I'm now almost one year out from my wedding and have started the planning process! Before I jumped into trying on wedding dresses last month, I knew I wanted to share this experience with some of the most special people in my circle. I proposed to my bridal party back in May with some of my favourite items I use regularly, and was over the moon when they all said yes with no hesitation.

They all joined me at my initial appointments, where my intention was to try on different styles. Deep down, I already had a hunch on what dress I envisioned myself in, but wanted to scope out all my options. I tried on different types of sleeves, necklines, silhouettes, lace, slits, trains, veils and fabrics at Loversland and Avenue 22 Bridal. My bridal party was so patient and supportive as I tried on over 20 dresses that day!

Three weeks later, I was so excited to visit the third store, Ines Di Santo, to try on "the dress" I had unknowingly saved on my Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok for over three years now. I found out it was double my budget and knew I had to be realistic. I decided to make a checklist of all the elements I liked about this dress after my appointment.

I visited two more stores afterwards, Superior Bridal and Bridal Fashion Fraire, which were recommended by friends who had found their wedding dresses there. I found myself referring back to the checklist and was able to articulate exactly what I was looking for and save everyone's time. Both sales associates reminded me it was possible to make alterations to try to match my vision, but there was one more store I wanted to check out first.

This past weekend, I managed to squeeze in an appointment at Pearl Bridal House before my summer vacation, and was feeling very hopeful! I noticed they carried this one particular dress on their website that checked off all my boxes. 

As soon as I tried it on in-stores, I knew it was the one* and didn't need anyone to convince me. I immediately lost interest in trying on the other five dresses I pulled aside. I still tried them on for fun to make the most out of my appointment, and they really did confirm that I made the right choice!

After trying on nearly 60 dresses and visiting six bridal stores, here are the tips I'd share with brides searching for their dresses.

  1. Set an intention for every visit (e.g., to explore different styles, to try on A-line dresses) and let your bridal party know prior to your appointment.
  2. Create a checklist of all the elements you would want your dress to have.
  3. Check the store's website and Instagram prior to your appointment and make a list of all the dresses you would like to try on to save time. 
  4. Check the store's Instagram and tagged photos to see what the dress looks like on different body types. 
  5. Try attending an appointment by yourself if you find that you are easily influenced or feel overwhelmed by others' opinions.
  6. If you find a dress that's out of your budget, use reverse image search and Pinterest to see if you can find other alternatives—this was how I found my dress!
  7. Time your appointments with your menstrual cycle. 
  8. Wear a sticky or strapless bra to your appointment.
  9. Share your inspiration board and checklist with everyone at your appointment to make sure they understand your vision.
  10. Take a photo of every dress you try on—the more angles, the better—to review them after your appointment. 
  11. Do not be afraid to ask the sales associate to adjust the clips on your dress.
  12. If the dress is a top contender, try it on with a veil and heels for the full effect.
  13. You'll know it's the dress for you when you don't need any convincing.
  14. Lastly, remind yourself that this part of the planning process should be the most fun!

*The chosen dress isn't pictured in this blog post.