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How to Prepare for Wedding Dress Shopping

When you make an appointment at a bridal salon, keep in mind that your time is limited. By taking a few extra steps beforehand, you can make the most out of every minute you have. Plus, learning how to prepare for wedding dress shopping can help ensure that you have a fun, productive, and stress-free experience, giving you the best chance of finding your dream dress.

Girl in blue blouse examining a wedding dress in a bridal salon.

How to Prepare for Wedding Dress Shopping

Research Styles and Shapes

If you haven’t already, we recommend curating a Pinterest board with some pictures of dresses you love. You can even make the board secret, so no one will have any idea what look you are going for. However, you don’t have to stop there. Bridal blogs like Junebug Weddings and magazines like Brides can also be sources of inspiration when it comes to wedding gowns. You can even look through your wedding photographer’s portfolio site to see if you find a dress that excites you. 

Aside from finding examples of dresses that inspire you, spend some time figuring out which dress style is the most flattering on your figure. For example, if you have a petite frame, you might look good in an A-line dress with a V-neck. If you have a classic hourglass figure, a mermaid gown will likely look beautiful on you. Regardless of what the “rules” say about body figures and dress types, make sure you find a style that you adore. Request your favorite styles at your appointment, but keep an open mind as well – your stylist might help you find an unexpectedly ideal dress.

Learn the Lingo

As with any industry, experts use a specific lingo to talk about wedding gowns. So as you’re learning how to prepare for wedding dress shopping, why not do a quick Google search and brush up on some common terms you might hear? Then, learn the words you’ll need to quickly describe the type of dress you’re looking for. For example, perhaps you’re looking for a column or empire dress with a sweetheart neckline, and you’re attracted to fabrics like brocade, organza, and satin. Knowing these terms will help with the communication process, ensuring no time is wasted. That said, you should never be afraid to ask your stylist what a word or phrase means.

You also might find it helpful to have some descriptive terms in mind, so that you aren’t umming and ahhing when your stylist asks what you’re hoping to find in a dress. Here are some examples:

  • Style: Romantic, chic, bohemian, elegant, beachy, fun, whimsical, royal/regal
  • Age: Old-fashioned, vintage, classic, timeless, modern
  • Complexity: Simple, elaborate, delicate, casual, glamorous, minimalist
  • Shape: Form-fitting, grand, sexy, plunging, open-backed, modest, ruched, sleek

Wear Appropriate Undergarments

When you step out of the dressing room and in front of the mirror, you’ll want to be able to walk out with confidence. Don’t let bright bra straps or panty lines destroy your mood or distract from the look of the dress. We recommend wearing thin, neutral-colored underwear and a strapless bra. For more information, check out our blog post What to Wear to a Wedding Dress Appointment.


Now that you know how to prepare for wedding dress shopping, you should feel confident and ready for your appointment. Most importantly, don’t forget to book an appointment ahead of time so the bridal salon can ensure they have enough time, space, and staff on hand to assist you.

If you live near Springfield, Missouri, stop by Normans Bridal, a full-service bridal salon. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff can provide recommendations regarding style, fabric, and color, and we will assist you with zippers, laces, and buttons to ensure that the appointment runs smoothly. In addition, we would be happy to offer honest feedback to help you narrow down your choices. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at 417-866-9800. With our wide selection of gowns, affordable prices, and helpful consultants, you’re sure to enjoy shopping for your wedding dress at Normans Bridal. Happy shopping!