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Mannequin wearing a lace wedding dress.

Your Go-To Guide to Help You Find That Perfect Dress

Shopping for wedding dresses is one of the most exciting experiences for brides-to-be. To make sure you have a fun time shopping with as little stress as possible, it’s good to know what to expect.

Before visiting a bridal shop in Ottawa, take a look at these helpful tips to prep you find the perfect wedding dress with peace of mind and plenty of time to spare.

Budgeting

Set a budget for your wedding dress.

This budget should also account for: alterations, taxes, shipping fees, a veil, shoes, jewellery, and lingerie. You don’t want to spend all your time trying on dresses that are outside your price range. Instead, remain focused on finding that perfect dress within your budget.

When to Start Shopping for The Dress

The earlier you start shopping for your dress, the better.

If you’re a picky shopper, you’re unsure of what you want, or you’re set on a custom gown, start shopping at least eight to twelve months before the big day. Even, if you know exactly what you’re looking for, due to time constraints when ordering your gown and factoring in the two to three months it takes for alterations, it’s important to start the process as early as possible. If you’re running out of time and still haven’t found your wedding gown, don’t worry – there are many options available off the rack.

When you give yourself more time to shop, you can find the perfect dress without feeling stressed and risking choosing a dress that you’re not too crazy about.

Who to Bring

Less is more in this case.

You may be tempted to bring your wedding party and your mom, sisters, aunts, cousins, and grandma to you shop for wedding dresses. The more people you bring, the more clashing opinions you’ll get, making it even more difficult to decide on a dress.

Stick with two or three of your closest friends and/or family member who will be honest and help you enjoy this experience to the fullest.

What to Wear

  • Lingerie – When shopping for your wedding dress, make sure to wear a nude strapless or clear-strapped bra and nude underwear that fits well. Or, if you’ve already chosen your bridal lingerie, make sure to wear these undergarments while fitting your dress.
  • Shoes – Bring shoes that are the same height as your preferred wedding shoes. The height of your heels could affect alterations for long gowns. And you will need to sign off on your dress and any alterations needed upon purchase.
  • Accessories – Wear any accessories that you plan to embellish yourself with on your big day. Also, try to style your hair and do your makeup like how you picture yourself looking at your wedding. Your makeup should be subtle and light so that you don’t risk staining the gowns.

By ensuring you’re wearing these items, you will have a better idea of how you’ll look on your wedding day while trying on dresses. This will help you choose your preferred look and gown.

Fittings

Comfortable is key.

When shopping for wedding dresses in Ottawa, it’s crucial to buy one that fits you comfortably. Even if you plan to work out and lose weight before the big day, consider your body type and what works best for you. It’s also much easier to take in a dress size than to bring a dress up in size.

Make sure to walk, sit, and move around in the dress so you can see if it will fit comfortably throughout your wedding day.

Your bridal consultant and seamstress will schedule your fittings according to your wedding date. Expect to have an immediate fitting, a fitting or two leading up to the big day, and a final fitting about two weeks before your wedding.

Choosing A Wedding Dress Style

A gown you see in a magazine or online won’t look the same on the model as it does in real life, so even if you’re not particularly keen on certain wedding dress styles, try them on anyway! You may surprise yourself. Do some research at home and have a few styles in mind before you start shopping or ask your bridal consultant for some advice. This will help you narrow down your search instead of feeling overwhelmed. By broadening your options and trying on various styles that interest you, you’ll be closer to finding that perfect dress that will make you look and feel beautiful when you walk down the aisle.

The style of your wedding dress should be based on:

  • Your personal preferences;
  • Styles that flatter your figure;
  • The theme and location of your wedding; and,
  • The season that your wedding is taking place.

Are you having a formal church wedding, a beach wedding, or an informal outdoor wedding?

Make sure the style of dress you choose will make you feel comfortable and that it’s suitable for the setting. If your wedding will be in warm weather, you’ll want a dress with less heavy fabric than if it’s in the dead of winter.

If you find a designer you like, call your local bridal stores in Ottawa to see if they carry dresses from their line and the specific style you’re interested in. Bridal shops are likely able to call in a sample of a gown you’re looking for.

Get Recommendations from Professionals

Book an appointment well in advance with an Ottawa bridal shop to try on dresses. Since Saturdays are usually the busiest days at bridal shops, consider booking an appointment with a gown consultant during the week so you’ll have a more personalized shopping experience.

At this appointment, you will get professional recommendations from the experts. They will bring you dresses to suit your figure, wedding theme, and personal preferences.

Although you may not like some of the dresses at first glance, wedding gowns look different on hangers than on brides. So keep an open mind and give each dress a chance. These gown consultants have plenty of experience helping brides-to-be find their ideal dresses.

With the help of professional gown experts, you are more likely to find the perfect dress in a reasonable amount of time.

Enjoy the Experience!

Remain patient, have plenty of fun, and trust your instincts.

Only choose a dress that you are 100% satisfied with. Be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to say “no” to dresses you don’t like. Your dress consultants are there to help you.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find the perfect dress right away. It usually takes a few attempts before finding the one. Shopping for a wedding dress is a journey for every bride-to-be, so enjoy it and have a positive experience!

Keep these tips in mind so you will be well prepared to shop for wedding dresses in Ottawa. If you know what to expect, you can fully enjoy this special moment leading up your big day.