Wedding Dress Shopping: What to Do and When

Wedding Dress Shopping: What to Do and When

Wedding dress shopping is one of the most exciting parts of planning a wedding! However, shopping for a wedding dress is not like shopping for any other type of clothing. Without proper consideration and strategizing, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed and stressed by the process.

You may be a bride with a clear aesthetic in mfind, or you may be a bride that has no idea where to even start. The struggle is real, and factor in potential COVID-19 delays and it all becomes that much more complicated.

To help demystify the process and ensure that you have enough time to find the style and fit of your dreams, we’ve put together this dress shopping guide.

This guide will cover everything from your very first bridal shop appointment to the final fitting and pick up.

Here is everything you need to be prepared for purchasing your dream dress and having a stress-free wedding day!

1. A year from your wedding date

The first item on your wedding agenda should be setting your budget.

A budget allows you to see how much money you can spend on each item. This means planning out costs associated with your dress, the guest list, meals, entertainment, and venue.  When calculating the dress portion of your budget, do not forget to include or leave room for accessories, shoes, jewelry, taxes, multiple alterations, and shipping costs if needed.

Once you set your budget, you can begin to think about the theme and style of your wedding which will influence your dress choices. For example, if you are planning a boho wedding, a glamorous princess-style gown will look out of place.

While it isn’t necessary to have an exact dress in mind, it is a good idea to have a general idea of what you are looking for. Look at Pinterest, bridal magazines, celebrity weddings, and dress designer websites for inspiration.

When looking for inspiration, try to keep an open mind. Your bridal consultant may have some suggestions that you didn’t expect. Trust their experience and trust the process. At the very least, try on the dress! You may be pleasantly surprised.

Book your appointment

Typically, we recommend booking your appointment 10 to 12 months before your wedding. But, COVID-19 has lead to occasional shipping delays and other obstacles so you might consider booking even earlier.

The last thing you need to stress over is a wedding dress that has yet to arrive, so give yourself plenty of time for shipping and alterations. Call the bridal boutique you are considering to find out what types of delays they have been experiencing.

Unless you fit into the store sample sizes, your dress will be specially ordered for you. Once it arrives at the boutique, which can take anywhere from four to nine months, you will need to book an appointment for alterations. Most bridal salons have an in-house tailor that will help or they will be able to suggest a tailor to you.

A custom-designed wedding gown

Having a custom wedding gown can be a dream come true. But a custom gown requires a very specific vision and a lot of patience.

If you choose a custom design, know that it will take longer to get your gown so do not panic. Trust the designer and you will get the payoff you are looking for.

Choose your entourage

Your shopping companions can either make the shopping experience more enjoyable or add to the stress. Avoid making things more complicated by inviting only friends, family, and bridal party members that are honest but supportive.

Again, COVID-19 might mess with your plans. Call ahead and ask the bridal boutique what safety measures they are taking and whether or not they are limiting the number of people that can attend the appointment.

If numbers are limited to you and one other person, consider inviting the rest of the entourage to join you virtually. Collecting different opinions can be valuable so don’t give up on gathering them just because you can’t meet in person! Depending on the distancing measures in place where you live, consider hosting an outdoor brunch or cocktail party with those that were unable to attend the appointment. There are many ways you can still enjoy and celebrate this experience with your entourage!

2. Eight to ten months from your wedding date

If you haven’t purchased your dress yet, you should be doing so at this time. Once you order the gown, you are responsible for the deposit, which is typically over half the full dress price. If for some reason, you require a rush order, you may have to pay additional rush fees.

Now the waiting period begins. Once the dress arrives, you can make arrangements for alterations to the dress.

Remember, order the size for the body you have. Even if you plan to do lose weight or tone up, your wedding gown should be chosen for the way you look now. Dresses can always be taken in to accommodate moderate weight loss. But, when you order a smaller size, you risk not having a proper fit on your special day. Letting out a dress is much more difficult than taking one in.

3. Five to six months from your wedding date

Now is the time to start thinking about what you are going to wear with your wedding dress.

If you are planning to borrow some jewelry from a friend or family member, start trying these items on. Working your way through these smaller planning tasks will help you feel calm and organized as the day approaches.

Choose your undergarments

You are going to want to wear undergarments that suit the style of dress you have chosen.

Dark colors or patterned embellishments may be visible through the dress and serve a distraction. You will want undergarments that fit comfortably and do not produce visible lines. This is especially important when selecting a bra if needed.

If you are wearing a wedding gown that requires a strapless bra, try a variety and wear them for extended periods. Find one that is most comfortable and flattering. Avoid anything that tends to fold or roll, and anything too tight across your back. Remember, you want to be comfortable when walking down the aisle, eating, visiting, and dancing!

Your wedding dress is a significant investment and your undergarments should not get in the way of your picture-perfect beauty.

Find a pair of shoes

Perhaps you want to add a pop of bright color to your look or rock a pair of sky-high heels. Maybe your style is a little more casual and you’re thinking a kitten heel, wedge, or fancy flat.

Whatever shoe you choose, wear them before your wedding so you know that you won’t be in excruciating pain all day long. If you simply cannot pass for the stylish or cute heel, have a more comfortable pair on hand to slip into after the pictures are taken!

Select your jewelry and hair accessories

Do you want to wear a veil? Does your dress need a jeweled belt? These things should be decided around this time.

Have these items ready to try on with your dress when it arrives at the boutique. If you are not entirely sure what will work with your dress style, have the bridal consultants lend a hand. Most bridal shops have a variety of options on hand to try with your dress.

Once you have determined your hair accessories, you can decide on your other jewelry or vice versa.

Remember to consider the style of your wedding, the neckline of your gown, and the hairstyle you will choose for your wedding when choosing your accessories.

4. Three to four months from your wedding date

At this time, you will want to book your first wedding gown fitting.

For your gown fitting appointments, you will want to ensure that you bring your undergarments and shoes with you. This is important so that the tailor will see what length your gown should be and you can determine if your undergarments are appropriate for your dress choice.

At the first fitting, you may decide that you want to alter the look of your gown. Adding sleeves or changing the neckline are items that are frequently requested by brides at this first fitting.

You will want to find out what your bridal salon charges for alterations, as some may charge for each individual alteration. If you need major alterations, you can expect a hefty price tag due to the delicate nature of the fabrics. Simple alterations (such as a hem alternation) may cost $200-300.

If you have yet to choose your shoes, bring some shoes of similar height you plan to wear so that your gown is hemmed or let out to the correct length.

5. Six weeks to two months from your wedding date

At this point, your wedding is close enough for your second dress fitting.

The second dress fitting is to ensure that your dress fits like a glove. You will want to sit down in your gown, lift your arms over your head, and generally move around to get an idea of how it will move. You want to also look for any pulls, bunching, or areas that do not sit correctly on your body.

It is very important to be honest with your tailor about how you feel in your gown. Remember that you will be performing a variety of different activities during your wedding day. You want to be as comfortable sitting and eating as you are dancing and welcoming your guests.

6.One month before your wedding

Your wedding day will be here before you know it, and following this timeline has left you with only a few final items to cross off your checklist.

Book your final fitting

This fitting is designed for you to see how your gown is going to look on your wedding day. You will not need an entourage for this trip to the tailor, but consider bringing one special person to share the moment with you. It can be a profound experience!

Pick up your dress

Once your fittings are complete, your dress will be ready to be picked up. Store your dress in a safe spot, away from pets, children, and any other dangers, so that there are no surprises on the day of your wedding.

7. The day before your wedding

This is the best day to gather all of the things you will need for your wedding day. Pack a bag with some essentials: deodorant, lipstick or gloss for touch-ups, bobby pins, hair spray, mouthwash, bandages, and kleenex, and on the day, give these items to a trusted friend or your maid of honor for safekeeping.

You will want to gather your jewelry, shoes, and accessories to be brought wherever you are getting dressed.

You may want to borrow or buy a steamer to ensure that your dress is free of wrinkles.

An evolving timeline

Rarely does life go perfectly according to plan and because of this, you need to be a little bit flexible with your timeline. Give yourself as much room as you can!

Using the above guide to create a timeline can help move your preparations forward and help create a smooth wedding planning process.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may find your timelines need to be especially flexible. Remember, you are not alone. Whether you are looking for couture wedding gowns in Chicago or visiting all the best bridal shops in Las Vegas, you will find compassionate and supportive consultants that can help you navigate these particularly complicated times. Do not be afraid to call and ask questions or seek clarifications.

At Viero Bridal, we understand how important it is to find the right dress. We have flagship stores in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, and New York full of stunning designer gowns at affordable prices. View our collections online and when you are ready, reach out to book an appointment. We are standing by and ready to help you find the perfect gown, for your perfect day!

Preparing your Entourage: Who to Bring Dress Shopping

Preparing your Entourage: Who to Bring Dress Shopping

When you are ready to buy your wedding dress, you have a few decisions to make. Beyond making choices around the design and fit of your gown, you will have to decide which wedding dress boutique to visit, when, and who to bring shopping with you! This is the fun part!

Once you have set a dress budget, you can choose where to shop! Do you plan a trip to one of the best bridal shops in Las Vegas, do you head to the midwest to look for couture wedding gowns in Chicago, or is your heart set on a particular wedding dress boutique in New York?

Whether you are travelling across the country or just down the street, choosing the right bridal shop could be the difference between finding THE dress or continuing your search.

Once you know where the hunt will begin, you can start to think about who to bring along! The right entourage can make your dress shopping experience something truly unforgettable.

Unfortunately, deciding who to bring with you may be a complicated process. You will need people who will tell you the truth, but also people who positively support you and your vision for your special day.

At Viero Bridal, we get it. That is why we have put together this list of tips and advice to help you choose the best and most supportive entourage possible!

Before you shop, check COVID-19 restrictions

COVID-19 restrictions have added a few extra steps to the dress shopping plans for most brides.

Many states have gathering restrictions in place and this could put a cap on the number of people you are allowed to bring with you to the wedding dress boutique.

Depending on the size of the store, and how many appointments they are booking at this time, you may only be allowed to bring one person with you. For some brides, this is perfect, for others, it is disappointing.

When booking your appointment, ask how many people you are allowed to bring. And because things are changing day to day, call before your appointment to double-check. The last thing you want to do is send people home!

If you are limited to one additional person, there are ways you can involve the rest of your entourage. Use your phone to stream the appointment to your crew through a virtual meeting app. Bring a good ring light and set the stage for a fun bridal appointment!

And remember, you may also need to wear a mask when inside the store. Do not let this discourage you! Find a bridal or wedding inspired mask, or have one made for you. Encourage your entourage to have fun with their masks as well. Get lighthearted about it and decorate masks with sequins, lace overlays, and tassels! Bridal dress shopping is the perfect time to get fancy!

Keep it simple

Your first dress shopping experience should be relaxing, but fun. Keep your entourage choices simple to avoid added stress.

You may want to limit your entourage to just your wedding party, or just a close family member or two. You will best know who your most honest friends and family are.

Ensure that you choose those who will be constructively critical, not nasty. You want to make sure that your entourage will encourage you, but also tell you what does and does not suit your body and personality.

Consider asking a close friend or family member that is not in the wedding party but that you would like to honor in a special way.

And remember, keeping your entourage numbers small means you limit the number of opinions in the room but also increases the chances that your dress choice remains a secret until the big day!

Go alone

This may seem very intimidating, or even odd, but going wedding dress shopping alone can be fulfilling.

Bridal consultants are very knowledgeable about what will look good on you. If you choose a reputable bridal boutique, trust that the bridal consultant that you are assigned to will work to get you into a dress that makes you look stunning, that you are comfortable in, and fits your budget.

If you are unsure and want a second opinion on your wedding dress choice or style, narrow down your options and invite someone to a second appointment to help you decide.

Your mother

Inviting your mother, or someone who has acted as a mother figure, to your wedding gown shopping appointment is a lovely gesture. It may also be something that your mother has imagined since you were born.

More than likely, your mother will have a good idea of what looks great on you, and what styles to avoid. She may also even have some jewelry (your something borrowed or your something old!) in mind that would pair beautifully with your chosen style of gown. She will probably feel honored to be a part of the decision making process.

If you and your mother tend to experience frequent differences of opinion, talk to her before your appointment and set some boundaries and ground rules. Let her know how you are leaning with regards to color, style, and budget so there are no surprises when you arrive at the shop. She may be able to provide some great insights at this time that can help direct your shopping experience. Be open and listen, but be assertive if you need to.

Your wedding party

You know and love your wedding party and all of the characteristics and personalities. But some voices may be louder than others, and some opinions you may value more than others.

Not matter its personality makeup, inviting your wedding party can be helpful in narrowing down your gown choices.

Enlist a member of the bridal party to take photos of you in the various dresses, and another one to serve the bubbly (where it is allowed). As with speaking to your mother about boundaries prior to the appointment, the same applies to any particularly opinionated bridesmaids. If you have a discussion about your vision in advance, you can avoid arguments and hurt feelings.

If you have some that cannot be tamed, consider sending them to look for bridesmaids dress ideas while you are trying on wedding gowns.

Your future in-laws

Inviting your future in-laws to attend your wedding dress shopping appointment may be a great way to break the ice if you don’t know them particularly well, or it can help your partner’s family to feel more involved in the planning process.

Your future mother or sister in law will appreciate the thoughtfulness of the invitation, even if they decide to not come to the appointment.

Inviting the future in-laws may mean that you are the social link between them and the rest of your entourage, so make sure that you introduce everyone so that they all feel comfortable while waiting for you to try on your dresses.

Your father

Inviting your dad to participate in your wedding dress appointment may seem like a strange choice, but, depending on your relationship, he may want to be a participant in the appointment.

Additionally, sometimes it is good to have a differing opinion on your wedding dress. Your dad may have a similar eye to that of your future spouse and can offer some insight into what looks great and what is not quite you.

Viero Bridal

Following our suggestions will leave you prepared for one of the most exciting experiences of your life. Bringing the right people along (or leaving them home) will ensure that you have covered all the options and are looking beautiful and confident on your wedding day.

Whether you have had a style in mind since childhood, or are unsure of where to start, Viero Bridal offers a range of affordable couture dresses that can make your wedding dreams come true!

With flagship boutiques in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, our bridal experts have the goods from coast to coast. View our collections and when you are ready, reach out to book an appointment!

Your Guide to Virtual Wedding Events

Your Guide to Virtual Wedding Events

More than likely, when you dreamed of your wedding day, you did not envision it being a virtual event. However, if you are one of the thousands of couples that have had to postpone or cancel wedding events during the global coronavirus pandemic, you are probably searching for ways to celebrate your love with family and friends in a way that is both enjoyable and safe.

Believe it or not, there is a silver lining to this dark cloud. Enter virtual events and digital technology! With these tools, you don’t have to cancel your wedding or skip mimosas at your bridal shower. Want to have that bachelorette or bachelor party? You still can!

Just because you can’t celebrate in person doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate!

For now, the wedding industry and event planners have found creative ways to help with virtual wedding events.

We have compiled this handy guide to the best virtual wedding events. Read on to find out what wedding events can be hosted virtually and how you can make the most of your experience.

Types of Virtual Wedding Events

Engagement Party

Under normal circumstances, you may have hosted a party with friends and family to celebrate or announce your engagement to the world. With new restrictions and social distancing rules, a party, even just a small gathering of friends, is pretty much out of the question. This does not mean, however, that you can’t still celebrate an engagement with a party.

Hosting a virtual engagement party allows you to interact with your guests, and you may even have attendees that normally wouldn’t be able to participate due to distance. You can still choose a theme, decorate accordingly, and play games. Your party may lack hugs and personal conversations, but the bright side is that you will be able to do what is most important: celebrate with your closest friends and family.

Bridal or Wedding Shower

In these uncertain times, online platforms like Zoom, FaceTime, Houseparty, and Google Hangouts make it possible to gather together without having to meet in person, making it entirely possible to enjoy a virtual wedding shower.

A virtual wedding shower just takes a few different avenues in the planning process. For example, in order to open gifts in front of your guests, you will need to establish a clear deadline for purchasing the gifts and indicate where they should be dropped off or delivered before the date of the shower. This information should be included in your shower invitations.

If you are worried that this will look tacky, remember that it is often the maid of honor or a family member that hosts the shower. So, if this invitation comes from them, it will be less awkward.

We are all living under these strange circumstances and in most cases, your guests will appreciate the clarity this deadline gives them.

Bachelor or Bachelorette Party

Don’t worry about cancelling your bachelor and bachelorette parties, like a shower, these events can happen on a virtual platform!

You can always have a post-wedding night out with friends, but for now, plan to celebrate with a themed party. Send your planned guests something fun to wear and your favorite cocktail mix (with the appropriate spirit), set a playlist of your favorite tunes, and have a virtual party.

You may even want to have someone host an event for you- a yoga or painting class, dance lessons, or something else that is interesting to you. As more and more businesses adapt to an online format, the number of activities you could access will only increase. While doing an online escape room isn’t the same as hitting a crowded club, it can be just as much fun!

Wedding Ceremony

Brides across the country are worried that not walking down the aisle in a physical venue, means they won’t be able to show off their couture wedding gowns but with some states allowing virtual licensing and marriages, there may be more options for a wedding than previously thought.

Having a virtual wedding ceremony may take some additional preparation and planning. You may choose to wear your chosen wedding gown, or you can choose another dress and save your wedding gown for a later date, one where you can host a second ceremony in person. For your decor, get in touch with your creative side, and design a backdrop for your wedding ceremony, choose some flowers from your garden (or order some through contactless delivery or pickup) and say ‘I do’ in front of the people you cherish most.

Cap the ceremony off with a toast, cake cutting, and dance, then open the floor to well-wishes from your guests.

Helpful tips for a smooth virtual event

The realities created by COVID-19 may have shifted your plans. Sure, you might not be able to visit the best bridal shops in Los Angeles or New York with your full entourage, but a virtual format means you can still fully host and participate in all the events you’ve had planned!

Most of us are new to virtual events and so the following tips should help you avoid any headaches and run your virtual wedding event like a real pro:

Choose a good hosting platform:

Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Microsoft Teams provide good platforms for hosting your wedding event, but you may prefer one over the other. Test the platforms prior to your event, so that you can get a feel for how it works, and how you can use it to create a fun and interactive experience for both you and your guests. You may want to test the different features of the platforms, as well. For instance, you may want to have your guests muted during particular points of your event, so learning to do this prior-to can help things go smoothly.

Keep an eye on your guest list: hosting a virtual event may allow you to invite more people than you might have under normal circumstances, but virtual events can quickly become overwhelming with too many people speaking over each other. Also, there can be a delay or lag in dialogue, which is easier to manage with a smaller number of guests. Also, wedding etiquette still exists during virtual events: when inviting guests to pre-wedding events, you will need to keep your list limited to those who will later attend your wedding.

Ask for help with themes:

You and your spouse-to-be may have chosen a specific theme for your wedding, a special dish, a song, or drink to help celebrate your nuptials. Send the songs or recipes to your guest in advance so they can join in on your theme. Perhaps you can all prepare the drinks or dishes together.

If it is in your budget, you may even choose to send your guests some type of themed item. Think about sending cupcakes, decoration kits, or small bottles of bubbly for a toast. Another idea to consider is having guests dress for the event. Use your theme to make suggestions, or provide a color choice and suggest guests wear clothing that fits.

Create a schedule:

Having a schedule or agenda can help your event stay on track. Even during in-person events, guests love to know what is coming. Preparing a schedule that outlines the steps or parts of the virtual event will help make the guests feel as though they are part of the whole thing, and can give them an idea of what they will need to do (if anything). As part of your event, you may want to have one-on-one time with your guests or introduce them to the other members of the party.  Having a schedule will let people know when this is coming and prevent you from going way off track.

Play games:

As much as your family and friends will love being a part of your wedding, and any pre-wedding events you may wish to have, it is not so easy to create a fun, engaging environment.

To help, choose some interactive games for your guests. Designate a host for the game and have that person establish the rules and facilitate play. Competition is one of the best ways to get emotional investment from your guests!

Everyone will feel like they are a part of the fun—and for winners, buy some electronic gift cards as prizes!

Use local:

Even mail is delayed during this time, so choosing local vendors can ensure that there will be no delays for anything you may need at your event.

Choosing local vendors also means you are supporting small businesses that may be struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlighting them can help give a needed boost to their business.

Decor, food, drinks, and more can all be found locally. Ask for recommendations from friends, or on social media platforms. You may discover a local gem that you would have overlooked if not for the shutdown.

Virtual wedding events can be fun!

We know how disappointing it is to cancel or postpone your wedding or any of the events you had planned around it. Having virtual events won’t take the place of being in the presence of your loved ones but they can go a long way to helping you celebrate together.

By following this guide, your wedding events will be exciting, fun, and unique. While it feels like a struggle now, think of how unique your experience really is. How many people get to say they got married during a global pandemic that more or less shuttered the entire world? This is a story you will be able to tell for your entire lives! It is a story of ingenuity and creativity that will never, ever, get old!