10 Little-Known Secrets From A Bridal Stylist

Sponsored by Brideside

On top of all the other f*cking things you’re supposed to remember to do for your wedding day (hire a non-sketchy photographer; book a decent DJ that isn’t going to tell you to “PUT YOUR MOTHERF*CKING HANDS UP” every three minutes; and select food that 85% of your guests will like), picking your dress SHOULD be on the easier side. But is it, like, ever? If I’ve learned anything from watching hours of Say Yes to the Dress of repeat, it’s that a) Randy and I should be besties and b) this is neither a fun nor stress-free experience. Even my own wedding dress shopping saga took place over three months and at least six boutiques; each one extremely different and more confusing than the next.

With Brideside, the entire experience can be much more chill, lead to less stress in your life, and help you rely on more personalized help that ISN’T your mom. Bonus points—they can help you find your bridesmaids dresses, too, which is f*cking stellar, considering you decided to marry someone with three sisters that you can add to the tally of Sorority sisters you’re required by law to put in your party. Seriously, until you try to pick out dresses for your nine incredibly different (and incredibly picky) best friends, you don’t realize just how major of a godsend this is.

Here are a few tips and tricks from the Brideside stylists on how to make the entire wedding + dress experience (for brides and their ladies) a bit smoother.

1. Know And Stay Within Your Budget

Just like when you’re looking at apartments, cars, or houses, don’t f*cking try on the dress that’s out of your price range. Like, would you go and walk an apartment with a realtor if it was three times what you could afford? I mean, like, maybe if Daddy was gonna pony up and buy it for you (love you, mean it), but chances are, if you’re a strong independent woman that don’t need no extra credit card, you’re going to stay realistic about that sh*t.

And don’t f*cking forget—the dress is just one part of the equation. You’re likely getting a veil and/or headpiece, shoes, jewelry, and alterations to said dress. So, yeah, the dress may be at the top end of your budget, but it’ll be far over it by the time everything is said and done. The good news is that if you choose a service like Brideside, the MAJORITY of the dresses are around $2000, which is pretty reasonable when compared to other bridal salons in the city.

2. Stop Looking At The Sizes

I know we’ve all been trained to immediately check the sizing on the tags when shopping for any clothes ever. According to Brideside, though, “your typical everyday size will NOT match the tag on your wedding dress.” I can personally attest to that, as the dress I ended up with was a 4 and I’m over here in a size 0 from JCrew, size 2 from Ann Taylor, and whatever the f*ck size H&M decides fits me on any given day. Will I be a 0? Will I be an 8? Stay tuned while I have a meltdown in an H&M dressing room.

Pro-tip: tell your stylist what size you are in a few different brands, and they can likely easily help you navigate where you should be.

3. Head To Imagination-Land

Obviously, wherever you choose to have your bridal fitting is not going to have your exact size perfectly altered to fit your body. “Bridal gowns have a different size scale than your everyday clothes, and a store sample isn’t going to fit everyone perfectly right off the rack. These dresses are meant to be altered to fit you perfectly. Don’t worry, your stylist will clip you in so you can get a feel of how the dress will look on the big day,” says Brideside.

So, yah, just like on our fav wedding dress shopping shows, your stylist is going to push, shove, and finagle you into whatever dress you’ve pulled so you can see what a truly perfect fit would look like. It’s like being Cinderella and having a perfect dress magically appear around your body, minus singing rats and fugly skanks trying to ruin your day.

4. Do Not Come In With Your Heart Set On One Dress (Or Even Style)

You’ve seen it a million times: A bride comes in with a Pinterest board dedicated to, like, three or four dresses she HAAAAAS to have; never having seen that particular style on her body, in real life, or exiting her bank account. Brideside says to “try on dresses that aren’t typically you.” That may sound horrifying, but trust me.  I pictured myself in a typical A-line dress pretty much, well, forever. Once I got to each salon, I had bride squad peeps putting me in ballgowns, mermaid style fluted dresses, long-sleeved dresses, tea-length dresses, and even fit and flare dresses. I had never thought of pulling ANYTHING other than an A-line dress off, and guess what? I ended up with a curve-showing fit-and-flare dress that I LOVED. So, yeah – trust your stylist. They’ve seen all the bodies and all the dresses. They know their sh*t better than you do, fam.

5. Look Beforehand, But Have An Open Mind

The pros at Brideside say to keep informed and “know some bridal buzz words like what silhouettes you might want to try on and what fabrics are out there.” The most important thing, though, is that “you don’t want to overstimulate yourself with Pinterest options and Instagram saved collections.” In other words, you need to keep an open mind since, chances are, you haven’t been bridal dress shopping many times before (I mean, I could be wrong).

There are a lot A LOT of wedding gowns out there, and it’s great that you’re really into the Elie Saab Spring Collection from three years ago. Like, use it as inspo, sure; but don’t get hung up on those being the ONLY dresses that’ll work for you. The same rules apply for material. You may think you need an organza dress to be happy and that your groom-to-be will insist on seeing you in something of the like, but, you could be f*cking wrong, k?

6. Tell Friends And Fam If There’s A Style You Love

This is kind of a huge one since more opinions are not exactly better when it comes to wedding dress shopping. If you bring mom, grandma, your future MIL, sister, bff, and future sisters-in-law, that’s a lot of different opinions that you may feel you have to navigate and please with whatever you choose for what is, essentially, your motherf*cking day.

Brideside’s advice? “Don’t overvalue other people’s opinions. Choose what you love and what makes you feel like you.” I feel this and this sh*t resonates with me on a NORMAL day. So, you should especially take that sh*t to heart if you’re looking for the dress that feels the most YOU on a day celebrating YOU and someone else sorta. If you want a pink dress with sparkles, get a f*cking pink dress with sparkles. If you wanna wear cowboy boots, know that I’ll judge you – but it also isn’t my wedding. So you do you, boo. *Forehead kisses*

7. Connect With Your Stylist Before The Appointment

This isn’t really an option at most bridal salons, but it f*cking is at Brideside. Why does it even matter whether or not you talk to the person that’ll see you in a bra and Spanx all day? “It’s a lot easier to chat up your stylist at an appointment when you feel like you already know her.” Oh, so, like, that makes sense. You may not feel as awkward saying, “Hey Stacy, I f*cking hate this dress” or “Omg Stacy, you’re a f*cking mind reader” if you’ve had even one convo beforehand. The more you know!

“Your Brideside stylist will set up a time to talk before hand, introduce herself and hear about what you’re looking for.” Praise be. So, if you know your Brideside stylist ahead of time, you’ll feel better about having a meltdown and talking about how your MIL is impossible to please and that you need a dress that conceals your cankles!

8. Come Prepared

Speaking of Spanx, wearing the right undergarments and looking as close as is possible to how you would on the big day is a GREAT bit of advice for heading into your bridal dress appointment. If you head in to try on the “most important dress” you’ll ever buy while sporting acne cream, a messy bun, and last night’s smoky eye, you’re notttt really going to come to appreciate the whole vision that your stylist is working for you to see. Plus, you’ll want to take pics to remember what each dress, or, dresses you’re torn between look like. If you look hot AF in said pics, it’s just one less thing distracting you from how you actually look in said dress.

9. Come To The Appointment Ready To Find The Dress

“If you’re always thinking ‘but maybe something somewhere might be better’ and book a million appointments, you’re going to stress yourself out. You don’t have to only try on one style, but when you feel like you’ve found the one, stop looking,” says Brideside.

There are A LOT of bridal salons, and a LOT of f*cking dresses, styles, and looks out there. Don’t get hung up on thinking you’re going to have an “ah-ha” moment.

You may, you may not, or you may fall in love with three different dresses and have to go through an 80s style montage to figure out which one is for you. The point is you need to be in the mental state to say YES to a dress (sorry, sorry). If you aren’t in a true “shopping” mood, you’re going to keep looking, and looking, and driving yourself and your posse insane. Chances are, you look amazing in everything you try on, so don’t keep looking for reasons to say no.

10. Have Fun

Remember, the most important piece of advice riiiight as you walk into the salon: HAVE FUN, KIDS. Seriously, you’re shopping for your WEDDING DRESS. That’s like, in and of itself, f*cking amazing. Start your day with a huge Pumpkin Spice whatever; chug the champagne (but not too much) offered to you at the salon; and plan a huge lunch of nachos or Taco Bell or margaritas or whatever for afterwards. Look at this day for what it is—a good f*cking time.

It seems like a lot to remember and keep track of, but, overall, shopping for your wedding dress should be a fun and fairly easy experience that fits into your whole wedding planning triathalon. Using a service like Brideside takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation and may give your brain more space to process sh*t like which hors d’oeuvres to serve during cocktail hour or which venue will be the most forgiving if someone voms on the floor. All v important stuff.

Click here to book an appointment at Brideside so you can have like, the best dress shopping experience ever.