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Wedding Dress Shopping Etiquette (Do’s and Don’ts)

Updated October 2, 2022
Wedding Dress Shopping Etiquette (Do’s and Don’ts)

Every bride must know the wedding dress shopping etiquette – bridal salons are different from shopping malls and have specific rules.

Some of these bridal salon rules are unspoken, but you and your entourage shall remember them as the great commandments.

The truth is, wedding dress shopping etiquette exists not solely for bridal stylists. It’s meant to help you find your dream gown quicker in the first place.

Most of the wedding dress shopping rules can be united in one – be polite. Respect the bridal stylists, other brides, and, most importantly, your own opinion.

However, some points aren’t as obvious. For instance, you should research the salon picture policy and avoid taking gowns off the rack on your own.

Do – Bring People You Trust

Wedding dress shopping etiquette allows you to bring your entourage along – after all, choosing a wedding dress on your own is a challenging task. The objective is to invite people whose opinions you trust.

Remember that this isn’t your bachelorette party. Bridal salons expect you to bring along no more than three people. Too many voices can be distracting for other brides and yourself.

Don’t be afraid to tell people they aren’t invited – that’s basic wedding dress shopping etiquette. You want to see only a few people you’re confident around, those who know your style and personality.

Do – Stick To Your Budget

Setting your budget before going shopping is even more critical than choosing bridal salons to attend.

A wedding dress is a one-time investment, and you don’t have to spend a fortune on it to comply with someone’s expectations.

Discuss your wedding dress budget with the bridal stylist in advance. This will save time for the both of you, as you won’t be trying on dresses you wouldn’t buy anyway. Furthermore, this helps to avoid drama.

You may think that trying on a dress you can’t afford just for fun won’t do any harm. But wedding dress shopping is often emotional, and you don’t want to fall in love with an unreachable dream.

If you’re obsessed with a dress that’s out of your budget, ask the bridal stylist for something similar within your price range. And if they don’t have it, continue looking – you’ll find your dress eventually.

Do – Check The Salon Picture Policy

Taking pictures while shopping for a wedding dress can be very helpful, as you can go through them afterward to review the options. Furthermore, you can see which styles will look best in your wedding pictures.

However, you should check the bridal salon picture policy before your appointment. There’s no harm in calling the store in advance. Most salons won’t mind you taking a picture, but there can be exceptions.

You may not be the only bride in the salon, and bridal stylists may be concerned about other clients’ comfort. Bridal salons that carry exclusive designer wedding dresses are often against pictures fearing that other stores would find out their assortment.

Even if the bridal salon allows pictures, don’t make a photoshoot from your wedding dress shopping. Remember that your appointment time is limited.

Strive not to take photos of the bridal stylist either, as no one likes to get on camera without consent.

On the same note, put your phone away in the fitting room. Browsing Instagram during fitting is disrespectful to the bridal stylist and distracting for you.

Do – Know What You Want

Do your research before wedding dress shopping. Learn which wedding dress silhouettes suit your body type, which shades of white go best with your complexion, and think which styles match your personality.

Knowing what you want will save you and the bridal stylist a lot of time, as you can significantly limit the selection. Try to stick with your chosen style even if the wide selection of beautiful gowns is overwhelming.

Sometimes, your chosen silhouette or color may not look as you imagined in real life. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with trying on something different in this case.

However, don’t budge if the bridal stylist, your mom, or your friends offer a gown that doesn’t match your vision.

Remember that you will be the one wearing the dress, not them. You won’t harm anyone’s feelings if you stick with your preferences.

Do – Dress Appropriately

Most bridal salons don’t have a strict dress code, apart from the top-tier designer stores.

However, you should dress appropriately – avoid overly laid-back clothes like old T-shirts and running shoes and choose something in a smart-casual style.

Naturally, your attire must be comfortable and easy to change. Don’t wear anything too tight or buttoned – such pieces take too long to take off.

On the same note, your undergarments matter. Brides often have to appear in underwear in front of bridal stylists during the wedding dress fitting, so you want to wear something appropriate.

Your undergarments can also affect the wedding dress fit. Choose something smooth, preferably of nude color, and avoid lace, patterns, bright colors, and see-through lingerie.

Apart from the undergarments, consider taking high-heeled shoes, as heels can change your posture and help you choose the right dress length.

Bridal salons have a riser to stand on while trying on the dress, but shoes allow you to move around to understand whether the gown is comfortable.

Don’t – Let Others Select Your Dress

This point may seem obvious, but it’s too common of a problem to neglect it.

You absolutely should bring people you trust for wedding dress shopping and listen to their opinions. But you should never let someone else select your dress.

This issue is prevalent when brides bring along their mothers, but friends can be very insistent with their opinions, too. Your mom or friend’s opinions are undoubtedly genuine, but they won’t be the ones wearing the dress.

Do you want a black ball gown while your mom offers a traditional white A-line dress? Do you want a mermaid gown while your friend says you look best in sheath dresses?

Politely explain that their opinion is valuable but stand your ground.

This tip also applies to the bridal stylist’s advice.

Most stylists genuinely want to help you, but some will strive to sell you a more expensive dress regardless of your preferences. That’s why you should know what you’re looking for in advance.

Don’t – Neglect Your Comfort

Sophisticated corseted gowns and flirty mermaid dresses are beautiful, but they are far from comfortable. Some women don’t mind wearing a restrictive gown for a day to wow the crowd and get nice pictures.

However, everyone’s different, and you don’t have to sacrifice your comfort for the looks. Don’t stand still in front of the mirror when trying on dresses – move around and try to sit.

You don’t want to focus on the uncomfortable fit of your dress the entire wedding day. Many gowns are comfortable and stunning at the same time.

You should only choose a restrictive gown if you genuinely want it, not if the bridal stylist insists on it. And even if that’s what you genuinely wish, consider getting a second wedding dress for dancing.

Don’t – Be Late

Most bridal salons require appointments, and you should resect your assigned time slot.

Arrive on time, and don’t expect the salon to extend the appointment if you are late. They likely have other appointments scheduled for the same day.

For the same reason, you should leave on time, too. The stylist isn’t obliged to help you the entire day. Being respectful to other brides and bridal stylists is one of the critical points of wedding dress shopping etiquette.

Don’t – Pull Dresses Off the Rack

Pulling random dresses off the rack is among the most important wedding dress shopping don’ts for both you and your entourage. You can take a dress only if the bridal stylist allows you to.

Firstly, bridal gowns tend to be expensive and delicate, so your should handle them with great care.

Secondly, the bridal stylist knows the assortment and strives to find a dress that fits your needs and wants, so let them do their thing.

One may argue that dresses hanging on the racks are usually samples that aren’t sold to anyone. However, you should still handle and try them on carefully.

Be mindful of delicate beading and your makeup or self-tan. Remember that even sample dresses can be later sold on sample wedding dress sale, so you don’t want to rip or stain them.

Don’t – Be Afraid To Be Honest

Your entourage and the bridal stylist likely have your best interest at heart, but don’t be afraid to reject their help and voice your opinion.

Of course, you should do it politely and graciously. Don’t tell the gowns they offer are ugly or tacky.

Brides are often concerned – can you try on wedding dresses without buying? Absolutely yes. You never know in advance whether any of the styles in the salon will suit you.

Don’t feel pressured to purchase a dress if the appointment is winding down. Tell the bridal stylist that you aren’t yet ready to commit honestly – you won’t offend them. Being hesitant when shopping for a wedding dress is normal.

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