*This post was written one week post purchasing my dress.
To be honest, I was the bride that was kind of in the middle. I had some Pinterest photos saved in my head of what I thought I wanted, but also didn't want to be too narrow -minded before trying on gowns. No matter where you are on that spectrum, there are a few things to nail down before you begin your wedding dress search.
1. Get Inspo
I found it was helpful to have some images saved on what you like and what style you are aiming to achieve. Every bridal store I walked into I was asked, "Do you have any photos of dresses you like?" This is helpful for the bridal shop consultants because they know what is in their inventory, and they can quickly find dresses that match similar styles. *My only caveat on this, is try hard to still be open-minded. You don't know what you look like in different style gowns until you have them on. You never know, you might surprise yourself on what you like... I know I did.
2. Set a Budget for Your Wedding Dress
It's best to go into your dress hunt knowing your budget. This helps the bridal consultants know what to have you try on and what not to. My recommendation is short & simple: Land on a price point you feel comfortable with, and stick to it.
*Alterations can be spendy, so be mindful of that. You may want to find a dress a tad bit under budget to allow for alterations.
3. Decide Who You Want on the Dress Hunt Journey
You do you girl! If you want a big entourage- DO IT. If you want just your maid of honor, or just your mom, or a just select group... DO IT.
For my dress search, I did a little bit of both. (Remember, I'm based out of Fargo, ND)
On Friday evening, it worked out to have my entire bridal party of bridesmaids join me and my mom at a boutique in Downtown Fargo. It was such a blast! I tried on an array of dresses and an array of styles. For me, I knew I was going to the Twin Cities the next morning to check out 4 other boutiques (I know that's a lot of dress appointments!) so Friday's evening dress appointment felt very laid back. I found a couple of dresses I liked, but didn't love. I wanted to see what Minneapolis had to offer.
The next day the dress hunt continued with a smaller, select group. I had my mom, sister-in-law, and matron of honor join me. I will say logistically (carpooling, space, etc.) four was a better size when going to multiple dress shops. Due to my wedding date, it was important for me to find a dress sooner than later. I went into all of my Minneapolis appointments hoping and expecting to find a dress.. and I did just that! I found a gown that I love, and let's just say I was surprised at my choice! This brings me to my next point.
4. Take Photos of Each Dress You Try On
My matron of honor took photos of almost every dress I tried on throughout my many dress appointments. I will say, it was EXTREMELY helpful to see what I looked like in photos versus the mirror. The dress I actually chose, I didn't love love right away when I had it on. Instead, I kept looking at photos of myself in the gown throughout the day (because we found THE DRESS at our first appt. & I had 3 others to go to). I honestly don't know if I would've landed on the dress I have if Allie (my matron of honor) wouldn't have taken reference photos.
All this to say, wedding dress shopping can be a daunting task. However, once you find THE DRESS it is all worth it!