By Sharon Townsend, Tiffanys Bridal
When one encounters a numbered list like this, the expectation is a shopping or packing one. Throw any expectations aside now because this isn’t a basic list. Don’t look for what kind of bra to wear or shoes to bring. For the record, go with the strapless and, yes, you can bring shoes, but it’s unlikely the gowns will be hemmed to your height (phew, glad that’s out of the way). The list below might be considered more of a mindfulness exercise in preparation for wedding gown shopping. Here’s what you really need to bring:
1. An open mind – You may think you know exactly what you want, but don’t be closed off to new ideas. Try on that heavily beaded ballgown you’ve been coveting, of course, but allow the stylist to pull a few wild cards. Try them even if you think she’s lost her mind when seeing it on the hanger. Bridal stylists do this every day and know the boutique’s gowns, so they know what suits certain body types and can unearth hidden gems. Trading in that blinged out ballgown for clean lines and a slim silhouette might mean leaving with your open mind…blown.
2. An open book – The book here, metaphorically, is you. Ad photos and Pinterest pics might provide the stylist with a wish list, but explaining the way a gown makes you feel once wearing it will help tremendously. Let the stylist get to know you beforehand, and then give feedback about the details you do and do not like when trying on gowns. A little conversation goes a long way – helping find the perfect gown by chatting her up.
3. A minimalist approach – When it comes to guests, less is more. Bring no more than 2 – 3 people, as too many opinions can make gown selection confusing and often, unfortunately, unpleasant. Just like any good minimalist, choose quality over quantity; intentionally invite supportive and trusted friends and family to keep the focus on what you like and how you feel. You want the gown to reflect your style and taste, not that of the masses.
4. A realistic budget – Expectations need to align with what’s in your wallet. Think about overall priorities and factor in alterations as well as accessories like shoes, jewelry, veils and headpieces. If looking for beadwork and premium fabrics such as silk lace, you’ll need to have a budget that matches. Prices also vary widely by designer, so be sure the boutique carries gowns by designers that are in your price range. If budget and taste don’t match up, look for sales. A $2,000 gown may become $1,000 if you are willing to buy a sample off the rack. The stylist will steer you in the right direction if you are up front – the last thing she wants is for you to fall in love with a gown that’s far outside of the budget.
5. A calming mantra – Brides are more stressed than ever due to the pressures of social media and the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Something as simple as repeating “I am grateful for and loving this moment” or “I am here, I am enough” can reduce stress, clear your thoughts, and help you focus on this unique experience. Enjoy the moment, keep it light and fun with the stylist and guests, and put the phone down. Stay present.
Sharon Townsend is the Owner/Manager of Tiffanys Bridal & The Groom’s Corner, a Richmond tradition since 1969. To learn more, go to www.tiffanysbridal.com.