By Caryn Kayton

Shopping for a bridal gown can be daunting! With many years of experience helping brides find THE gown, I offer you these tips:


A year out is not too early to start shopping! Bridal gowns can take up to eight months to arrive, plus the additional time needed for alterations. A year can accommodate a bride so she can enjoy the process without worrying about getting her dress and having it ready in time for the big day.


Making an appointment helps salons ensure they are adequately staffed to give the bride the undivided attention of a trained bridal consultant. A bride who does not have an appointment, especially on a busy Saturday, can run into the challenge of insufficient space for herself and her party as well as drawing attention away from other brides in the salon. A salon, of course, will do all it can to accommodate a walk-in bride, but it serves all parties best when an appointment is made.


While it can be tempting to bring all your family and friends, large groups often lead to confusion and frustration. Too many guests lead to too many opinions! We recommend bringing one to two guests to the appointment. Choose a friend or family member who knows you well and will support your decision rather than interject their own vision.

richmond weddings gown shopping tips


It’s rare that a bride can shop without concern for cost. Knowing what you are comfortable spending is key to a successful shopping experience. It’s important to know what your budget is before coming into a shop. A little wiggle room is one thing, but if your budget is $1,000, it would not be wise to put on a $5,000 gown just for fun – you don’t want to find out that the $5,000 gown is the one you can’t live without!


While it is good to know your style and even more important to be comfortable in your dress, sometimes branching out a little bit is beneficial. Come in with an idea of the styles you like, but realize that style may not be it for you. If you think you love a sweetheart neckline, make sure to see yourself in other necklines, such as v-neck, just to be sure. The results may surprise you!

Caryn Kayton is the owner of Caryn’s Bridals, Formals, and Tuxedos, a wedding salon in Farmville, VA for over 30 years. To learn more, please visit or call (434) 392-5111 for an appointment.