Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates. For her Brides.com column, Jen is here to give some expert advice to brides on the quest for the perfect dress.
I like to compare wedding dress shopping to dating, because I find them to be oddly similar. Sometimes it takes date after date before you find you the one. In my case in particular, I'm probably on date 376 and I still haven't found my googly-eyed match. But in other cases, it can take seconds, minutes, one date to rule them all. That's often called love at first site and it happens, if you're lucky, with a wedding dress.
Some brides set out to go to five stores and the minute they walk into the first store, they set their eyes on the dress they have always pictured themselves walking down the aisle in.
Some brides set out to go to five stores and after the fifth, they leave with their head in their hands and their heart on the dressing room floor.
There is not a perfect number or a set amount of dresses to try on and touch before you find the one you want to spend a pretty penny on. But, there is a way to approach it so that by the end of dress shopping you're not left wondering if wearing a white sheet down the aisle is your best bet.
First, make a list of all the stores you want to hit. In addition to that, start searching online. That way, you can flag and bookmark dresses and styles you like that most. Often times, walking into a store with a couple hundred dresses can make all of them look the same. If after going to every store and trying on more dresses than you can count on both hands and feet, try online shopping for a dress. You'll find dresses from all over the world that way and have instant access to styles you may not have found in stores.
Find an online shop with a good return policy and you're set. That way if it arrives at your doorstep and fits like a Mumu, you're in the clear.
Like with dating, if you know the kind of qualities you want and the style you must have, you'll find what you're looking for in no time. Hey, I'm still hopeful!