Choosing your wedding dress can be one of the most exciting and overwhelming parts of the wedding planning process.  There are several factors that can influence your choice of a wedding dress.  Being prepared is the best idea.

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For this portion of the article, I conducted a brief interview with Kristen Vocelle Barstow, the owner of Tallahassee’s premier bridal shoppe, Vocelles.  The following two questions were posed to Kristen and she graciously responded to them thoroughly.

When is the best time to start shopping for a wedding dress?

Brides should shop for their wedding gown about nine months before the wedding date. Dresses take five to seven months to arrive (although we can always order on a rush if you need your gown more quickly), and then you want to allow a couple of months for alterations. Nine months out is really the perfect time frame!

What questions do brides often forget to ask their bridal stylists?

Our team of expert bridal stylists is trained to ask all the questions that brides might not think to ask! The most important thing for a bride to do is be totally honest with her stylist throughout the appointment. We’ll ask lots of questions, because your answers are what will help us find the perfect dress for YOU. If there is something about a dress that you love or hate, we want to know! You can’t hurt our feelings, so by being completely open and honest about what you like or dislike about certain styles, you’re helping us help you find THE dress!

Wedding Dress

The following are suggestions that I’ve found that will enhance your wedding dress selection experience.

1.  Have a small bite to eat before you arrive

You don’t want to have a large meal that may cause you to feel too full and, thus, skewing the measurements and the way that the wedding dresses fits. It wouldn’t hurt to have a small bite to eat to keep you from feeling famished and to keep your energy levels up for wedding dress shopping.

2.  Only bring a few people

Too many opinions will make your decision all the more difficult.  Bring only 4 to 5 friends and family members and make sure that you trust their opinions.

3.  Arrive at your appointment feeling beautiful

When you look your best, you’ll feel your best.  That means that you’ll be even more excited to try on wedding dresses! Look like you’re going out by doing your makeup and hair.  Get a manicure and pedicure. It’ll also help you to envision yourself looking beautiful on your wedding day.

4.  Bring inspiration

Arrive at your appointment with wedding dress images that inspire you.  Think about necklines, bodices, and the gown itself and how you imagine your dream dress to look like.  Think Pinterest, Instagram, and magazine clippings to give your bridal stylist an idea of what styles interest you.

5.  Set a realistic budget

While you might have an overall number you’d like to spend on a dress, don’t forget added extra costs for alterations, shoes, jewelry, headpieces, shipping, and, of course, tax.

6.  Limit the number of dresses you try on

Of course you’ll want to try on different silhouettes and fabrics to see what you do and don’t like, but don’t go overboard and try on too many wedding dresses, as this will only confuse you more and make it harder to make a decision.