What to do when you can’t find the perfect wedding dress
If you can’t find the perfect wedding dress, you probably haven’t considered all your options
Remember when you started shopping for your wedding dress? You were so hopeful. Hunting for the perfect wedding dress was exciting. But now it’s exhausting and disappointing. How do so many bridal shops exist when they’re all selling the same dresses?
You know you can’t be the only bride who’s ever faced this dilemma, but it feels like it. None of the salespeople you meet offer real help. Instead they try to persuade you that whatever dress you just tried on – and didn’t like – looks amazing! Friends and family encourage you to keep looking and say you’ll look perfect in anything. Sweet but not helpful!
The more time that passes, the more you worry about having to settle for a mediocre dress. You start wondering what else you could do, where else you could go, and whether there’s another option beyond the typical wedding dress shopping experience.
Good news: there is! In this post, we discuss how to improve your odds of finding the perfect wedding dress and whether a custom wedding dress is the best option for you.
How to find the perfect wedding dress in a bridal store
If you haven’t found the perfect wedding dress, make sure you’re using the best shopping approach.
You may feel like you’ve seen every dress out there, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to miss out on the perfect dress if you haven’t fully prepared for the shopping experience.
We recommend brides use a three-step process to prepare themselves for wedding dress shopping. Since you’re already shopping, we recommend you review this process below to see if you’ve overlooked any steps. If you have, use this as an exercise to create more well-defined wedding dress and bridal shop criteria. Then restart your shopping applying what you’ve learned.
Understand your wedding dress logistics
To avoid buyer’s remorse, you need to think about the context you’ll wear your dress in.
Think about your wedding location, timing and activities. Are there any dress styles or features that won’t work, or that might work better, because of things like weather, dance choreography or outdoor obstacles?
Also think about your body features. Which features would you like to highlight or downplay?
Figure out what you want in a wedding dress
With the logistics from step 1 in mind, find photos of dresses you like on some level. You don’t need to like the whole dress. Instead identify specific features you like and why.
Learn industry lingo that might help salespeople understand more precisely what you’re looking for.
Make a list of potential features you want in your dress based on your research. Make sure it’s in a format you can bring to bridal shops and share with their salespeople.
Find a wedding dress shop that wants to help you
Without the help of someone more experienced, it can be difficult to look at a wedding dress on a rack and see how it captures what you want.
Look for a bridal shop that provides personalized service. Generally, they are the most experienced when it comes to identifying dresses that incorporate what you like.
For instance, at VIERO, you must book an appointment to shop at one of our flagship boutiques. This ensures you have the undivided attention of someone who will listen to what you want and will translate that into the best matching dress choices.
For a more detailed version of this approach, including more shopping tips, check out our post on how to find an unforgettable off-the-rack wedding dress.
If you’ve done all of this but are still struggling, it’s probably safe to say you’ve exhausted your off-the- rack options. But don’t worry. There’s a plan B. Keep reading.
How to know if a custom wedding dress is your best option
Creating a custom wedding dress is a great way to get exactly what you want, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Below are questions to ask yourself before you decide a custom wedding dress is your best option.
Do I have enough time to have a custom wedding dress made?
At VIERO, our custom wedding dress process takes about 5-6 months from the day you start the process. Assuming you’ve already gathered inspiration for your dress using the process we recommended above, you’ll easily stay within this timing window.
Keep in mind that it’s difficult to create a high-quality wedding dress that is handcrafted from a truly custom design on a shorter timeline. Beware of bridal companies that offer shorter turnaround times. They’re likely to overcharge you for a low-quality dress that isn’t completely custom.
In addition to the 5-6 month window, leave yourself an extra 6 weeks for alterations. Even though your custom dress is made to your exact measurements, it’s common for brides to experience weight fluctuation ahead of their big day.
Can I afford a custom wedding dress with my budget?
Custom wedding dress costs vary depending on the design and materials involved. Some materials cost more than others. Some designs cost more, because they’re more intricate and take more time to execute.
At VIERO, we tell clients to be prepared to spend $4,000-6,000. At some ateliers, you can easily spend as much as you would on a car, but we aim for approachable luxury. We established our own in-house design team and production shop to perfect high-quality dresses at a reasonable price.
At some “custom” online vendors, you may find unbelievably low prices. Beware you’re typically paying a high mark-up on very low-quality materials assembled in an outsourced production plant with questionable quality control.
Will I be comfortable with the custom dress process?
If you’ve completed the process recommended in the first half of this article, you have a good sense of what you want in a dress. You’ve already conquered one of the toughest parts of the custom dress process.
That leaves one other thing to consider. Are you comfortable saying yes to the dress in a less traditional way? In the custom dress process, your dress options are presented to you in the form of design sketches and material swatches. First you pick a wedding dress design from sketches that were custom designed for you. Then you choose materials for that design from a variety of swatches that work well in the design you chose.
Most brides find this fun, and they love having more choices than they would in a store. Just keep in mind that committing to the dress before it exists feels different. It’s more like waiting a long time to open a present when you know what it is. It’s exciting to think about what’s inside, but there’s nothing like opening it and seeing that it’s exactly what you want.
Taking the next step toward your perfect wedding dress
If this post made you realize you hadn’t fully prepared for the wedding dress shopping experience, learn more about how to find the best off-the-rack wedding dress. And start looking for inspiration.
If you think a custom dress is right for you, learn more about the custom wedding dress process. And contact a bridal boutique that offers custom dresses.