Finding the perfect wedding gown means visiting countless bridal shops until you find The Dress. Because finding the dress of your dreams is one of the most significant moments of your wedding, shopping for it isn’t going to be like your typical shopping spree at the mall (or your favorite online store). Choosing the best dress is just one of many things to consider. There’s costs to consider in addition to alterations, and other fine details that you’ll want to know. It’s essential to ask the right questions, which is why we outlined which ones to ask at every bridal shop you visit.
1. How is your store different than other stores?
This is a good opportunity for the boutique owners to sell themselves to you. You want to know why they stand out and why you should spend time shopping there—important points because wedding dress shopping requires a huge amount of time and energy. Look out for the types of services they offer, in addition to which designers they sell. Mainly, you want to get an idea that you’ll feel comfortable there and trust that they are there to truly serve you and help you find the perfect dress. Ultimately, trust your gut.
2. What’s your size range?
This is a key question. You can’t assume every bridal shop will have a dress that will suit your unique size. If you require a special size, they might not carry it at the store and would need to order it especially for you, or they might not carry it at all. If you require a shop that carries plenty of options in either plus-size or petite, then you might want to consider going to shops that cater specifically to those sizes.
3. What are your price points?
No matter what your budget is, you want to know the price points of the boutiques you’re visiting. Do they solely sell high-end designers or do they sell off-the-rack dresses, or a combination of both? What is their general price range? You might also want to disclose your budget to them and ask them directly if they’re able to accommodate you. You might also want to inquire whether you can purchase sample sizes off the rack, which is a great way to find a beautiful dress for an affordable cost.
4. Do you offer alterations?
Nine times out of ten, you will require alterations, so it’s important to know whether or not the bridal shop offers this service in-house. If not, you’ll want to know if they have any recommended tailors that they regularly work with. If you don’t want to pay a huge amount of money for alterations, then you’ll also want to ask the stylist at the bridal shop for recommendations that won’t require a lot.
5. What’s the time frame for me to order my dress?
Ideally, you want to have at least six months before your big day to prepare for alterations and any other changes to consider. You’ll want to know how long it might take the shop to order and have your dress shipped, if needed. You’ll also want to ask if they can store your dress before your wedding day. Some boutiques will, and probably for a fee. Some don’t, which means you’ll have to either incorporate the storage fee into your budget or make room in your closet to hang your dress.
6. What types of accessories do you sell?
Accessories make the dress. Do they sell veils? If so, can you try on a selection of veils while at the store? Do they also sell jewelry or hair accessories? While it’s not necessary that a bridal shop sell these items, it will certainly reduce your shopping days and would be easier if they did.
7. Do you offer payment plans?
Most bridal shops accept various forms of payment, and many do offer payment plans. They might even offer discounts if you pay in cash or put down a bigger deposit. It’s always a good idea to ask because you obviously want to stay on budget and save as much money as you can.
Shopping for your wedding dress can be stressful at times, but when you’re armed with the right questions, then you’re one step closer to finding that dress of your dreams.