Initial consultation

What to Bring/Know:


  • Idea of budget
  • Wedding date
  • Wedding location (indoor, outdoor, church, barn, etc.)
  • Wedding style (formal, casual, vintage, elegant, etc.)
  • Number of bridesmaids
  • Idea of colors


What to Ask:

How long have they been in business?
Wonderful new shops open their doors every day. However, with those that have been around awhile, you know they carry well-researched vendors and maintain good relationships with them – which means they have the clout to get something fixed quickly should problems occur.

Am I buying a custom fit?
You are not shopping for just a dress, but a fit as well. Choose a shop that will make sure you look stunning in a perfectly fitted gown. Have you seen brides pulling up their strapless gowns throughout the day? That does not happen when properly fitted by professionals.

Who will be doing the finish work and sewing?
Find out if the shop does their own alterations or if they hire out the service.

Does the dress leave the shop?
If the gown never leaves the shop, it will stay more pristine. If you or your shop work with an in-home seamstress ask about smoking and pets.

When do they order the dress?
Some shops may take the order but wait to put it through until closer to your wedding day. Make sure your gown will be ordered with plenty of time to spare.

How will the dress look when picked up?
Find out if the gown will be steamed or pressed, whether the shop takes steps to preserve the gown’s shape, and whether the dress bag will be roomy enough to prevent crushing.

Expert Advice

• Do not buy online. Though it may seem like a great way to save a few dollars, horror stories abound: boxes arriving with just fabric and a pattern, dresses falling apart when tried on, dresses looking nothing like the photo, etc. Because most online gown sales are counterfeits originating in China, there is little to no recourse when something goes wrong. In addition, U.S. Customs officials are authorized to seize counterfeit gowns as they enter the country. Don’t get caught in the middle!

• If your bridesmaids come in many shapes and wear all different sizes, consider picking the color and fabric for the dresses and allow them to choose their own style. If un-identical dresses is not something you want, consider dresses in an A-line style which is flattering to all body types and sizes. You could also consider having your maids wear identical wraps.