Dress Shopping on a Short Timeline With Blogger Bride Ashley
February 16, 2018
The big day is almost here and I have to say the best part of planning so far has definitely been dress shopping! There are a few challenges that come with a 4. 5-month engagement and the dress timeline (most places want 8 months prep time), so I thought I’d share some pointers if you’re on a time crunch or just want to be efficient with your shopping time! I ended up finding something perfect at Lovely Bride in Los Angeles and it arrives in two week—eek, can’t wait!
THE PREP

1. Do your research: like most brides you probably already have a Pinterest board of styles you like. This is the perfect place to start!

2. Know your budget: you can save a lot of time and hassle by limiting your dress shopping experience to places that work with your budget. I had a few friends that wanted me to go try on some incredible designer dresses in Beverly Hills but I knew they weren’t in my budget, so really why would I go get my hopes up?

3. Pick your boutiques and make sure they are very aware of your timeline before your first experience. If you are on a tight timeline I would suggest picking at least two spots that are somewhat different to really get a feel for everything that’s out there. I went with a very boho boutique with Lovely Bride then cast a wide net with a more “say yes to the dress” type place in Orange County. After visiting the two I realized that I loved the more boutique, intimate experience that had a curated selection of dresses vs. a place that had every dress under the sun. I also think limiting yourself to 2 -3 boutiques is very helpful or else you could find yourself with too many options.
THE DAY OF

1. Don’t discriminate! I walked into Lovely Bride and the first thing I said to my girl was “I definitely don’t want strapless.” Surprise surprise, the dress I almost said yes to was strapless - see it over on Everyday Pursuits. This is your moment and you can try on as many dresses as you want, so why not try them all? After a few dresses it was very apparent to me and my gals where we were headed with finding the one.

2. Take pictures - ALL the pictures. And don’t have just one person be the picture taker because you need options. A dress may look one way in person and entirely different on camera. True story: the dress I ended up picking was not even in my top 3 when I left Lovely Bride. It wasn’t until I came home and looked at all the photos that I realized it was me! We also took a lot of walking videos to see how the dress moved.

3. Ask questions, especially as it’s related to alterations. It’s important to understand how things can and cannot be altered. Many things can be done but there’s specific parts of a design that can’t be changed. There was one dress I loved so much but it became very clear we couldn’t alter the bodice without disrupting the lace design that ran through the whole dress Such a bummer, but good to know before getting too excited.
POST DRESS SHOPPING

1. Review photos + videos. Take time to review all the different photos and videos to get a feel for what you liked and don’t like. It’s okay if you review them 100s of times; it’s a big decision.

2. If you’re in a time crunch, unfortunately, you can’t marinate for too long. I scheduled my two shopping experiences on back to back weekends and gave myself about two days after that last appointment to decide. To be honest, I don’t know how people do multiple dress shops in one day - it’s a little overwhelming.

3. Ask for opinions (if you want!) I found it super helpful to get opinions of girlfriends that weren’t going to be at my wedding. Many of whom said, “Yes, this is exactly what I pictured you in.” It helps to have a little affirmation from someone a bit removed before making such an expensive decision. I felt such a huge relief once I decided and made that initial deposit! It’s similar to the feeling you have once you decide on your venue and wedding date… all the things start falling into place.
It’s almost game time and today I’m feeling REALLY good about everything although that changes on a daily basis. Make sure to head over to my blog to see more shots from our Lovely Bride experience as well as what bridesmaid dresses we decided to go with! Stay tuned, I’ll be back with tips for planning a themed Bachelorette Party for 15+ people. Get a sneak peak on IG: #bdaybASHlorette.