Whether you’ve been dreaming of walking down the aisle in a flowy gown since you were a kid, or you are just starting to feel the buzz of wedding dress excitement now that you’re starting to visit wedding dress shops, many brides say that picking out the dress of their dreams is among the best parts of their pre-wedding preparations. Wondering how to make that bridal experience top-notch? You’ve come to the right place!
Read on for our top tips to set the scene for making memories that you’ll look back on with a smile for years to come. We’ll cover everything from the basics, like when and where to shop (hint - if you’re planning on visiting the bridal shops near Cincinnati Ohio and have heard of the Reading bridal outlet, you’re already ahead of the game) to who to bring and what to do with your dress after the big day.
Some of our tips center on the topic of when to book your bridal store appointments. When it comes to this process, we typically see brides who have done one of two things - either doing a lot of research and booking appointments early and with a plan or being a bit more spontaneous, perhaps even searching “bridal salons near me.”
While either route works, we do recommend that once you find the stores you’d like to visit, you book appointments well in advance if possible. This will allow you time to think about the styles and silhouettes you might like to try, perhaps pin some designs on Pinterest or Instagram to show your consultant, and make any reservations at hotels or Airbnb’s if you’re visiting from out of town.
Bonus - It would be impossible for us to overstate the value of visiting a bridal center like the Reading Bridal District, which is made up of bridal stores in Reading, Ohio. Locations like these feature vendors of all kinds for weddings - from wedding planners and caterers to photographers and accessory shops.
One last thing before we get into the tips - take a look at styles and silhouettes of wedding gowns to get a taste for your preferences and have some inspiration for your stylists. We just advise you to always keep an open mind as well, however - bridal consultants are professionals who pride themselves on knowing the ins and outs of their gowns and the designer lines they carry, and that dream dress you end up saying yes to might just look nothing like how you imagined!
When you call to set up a bridal consultation at wedding dress boutiques in Cincinnati, we recommend booking for a weekday appointment. Weekends in the bridal district Cincinnati can be very busy with brides-to-be and their bride tribes.
Not only is a weekday visit likely to foster a more relaxing atmosphere on bridal row Cincinnati, with less traffic and easier parking, you’re more likely to have shorter waits at restaurants in the area (always a win, right?).
Here at Blush Bridal Boutique, in the Cincinnati Bridal District, for example, we get 25-30 brides a day from Friday through Sunday. On the other hand, we see 2-5 brides daily Monday through Thursday. Booking your appointment Monday through Thursday, therefore, means that you’ll feel less rushed, have more time to try on and select your perfect dress, and you’ll be able to bring more guests with you. There will also be more flexibility when it comes to choosing your appointment day and time. As if that’s not enough, our team at blush bridal couture celebrates our Monday through Thursday brides with complimentary non-alcoholic mimosas!
How many friends and family members should you ask to accompany you when you visit bridal shops near Cincinnati Ohio? While it can be tricky to try to narrow down all of your favorite people, from your mom, your future mother-in-law, your sisters and future sisters-in-law, to your best friend, your five other best friends, your aunt, your grandma, her best friend… we recommend limiting your number to 3-6 people.
Before asking anyone, check with the bridal shops you plan to visit, and ask if they have any group size restrictions. Some bridal boutiques limit the number due to space constraints, and it would be best to plan accordingly before your visit.
Once you know how many you can have along with you, reflect on whose opinions you really desire and genuinely care about. After all, the more people you have, the more opinions you’re bound to receive. Not only can this be difficult for you, as trying on wedding gowns might feel emotional at times, but it can also make it more challenging for your consultant. We strongly recommend that you select only those who make you feel comfortable and who are confident in reminding you that your opinion is the one that is most important.
Speaking of your bride tribe, don’t forget to schedule in time for breaks. Making plans to sit down for a cup of coffee together and have some snacks and take a break for lunch is a must-do. Not only will it keep your spirits up and keep the hangries away, but it will also offer everyone a chance to chat casually, maybe get to know each other, and take some of the pressure off you, the bride, during your shopping day.
Unless you’re frantically Googling “walk in bridal shops near me” just a few weeks before your wedding and need to just find an off-the-rack gown, we recommend beginning your wedding gown search around a year in advance. We know, that feels like a long time! Why is that much time needed?
Many dresses, especially higher-end or designer gowns, are handmade to order. And with details like lace and beading and high-quality fabrics, piecing this kind of bridal wear together is no easy or quick feat. An incredible amount of care and skill goes into creating your personal gown, and typically, around 6 months (or even more!) can be needed.
We like for brides to understand and know what to expect when it comes to bridal wear sizing. The truth is, gown sizing is often at least one to two sizes higher than the clothing sizes you typically wear. Since it’s so much easier for tailors to take fabric in compared to letting it out, we are grateful for this sizing overall and strongly suggest that brides always order true to their current size during ordering, and not what they think they “should be.” Here at Blush Bridal Boutique, we’re big fans of body love, so pick out a gown that makes you feel as gorgeous as you are!
When your gown arrives, you’ll need to try it on, and alterations may be required, to ensure that perfect fit for your body shape. Weight and shape fluctuations can also impact the need for alterations, and tailoring takes time. Customizations that you’d like to see (a shorter train? Removable straps?) should be taken into account as well, and contribute to that one-year recommendation for shopping in advance.
If you’ve hired a Cincinnati wedding planner, we recommend you consider inviting them along for your dress-shopping experience. Your wedding planner will be able to understand the bigger picture for the day and advise you on your wardrobe accordingly.
For example, if your wedding is mostly outdoors and you may be moving around during your wedding, you may want a wedding dress that allows for more mobility. If you’re planning a more formal or traditional ceremony, but following it with a lively dance party, you might want to consider two separate dresses.
In fact, having two dresses is a trend that we can see real value in for brides of all kinds. For those who love fashion and might want to make a statement with an elegant sheath or ivory formal jumpsuit, you may also yearn for the swish of a princess gown about your feet and solve the conundrum by purchasing both. For other brides, the venue’s location or climate might dictate the outfit, especially if the celebration is partially indoors and partially outdoors. Having a planner along on your wedding dress shopping experience will give you another perspective to consider, and it’ll be one that likely doesn’t contain bias, another bonus!
Additionally, if you’re shopping for wedding dresses in Cincinnati, you may wish to visit all of the wedding industry shops that the Reading Bridal District has to offer - the perfect place for you and your planner to chat about invitations with stationary shops, or with cake bakers about your dream dessert, before visiting the Blush wedding dress store together.
From choosing where and when to shop for bridal gowns to selecting the right bride tribe to accompany you on the adventure, there’s a lot to consider when preparing for your wedding dress shopping experience. And while there’s a lot that can be pretty flexible and left up to you, the bride-to-be, there are some tips and tricks of the trade that will make the experience as smooth and stress-free as possible.
To recap, remember that starting your dress-shopping journey about a year in advance of your wedding is a good, safe timeline that allows for alterations and potential delays in the dress-making process. Book your appointment on a weekday to avoid the crowds the wedding boutiques in Cincinnati can have, and maximize on relaxation.
Speaking of relaxation, take it one step further by limiting your guests on the outing to 3-6 of your closest friends (and your wedding planner!). We also advise you to consider the pros and cons of purchasing two dresses, having one for the ceremony and one for the reception.
If you remember these top 5 tips and maybe do a little bit of homework to get a taste for your style preferences, we think you’ll be in great shape to have a remarkable wedding gown shopping experience. Before long, you’ll be saying yes to that dream wedding dress!