Owners of the Country's Top Bridal Salons Share Their Best Tips for Finding Your Dream Dress

Planning Tips, Wedding Dresses
Things Every Bride Wants to Hear While Wedding Dress Shopping

Photo: Samm Blake

When searching for your wedding dress, you may get advice thrown at you from all angles — mother of the bride reminding you to find something that works with your shape (thanks, Mom), bridesmaids voicing their distinct opinions, and more. To help cut through the noise, we enlisted expert advice from some of the country's top bridal salon owners, from New York to the Midwest to the West Coast. These four wedding-dress wizards have seen it all and they know what works — and doesn't work — when it comes to a bride and her dress. Take a mental note of these pieces of advice before making your bridal salon appointments.

Don't bring an entourage.
"Shop with one or two people whose opinions really matter. Or, if you're super confident, go alone! Save the big reveal for later." — Mark Ingram of Mark Ingram Atelier

A strapless A-line with a natural waist is universally flattering.
"Oscar de la Renta, Monique Lhuillier, Mira Zwillinger, and Carolina Herrera have this style down pat." — Ingram

Know what kind of bride you are.
"If you see yourself on the dance floor all night, choose a formfitting gown that moves with your body." — Ingram

Don't rush.
"Spend five to 10 minutes in each dress you try on, even if you know it's not the One. Figuring out what you like and don't like about it will help your consultant narrow down the options and find you the dress of your dreams." — Camille Thiry Russler of Ever After

Bring your accessories.
"If you're planning on wearing a certain statement necklace or family heirloom, take it to your appointment so your consultant can help you style your entire look." — Thiry Russler

Move in the dress.
"At your fitting, practice sitting and simulate how you're going to walk down the aisle in your gown. And if you'll be kneeling at the ceremony, test that out in the dress — and don't forget to make sure you can get back up too." — Thiry Russler

See more: How to Look Flawless in a Backless Wedding Dress

Know your date and venue before you shop.
That way, stylists can show you gowns that can be made within your time frame and that complement your party, whether it's on a beach or in a ballroom." — Sandy Yeung of Marina Morrison

Bring your bros.
They're usually very supportive. And since there's no jealousy, they're rarely critical." — Yeung

Sample sales are a great way to save.
"Look for them during the first two weeks of January and then again in the middle of summer." — Yeung

Avoid scheduling back-to-back appointments.
"It's confusing and exhausting. And more than two shops in a day is too many." — Elena Grapsas of Ultimate Bride

Don't buy your veil until your dress comes in.
"Ivory, soft white, candlelight — different designers have different names for the same shades of white. Until you see your gown, you can't be sure your veil will match." — Grapsas

Be honest about your budget.
"If you didn't like, say, tulle, you'd tell your consultant, right? Being open about your spending limit is just another way to help her find your perfect dress." — Grapsas

For even more of the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES August/September 2015 issue on newsstands now and available for download.

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