Now that you have the ring and the reality of planning your wedding is finally hitting you… Don’t PANIC! It’s time to go shopping for that perfect gown! This experience should be fun, stress free, and efficient! To help you get started I have teamed up with a certified bridal consultant, Cathy Montante to help prepare you for your shopping spree!

10 Tips for Wedding Dress Hunting

1. When should I start shopping?   
I recommend start looking 1 year (12 months) before your wedding date.  Have your venue booked, and wedding date set, all your Vendors booked..then you will know what type of dress to look for.  
2. How do I establish my budget?
Before you start looking, establish your budget for the dress, veil, shoes, hair, makeup, honeymoon clothes.  These are all part of your wedding budget.  You do not establish your budget for your wedding dress by trying them on. I do not recommend ordering online, as you will be disappointed!
3. Best time of day to shop?
Definitely when rested, not stressed. Weekdays are usually a better time than weekends.  Appointments are always recommended or required.  Some salons will charge for an appointment or a nominal fee to hold the appointment to assure you will keep the appointment.  If you purchase your dress at the appointment, they will usually apply it to the cost of the dress if you buy on the same day. Always ask if there is a fee when you make your appointment, and don’t be disappointed if they do. More salons are following this practice.  Bridal Consultants are trained “Certified Professionals” and their time with them is a treasure. I predict in 10 years all Bridal Salons will be charging for appointments all over the United States.
3. Who to bring with you?
Not more than 2 trusted people that matter to you the most….even less..or just yourself!  Everyone has their own opinion, and many clash and can be extremely overwhelming to the Bride.  You can always return to the salon and show the dress to your Bridal party, extended relatives.  You really don’t need them present to help you decide which/what dress to buy.  It’s the Brides dress and  it is her decision regardless whether other opinions matter.  The more wedding dresses you try on (Most I had was a Bride that claimed to try on over 400 dresses and still couldn’t decide) the more confused you will become.
4. What to bring with you?
I would bring clean undergarments, spanx (if needed) strapless bra, and a pair of shoes in the heel height you plan to wear on the day of your wedding.   Also, bring your Credit card / debit card  to cover your deposit on your dress to your appointment.  I would suggest for a deposit  $1500-$1800 on a dress cost of $2800.- $3000,  not including accessories.  It’s always likely you will find your dress on the first appointment, and if you do that is just fine!   
5. What to wear?
Comfortable clothing/dress casual.  Undergarments are a must.  No one will let you try on anything unless you do… especially underpants…(not funny but it does happen!). 
6. How to consider possible weight loss before the wedding? 
Whatever you do to drop a few pounds do please be healthy and realistic.  Your specialist can alway take the dress in, you cannot let it out and ordering it again may be too late. 
7. Should I come in with a favorite look or dress inspiration?
I love Pinterest.  It has a lot of ideas!  So do Bridal Magazines, Instagram, etc.  Don’t set yourself on a particular fabric or style because you will change your mind.  Every bride I have sold to has said YES to the first dress tried on and something totally different she had visioned. Have an open mind and consider different styles.
8. How do I know I picked the perfect dress?
Say yes to the dress and STOP!  There is absolutely no reason to keep trying on dresses “just to be sure”. For example… did you say “Yes, but I have to be sure, I have to keep looking ” when you accepted your fiance’s marriage proposal?  Same applies with your wedding dress.
9. Now that I have my dress, what’s next? 
 It’s YOUR day…a very special one. Once you have bought your dress you can continue planning your wedding.  Next step, Bridesmaids dress shopping!!! (Save bridesmaid’s dress shopping for another day!)
10. Don’t forget…
Before you snap away with your IPHONE..ask the salon if pictures of you trying on dresses is allowed.  Many don’t, and will not allow any pictures of any kind unless it’s of the wedding dress you have already ordered and paid for.  Remember to shop locally at your small Bridal Boutiques!
BONUS: Plan a fun lunch break and toast to your new gown!
Thanks so much Cathy for sharing your advice, helpful tips and wedding dress wisdom with us! Here’s how to reach her boutique and start planning your visit…


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Wedding Dress Hunting Tips | Interview with Collezione Fortuna Fashion Boutique and Bridals | Carmel By The Sea, CA

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