Like any retail interaction, there’s an unspoken etiquette for customers and sales people alike. We’ve covered the dos and don’ts of everyday clothes shopping, but it turns out that there’s a specific set of guidelines for trying on wedding outfits. Experienced consultants know this realm better than anyone, which is why we got the scoop straight from the source. We interviewed experts from a variety of wedding stores, including Terry Hall, Kleinfeld’s fashion director; Denise Lopez and Miguel Noh, consultants at David’s Bridal; and Kelima K, indie dress designer and boutique owner.
Scroll down to find out the top 10 things your wedding outfit consultant wishes you knew before you start trying on dresses, suits, and the like.
“I find that some brides are so polite and will try on anything her consultant brings her. It’s important for the bride to be honest and vocal, as the consultant needs accurate feedback to move forward with other selections. Remember, the consultant didn’t design the dress and wants to find what feels like you, so don’t hold back!” — Terry Hall, Kleinfeld fashion director
“I tell my brides to please be honest with me about what they do and do not like about each style. If they do not share their true feelings with me, I will not be able to help them find the dress of their dreams.” — Denise Lopez, David’s Bridal dress consultant
“To keep from being overwhelmed by all the dresses out there, limit the amount of looking and trying on to a reasonable amount. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’ve probably tried too many and need to take a break, and take some time to think everything over.” — Kelima K, She Will Be Loved by Kelima K designer
“To the bride trying on many dresses: stop! This process is supposed to be fun and exciting, not tedious and torturous. When trying many dresses, the bride can become overwhelmed, and this can lead to the bride feeling frustrated and unable to differentiate between dresses.” — Miguel Noh, David’s Bridal dress consultant
“The makeup should be kept to a bare minimum. Lipstick should be skipped because it transfers very easily on to the dress. If the dress gets stained, we have materials to clean them, but we do prefer that you keep your makeup very light.” — Lopez
“If you are used to wearing makeup and like how you look and feel with it, wear it! Most gowns are put on by stepping into the dress and really shouldn’t interfere with the gown. However, with that said, bridal gown shopping may not be the best day to wear red, glossy lips.” — Hall
“If a dress is out of your price range, do not try it! More times than not I have seen brides try gowns ‘just to try’ and end up very disappointed and confused. Keep a realistic budget and stick with it. If you truly have flexibility and think increasing your budget may make a difference, I encourage you to go for it!” — Hall
“I always ask if they are willing to budge on their budget. If they are very firm with their budget, then I advise them against trying on anything outside of that price range, because if she finds the gown of her dreams and it is not within her budget, it will be difficult to then step back and consider other options.” — Lopez
“Always order the size that you are today—that way you can always take in—it’s very hard to take out.” — Noh
“Working out can make you shed pounds, but add muscle mass, causing your measurements to get bigger in many cases. It’s best to start any diets, new workouts, or bridal boot camp in advance, and keep your size steady for the fittings to be sure your dress will fit.” — Kelima
“In my opinion, it is not the best idea to bring a big group with you, especially for the first appointment. The opinions are usually all over the place and not helpful, which tends to overwhelm the bride and does not help with selection. One to two people is a good number, but no more than four is suggested.” — Lopez
“Choose very carefully who comes gown shopping with you and remember this is a case of less is more. More people equals more opinions and can be frustrating and counterproductive for the bride.” — Hall
“Please start early to give yourself plenty of time. Your first appointment should be six to seven months before your wedding. If your wedding is less than four months away, it’s considered a rush order, which will incur extra costs. If it’s less than two months away, we might only have samples to offer.” — Kelima
“If the bride wants a specific style and silhouette and is shopping very close to her wedding day, it may be difficult to get the dress in time. Shopping closer to the wedding date may narrow the available selection to certain dresses, but it is possible to find the one.” — Lopez
“Proper foundational undergarments are key to an efficient and smooth bridal appointment. Regardless of a bride’s shape or size, every bride can benefit from shapewear. This makes trying on multiple gowns so much easier, as you have foundational support and the gowns slip right on.” — Hall
“Everyone is different. While some brides shed tears, other brides laugh, sigh in relief, simply smile, or don’t do anything. The significance of finding your dress should not depend on the ability to make you cry but the ability to make you feel beautiful. Finding the dress is like finding the right partner—once you know, you know.” — Noh
“Every bride is different, and not every bride is going to have that obvious emotional moment when she connects with her dress. Some brides approach the selection in a much more logical and methodical way, which is just as significant to them. That said, many brides do have that magical moment when they put on the dress and it’s like a chemical reaction; they immediately tear up.” — Hall
“We won't deter any bride from trying on dresses. However, they might have to wait—and sometimes the waiting can be long. Always make an appointment, so we can secure your spot.” — Noh
Have you ever tried on wedding outfits or helped a friend or family member try them on? Do you have any dos or don'ts to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!