8 (More) Things No One Tells You About Wedding Dress Shopping

Wedding dress shopping has proven to be harder than expected. There are so many things that I wish I’d realized before I went shopping. So many things I never considered! For Part 1 of this post, check out 10 Things No One Tells You About Wedding Dress Shopping.

8 (More) Things No One Tells You About Wedding Dress Shopping

1. Your skin might get irritated.

After every appointment, I was a red blotchy mess. The abundance of tulle, lace, sequins, beading, and lots of clamping to fit the dress to your body does not do good things to ladies with sensitive skin. This is unavoidable for some but it was something I didn’t consider and was constantly self-conscious about.

2. Pay attention to the bustle options.

Your train will be flowing for your ceremony. That’s it. After that it will be bustled. So what will your dress look like with a bustle? One of my best bridal appointment experiences was when the consultant actually showed me the different types of bustle on each dress. Game changer. Consider it before you make your purchase. It will be bustled for 90% of your wedding.

3. The consultants will want to put your hair up and/or stick things in your hair.

WHY?! You can tell them 12 times: “I’m going to wear my hair down and wavy” and they’ll still whip out a pony tail holder and add a clip in flower, a veil, or basically tackle you to stick a TIARA on your head. Oh hell no.

4. They’ll also want you to put on heels.

But what if I know for a fact that I’ll be barefoot or in flats for my wedding? I cannot handle heels for 20 minutes, let alone 6+ hours. It’s really my downfall as a girly girl.

5. The dresses are the same price everywhere.

Trunk shows are almost the only way to get a discount and are usually around 10% off. Aside from that, every dress that is still being manufactured has a suggested retail price from the designer and the stores have to stick with that. Some designers or stores may throw in a free veil or headpiece to entice you to buy from them, but there really aren’t many sales on existing styles. Discontinued styles or samples sales? Now that’s a different story.

6. Consider the sales tax.

If you live anywhere on the east coast, there’s a pretty good chance that a neighboring state isn’t a super far drive. I shopped for wedding dresses in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maine (when I was visiting my parents and grandmother). Pennsylvania considers wedding dresses a luxury item and therefore charges 8% sales tax (6% state, 2% additional in Philadelphia). Maine has 5.5% sales tax. And Delaware? TAX-FREE. If a bridal salon carries a line of dresses, even if they don’t have the dress in stock as a sample, they can order the dress for you. I found “the dress” (I think) in Maine and am ordering it in Delaware even though they did not carry it in the store.

Basically what I’m saying is, do the math on how much the sales tax on your dress will cost you. In many cases, it will be $100+. If you’re close to a state line, consider hopping over to save money.

7. You might find the dress and then need additional opinions.

My people are all spread out. That means I’ve gone to half of my appointments with my Mom, and the other half with my Step-mom and sister. So when I found a dress I loved while shopping with my Step-mom, I really wanted my Mom to see it. I realized there was no way I could pull the trigger without her seeing me in it. And when I then found a dress I liked even better with my Mom, I really wanted my Step-mom to see it. I guess as an FYI, being a child of divorce isn’t easy, even when 20 years have passed. On a positive note, I’m very very loved, which feels good (obviously).

8. You might not be ready to be done wedding dress shopping.

I’m pretty sure I’ve found “the dress” and yet I haven’t ordered it. I don’t know what’s stopping me. The wedding dress is one of the most expensive purchases I’ve made in my lifetime, so that’s probably a bit of it. But also, wedding dress shopping has been fun! It’s something I’ll never get to do again. So even though “the dress” is just waiting for me to place the order, I’m not quite ready yet. I’m indecisive and I need to sit on the idea for a little longer.

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  • JC

    Have you had them add other things to the dresses such as jackets, sashes, pins and buttons? That was annoying as hell. Once I saw the jacket it’s all I wanted and it was $600. UGH

  • I agree with the bustling. I never even considered it when I was dress shopping. Luckily, I was in love with my dress, train bustled or not.

  • Yeah I hear ya………………some of those things would piss me off, ok most of those things would piss me off

  • I completely agree about to bustle! Luckily I liked mine either way but have had friends who have not had the same experience. Have whoever is going to bustle your dress practice. Multiple times. Little changes can completely change the look. I was having so much fun at my wedding I forgot to bustle it after the ceremony. Our caterer actually came over to me and reminded me and then bustled it for me! I was relieved because she knew exactly what she was doing whereas I doubt my mom remembered anything from the 5 minute tutorial at the alterations place.

  • After finding my dress I waited three months before purchasing it. It’s so much money and I needed to be sure. It was worth the wait!!

  • this really overwhelms me.

  • I’m starting the dress shopping next month and if some lady insists on having me try heels on I’ll be sure to tell her that it’s a destination BEACH wedding and heels will not be worn! Even at our reception I’ll be wearing gorgeous sandals that are FLATTT! And that’s coming from someone who actually likes wearing heels!

    Even with your wedding being in January you don’t need to pull the trigger yet on the dress. My GF owns a wedding shop and shes says it’s about 5 months to get the dress ordered, in and altered. Obviously you don’t want to cut it TOO close but give your self a month more if needed 🙂

    Chelsea | East Willow Grove

  • Re: #5: You can haggle (if you haven’t bought your dress yet)! The dress I wanted cost the same most everywhere like you said, but I found a discount website that sold my dress for $400 less than everyone else. I went to the boutique, told them my findings…and they knocked $200 off their price AND gave me free alterations (which really makes up for the whole $400!) I was thrilled. Give this a try if you haven’t committed yet 🙂

  • 9. Always say yes if they offer champagne or a mimosa! 😉

  • I didn’t even think about the bustle, I am glad you mentioned it! Part of me is beyond excited to start trying on wedding dresses, while the other part of me already feels overwhelmed.

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