Set a timeline: You've done your research and know the kind of dress you want. How much time do you have to find it and when do you plan to start looking? These are the next questions that you need to answer. If you have less than six months then time is really not your friend and i would advise you start shopping immediately.
Where to shop: Your budget might influence this. You might not be able to afford a designer dress so try bridal chain stores like Davids Bridal. In Nigeria, Lagos especially just walk around Ikeja. From Toyin Street to Allen Avenue you'll find quite a number of bridal shops that you can order through, buy from or get to make your dress. If you decide to shop online, do so with care. The beauty of your wedding dress is finding something that FITS.
Take some necessities with you:
- A trusted friend(s) i.e. your chief bridesmaid, sister. While trying on various dresses, a second opinion will definitely be required. Don't take too many people otherwise you'll have so many conflicting opinions you'll never be able to make a choice.
- A digital camera (if the store allows it) will be a nice way of keeping tabs on how you looked in the dresses you tried on and the details you liked in each one. This makes it easier to compare later as you can see what you're choosing from and not relying entirely on your memory.
- If you found the dress of your dreams in a magazine, take it along. The shop might be able to help you find something similar and the picture will act as a guide to the kind of dresses you'll be trying on.
- Wear shoes of a similar height as you'll be wearing on your wedding day to the shops or while trying the dresses.
- Take your wedding planning notebook with you to write the shops where you saw the dresses you loved, the design and style number for the dresses and any other thoughts you had of each dress.
Beware of salespeople: Do not let any one force you into deciding on a dress. The most expensive dress doesn't necessarily fit best. Make up your mind on what you want when you are ready and not before.
Compare prices: Once you've found "the dress", ask around bridal stores for the price of the same dress or similar dresses to know if you're getting a fair price. You could be lucky to get the same dress on sale somewhere else.
Buy the dress: Objective achieved. Ensure that details of the designer name, style number, size and delivery date are hashed out before you pay. Never pay the full amount before getting delivery of the dress. A 50% deposit is sufficient. Also, find out if the bridal shop will fit the dress for you.
Fitting: This should be done at least two months to the wedding. Its preferable you go back to the same bridal shop where the dress was purchased for fittings especially if you want alterations made to the dress. Take a trustworthy friend or two and the bridal accessories you'll be using on your wedding day so that you can get the complete look. When you try on the dress it is recommended that the hem of the dress should touch your shoes, you should be comfortable lifting your arms and moving and it shouldn't bunch, wrinkle or pull when you move. After the fitting, pick up your dress and you are good to go.
Remember, if you don't like the dress before it leaves the store, you never will. Buy something you are comfortable in that makes you feel beautiful.