Planning a wedding is all about saying yes! It begins when your fiancé gets down on one knee and ends with saying I DO! There are many things to say yes to & decisions that have to be made. The most important thing about saying yes is being happy and confident with your decision.

Nothing can be more overwhelming and nerve wracking than wedding dress shopping. It is one of the biggest decisions a girl has to make in the wedding planning process. What style do I want? What color or tone do I want, how do I want to feel? These are all the things you have to ask yourself when shopping for that perfect dress. I know I did when I started the process.

As excited as I was to find THE dress, I knew it was not going to be easy for me. I take a very long time to make decisions and carefully think everything through before my mind is made up. Therefore, wedding dress shopping was something I did not take on lightly. I’m not going to lie, I felt overwhelmed in the beginning, but after some research and many consultations I finally found my dress and enjoyed the experience. And so can you!

Here are my tips and insight on how to enjoy the wedding dress experience:

Do your research.

It all starts with watching TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress. If you need to get inspiration for your own wedding look, this hit TV show is a great place to start! I watched this show for years and it was a good starting point to how it all works. I then moved onto Google search, Pinterest and bridal magazines. There is so much out there and it will help you to get an idea of what you are drawn to and even more important which dresses fit into your budget.

Book appointments sooner rather than later.

I went shopping for my dress a month after I was engaged even though my wedding was not for a year and 10 months! The reason for this was:

A) As I mentioned, I take forever to make decisions
B) A dress can take 8-12 months to come in after it’s been ordered! Not to mention the time you will need to get alterations done
C) The earlier the better. It is tough to have your dress so early as our bodies do fluctuate in size but a dress can always be taken in if it’s too small and diets can help if you’ve gained a few pounds. Don’t stress on that front, just have a plan!

Visit more than one bridal boutique.

Even if you think you’ve found the one, it’s always good to go to many salons and try on their selection. Many brides have buyers remorse after choosing their dress because they may see something they like better or wish they had tried on more before making the final decision.

Try on every style.

Some people have their heart set on a particular style and then their hopes are shattered when the style doesn’t meet their expectations. Definitely try on that dress you’ve been eyeing in those bridal magazines but when you are shopping have an open mind. Try on absolutely every style the salon has, you may be surprised as to what you like that you’ve never considered before!

Bring a few supportive friends and family along.

Nothing worse than when you’re watching Say Yes to the Dress and the bride brings 20 people with her with all different opinions and perspective and in the end are not supportive of what the brides wants. I wanted to avoid that drama and just have a few people with me when I was trying dresses on. I did not go with the same group every time but I was very happy to have gone with my mother, sister and mother in law, and I even face timed my mom and sisters when they were not with me so I could somewhat share the experience! Find those supportive people that will give constructive opinions, not bring you down.

Now that you have these tips, I’m sure you’re curious as to how I found my dress!

I tried on dresses all over the Maritimes. I first went to David’s Bridal and Always & Forever Bridal in Darmouth, NS and had a great time. These salons are always very busy so I made sure to book an appointment ahead of time. Since they were so busy it was hard for me to be able to browse myself so they pulled dresses for me. It was a great starting point. I got to figure out what looked good and what I liked. Most styles looked okay on me, which may seem like a good thing but it overwhelmed me because there is SO much to choose from.

The next time I went was in Sussex, NB at Lockharts Weddings. This salon was so great. I called ahead of time and told them which styles I wanted to try on (as they had all of their dresses featured on their website). When I arrived they had all the dresses waiting for me in the dressing room. I liked every single one I tried on! I still didn’t have my heart set on any particular one though. I wanted to get “the feeling.” I knew once I felt emotional when I tried on a particular dress that it would be the one. So again I left without saying yes.

It wasn’t until my trip to Dieppe, NB where I would find the dress of my dreams.

I booked an appointment on a Saturday in October with Bridal Vision and it was the greatest experience. I was greeted by my smiling and friendly consultant Tia as soon as I walked into the salon. She showed me and my soon to be mother in law Joanne to our room which was lovely. It was very private and had a couch and tons of mirrors. She handed me five pins and told me to browse and pin a few dresses I liked. Afterwards, she brought those pinned dresses to my room and I began to try them on. Sadly, I didn’t like the dresses I had pinned, but that didn’t stop Tia from working her magic! After seeing what I had initially chosen, Tia then got an idea about what style I was leaning towards and began picking out dresses for me. She came into my room with a dress and that shocked me when I saw it. She said “it’s a little different, but I think you should try it on.” Taking her advice I tried it on, and though different it was, it was the most beautiful dress I had ever tried on. Joanne and Tia thought it looked beautiful on me as well. Tia then began to place a veil on my head which completed the look and I finally felt like a bride. I started to tear up and said “I’m getting the feeling!” It’s the best feeling in the world. So that day I said yes to my dress, and it only took a few months to arrive.

When I went to the salon in March to pick it up I was nervous if I would still have the same feeling I did back in October. I had to order the dress a size lower than the sample dress I tried on so I was not sure how the actual fit would look. I was also bringing a bigger posse this time around and I wanted them to like the dress I had chosen. I was so pleased to see that Tia was my consultant that day and she again was fabulous. She had the dress hung up in the dressing room awaiting my arrival. As soon as I saw myself in the dress, I felt that same feeling. I definitely knew I had made the right choice. My mom, Anne, my cousin Ariel, Aunt Judy and Joanne loved the dress as much as me. My mom even teared up and everyone knows when mom tears up you know it looks good!

We stayed at the salon for about two hours and not once did I feel rushed. Tia was so helpful; grabbing various veils and jewellery at our every beck and call with no complaint and even gave me a great big hug before I left. I couldn’t thank her enough! I would highly recommend anyone to go to Bridal Vision no matter what occasion as they were so helpful and overall just lovely people. Make sure to especially ask for Tia Fennelly and you won’t be disappointed!

Saying yes to your dress is a truly memorable moment, and the most important decision in the wedding planning process (in my opinion). You will never forget the dress you wore on your wedding day, so I hope you follow my advice and have a great experience yourself!

Until next time,

Megan

**Photo credit on first image: Candace Berry Photography