This Wedding Dress Shopping article is sponsored by Castle Couture.
When winter comes to a close, wedding season gets into full swing! For brides-to-be who are newly engaged and ready to start dress shopping, Bridal Consultant Colleen Giresi of Castle Couture in Manalapan has some advice you won’t want to miss.
We know that wedding dress shopping can feel overwhelming; so these tips are designed to help make the experience less unbearable and more unforgettable.
Here are some things to consider when searching for the perfect gown:
Keep Delivery in Mind
It can take 6 to 9 months to get your wedding dress once it’s ordered by the boutique. So keep this in mind when setting your wedding date. (If there’s a special circumstance, they’ll sell a sample dress to you. But this is quite rare, as most brides want their own, specially ordered gown.)
Listen to the Experts
If you’re nervous and overwhelmed about dress shopping, let the bridal shop (in this case, Castle Couture) stylists guide you. Be open to their feedback. They’re experts at this, and in many cases have been in the business for many years. Not to mention they love what they do, and want you to be completely satisfied.
Come with References
Come to your appointment with pictures of gowns you like. Geris says many brides come in with cell phone photos from Pinterest, etc. Let the stylists know if you like the top of one dress, and the bottom of another. It can help guide the stylist when they assist you in finding a fabulous gown. But remember—be open-minded.
In many circumstances, Castle Couture has the dress a bride shows them; but when the bride tries it on, she ends up not liking the dress. Giresi says this happens quite often. If a dress you loved online doesn’t end up being “for you,” move on to other dresses. You’ll find something—and the stylists are happy to help.
Try on Different Silhouettes
You may be surprised what styles look nice on you. For example: I hate my shoulders and I have terrible posture, so I ruled out a strapless gown immediately. But I ended up falling in love with a strapless gown, and that became my beloved wedding dress. Who knew?!
According to Giresi, unless you are extremely adamant, try various silhouettes: Ball Gown, Mermaid, Trumpet, Sheath, strapless, straps, you name it. You never know which style will be IT. As Giresi puts it, “I never want a bride to leave wondering if they should have tried on a different silhouette. It may not be how you’d ‘normally’ dress, but you never know. Bringing in images at hand and trying different silhouettes brings everything to life.”
There are so many accessory companies out there. Want to add a crystal belt or some sleeves or straps to a dress? Bring it up to the stylist. They can help you order add-ons and accessories, and they don’t need to be from the same dress designer. In other words, your dress isn’t the “end all, be all.” There’s a very good chance you can add to it—or remove from it.
“There are many ways of customizing a dress,” Gerisi explained. Also, finding accessories for your gown can take a while. Consider booking a separate accessories appointment once you decide on your dress.
Be Honest About Budget
The bridal consultants have seen and heard it all, and don’t judge a bride for their budget. It’s their job to make the bride happy; not force a bride into a dress they cannot afford. “One of the questions we ask during a meet-and-greet is about budget. We try to be respectful of that; the staff will always let brides know if a certain gown is a bit more than their price range,” she said.
Only Bring a Few People to your Fitting
Giresi suggests no more than five guests should attend your fitting. Consider bringing those who will be (nicely) honest about their opinions. She also offered this important piece of advice: It’s your picture on the fireplace on the mantel; you have to love the dress. If a friend or family member doesn’t like a dress you love, try not to get upset or take it personally.
Remember, this is your wedding day, not theirs! As for the fittings themselves, once your dress arrives at Castle Couture, you’ll be contacted immediately. Plus, all alterations are done on-site, so you don’t have to track down a seamstress elsewhere. Nothing like convenience!
Resist the Urge to Feel Self-conscious When Trying on Gowns
Strip down to just your bottoms when trying on gowns. There is no need to bring a strapless bra or pasties with you to your fitting. Most dresses have cups and corsets to hold you in “place” so trying on dresses with a bra on is pointless.
It will just be you and the stylist in the actual dressing room. They’ve helped plenty of women of all sizes, shapes and colors. If you’re feeling self-conscious about your body, please know the stylist isn’t judging your curves or thighs or breasts. They’ve seen it all, and are there to help you in every possible way.
Don’t like a Gown in the Dressing Room? Move On!
Go with your gut! If you don’t like how a gown looks on you in the dressing room, don’t even walk out and show it to family and friends outside, Giresi advised. Just take it off and move on to avoid further critiques. You will probably try on five to seven gowns in an hour-and-fifteen minute session. Don’t like it immediately once it’s on you? Next! No point in wasting time.
Don’t Necessarily Buy a Gown Around your Venue
Giresi says this is common and something brides may later regret. But what does this mean? Well, if you’re getting married in a quaint barn on a farm, you don’t need a rustic wedding dress to match the vibe. This is your special day; you call the shots. If you want to wear a Ball Gown to your barn wedding, go for it. There are no ‘rules.’
That said, do keep fabrics in mind; for example, if it’s a summer beach wedding you want to rule out very poofy with heavy fabric sleeves… you’ll be way too hot. There’s doing what you want, as the bride, and there’s practicality. But the most important advice? “Go with your heart.”
All Photos: © Castle Couture