The Best Way to Go Shopping for a Bridal Gown

Discover answers to your frequently asked wedding dress questions from Bridal Reflections.

To help answer some of your questions, we asked the team at Bridal Reflections to share their expert advice on must-know topics when it comes to shopping for your wedding dress.

Photo: Brandon Chesbro

As soon as you get engaged, you're likely starting to imagine what you'll wear on the big day. Some brides-to-be have planned what their gown will look like since they were little, while others have no idea where to start. From choosing the right silhouette for your body type, to narrowing down a preferred fabric or embellishment, to selecting a dress from a designer that you love, there are so many options! Choosing a bridal salon that carries a wide range of styles is also imperative, as is selecting a store with a knowledgable staff that can help you along every step of the way. 

To help answer some of your questions, we asked the team at Bridal Reflections – a bridal salon with three New York locations, plus a showroom for bridesmaid dresses – to share their expert advice on must-know topics when it comes to shopping for your wedding dress. Read their answers to many brides' frequently asked questions, below!

Mismatched White Bridesmaid Dresses

Photo by Christian Oth Studio; Bridal Salon: Bridal Reflections; From Real Wedding: Traditional Cathedral Wedding + Luxury Reception in New York City

How far in advance should I start shopping for my wedding gown? 

We recommend shopping about nine months to one year before your wedding. Normal delivery is seven to nine months for most designers. Of course there are some situations where a bride will need a gown sooner. Depending on the designer and style, a fine salon will be able to get you a gown in time for your wedding. 

Do I need an appointment? How far in advance should I make an appointment and how many will I need? 

Typically salons can book two to three weeks in advance. You certainly want to make arrangements as early as possible. A bride should have one to three appointments at most. The appointments are normally an hour and a half to two hours. You are making a very important decision, you need the right amount of time to concentrate and focus on the look of your wedding. Finding your special gown is a process that cannot be rushed!

What should I bring with me to my appointment? 

You should bring whomever is instrumental in making your decision and has your best interest at heart. You can bring photos of dresses you have seen in magazines or online. A reputable salon will have undergarments readily available for your to try on but if you wish to wear a special bra you can bring that as well. 

Once my gown comes in how many fittings will I need and when should I start them? 

A bride will typically need anywhere from one to three fittings, depending on what work she needs done to the dress. In order to ensure the best fit, a bride should start her fittings and wedding-dress alterations six to eight weeks before the wedding. If you are itching to get into your dress and it’s not time to start your fittings, you can always make an appointment to try on your gown without meeting with a seamstress. 

For more expert tips, learn the first steps to take when shopping for a wedding dress, read how to deal with a dress in distress, find out how to choose the right veil for your gown, and get trunk show advice from the nation's top bridal salons.

Opening photo by Brandon Chesbro; From Real Wedding: Classic White Wedding at a Historic Estate in Nashville