5 Tips for Wedding Dress Shopping

As a wedding photographer I sometimes get the opportunity to partner with bridal boutiques and collaborate on different projects and most recently I got to work with Unbridaled in Austin, TX on a styled shoot (click here to see photos from shoot). I enjoyed working with Amber and I asked her to do a guest blog post and write about some of the tips that she would give the newly engaged bride-to-be when it comes to wedding dress shopping.


As a bridal consultant, I like to think that one of the most exciting parts about wedding planning is shopping for the dress. With that excitement, stress and nerves can definitely come along. I am always so surprised the number of times I hear brides tell me how nervous they are or how they were (in all honesty) kind of dreading trying dresses on!

With the overwhelming amount of dress options coupled with being inundated everyday by images on social media, I can see how these feelings of anxiety and dread can overshadow the enjoyment of the experience. While every bride is different and I truly feel there is no “right way” to shop for your dress, I am happy to recommend some tips to curb a bit of that apprehension.

Plan ahead. Most designers require 4 months to produce a dress, so if you have the time, take it! At Unbridaled (and most boutiques) we carry a variety of samples by different designers. A sample is basically just the dress for “trying on” before deciding on the right size and any customizations and then ordering it. We are used to dealing with all sorts of timelines, so if you find yourself on the latter end of that 4 month time frame, designers many times offer rush options for a fee to get your dress in faster.

Do a little research. Prior to your first outing, take some time to familiarize yourself with boutiques in your area. Check out their websites to see what designers they carry, what price points they cater to, and if they require an appointment or not. This way you can streamline your shopping and limit the options to only what is going to work for you!  

Don’t give into FOMO. As a millennial myself, I know the mental toll “fear of missing out” can have on making a decision. I contribute our attachment and exposure to social media these days one of the main culprits of FOMO. There are just way too many beautiful dresses out there for you to see everything, so do yourself a favor and limit yourself to only going to 2 or 3 stores. This is where doing your research ahead of time can come into play and help you determine what stores are actually going to be worth your time.

Bring only your most trusted advisors. I know it can be tempting in all the excitement to want to include everybody who asks if they can help you find your wedding dress. While a trusted opinion can come in handy in helping you decide, too many opinions can actually be overwhelming! Limit your group to 2 or 3 guests to ensure you aren’t losing your own voice and sense of self when making the final decision.

Enjoy the ride! At the end of the day, shopping for your wedding dress is a once in a life time experience. Whatever your personal journey may be, just know that you are not alone! One of the favorite parts of my job is seeing the support and love brides have for one another who are going through the same thing and connecting over that commonality. As women, we should be more focused on spreading positivity and empowering each other, and I love being able to share in that experience with brides every single day!

Hopefully these tips will help your wedding dress shopping experience be a fun one!

Megan Elsbury