17 Dos and Don’ts of Wedding Dress Shopping Etiquette

Photo of author

Imagine walking into a bridal salon and seeing hundreds of gorgeous wedding dresses waiting for you to try them on. You feel a surge of excitement and anticipation as you envision yourself in the perfect dress for your big day. But before you start grabbing every dress that catches your eye, you need to know some basic rules of wedding dress shopping etiquette.

Wedding dress shopping is an exciting experience but can also be overwhelming and stressful, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the proper wedding etiquette. To make your shopping experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible, here are some tips from Viva Wedding Photography. These tips will help you avoid common pitfalls, save time and money, and have fun along the way.

Dos and Don’ts of Wedding Dress Shopping for Bride

1. Do The Research Beforehand

Preparation is the key to making the most of your dress-shopping time. Shops’ prices, the availability of gowns for ordering, and the designers’ aesthetics should all be considered in wedding dress shopping etiquette. You can save time and energy by shortlisting the salons you really want to visit with the help of this preparation. For instance, if you are looking for a sparkling beaded dress by a specific designer, you don’t want to waste your time at stores that offer plain or simple designs.

Bridal Dress Shopping Etiquette - Do A Research Before Choosing
Bridal Dress Shopping Etiquette – Do A Research Before Choosing (Source: Envious Bridal)

2. Don’t Show Up Without an Appointment

Getting an appointment at a bridal salon on the weekend is difficult, even if many don’t accept walk-ins. It’s better to plan and schedule an appointment before heading out to the store than to risk waiting. It’s not only kind to the staff if you come prepared for your session, but it also improves the quality of your experience. You and your bridal consultant can discuss the silhouettes and embellishments that catch your eye, and she can bring appropriate samples for you to try on.

Wedding Dress Fitting Etiquette - Get An Appointment Beforehand
Wedding Dress Fitting Etiquette – Get An Appointment Beforehand (Source: Wedding Wire)

3. Do Arrive on Time and Leave on Time

Be mindful of the time allotted to you just as you want to be serviced promptly. Following bridal dress shopping etiquette, make sure your appointment starts and ends on time by calling ahead, then show up at least 10 minutes early. The average time spent trying on wedding dresses is two hours. Due to the high volume of brides-to-be out on weekends, appointments may be shortened.

If you’d like to have more free time on the weekend to shop and unwind, schedule your job for the week. You will have a more pleasant experience if you are flexible with your appointment time and go during a time when the store has fewer customers scheduled. Try not to dilly-dally or waste too much time in the bridal salon. If you come to your appointment well-prepared, everything will go quickly and easily.

Arrive On Time When Choosing Wedding Dresses
Arrive On Time When Choosing Wedding Dresses (Source: Hope LaVine)

4. Don’t Wear Too Much Makeup That May Stain or Ruin the Dresses

Avoiding heavy or smudged makeup that could spill into the garment is best when shopping. It is dangerous to change into a dress even though your makeup shouldn’t rub off. For example, lipstick is known for staining clothing and is notoriously difficult to remove.

If you spill any on the dress, your consultant may need extra time and effort to remove it. Although the gowns on display are only meant for trying on, it is still important to remember the little details that can make a big difference for everyone.

Wedding Dress Shopping Etiquette - Avoiding Wearing Heavy Makeup
Wedding Dress Shopping Etiquette – Avoiding Wearing Heavy Makeup (Source: Bustle Gowns)

5. Bring the Right Undergarments and Shoes

Shopping for your wedding dress is an exciting and memorable experience, but you also need to pay attention to the details that will make it perfect. One of the key aspects of wedding dress appointment etiquette is to bring the right undergarments and shoes that go well with your wedding dress style and fit.

For example, a strapless bra or adhesive cups are necessary for a strapless or backless dress, as they provide enough support and coverage. A fitted or mermaid dress requires seamless underwear or shapewear that smooths your curves and prevents any visible lines.

If you are opting for a long or short dress, you need to wear the shoes that you will wear on your wedding day or a similar pair that has the same height and style. This will help you adjust the length and hemline of the dress and see how it matches your shoes.

Bridal dress shopping etiquette
Bridal dress shopping etiquette – Suitable Undergarments and Shoes (Image: Getty Images Signature)

6. Don’t Bring Too Many People

The fewer people you have in the room, the less noise and distraction you will face. Otherwise, you might end up choosing a dress that you don’t love, just to please everyone else. That would be a huge mistake that you would regret later. So, you should only invite your closest relatives, such as your maid of honor, mother, and future mother-in-law, to your dress shopping, instead of bringing all your bridesmaids along.

Don't Bring Too Many People When Selecting Wedding Dress
Don’t Bring Too Many People – Wedding dress fitting etiquette (Source: Perfete)

7. Do Be Honest About Your Budget and Expectations

One crucial step in finding the perfect dress is speaking openly and honestly about your financial limitations, a key aspect of wedding dress fitting etiquette. Spend as little as possible while still getting the dress of your dreams.

Your stylist can help you select dresses that fit your ideas and budget if you give them a range to work with. If you see an outfit that’s a bit out of your price range, you can save money by waiting for a sale or trunk show to see if the business is doing a trunk show.

Bridal Dress Shopping Etiquette - Honestly About Your Financial Limitation
Bridal Dress Shopping Etiquette – Honestly About Your Financial Limitation (Source: David’s Bridal)

8. Don’t Forget to Take Photos and Notes

We know how exciting and overwhelming it can be to shop for your wedding dress. You might be tempted to try on every dress that catches your eye, but you also need to keep track of the ones that you like.

That’s why Viva Wedding Photography recommends taking photos and notes of the dresses you like, especially if you are visiting multiple salons or have a long shopping period. This will help you remember and compare the dresses, share them with your friends and family, and make a final decision.

You can use your phone, a camera, or a notebook to capture the details of the dresses, such as the style, the color, the price, and the fit. But be careful, you should always ask for permission from the salon and the stylist before taking any photos, as some of them might have policies or preferences regarding this.

Don’t Forget to Take Photos and Notes
Don’t Forget to Take Photos and Notes (Image: Kleinfeld Bridal)

9. Do Be Open-Minded

One of the rules of wedding gown shopping etiquette is to try on salon gowns with an open mind, even if you’ve had your ideal dress in mind for years. Don’t be too quick to dismiss the stylists’ suggestions; instead, trust their expertise.

Trying on several gowns can either confirm that the style you’ve been thinking about is the one for you, or it may reveal that you need to look elsewhere. Perhaps you had your heart set on an A-line dress for your big day, but you’ve since fallen in adore with a trumpet style. You can’t find out until you’re willing to try everything.

Wedding Dress Shopping Etiquette - Choose Gowns With An Open Mind
Wedding Dress Shopping Etiquette – Choose Gowns With An Open Mind (Source: Brides)

10. Don’t Damage or Dirty the Dresses

Whether trying on five or fifty, treating each garment with attention would be best. Since other brides-to-be will try on these outfits, the store must ensure they are in excellent condition.

Dresses are very pricey, and the samples in a store are almost always the only ones the salon has. Following the planner’s instructions means carefully handling fasteners and arranging each dress afterward. Also, following wedding dress appointment etiquette, be careful not to damage any shelves as you browse.

Wedding Dress Fitting Etiquette - Be Careful With Each Dress
Wedding Dress Fitting Etiquette – Be Careful With Each Dress (Source: Luxx Nova)

11. Do Give Your Genuine Feedback and Feelings

One of the best ways to make your wedding dress shopping experience enjoyable and successful is to communicate politely with your stylist. This is not only a good manner, but also a part of the bridal dress shopping etiquette, as it shows respect and appreciation for their work and expertise. They can’t read your mind, so don’t hesitate to tell them if a dress doesn’t suit you or your style. They won’t take it personally, as they truly want to help you find your dream dress.

By being honest with your stylist, you will allow them to create better outfits for you. Don’t let the pressure or the time limit get to you, especially if you are still unsure about a dress. Keep looking for the perfect wedding dress and let them know you need more time to decide. This is your special day, and you deserve to find the dress that makes you happy and confident.

Wedding Gown Shopping Etiquette - Be Honest With Your Stylist
Wedding Gown Shopping Etiquette – Be Honest With Your Stylist (Source: People Magazine)

12. Don’t Forget to Focus on Your Shopping Experience and Enjoy It

Shopping for your wedding dress should be one of the most fun and memorable moments of your life, not a chore or a burden. That’s why you should focus on your shopping experience and enjoy it as much as possible. Don’t let the stress or the pressure get to you, and don’t compare yourself to others. This is your special day, and you deserve to find the dress that makes you happy and confident. Trust me, when you find the one, you will know it.

Wedding Dress Shopping Etiquette for Guests

13. Ask the Bride for Her Expectations and Preferences

One of the best ways to avoid hurting the bride’s feelings or ruining her dress-shopping experience is to ask her for her expectations and preferences before you go. This will help you understand what kind of feedback she wants from you, what kind of style she is looking for, and what her budget and timeline are. This is also part of the etiquette for wedding dress shopping, as it shows respect for the bride and her choices.

By asking these questions, you will show the bride that you care about her opinions and wishes, and that you want to support her in finding her dream dress. You will also avoid making any inappropriate or insensitive comments that could offend or discourage her. Remember, this is her special day, and you are there to celebrate with her, not to judge or criticize her.

Wedding Dress Shopping Etiquette - Keep Your Phone Quiet
Wedding dress appointment etiquette – Ask the Bride for Her Expectations (Source: Brides)

14. Don’t Wear Anything Too Flashy or Distracting

It’s a dream come true when the bride says “yes” to her dress. It’s like a scene from a fairy tale. She feels a surge of joy and gratitude as she embraces her loved ones, who may shed a tear or two.

When joining the bride for her dress shopping, it would be nice to let her be the center of attention, and not steal the spotlight from her or the dresses. Choose an outfit that is comfortable and appropriate for the occasion, and avoid anything that might distract from her or the dresses. Going easy on makeup, jewelry, or perfume would also be helpful, as they may clash with the bride’s vision or senses.

Wedding dress shopping etiquette for guests
Wedding dress shopping etiquette for guests (Image: Jacob Lund)

15. Do Give Honest but Tactful Feedback

An etiquette for wedding dress shopping that is often tricky to follow is to give honest but tactful feedback to the bride when she tries on different dresses. It is essential to be supportive and positive, but also honest and constructive.

Making negative or personal comments, such as “That dress makes you look fat” or “That dress is not your style”, can hurt the bride’s feelings and confidence. A better way to give feedback is to use polite and specific language, such as “I think this dress does not flatter your figure” or “I think this dress does not match your personality”.

Give Honest but Tactful Feedback
Give Honest but Tactful Feedback – Wedding gown shopping etiquette (Image: Getty Images)

16. Don’t Pressure or Rush the Bride

As the bride explores the world of wedding dresses, she may need some breathing room to imagine and experience the different styles and fabrics. But saying something like “You have tried on enough dresses, just pick one already!” is like pouring cold water on her excitement. It would be much better to let the bride be the captain of her own ship, and set the course and the speed of the shopping journey. And all you have to do is follow her lead and trust her intuition.

17. Do Follow the Salon’s Rules and Etiquette

The last but not least, wedding dress shopping etiquette for guests is to follow the salon’s rules and etiquette when you are there. The salon may have some policies or guidelines for the guests, such as how many people can enter the fitting room, how to handle the dresses, or how to take photos or videos. For example, they may ask you to wear gloves when touching the dresses.

Being courteous and friendly to the staff, and thanking them for their service, is also a nice gesture. We all want to create a pleasant and professional atmosphere for everyone and enjoy the dress shopping with the bride!

Follow the Salon’s Rules and Etiquette
Follow the Salon’s Rules and Etiquette – Wedding dress fitting etiquette (Image: Getty Images Signature)

FAQs about Wedding Dress Appointment Etiquette

Does the groom accompany the bridal dress shopping experience?

This is ultimately your option, although most men agree they want to be shocked with their future wife’s bridal gown on the wedding day. You may invite your partner if they are willing to see your dress before the wedding and you appreciate their input in fashion.

How many wedding dresses should you try on?

Ideal Number Of Wedding Dresses You Should Try On

We think you should try on at most ten to fifteen dresses before deciding the three you like best. These are merely our recommendations, of course. It doesn’t matter how many you try on as long as you locate the dresses you like most that complement your style best.

Who goes wedding dress shopping with the bride?

Wedding dress shopping etiquette who to invite

Every bride is different, and so are her expectations and wishes. However, some of the most popular choices for wedding dress shopping companions are the bride’s mother, the groom’s mother, the maid of honor, the bridesmaids, and the best friends. The key to choosing the right people is that they are supportive, honest, respectful, and understanding of the bride’s style and vision.

Whose responsibility is it to buy the wedding dress?

In modern times, your grandmother might be willing to purchase your dress, or you may be expected to cover the cost yourself. The bride’s family pays for the big-ticket things, such as a wedding planner, the hen party, as well as the ceremony reception (food, drinks, decorations, favors, etc.)

>>> Recommend reading:

You deserve to have a wonderful and unforgettable wedding dress shopping experience, but you also need to be mindful of the etiquette and tips that will make it smooth and enjoyable for everyone involved. Whether you are the bride or the guest, you have a role and a responsibility to follow the wedding dress shopping etiquette and respect the wishes of the salon, the stylist, and the bride.

With these tips from Viva Wedding Photography, you’ll be well on your way to finding the dress of your dreams. Remember, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so make the most of it and have fun!

4.7/5 - (15 votes)
Riley Mendas Avatar

Leave a Comment