Whether you’ve been planning your dream wedding dress since you were little or just starting to consider options post-engagement, trying on dresses is no small task. Finding the dress takes time and energy—not to mention it can be extremely overwhelming. While some brides fall for the first dress they try on, in many cases, most spend weekend after weekend, in and out of bridal salons, trying on every dress in sight before settling on the one.
Meet the Expert
- Charles Dieujuste is the Founder and Creative Director of Scorcesa, a bridalwear company created for the modern, fashion-forward bride.
- Dorothy Silver is the Director of Merchandising at Kleinfeld and has over 30 years of bridal and retail experience.
- Pnina Tornai is a globally renowned bridal designer and is most famously known for her role on TLC's Say Yes to the Dress.
While there is a long list of things to consider when wedding dress shopping, your timeline should be number one on that list. Ideally, you should purchase your gown nine months before the wedding. And while your big day may be months (even a year) away at the time, it's also important to remember that most dresses can take three months—if not more—to even come in. Let alone, allotting time for alterations and multiple fittings.
With so many timing factors to consider, one must ask: How many wedding dresses are appropriate to try on? And can a bride really try on too many looks? We tapped Charles Dieujuste, founder and creative director of Scorcesa, Dorothy Silver, director of merchandising at Kleinfeld, and Pnina Tornai, bridal designer exclusive to Kleinfeld, to answer these questions—while also providing advice on how to avoid trying on hundreds of dresses (which is possible, by the way).
How Many Wedding Dresses Should You Try On?
There is no exact answer to how many dresses brides should try on during their search, and even our experts have different opinions on a golden number. Dieujuste recommends picking your top three and going from there, while Silver recommends trying on no more than 10-15 gowns.
At the end of the day, all brides are different so consider setting a number that you think is appropriate before heading into the salon. For example, you might say to yourself, “I’m only going to try on a maximum of seven dresses at this particular store”. This way, you’ll be more selective about the looks you consider and bypass the ones that could take up unnecessary time. This doesn’t have to be an "end-all-be-all rule", but it will allow you to set boundaries during your search.
The Impact of Trying On Too Many Dresses
All three of our experts agree that trying on too many dresses can create an overwhelming sense of confusion and frustration for the bride. Tornai explains that brides can miss the dress of their dreams because they are too busy searching for something that could be even better. “There are also brides who can end up making the wrong decision because they are overwhelmed and exhausted from trying on so many gowns,” she shares.
So, how can you avoid this feeling of confusion and uncertainty? To start, limit the number of gowns you try on. But if you've already gotten to this point, Tornai recommends taking a step back to review photos you've taken in looks you’ve already tried. “When you see yourself in pictures, it is a different perspective than in the mirror,” she says. Silver adds that even taking the night to sleep on your options, then reevaluating a day later, can lead to a clearer decision-making mind.
Should You Try On Dresses From Multiple Salons?
There are pros and cons to trying on dresses from multiple salons, and again, not every bride has the same shopping experience. Dieujuste, Silver, and Tornai all suggest that it's best to stick to one salon location. Finding a salon that carries multiple styles and designers—such as Kleinfeld—is key to avoiding various salon trips.
While bridal salons that carry multiple designers tend to be the most popular route, if have your mind set on only one or two designers, visiting a brand’s flagship location is also a good idea. This may provide added ease when shopping because you won't be enticed to sort through an assortment of different styles and designs.
Should You Try On Dresses After Finding "The One"?
Trying on dresses after you’ve said "yes" is never a good idea. As Tornai says, "Do you try on other fiancés after you’ve said yes?” Once you've found the one, that seals that deal. Tornai also shares that you should “close the magazines, delete the inspiration pictures you have saved, and don’t drive yourself crazy.” For those planning to wear multiple wedding day looks, you may likely have to continue your search, but your main dress should remain the one that steals your heart.
Worst case scenario, if you really think you've made the wrong decision, Silver says that Kleinfeld will allow you to put the production of your dress “on hold”. “This essentially keeps your dress from being put into production, which allows for more time to decide!” explains Silver. “From there, we’ll help you make another appointment and try it back on, and if you are still unsure, we can assist you in finding a different dress that better suits your needs.” Of course, this may not be the case at all bridal salons and doing this should be your last resort.
Tips for Narrowing Down Your Wedding Dress Search
As mentioned, there are no set rules when it comes to wedding dress shopping, but there are many ways to ensure that your experience is enjoyable. Below are a few additional tips our experts share to make your journey down the aisle as stress-free as possible.
Research, Research, Research!
Today, brides have the ability to access almost every dress prior to heading to a salon or store for their appointment—so take advantage of that! Getting a better feel of the brands you like (or don't like), and which silhouette or cut you prefer will help your stylist when they start pulling dresses. "Knowing the style and silhouette that works for you will aid in narrowing down the number of dresses to try on," says Dieujuste.
Bring the Right Team
Finding your day-of look is a very personal experience, and having the best support team there to help guide you—in a helpful way—is important. “Bring a small group of people you really trust, who you know will give you their sincere and honest opinions. Don’t forget that the more people you bring, the more opinions you will have to deal with!” shares Tornai.
Consider a Custom Look
If you have the perfect dress in mind, and you feel like you'll never be able to find another look that compares, you may want to consider creating a custom-made gown. As a couture bridal designer with over 20 years of experience, Tornai says that she has brought many bridal fantasies to life. "If this is you, you should make sure to schedule a VIP appointment in advance so that [there will be] enough time to work with you one-on-one, since custom designs do require more time than selecting an existing gown from collections," shares Tornai. However, while this option has been growing in popularity over the past few years, it is a more expensive route to take.