If you're having a tough time choosing a wedding dress, or else having second thoughts about one your purchased, don't panic! You're not alone—actually, you're far from it. Finding "the one" is tough for so many brides, especially when you're trying to select one single garment that makes you feel beautiful, suits your venue, and fits your budget. Brides often get overwhelmed and make the mistake of purchasing a wedding dress that doesn't check all of these boxes. Whether you're about to start shopping or are feeling stuck with a bridal gown you don't absolutely love, we're here to help. We talk to two bridal consultants and one stylist and asked to share the most common wedding dress regrets they hear from brides. This information—plus one pro's top tips for remedying the situation if you realize you've ordered the wrong gown for you—will help put your fears to rest.
Choosing what the group loves, not what you love.
Trying on wedding dresses is a memorable part of the planning process, and most women want to include a few family members and friends in their shopping trips. But it's important to choose this group carefully, because their opinions may sway you towards choosing a look you don't really love. Anna Walsh, owner of anna bé, says that it's easy for a bride-to-be to confuse everyone else's feelings for her own. "One of the most common wedding dress regrets we hear is when a bride is overwhelmed by too many opinions and ends up choosing a dress that was not her favorite but the group's favorite," she says. While it's certainly tempting to purchase a garment your loved ones are gushing over, it's crucial to really consider whether or not it's what you wanted. If it doesn't fit your style or make you feel like a million bucks, you're bound to have regrets.
Not following your gut.
Lanie List, founder of Lovely Bride, says that many brides regret not following their instincts from the beginning. "One common regret we hear from brides is not going with their gut instinct on a dress," she says. "They will fall in love with a dress quickly, but then feel like they are cheating themselves if they don't shop around more. Cut to two months and dozens of dresses later, those brides come back confused and often pressed for time since they stalled too long." While it's perfectly fine to shop around, don't let the temptation to hunt for "something better" derail you from choosing a gown that felt right early on. If you're an indecisive bride, give yourself ample time to shop around so that you can visit salons several times before taking the plunge.
Hating the final fit.
Julie Sabatino, a bridal stylist and founder of the Stylish Bride, says you can love a wedding dress on the rack but still hate how it fits you. She's seen it happen time and time again. "In one case, the dress didn't have enough support in the bust, so I had one of the designers that works with me remake the bodice for her," she explains. "A lot of times the salons themselves won't do that, so you're probably going to have to find someone on your own." You can often hire a professional to make alterations to your gown to achieve the perfect fit or to add or remove certain embellishments, but it's more cost-effective to choose something that you love on you as is.
What should you do if you need to start the search over?
If you're experiencing major regret and have decided that your only option is to get a brand-new wedding dress, you have options—but know that the process isn't easy. Sabatino stresses that you likely will not get your deposit back. Most contracts state that you have the choice of either paying for the gown in full and selling it yourself or letting the salon keep the dress and losing your deposit. Decide which option is right for you, then start the shopping process. Depending on your timeline, you may need to consider off-the-rack or sample dresses, so look for salons that have a large stock of ready-to-purchase looks.