Some Tips Before Trying on Wedding Dresses

There's a lot to keep in mind even before you start looking at dresses

Article by Eileen M. McNamara

Photography by Carrie Draghi, The Wedding Dress

Originally published in Glastonbury Lifestyle

When you get engaged, the ring is important, the venue is as well. But let’s face it, the biggest and most exciting challenge for every bride-to-be is The Dress. 

So what are the challenges when picking out the most important piece of wardrobe in your life? To find out, we spoke with Abbie Paklos, owner of The Wedding Dress on Main Street in Portland and a wedding dress expert who’s worked in the bridal fashion industry for nearly 10 years. 

“When new brides-to-be call me, the first question I always ask is ‘When are you getting married?’ Because some people don’t realize how long it takes to get a dress. Once you pick one out and it’s ordered, it can take 6 to 7 months just to come in and if you start looking for a dress two months before your wedding, you’ll be buying a gown off the rack.” 

Factor into your wedding dress selection process about two months’ worth of time for alterations as well, Abbie adds. 

“So picking out a wedding dress is really a nine-month time frame.” 

Here are eight things to keep in before trying on wedding gowns and what to do before you get there, Abbie says.  

  1. Set a realistic budget. There’s nothing more frustrating or disappointing than trying on and falling in love with a $5,000 dress if you can only afford to spend $2,000 on a gown. 

  2. Keep an open mind. You may have your heart set on an all-satin gown, but try on that frothy lace concoction anyway just in case. Because sometimes brides-to-be find the perfect gown when they least expect it. 

  3. Have an idea of what your style is. Abbie says it’s a good idea to peruse wedding-style magazines before you go shopping. Clip some images of gowns you like and even start a Pinterest board of your favorite styles. “Just so we have something to go off of, I need a starting point when you come in.” 

  4. Eat something before you try on gowns. Many women don’t want to feel full or bloated before trying on a wedding dress, but Abbie says you should eat at least a small snack because being hungry when you dress shop can throw off your focus. “I’m not saying you have to have a full seven-course meal but have a granola bar or a piece of fruit first.”

  5. Where proper undergarments, such as a slip, strapless bra and a full coverage spank. You’ll be moving around the store sometimes without the dress on and you’ll want to feel comfortable, Abbie adds. 

  6. Don’t wear a lot of makeup or a complicated hairstyle. The makeup can rub off on the gowns, which usually go on and off over your head. And that pretty hair up-do will quickly come undone after just a few changes. 

  7. Bring shoes if you already know what heels you’ll be wearing. There’s a pedestal in the shop so you don’t have to bring shoes, but some brides-to-be like to walk around in the size heel they know they want to wear. 

  8. Don’t rule out a particular dress style. Most of the designers The Wedding Dress carries can customize their creations. So if you find a strapless gown you fall in love with but wanted a gown with straps, don’t despair.  “The designer can easily add straps to a gown or remove them,” Abbie says. 


The Wedding Dress

162 Main St., Portland 



On Facebook: @theweddingdressllc

“When new brides-to-be call me, the first question I always ask is ‘When are you getting married?’ Because some people don’t realize how long it takes to get a dress. - Abbie Paklos

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