Some brides have a tough time finding their dream wedding dress, while others fall in love with the first dress they try. Wedding dress shopping can be unpredictable like this. Fortunately, preparing well for your shopping trip will improve your chances of finding your dream dress quickly and efficiently.

The Best for Bride team of wedding dress consultants suggests the following tips for prospective brides to prepare for their bridal dress shopping.

1. Know your budget

The risk of falling in love with an overly-expensive wedding gown is high when you shop without a price in mind. So, never go shopping without knowing your budget first. This will help you look only at dresses that you can afford and stay away from those that are over your budget. When figuring out your budget, don’t forget to factor in extras like alteration charges and cost of accessories that can quickly add up.

2. Shop early

Wedding dresses take six to nine months to be ready, once you place an order. After you receive your dress, you will need more time to have it altered to your exact measurements. Keep this in mind when you plan your shopping trip. Once you finalize the wedding theme, venue and other relevant details, don’t delay dress shopping. Start early and you will have enough time for fittings and to shop for the rest of the essentials to complete your bridal look!

3. Research your options

It isn’t wise to go shopping without doing your research first. You may end up confused and even overwhelmed with the available options, if you do. So, spend some time exploring your options before you hit the stores. Identify silhouettes that best flatter your figure. This guide on the Huff Post will help you with this. Then browse through bridal magazines and the internet to find pictures of dresses that you like. Create a list of dress features that you love, and take this with you when you go shopping. This will give you a starting point for your consultant to choose dresses for you to try on.

4. Invite no more than three people to go with you

Save yourself a lot of stress by limiting your entourage when you go shopping. Take along only two or three people who can actually contribute to your shopping experience. Too many opinions can cause confusion, and you may even end up making the wrong decision. Make sure you only invite those whose opinions are important to you when choosing your dress. They should understand your preferences and be supportive of your decision.

5. Pick the right time to shop

This is one shopping trip where you should take your time to make a decision. Avoid shopping at a time when the salon is rushed, like on a weekend. Plan your trip for a day when you can fully focus your attention on the task at hand. Weekdays are a good option, as the salon will be less crowded and your bridal consultant will have more time to dedicate to your shopping needs.

6. Be open to other choices

Although you do your research and have a general idea of what you want, be open to trying other options as well. Your wedding dress consultant may suggest dresses that you wouldn’t pick yourself. Give it a try. Often dresses that lack hanger appeal look stunning on the right body frame. So, if you are lucky, you may be pleasantly surprised when you fall in love with a dress you wouldn’t normally choose.

7. Trust your bridal consultant

Bridal consultants are experts in bridal fashion, and can easily recognize a dress that would look best on a bride. Share your ideas with your consultant and let her do the rest. When you communicate your needs clearly, you can expect her to help you find the right dress sooner. Offer honest feedback on the dresses she brings you to try on, so she can clearly understand your preferences and narrow down the choices accordingly.

8. Choose the right size

Wedding dress sizing is different from regular dress sizing. So, don’t be worried if your wedding dress size is greater than the dress size you normally wear. Go with the measurement chart by the designer to select your size. Never pick a dress that is smaller than your current size, even if you plan to lose weight in time for the wedding. It is easy to alter a bigger dress to a smaller size, while the reverse is often difficult.

9. Look for the right white

Wedding dresses come in different shades of white, like diamond white, ivory and champagne. ( Try on different dress shades to pick the white that best flatters your complexion. The same designer may offer the wedding dress you choose in different shades of white. So, choose the one that will work best for your skin tone.

10. Stop looking once you find the dress

Curb the tendency to try on more dresses, once you find one that ticks all the boxes. Unlike what you may see on television, you may not feel emotional or moved to tears when you come across the right dress. However, you will know it when you see it. It will make you look beautiful, feel confident and seem just right for your special day! Once you find such a dress, stop looking. Trust your instincts and just make the purchase.

Author Bio:

Best for Bride is Canada’s premier bridal dress destination, having served brides for over a decade. With top designer collections, bridesmaids dress collections and dresses for the entire bridal party; they make sure the modern bride finds everything she needs for her big day in one place. For more details regarding their service and the collections they carry, check out their website here.