around further may muddle your opinions, despite feeling sure when you had the dress on. With so many beautiful wedding dresses available, it’s not uncommon for a bride to be stuck between two gowns. If you find yourself in this situation, there are a few measures you can take to help make your decision. First is to ask your entourage. You brought them with you for a reason, because they are important people in your life whose opinions you value. Their thoughts may help steer you in the right direction. As the resident expert, you should also ask your bridal consultant. She might be able to shed light on specific details about the different styles and show you how one gown is better than the other for your venue and theme. Another tip to help you decide is to pause and take a moment to fully envision your wedding day. From walking down the aisle to dancing the night away at your reception, how do you picture yourself? Imagine everything from your veils to your shoes. Which of the two wedding dresses best fits your vision? This will help guide you to the right choice. If you follow all these steps, you should make a decision you feel confident in, knowing that you’ve found your dream dress! In some instances, a bride has second thoughts about the dress she purchased. It can happen, especially when months have passed since you’ve tried the gown on. It’s easy to forget how you looked and felt in it. If you’re having second thoughts, don’t do anything rash! First and foremost go back to your bridal salon and try the dress on again. Seeing yourself in the gown—in person and not in photos—can help to reaffirm your choice. It will also allow you to have an honest conversation with your bridal consultant about whether or not this is the right wedding dress for you. We hope after this you feel certain about your initial decision. If not, don’t fret. Work with your bridal stylist to see what gowns they have available within the timeline you have left till your big day.
Where can I find reputable bridal boutiques near me?
Now that you have all this advice, you’re ready to start shopping! Here’s what you can expect at your bridal dress appointment. Expect your consultant to ask for your budget. It’s important to know what you’re willing to spend on your dress ahead of time, so you can share this info with your stylist. That way, they will only pull dresses that are within that range. They’ll also ask you if you have any specific styles you’d like to try on or inspiration photos to share. While it’s not required, coming into your appointment with a general idea of what you’re looking for is extremely helpful. This way your bridal consultant will better understand your style. Knowing this info is helpful wedding dress appointment preparation. Another thing many brides want to know is what kind of undergarments to wear to their appointment. Morilee dresses are made with the perfect fit in mind. Our gowns are designed with corsetry and boning for added structure and various-sized cups so that you feel supported in your dress. While undergarments aren’t necessary, if you feel more comfortable in them, we recommend seamless styles that are close to your skin tone so you’re less likely to see the undergarments through the dress. If you’re planning on wearing specific shapewear for your wedding, bring that to wear underneath your dresses. You should also bring your shoes with you. They don’t have to be the exact pair you’ll wear on your wedding day, but they should be a similar height and style to what you plan on wearing. This will ensure you order the correct length for your gown, and the right pair of shoes can help bring your vision to life. While we hope you find the perfect dress at your first appointment, it’s ok if you don’t. You can try on gowns and leave without purchasing one. Some brides need time to think before they make such a big commitment. So, if you’re ready to find your dream dress, visit one of our incredible authorized Morilee retailers for the best bridal boutiques near you!