Not aware that there's etiquette involved in buying a wedding dress? Well, there is, and if you find yourself facing the daunting task of buying a wedding dress without the help of a wedding planner, here are a few tips on making your dress-buying experience as smooth as possible.
1. Research Before you even step into a wedding boutique, research the different styles, fabrics, necklines, cuts, so the wedding dress jargon doesn't sound like a foreign language.2. Plan ahead If necessary, make an appointment in advance of your first visit to the wedding boutique. When you do visit, go prepared with a strapless bra, stockings, and shoes.
3. Don't budge When it comes to your budget, have a clear idea of your parameters. It is easy to get carried away once you go into a salon, and you may find yourself trying on dresses out of your budget. When you make your appointment also confirm that the salon has dresses within your budget.
4. Be open-minded While it is encouraged that you have an idea of the style of dress you want, it is also important to be open-minded. Be prepared to share the theme and location of the wedding with the salesperson, and be open to their suggestions. Remember, some dresses look better on, than on the hanger.
5. Take your time Unless you are what Lorraine Ross-Clunie calls a 'drive-thru' bride, don't rush into buying a dress. Take notes on the dresses you like, but don't be afraid to keep looking. Do note though, that on average it will take about 6 months for your dress to arrive, and you must allow time to do alterations.
6. Fitted out You should schedule a minimum of two fittings - ideally you should have three - unless you are having your dress custom-made. The first should be about six weeks before the wedding and the final fitting should be about a week before the wedding.
7. Support System It's always great to have support when shopping for wedding dresses. However, make sure that you are comfortable with those accompanying you, and that you relish their fashion advice. This will be your biggest fashion purchase, and pictures last a lifetime.8. Weighty Issue If you are planning to lose weight and get in shape for your wedding day, it is best that the weight is lost before your first fitting. You should try and stay at this weight then until your wedding day. Fluctuations in weight and size may make it difficult to accurately fit the dress.
9. Return Policy Once you have decided on the dress - but before you commit yourself - confirm the policies of the boutique when it comes to cancellation and refund procedures. Also confirm the arrival date of the dress, and again ensure that you have sufficient time for alterations.
10. Bargain Bride Don't just limit yourself to buying a dress at a boutique. Research to find out when there will be trunk shows of your favourite designers in your area. You may also want to check online sites that not only offer discounts on some dresses, but also offer deals on previously worn dresses.