Say Yes to the Dress!

Who to Bring Wedding Dress Shopping, and Tips for Your Appointment

Molly Rebenski, manager of White Bridal Boutiques, provides insight into all things wedding dress shopping, from what to wear to who you should bring along for your appointment.

Picture this: the love of your life pops the question, and you’re ecstatic. The proposal was nothing short of perfect. This is the best day of your life! 

On the other side of your post-engagement bliss, however, looms some pretty major decisions to make before your big day. When will you get married? Where will you tie the knot? 

What are you going to wear? How should you even begin? Fear not – with professional advice from Molly of White Bridal Boutiques, we’ve put together a complete guide of what to expect and how to prepare for when you go wedding dress shopping.

Booking Your Dress Shopping Appointment

The last thing you want to do before your wedding is stress over your dress’s arrival. To avoid coming down to the wire, Molly suggests booking your wedding dress appointment 10-12 months in advance of your big day. Leaving plenty of wiggle room allows several months for alterations to make sure that your gown is the perfect fit and tailored just for you.

Who (and what) you should bring

Wondering what to bring wedding dress shopping? This day is all about being comfortable and making the choices that suit you best. Come as you are! Bring your most authentic self. Don’t go overboard trying on every dress your entourage wants to see. If you normally wear minimal makeup or a natural hairstyle, then you should do the same on the day of your dress shopping appointment. On the flip side, if you’re a full-face of makeup and perfected hairstyle kind of person, wear exactly that! 

“Choosing a wedding gown is all about what makes the bride feel the most like themselves on the day they marry the love of their life!” Molly explains. “So if you don’t look like yourself [during your appointment] due to over- or under-doing your hair and makeup, that can make the process of choosing your gown more difficult.”

If you want an expert eye, consider bringing on board a professional stylist to help you make this important choice. Calling in a pro like Claire Roberts, the founder of Claire Roberts Style, can provide invaluable advice and support throughout your bridal shopping appointment. Claire uses color analysis to determine the most flattering shades for her clients – and she can even use this process to help you choose the perfect shade of ivory, white or off-white for your wedding gown.

Arguably one of the most important parts of being comfortable while you dress shop is the group of loved ones you bring along. Molly recommends bringing no more than four to five people. “Too many voices can make things confusing and very overwhelming,”she says. Bring a core group you absolutely can’t say yes without!

As far as physical items go, if you have any jewelry or accessories you’re certain you want to don on your big day, bring photos of the items or wear the jewelry to your appointment.

Can’t decide what to wear to go wedding dress shopping? It’s important to keep in mind that you should wear neutral, seamless undergarments. You don’t want them showing through and affecting your perception of the gowns you try on. “It’s hard to have your ‘moment’ in the gown when you can see your hot pink underwear through the gown’s fabric,” Molly says.

Come with a few ideas in mind (or don’t!)

Maybe you’ve been dreaming of your big day for years and mentally planning every detail, down to your accent colors and the style of your dress. But for some engaged people, that isn’t the case. 

If you’re someone who likes to envision your wedding – magazine clippings, Pinterest boards, window shopping – lean in to that part of yourself and come with allll the gown inspo pics your heart desires. If you haven’t spent much time poring over Instagram weddings and magazines, don’t fret! “That’s what we’re here for, so don’t be afraid to utilize our expertise as much as possible!” Molly says.

Whether you have an idea of what gowns you might like before your appointment or not, it’s important that you have a price point or budget in mind. White of Raleigh’s gowns range in price from $2,000 to $15,000.

“It’s important to know your budget so your consultant has a good idea of what price point to stay below so you don’t accidentally fall in love with a gown that may be more than you’re looking to spend,” Molly emphasizes. “We aren’t in the business of breaking hearts!”

Wedding Dress Shopping Appointment Timeline

Appointments vary depending on the boutique you visit, but Molly provides us with a detailed list of what you can expect at your White Bridal visit.

Upon entering the boutique, you’ll be met by a bridal stylist who will get to know you and the vision for your wedding. Let them know any styles of gowns you might already know you like. You’ll work with this stylist for the duration of your appointment. 

After introductions, the gown selection phase of your appointment begins. Your stylist will select the majority of gowns for you, but they’ll also encourage you to shop around and find a few you might want to try on. Brides are usually encouraged to try on five to 12 gowns.

After selecting dresses, you’ll try each one on and set your favorites aside. After, you’ll try on your favorite gowns again and stylists will pull accessories to “get a better idea of the bridal look as a whole,” Molly says. Think veils, jewelry – even a tiara!

At the end of the appointment, “we get the ‘YES!’ moment, which is the best part!” Molly says. The entire process should take an hour to an hour and a half.

Advice for the wedding dress shopping entourage

This one’s for your entourage. Your main job is to provide emotional support and love to the engaged person you are accompanying. Molly advises you to let the betrothed run the show – that is, allow them to voice their opinions on gowns before interjecting your own. Don’t show devotion to gowns they might not like, and don’t feel the need to share if the gown your loved one is head-over-heels for isn’t your favorite.

Molly explains that brides will often have their ‘YES!’ moments spoiled because of an overwhelming influx of opinions. At the end of the day, “remember that you’re there to support the bride because you love them and want them to be as happy as possible on their big day.”

Don’t sweat it – have fun!

At the end of the day, have fun! This is all about experiencing an emotional moment with the people you love the most at your side. 

“Despite what certain TV shows want to make you think, you will typically find your dress in the first two bridal appointments,” Molly explains. “It doesn’t have to be a super drawn-out stressful time for you; in fact, it should be stress-free and fun.”

If you love the gowns pictured here, be sure to scroll through our Heart of NC Weddings fashion editorial for more wedding dress inspo!

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