Dressed to say YASSSS!: 5 tips for making Wedding dress shopping a breeze
As someone who plans out everything down to when I shower and do the dishes on a daily basis, you better believe I had a list of possible wedding gowns on my Notes app from the moment Matt placed a ring on my finger. I can't help it - I'm such a planner by nature! Plus I was super excited, of course. But when I walked in to Mia Grace Bridal for my dress appointment, everything changed. I had been in the showroom many times before: from selecting gowns for the bridal fashion shows I've planned to helping clients choose the perfect gown to reflect their personality, attending showroom addition parties and just stopping in to say hi to the fabulous ladies who run the shop at MGB, you could say I know the place well.
This time was different, though, and I knew it right when I stepped through the door. I had always known I wanted to shop at Mia Grace for my dress. I am friends with the owners, who have been super supportive and wonderful to both the Saving Grace Occasions brand and me personally over the years. Vicki and Madison have been such a blessing in my life and I send so many of my clients to them knowing they'll be well taken care of. The entire brigade of Bridal Consultants are welcoming, helpful and professional. Although I knew I'd be super happy with my experience there, I didn't realize how much fun it would all be and how special the day would feel. When I walked in, I felt that sparkly, excited Bride vibe that wedding magazines talk about. I had my best gals by my side: my mom, my Nana and my sister Annie. I was greeted with smiles and warm welcomes and my friend and Bridal Consultant Madi helped me pull dresses from the racks that fit both my body type and my vision for the wedding as a whole, which I shared with her when I filled out Mia Grace Bridal's online questionnaire via their Bridal portal. I'm gonna be honest: I also texted her a ridiculous amount of inspo pics before.
We jumped right and I tried on what felt like 100 beautiful gowns. It was so fun! Some of the dresses were too tight for my taste (girl's gotta eat), some too poofy (beautiful but not really my style), and more than I expected were just right. I really liked way too many, if I'm being honest! After my two hour appointment was up, I was totally set on my gown and I did walk out that day having purchased it (more on that later). But this is not a blog post about me and my wedding day, it's about helping YOU find the dress to say "I do" in. Without further ado, let's dive in to my top 5 tips for shopping for the dress of your dreams, along with the help of Mia Grace's Madison Smith.
1. Set a budget and stick to it. Seriously, this seems so obvious, but a lot (!!!) of brides go above and beyond their budget because they fall in love with something way out of their price range. Have you ever watched HGTV and rolled your eyes at the preschool teacher who wants a million dollar mansion on the water? Don't be that girl - Take my advice and make your budget clear prior to your appointment. Reiterate the price range when you arrive and only try on gowns within that range. It will make for a much calmer, happier experience and your wallet will thank you later.
2. Have an open mind. You may have pictured the dress you want to be married in from age 10, or you've followed Hayley Paige for years and *absolutely must wear one of her designs or you'll die*. Remember that this is supposed to be fun, you Bridechilla you! You can totally pin allllll of the gowns, stalk every designer for weeks on IG before your bridal appointment and still have fun being open to what the bridal consultants have in mind for you. Based on the information they gather from you (Mia Grace sends out a questionnaire which gathers your measurements, height and weight and also allows you to create a mood board like Pinterest, but for dresses only). These ladies know from experience what works with each person's body type. Take me for example: I am no size 0. I've got hips and thighs and I'm also pretty tall (5 foot 8) and I still found plenty of gowns I truly felt like my best self in, thanks to Madison's help!
"There are different wedding gowns for every body type. What's most important is finding what makes the bride feel absolutely beautiful and the most comfortable. We guide the bride through a variety of different styles such as A-line, ballgown, fit and flare, and so on. By trying all of these silhouettes on, the bride is then able to find beauty and personality in the style she feels most confident in!" - Mia Grace Bridal consultant Madison Smith
3. Only bring a few core people. We've all seen TLC's Say Yes To The Dress. Let's skip the drama and tears and focus only on who loves and supports you and can kindly express their opinions in a way that makes you feel excited about shopping for the perfect dress. "The idea is four people, but at the most try not more than six. The people you bring should have opinions that you value and know you best. This is your wedding day, and often too many people and too many opinions can create confusion when it comes to what YOU want for YOUR day".
4. Sit in the dress, jump in the dress, have a dance party in the dress! Think about it: you'll be dancing and eating and drinking and dancing some more on the big day. Try walking around, throw on some heels or better yet THE shoes you'll be wearing on wedding day and try to really envision yourself not just posing for pics but also living in the dress. If it's not comfortable, move on. Mine felt like PJs made of silky smooth butter, so yeah, you could say I want to wear it for hours and hours. I chose to bring some nude heels similar to what I'll be wearing on my wedding day as well as similar earrings to get a better idea of the whole lewkkkkk. I actually felt sad to take the dress off, which was a pretty good inclination that it was the right one for me!
5. If you're unsure, sleep on it! You can always come back . That being said, try to purchase your gown sooner rather than later. Madi recommends booking your appointment 10-12 months prior to the wedding because we highly recommend ordering your gown 9 months prior. Most designers take 6 months to send it in and then they recommend 90 days for alterations. Don't panic if you're working on a shorter timeline though, it is possible to get a gown you love in time for the big day. Mia Grace Bridal books 3 weeks or so out, and if you're looking elsewhere, be sure to give them a call regarding their availability!
Adding in one last tid bit: Ask your shopping buddies who have joined you what they think! The expression on my mom and sister's faces said it all when I walked out in "my" dress, but if that wasn't enough, my Nana followed up by saying "Oh, honey, you look like Jackie Onassis!" And at that, ladies and gentlemen, I. Was. SOLD.
My experience shopping for my wedding gown was very special and surprisingly easy. I am someone who can be hard on myself in the body image department, and my biggest advice if you're in the same boat is just to remember that your sweetheart loves you the way you are :) Enjoy the process and try to let go of perfection during the entire wedding planning process. It will all work out the way it is supposed to, and when you let go of "perfect" and focus on having fun and enjoying the process, the memories not just from the actual wedding day but also the months leading up to it will make you smile on a rainy day! Happy shopping