Becoming a Bride: THE Dress (part 1)

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Hi again! Stephanie here. I work for The Queen Latifah Show and I’m planning my wedding. With help from wedding professionals, bloggers, and brides, I’m helping you find answers to all of your wedding questions in my Becoming a Bride series.

I don’t know about you, but this was the part of wedding planning I was most looking forward to – DRESS SHOPPING! I couldn’t wait to try on gowns. It was also something I was the most anxious about – would I find a dress I liked, looked good in, and fit my budget?

I decided to go straight to the source to collect some advice for you (and me!) about what to do – and not do – when you go shopping for your bridal gown. Lori Conley, David’s Bridal Senior Merchant, took time out of her busy wedding season schedule to chat with me. I was honored because she knows what’s what when it comes to dresses!

According to Lori, here are 5 things to do before you go gown shopping for the first time:

  1. Decide who attends. Lori says you’ll want to chose people who will be your, “support system and fashion police – bonus points if they have been a bride and navigated the waters.” You want someone who will be honest if something isn’t flattering or is downright crazy-looking, but will also be sensitive to your style and feelings. She says, “Bring a friend that you would share your deepest secrets with.” Your maid of honor is usually a great person for this job. She also acknowledges, “A mom is (usually) a non-negotiable, but it might be good to wait to bring her on the second appointment once you have a better idea of what you’re looking for. First, feel comfortable with what you like.” Just like the advice I shared in part 3 of my series, “You need to have a voice in it before you let them have a voice.”
  1. Do your homework. Lori encourages brides to explore blogs, wedding websites, and the store’s website before you go on your first shopping trip. Find out what appeals to you – romantic, modern, or glamorous styles? Do you like lace, beading, embroidery, all of the above, or none at all? Something simple or something fabulous? You know that Pinterest wedding board you started long before you were engaged? Now is the perfect time to comb back through it.
  1. Bring Inspiration. Remember all that homework you just did? When you attend your appointment, you’ll want to bring photos of dresses you liked – especially if they’re featured on the store’s website – so your consultant has an idea of what to pull for you. In addition to photos of specific dresses, Lori suggests bringing a photo of how you want to look – even a photo that shows a certain mood – so your consultant can get to know your style.
  1. Be Open. Many brides have never worn a gown before. “There’s a lot that you have to learn and so many experts that can help you navigate,” says Lori. The store’s consultants and other employees have probably helped thousands of brides so they know a thing or two about dresses. Trust them. You might have a certain style in mind, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be the most flattering on your body. “Be open to trying on different silhouettes and necklines,” encourages Lori. Find the dress shape that shows off exactly what you want to show off (and hides what you want to hide).
  1. Have fun! Lori says one of the most important things to remember about dress shopping is to make sure you have fun! “It can be overwhelming. This is your moment to be the spotlight, the star. Just live it up!”

Part 2 of this interview includes Lori’s tricks of the trade on what shapes are best for your body and which trends are popular. Come back tomorrow!

In case you’re wondering, I’ve been to three different bridal shops so far. I think I have a winning dress in mind, but I haven’t pulled the trigger yet!

Have you been dress shopping? Or are you thinking about going? Share your experience, thoughts, or questions in the comments!

Photo courtesy of David’s Bridal. The gown pictured can be found on

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