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Finding the dress can be one of the most exciting experiences of a woman's wedding planning journey! However, there are some factors that can make the experience anything but magical. Today we want to share with you some of the tips and "rules" that we have found to be helpful when shopping for "the one".

1. Have a Vision

Whether it is your first time shopping or your 3rd appointment, come in with some kind of vision. Do your research; browse our designers' websites, peruse Pinterest, print out your faves (or save them to an album). Having a starting point will help your stylist determine what she's going to show you. When a bride comes in with no idea of what she likes it can leave the stylist with a lot of directions to take. We are here to help you so give us as much information as possible!

Pro tip: Don't be afraid to change your mind! If you thought you wanted a sleek, lace, fit and flare with straps, but it's not doing the trick - tell your stylist! You may just wind up falling head over heels with a super chic, strapless ball gown. Trust us- it happens more than you think.

Pro tip 2: Don't be afraid to say "YES!". We see brides find The One every day and we know what it looks like. Trust yourself! If you can picture yourself walking down the aisle in it, you don't want to take it off, and you "love it", it's probably the one.

2. Is Everyone Present?

This is a big deal. Is everyone who needs to see The One present at your appointment? Make a list (a short one!) of the people who need to see you in it before you purchase your gown, and make sure they are all available on the day you schedule your appointment. This helps you avoid having to keep rescheduling (and potentially miss ordering deadlines). When deciding who will be with you, be sure that those invited are supportive of your bridal vision. Having the most supportive and important people there will help you avoid having to do more unwanted shopping and will make saying "yes" so much easier!

Pro tip: Keep the number of guests to no. more. than. four. (which brings me to number 3)

3. Limit the Number of Guests

It may seem like a fun idea to bring your entire extended family and bridal party with you when trying on dresses but everything you've heard about big entourages is true. More people = more opinions (and sometimes unhelpful ones). All of the opinions being shared can make your decision much harder and can even confuse your vision. That's why we ask that you limit the number in your entourage to 3 or 4. Not only is space limited in bridal salons, but we want you to have the most productive appointment possible. When all is said and done, you are the one wearing the gown, and we want you to be thrilled with your purchase!

Pro tip: "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all!"

4. Stick to Your Budget

We've all been there; you're shopping for something special and BOOM! there it is! It's perfect. And then you flip the price tag. Nope. Once you determine a budget for your wedding gown, be honest with your consultant about what you're willing to spend. Be realistic with what you can afford. Trying on dresses way above budget "just for fun" may sound like a good idea, but when you inevitably fall in love with one, who is going to help you make up the difference? That being said, if your dream gown is just a little over budget (we're talking hundreds, not thousands), go ahead! Is a slightly smaller centerpiece, one less candle on each table, or skipping the second round of late night bites going to be the difference between purchasing the perfect gown or settling for one that's just o.k.? We certainly hope not!

Pro tip: Alterations and Accessories are always an additional cost.

5. Give Yourself Enough Time

Wedding gowns really do take about 6 months to arrive once the order has been placed with the designer - sometimes longer! Gowns with lots of detail, couture beadwork, and adding customizations can add months to that timeline. It's really true! We suggest that you begin shopping no more than 12 months before your wedding and your purchase should be made no less than 9 months before. You don't want rush fees, rushed alterations (and rush charges), or close ship dates to add to the stress of wedding planning. p.s. Alterations should be started no less than 12-16 weeks before your wedding.

Pro tip: If you're short on time for whatever reason (short engagement, eloping, changing plans, whatever!), be open to samples! We're more than willing to make our Luxe Brides dreams come true with a showroom sample.

Pro tip 2: All of our veils, sashes, belts and accessories are customizable and made to order. They can sometimes take as long as the dress! Avoid rush fees and stress by purchasing accessories the day you purchase your dress. There is no better time to accessorize than when you are standing in the dress!

With these 5 tips, we hope to make saying "Yes!" a bit less stressful. What do you think? Do you have advice for brides-to-be on how to make wedding gown shopping stress-free? Comment below! We'd love to hear from you.

xoxo Simply Luxe

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