Let’s not pretend that searching for your perfect dress is any easier than searching for your perfect match (because it’s not). Between silhouettes, fabric, and your budget, there’s a lot to consider before walking down the aisle looking as dazzling as the Duchess. We asked The One Bridal Salon owner Peggie Donowitz, whose store was recently listed among The Knot’s 2019 Best of Weddings winners, to give us some pointers.
To start, do your research. There are salons to meet every need, budget- and style-wise. “Do a bit of homework first. Check out salons’ websites, and see if their collections and price points match your budget,” Donowitz says. “If they don’t, consider other salons.” Once you’ve found the right one, don’t forget to read the company’s FAQs to follow their hints on what undergarments to wear and what to bring to your appointment (including pictures of dresses you like!).
But remember: It’s okay to come to your try-on only a little bit prepared. “When a bride comes to her first appointment,” Donowitz says, “we just sit and chat for awhile.” You’ll discuss the wedding venue, your vision for the day, and what you’re picturing dress-wise. The last stop in the discussion is about budget.
“Sometimes brides don’t know what a wedding gown costs,” Donowitz says. “I often use a first appointment as an education session that will help them learn about different styles and fabrics, as well as exactly what their money will buy them.”
Don’t bring your whole entourage. Donowitz recommends including two or three key friends or family members in your shopping session—people whose opinion you trust, but who you feel comfortable contradicting (if need be).
“Some brides are better at listening to the opinions of others but knowing their own mind while others are more easily swayed by the opinions of the crowd,” Donowitz says. For her part, the salon owner always confirms, once she’s alone with the bride in the dressing room, what she really thinks of the dress. Just remember: Communicate, communicate, communicate. Says Donowitz, “Consultants really want to help a bride find their dream dress, but we can’t read minds.”