Wedding dress shopping has to be one of THE most exciting things to look forward to as a bride. Your dress is what gives you that main character energy, after all. Choosing a dress that you’ll wear on this super special day is a big decision, and it can be daunting with all of the options, choices, and possibilities out there. What style is the most flattering for your body type? Do you want sleeves or sleeveless? Do you want to go straps or strapless? Veil or no veil? There are many components to these decisions which can make it a very stressful decision.

But as always, your Leilani team’s got you covered, girl. Be sure to give the following tips a glance over before embarking on your “say yes to the dress” journey.

1. Research, Research, Research

Start pinning, posting, liking + saving styles you like. If you don’t quite know what you like, reverse psychology is always helpful - find what you DON’T like and eliminate those choices from there. Get a feel of the different styles available, collect the styles that catch your eye, and don’t be afraid to be a little bold + save styles you like but are a little nervous about, too. You never know what you might fall in love with when you actually try it on.

2. Decide when you want to start shopping

On average, it takes anywhere from 4-9 months to get a wedding dress produced. Once it’s made, you have to leave a few weeks for any alterations or accessorizing that will inevitably be needed.

3. Decide where you want to start shopping

If you have some wiggle room in your budget + designer is important to you, go that route, but there are certainly tons of less expensive boutique stores + even chains that have some incredible styles. There’s also always the option to order a dress online but if you go this route be sure to give yourself ample time to account for shipping + sizing errors.

4. Make an appointment + Keep your squad small

Usually, when you go clothes shopping you can just swoop in, grab a few items and try them on in the dressing room – however, that’s not the case when it comes to wedding dress shopping. You’ll need to make an appointment, and make sure it’s during the weekday - it’s less busy and the stylists will have more bandwidth to give you the personal experience that you deserve. Part two of this tip is this - Keep your squad small when going to your appointments. Too many opinions can cause frustration + overwhelm, and you’ll want to fully enjoy this part of wedding planning. We recommend keeping your crew to three ladies max.

5. Make sure to move in the dress

Apart from looking breathtaking in a dress, you’ll want to make sure that you also feel comfortable. Move around in the dress and see how you feel. Sit down. Stand up. Walk around. Turn around. The last thing you want is to feel uncomfortable during your entire wedding day. And don’t forget you’ll have to go to the bathroom in it! They say beauty is pain, but it ain’t worth it, sister.

6. Expect a different size

Remember this. A retail Size 8 is not a wedding dress Size 8. If you’re usually a retail 8 you can expect to walk down the aisle in a size 12 or 14.

7. Bring the proper undergarments

Bringing the proper undergarments to try on dresses will allow you to visualize the entire look better. Keep the hot pink bra with straps + the floral brief underwear at home. Stick with a nude strapless bra + a nude thong. Bring Spanx if you’d like, and try on each dress with + without them.

8. Take photos during your appointment

The best way to compare each dress is by taking photos of yourself in each of them. We recommend adding all of the photos to a folder + scrolling through them often. You may even notice that your smile is bigger or your expression brighter in a certain dress, which can ultimately help with your final decision.

9. Keep your wedding theme in mind.

Your dress will look twice as good when it fits with the environment. Your wedding dress might differ based on whether you’re having a casual garden wedding or a formal romantic affair. You don’t want to go through the hassle of changing dresses after you’ve bought one, so make sure you book your venue before selecting your dress.

10. Be 100% sure before you say yes

Purchasing a wedding dress is a huge expense and commitment. You don’t want to have doubts about it after purchasing or feel regret when walking down the aisle. You want to absolutely adore your dress, just like you do the man you’re marrying. Keep shopping + mulling the options over until you can confidently say YES with zero hesitation. Be prepared to try on A LOT of dresses, and don’t expect your dream one to be one of the first you put on. It's a process that takes time. Take the time you need, make sure you have a great (but small!) support system around you, and don’t worry too much about others’ opinions. Also remember: If budget allows, you can always have a second dress for reception, and some of our brides even have a third dress (or bridal outfit like a romper or jumpsuit!) for dancing.