Think ahead and shop well in advance. Most designers require four to six months to produce a gown so you should be shopping at least nine months in advance. Some brides purchase their gowns as much as 18 months before the big day. Shopping early will give you the most choices.
It is best to make an appointment but we will always try to see any bride that visits the shop. If you make an appointment but need to cancel, let us know in plenty of time.
Go shopping by yourself, or with one or two trusted friends at most. This is YOUR decision, and you need to be able to listen to your own instincts about what dress makes you feel great. It's easier to hear what your heart says if you don't have a crowd with you.
Choose your accessories when your actual dress has arrived. It is better for you to decide on your accessories when you are actually standing in your dress and understand better the theme of your wedding, in fact, why not have a hair trial just before you visit?! We tend to order dresses in a couple of months prior to your wedding date which is plenty of time to choose all those little accessories, including shoes!
Don't be too dazzled by a big designer name. You can expect top quality from a top designer, but judge the dress, not the label. Your mission is to find the dress that will take the groom's breath away and make him say a prayer of thanks as he sees you come down the aisle. The right dress will make your friends and family think, 'What a beautiful woman!' first, and 'What a beautiful dress!' sometime later.
Some brides can find what they are looking for in their first visit to a boutique and others like to try four or five different places before they start to narrow down their search. If you have the time and energy to visit many places then do so, you will soon get a good feeling as to what you like and what you don’t like.
At Prudence Gowns we try to spend as much time with every bride as possible, this is easier to achieve during the week as often weekends tend to be busier, thus on a Saturday appointments are usually scheduled to an hour.
Shoes are supplied in the fitting rooms but if you have a pair that you would like to bring, please feel free!!
Bridal Store Staff
The bridal store staff will wait on you more closely than you're used to when shopping for other clothes. It's their job to help you find the dress of your dreams; it's also their responsibility to be protective about the store's expensive, delicate merchandise. So don't feel crowded if a staff member comes right into the dressing room to assist you. Enjoy the attention!
If you end up comparing dresses from different places, make sure you have a clear understanding of what services will or won't be included in your purchase price. Consider all related costs so you're comparing true totals. A price that looks higher might in fact be very competitive by the time you add up all related costs.
Commitment: Final Sale
Be sure you understand that when you order your wedding dress it is a final sale. Buying a wedding dress is not like buying a mass-market T-shirt that you can return if you change your mind. Take that seriously, but don't let it scare you. If you can commit to a man, you can commit to a dress!
Guarantees and Service
Be aware that many designers will only guarantee their gowns if they are purchased through an authorized full-service bridal store. There are too many fakes in circulation for them to take any other approach.
Something else to remember is this: the majority of local bridal stores are independently owned, and each store's first responsibility is to their own customers. Do not purchase your dress from one place then expect another store to serve you if you need help with it. The store you purchase your dress from is the one that should look after you.
Wedding and formal dresses are more closely fitted than ordinary garments. Dresses are made to standard sizes (which can vary from one designer to the next), so unless you're having a couture dress designed especially for you (and paying couture prices!), expect the fit of your dress to be close but not exact when it arrives. It's normal that your wedding dress will need to be altered to achieve the perfect fit for your unique contours. (Bridesmaid dresses, too.)
Allow for alterations in both your budgeting and your time planning. Altering a bridal gown is skilled and delicate work, and the seamstress is one of your most important partners. Note that it's the complexity of the alterations that will determine the price, not the amount that a seam has to be taken in. Whether the seamstress takes it in a half inch or three inches the price will be the same.
Be aware that many manufacturers charge extra for larger sizes in certain styles. Be sure to ask about that so you know all costs to expect.
BE REALISTIC ABOUT SIZE. If you have major diet or exercise plans Prudence Gowns suggests that you buy your wedding gown at your largest size. All gowns can be made smaller, but the opposite is more difficult, more expensive, and rarely looks perfect. Sometimes, it's not even possible to make the gown bigger as there's just not enough fabric to work with. With all the stress of planning a wedding, weight loss plans often fall short of the goal. You don't need the added stress of a dress that is too small and can't be made to fit.
Even if your weight stays steady, your contours can change because of your activity levels, or even just the time of the month. Try to be measured for your final fitting at the same time in your cycle that your wedding day will fall. That can head off surprises.
Avoid the biggest fitting problem of all: don't get pregnant until after the wedding!
Enjoy Your Choice!
Once you've decided which dress is THE ONE, stop looking at other dresses and don't try to second-guess yourself! Have faith in your own judgement, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from having one of your most special decisions looked after.
Smile! You look gorgeous!