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The Four Stages of Shopping for a Wedding Dress

Every bride goes through these experiences.

Contributing Writer
veronica mickias wedding bridal portrait
Photography by: Lisa Poggi Photography

While the thought of finding the wedding dress might seem overwhelming at first, it the process really boils down to just four simple steps. To better understand this universal experience, we chatted with Kasie Gasparini of Lovely Bride, and got her best advice on handling each stage with grace.

 

Related: What Every Bridal Consultant Wishes You'd Do Before Going Wedding Dress Shopping

 

Searching

Kiss your reasonable bedtime goodbye and prepare to fall into the black hole that is Pinterest (or any other digital platform that you're using to find fashion inspiration). Although searching for styles you like can eat up a lot of time, it's actually a worthwhile endeavor. "Familiarize yourself with designers and take note as to what dresses you keep re-pining on Pinterest," says Gasparini. "I bet you have an idea of what you want without even knowing it!"

 

Shopping

If you're not engaged, go immediately back to step one. This is a non-negotiable. You should not show up at your local bridal boutique and respond vaguely to questions about your date, your venue, and your fiancé only for the sales associate to realize you don't have any of the three. "Even if you think you're going to get engaged soon, hold off on shopping for the dress until you actually are," advises Gasparini. "You want to go in to your first bridal appointment with a level head." Once you're actually engaged and ready to start shopping, Gasparini suggests making the process a little easier by first focusing on the silhouette, then a neckline, and finally worrying about details like fabric and beading.

 

Above all, she encourages brides to ask whatever questions come to mind. "There's no such thing as a stupid question—it's your wedding dress, you deserve to know every single thing about it" she says. "Does this fabric wrinkle? Does it come in off-white instead of ivory? Am I able to raise the neckline? It's important to be informed so that you're never left with buyer's remorse or a 'what if?'"

 

Dropping

This is the moment of despair every bride feels at some point during the process. You've either tried on so many wedding dresses that you can't decide which is best, or you haven't yet found anything that you think could be "the one.""You would never think that shopping for a wedding dress can be exhausting, but trust me—it is!" says Gasparini. "Make sure you're drinking lots of water and eating snacks when you're hungry. A little bag of almonds in your purse can be just the energy boost you need when you're hopping from bridal salon to bridal salon." If almonds aren't cutting it, drop everything and head out for a margarita with your maid of honor, then start back up another day when you're feeling good.

 

Stopping

"Analysis is a scary thing in the search for a wedding dress, so as soon as you've selected the gown, trust your gut," says Gasparini. "Don't overthink it or keep looking. It's like finding a mate—when you know you know and you don't need to look any further."