So, you have the ring. What’s next? Dress shopping, of course.
Although finding the perfect dress might seem like a tough task, local bridal consultants have advice for brides on the hunt for their ideal wedding gowns.
Sherrie Keating, owner of Cheryl-Ann Bridals & Tuxedos in Dubuque, assured there are many styles and silhouettes for a bride to choose from when searching for the perfect dress.
“Never settle,” Keating said. “You will find exactly what you are looking for. There is no reason to say, ‘I guess it’s OK.’”
Even though a bride might know what silhouette she is looking for prior to dress shopping, Keating suggested that she try on other options as well.
Keating pointed out that often times, a bride ends up getting something different than what she originally had in mind. Although Pinterest can help the bride visualize the dress, she can determine if that dress style is the one for her when she tries it on.
Regardless, Keating asserted that “one of the styles will jump out to the bride — whether that be lace, sparkles, sleeves — and she will know that she found her dress.”
In addition to keeping options open, Keating also suggested that a bride make appointments with bridal shops she plans to visit.
“When a bride schedules a time, she will be assured of a consultant and a dressing room, in addition to being able to ask any questions she may have before coming in,” Keating said.
Although some bridal shops like Cheryl-Ann’s do not require an appointment, Keating described that a bride will have the best experience finding her perfect wedding dress by scheduling consultations.
Shelby Duggan, owner of Vintage Chic Bridal Boutique in Dubuque, agreed with Keating that making appointments are vital to ease the shopping process and added that a bride pick her wedding style before gown consultations.
“The first step is finding the vision for not only your wedding dress but your wedding as a whole,” Duggan said.
She prompted brides to think of the design they want their weddings to be, whether that is black tie, boho (bohemian style) or anything in between. By doing this, Duggan claimed that finding that direction will set the tone for the dress as well.
She also encouraged brides to hand-pick their entourage.
“It’s important to have a conversation with the people you bring beforehand about what you’re looking for in a dress and your price range,” Duggan said.
If this communication happens prior to coming to the store, Duggan believed that this makes the opinions become more constructive.
She also insisted that brides rely on the bridal shop staff if a loved one comments negatively on a dress she likes.
“Your consultants are there as your cheerleaders,” Duggan said. “Lean on us to help you during those tough situations.”
Jodi Stricker, Amanda Iburg and Lauren Pedersen, of Zazous’s Bridal Boutique & Tuxedos in Dubuque, claimed that doing your research about styles and shops are important during dress shopping.
“Use Pinterest as a reference to find things that you may like,” Pedersen said.
Photos of styles that the bride likes can assist the consultants in finding a starting point for trying on dresses.
“If you have anything picked out before trying on the dress, let us know. This could be colors, the venue, a theme — anything will help us move in a direction with finding your dress and helping us get to know you better,” Pedersen added.
Iburg echoed the value of researching prior to the appointments and added that it is the consultant’s goal to educate the bride on options regarding her dress choices.
“It’s our job to ask questions and let brides know about things they may have not thought about before,” Iburg said. “We see customizations made to dresses very often, whether that be adding a sleeve, changing a color or adjusting a fabric. Between our vendors and local seamstresses, we can always find someone to alter the dress.”
While having a knowledgeable consultant is crucial while dress shopping, bridal shop staff also can provide guidance for other parts of wedding planning.
“We are here to help the brides along the way, no matter what wedding-related assistance they may need,” Stricker said.
Whether it is looking for flowers, finding a photographer or booking a venue, most bridal shops are willing to assist with their personal recommendations.
Iburg reaffirmed, “No matter if the bride bought her dress here or not, we have her back and are just a phone call away.”
Emily Boge is a freelance writer from Dubuque and a student at Clarke University.