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Wedding dress shopping can be a time that is filled with pressure and high expectations. Modern culture gives us an image of emotionally charged and even drama-filled experiences, usually culminating in a magical moment when the bride finds “the one.” This can lead to either unrealistic expectations or even fear as a bride begins to prepare for the process of shopping. However, having a good plan in place can eliminate a lot of this pressure and make the experience fun and memorable. Here are a few tips for what to do before stepping into a showroom.

Figure Out the Timeline

Whether you have a short engagement or a long one, it is important to map out a realistic timeline to help you prepare for the wedding day. When it comes to the wedding dress, it is usually best to plan about a year for the entire process. Many showrooms can help brides to find and alter their perfect couture wedding gowns in less than a year. However, twelve months is usually the right amount of time to begin the process, find the right gown, and complete all of the fittings before the big day. Give yourself a few rough deadlines, and try to set up appointments at least one month in advance to make sure you get a spot at your favourite showrooms.

Make a Budget

One of the most important parts of wedding dress shopping is making a detailed budget. Brides often want to reserve a large portion of the overall wedding budget to their dream dress, but this can include much more than anticipated. There are a lot of considerations which building a budget for the wedding dress. Beyond setting aside money for the gown itself, the bride will need to consider alterations, additions to the gown, the veil, shoes, and jewelry as part of the overall budget. Be sure to do research regarding average prices for alterations, and be prepared to stick to your budget when you enter the showroom.

Take Time to Research Styles

There are many styles to choose from when it comes to wedding dresses. From traditional A-line gowns to modern ruched mermaid wedding dresses, there is a silhouette to fit every body shape. There are lots of resources online that can help brides to find the shape that best fits them and to narrow down the style that harmonizes perfectly with their personalities. Take some time to consider what look you are hoping to achieve, and print out a few pictures that best fit your vision.

Improve Your Outlook, Not Your Body

Shopping for a wedding dress can be a challenge for many women who struggle with body image. Often, there is pressure to achieve the perfect body before the wedding day. Although engagement is a great time to focus on health and wellness, it should not be marred by unrealistic expectations and self-deprecation. Instead of worrying about whether you will have the perfect body, try to focus on improving your outlook and letting go of your perfectionism. It takes strength of character to realize that your wedding dress shopping experience may not be the same as what you see on social media or reality television. Try to step into the showroom with an open mind and try not to expect the impossible from the experience.

Prepare for the Shopping Day

Whether you plan to shop at one store or many, you should prepare in advance for the day. Think about who you will want with you as you try on dresses from the blush bridal collections. You will want to bring one or two people who are going to be supportive of your vision and provide a calming presence. Stay away from inviting a large group of people who may cause confusion and make you feel anxious. On the day that you go shopping, eat a wholesome breakfast and have a brisk walk to improve your state of mind. Come prepared with a bag filled with your pictures, shoes, jewelry, and any other items that you will need for the day so that you can just grab it and go.

Wedding dress shopping should be a joyous time. By adequately preparing and improving your mindset, you can ensure that it is a positive and memorable experience. Although it may not be an episode out of a reality television show, it is sure to be filled with love, excitement, and a little bit of magic.