Before Making An Appointment:
What are the Price Ranges?
Wedding dresses cost around $1,800 on average and typically range from $1,800 to $2,500. Shopping in a big city or ordering a custom wedding dress? It may cost anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000. Asking this first will help you decide if moving forward with an appointment is alright with your budget.
Is There a Fee to Book An Appointment/Is there a Cancellation Fee?
Cancellation fees are typically baked into many cancellation policies as dress shops only have so many slots. Knowing what fees are involved can save you hundreds.
Is There A Limit On The Number of Guests I Can Bring To The Dress Appointment?
Before asking your girls to attend your wedding dress shopping experience, you might want to ask the dress shops if they have a limit on the number of guests you bring. Don't worry if many of the dress shops limit to 6 total guests and you planned on having 12. Having some of your bridesmaids not know what your dress looks like will make it that much more special for the big day. Seeing bridesmaids first true reaction is something so special!
How Long Is the Appointment?
Knowing the duration of your dress shopping appointment is important especially if you're planning to go from shop to shop as you need to plan out time slots. Gather this information for each dress shop you plan on visiting before securing an appointment. Once you narrow down your dress shops, call the shops back after determining what time you'd like to visit.
How Large is Your Selection of Dresses?
If you want to get a little more specific, ask, "How Large is your selection of dresses in the A-line style." Knowing what the shop has beforehand will allow you to determine whether or not you’d like to move forward with an appointment with them. Don’t be afraid to tell them you’d like to pass and look for a different dress shop. If the shop only carries a handful of dresses in the style you're seeking, it may not be worth the appointment. You may want to prioritize other wedding dress boutiques before the ones with limitations. Remember, YOU are the bride, so go ahead and make the decision.
Do You Have Any Rules/Suggestions for Trying The Dresses On?
Some dress shops require little to no makeup on while trying on the wedding dresses. Wedding dress shops cannot afford to have their try on inventory smeared with foundation or mascara smears. It is also recommended to not wear any self tanner for trying on wedding dresses as it may rub off onto the wedding dresses. Dress shops may also require you to wear seamless panties or ensure your hair isn't full of bobby pins. Are there any requirements or suggestions the dress shop has that you should know about? Asking ahead of time can ensure for a smooth try on session and make everyone's lives easier. It's not fun rubbing off your entire face last minute in a dress shop unexpectedly.
Is Your Shop Off The Rack, Custom Ordering Only, or Offer Both?
Asking, "Is your shop for custom wedding dress ordering only or do you offer buying off the rack?" is important to know this because some brides sway one way or the other. If you don't know the answer, you risk time spent traveling to a dress shop when you could have been trying on a dress somewhere else. If either way doesn't bother you, no worries on this one!
How Long Will it Take To Get My Dress?
Asking, "How long will it take to order my dress in my size," is extremely crucial! Some brides are so shocked when they hear ordering a wedding dress in her size may take anywhere from 6 to 9 months. Plus, if you plan on getting alterations, the timeline will be even longer. Planning the timeline out accordingly will ensure you don't waste time at a dress shop and possibly falling in love with a wedding dress outside of your reach. Some dress shops do offer a “Rush My Order”, but for a price. If you’re in a bit of a time crunch, asking this ahead of time will ensure you can meet your deadlines.
Do You Offer Any Accessories Such as Wedding Veils, Undergarments, etc.
Trying on a wedding veil or purchasing undergarments will be helpful as you try on wedding dresses. To get a really good visual look as to what you as a bride will look like on one of the most important days will be critical. If any of the wedding dress shops do not carry veils or accessories, consider borrowing a friend's for try on purposes.
Do You Offer a Payment Plan or Require that the Dress Be Paid in Full?
Wedding dresses are not exactly cheap, so understanding what is expected in terms on payment will be key. Does the dress boutique require a deposit? Does the shop require a final payment upon picking up the dress? What are the payment methods such as debit card, personal check, online payment, ect. Knowing exactly what is owed and when will help you plan and sway away from any surprises.
Do You Offer Alterations? If Not, Do You Recommend Any Alteration Places?
Nothing is worse than selecting a wedding dress alteration place blindly. You want your alteration place to be more specialized in wedding dresses versus asking your talented old friend Sally who usually alters your dress pants. No offense, but it's not exactly a piece of clothing you can risk any mistakes. Ask for recommendations from friends, family, past brides, dress shops, etc.
Questions to Be Prepared For When Making Wedding Dress Appointments:
Dress shops may ask a handful of questions such as:
When is Your Wedding Date?
Just like you, dress shops don't want to waste time and they most definitely don't want to anger the bride-to-be by not knowing her wedding date and risk not being able to accommodate her. If you are not sure on a wedding date just yet, consider throwing in a few estimates of a date, but bump it up by a few months just in case. If you plan on getting married in July or August, consider mentioning your wedding may be in May or June, but are not sure quite yet.
Questions to Ask Your Wedding Dress Alteration Shop:
How Much Do Alterations Typically Cost?
If you budget a certain amount for your wedding dress, but forget to include possible alteration costs, your wedding dress could cost you more than you had hoped for. Be proactive and ask typical alteration costs before selecting a wedding dress, this way you can steer your budget up or down for the actual dress.
How Many Dress Fittings Do You Offer?
If you are having your alterations done in a different state than your wedding, please be sure to mention this as wedding dress alteration places like to make your last fitting very close to your wedding date. Sometimes, they push too close to the wedding date which is a scary feeling regardless of where you are getting married. I personally experienced this and had to ensure my last fitting was several weeks before they scheduled me.
What Options Do You Offer For The Wedding Bustle/Wrist Loop?
When you get your wedding dress altered, you will want to know what type of wedding dress bustle you will want. Do you even want to opt in for a bustle or do you want a wrist loop instead? Think for a while before deciding this on the fly as it will determine how you interact with your wedding dress all evening. This decision most likely isn't made until the last minute, so you have a while to think about it.
Can I Record the Wedding Dress Bustle Process?
Most likely, your wedding bustle will require someone to help bustle up your dress. Ask the alteration shop if you can record the process. This will ensure for a smooth bustle process the day of the wedding. Once you have a recording on the process, send the video to a few members in your bride tribe. Doing so allows more than one person to know the process. Unfortunately, the person watching and learning how to bustle your wedding dress may not be available, totally blackout on what to do, or just may have had too many drinks at this point. This is a major stressor for the bride, so having multiple people to help bustle you up is our huge bride tip!