5 Things to Know Before Buying a Wedding Gown: Top Tips

Wedding gown shopping can often go wrong, if you do not know a few things that led some brides to later hate the dream dress they loved (and bought) from the bridal shop.  That always happens.  One of the biggest pre-wedding mistakes newlywed brides confessed to making was either over-spending on their bridal gowns or buying a dress that later turned out not-okay (waste of money!).  In this post, you will discover the 5 important things to know in advance, and look out for – before and when buying for your wedding gown.  Read on.

bride in nigerian wedding dress
Photo Credit: Obi Somto (Wedding Photographer)

Here are our 5 tips for buying the right wedding-gown without overspending, whether you’re buying from Nigeria or abroad:

1. Set Aside a Budget for Your Bridal Gown and Lingerie

First, set a spending limit (aka budget) for the entire wedding. Breakdown your entire wedding budget to set a limit for the wedding fashion, by setting aside some money for your white and trad wedding attire.  Don’t forget to budget for your bridal lingerie and also remember your bridal beauty needs (your wedding day updo).  Budget also for your groom’s fashion (that includes his suit and entire wedding outfit – trad and white).  It’s easy to think of only the wedding gown, and later run out of cash when you remember the other wedding day fashion things.

Although there’s a guide for suggestions on the percentage of your wedding budget that should be spent on the bridal fashion, there’s no hard and fast rules about how much to spend on your wedding outfits – wedding planners always advice that brides spend the most money on the things they personally consider as their top priority – as long as you know to spend less on your low priority wedding items and also remember to take good care of your guests.

So, if having a couture designer wedding gown is really a non-negotiable for you – by all means, go for it – it’s going to be one of the most important days of your life. After all, you’ll be looking at your wedding day pictures long after your big day – and you definitely want to look gorgeous.

However, know that your entire wedding budget is fixed, and so if you spend big in one area such as wedding fashion, you’ll want and reduce expenses elsewhere.

2. Budget for Wedding Gown Amendment

Remember to budget for wedding gown amendment. Wedding dress designers have always said it that every gown is designed (made) to be altered to the bride’s body in order to make it hug her perfectly. What you see on the model’s body in the catalogue was amended to hug/ shape her body as if she was born with the dress.

Like you, most brides, you want to look almost or like one of the girls they saw in the wedding dress catalog, wearing the gown you chose. The truth is that in 90% of the time, the only way to achieve that is to hem and tuck the dress here and there, to fit perfectly. Guess what? World-class, couture bridal gown designers do it – that’s why a couture design wedding gown takes several months (and so many fitting and alterations) to be aisle-ready.

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If you’re buying a haute couture designer wedding dress (very expensive), the designers always make the alterations before shipping the wedding dress to the bride – that’s why such wedding gowns take as long as six (6) months to get finished and delivered to the bride, from the order date.

3. Picture Your “It” Dress on You

Don’t just head into any wedding shop without an idea of the perfect wedding gown for you – and imagining you dressed inside it.  Now, dream about your wedding day. Imagine that you’re in the church/ mosque etc for the religious wedding ceremony. For a minute, forget about how much the gown will cost. Just picture yourself in your dream wedding dress. What would the perfect dress look like?

RELATEDLatest Wedding Gown Styles Seen on Real Brides (Pictures)

Would it be a long wedding gown or a short one?  What wedding gown style would it be? Do you like a simple design or an elaborate style?  Which part of the wedding gown do you like to have the most details and design? How do you want to look in your perfect wedding dress – like a princess? casual? (just name it!)

What are the best places to start getting ideas about the perfect wedding dress, before stepping into any bridal shop?

We recommend you start searching for wedding gown ideas by browsing websites that feature real Nigerian weddings (start from NaijaGlamWedding), browsing wedding gowns on Pinterest and also looking through paper-print magazines that feature Nigerian weddings which have already taken place.

Tear-off and clip pictures of the wedding gowns and styles you like. Later, compare to select the best 5 styles for you. You can then go to the shops to search for similar styles to try on. However, keep an open mind to also try other styles suggested by the bridal shop attendant – you never know.

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4. Picture the Wedding Venue

Do not buy your wedding gown until you have concluded on the wedding venue. Here’s why: when thinking of your wedding gown length, be guided by the nature of the venues – the church/ religious wedding ceremony and reception locations.

If you buy a designer wedding gown with a very long train and your wedding reception venue is an open field, you definitely are going to pick up lots of stains when dancing on the grassy floor.  So, look for a wedding gown design and style that will be appropriate for the location you’ve chosen for your wedding – think comfort before price when it comes to wedding dress shopping.

5. Do Your Homework

Knowing the names of different wedding dress silhouettes, types of necklines and other features and whether they look good on you will also save you time and money in the bridal stores. When you speak the same language as the bridal consultant you meet at the shops, both of you can work together to find what you want. You also will be less likely to get talked into something that isn’t you or that’s out of your price range. Read this post to get to know all the different wedding gown styles by name.

RELATED: Latest Bridesmaid Dress Styles (Pictures)

Conclusion: Tips for Buying Wedding Gown You Won’t Regret

The excitement and emotions of getting-married-soon and trying on different wedding gowns has a blinding effect on brides. Little wonder why wedding dress shopping is where most Nigerian brides start planning weddings from.  Hopefully, the above tips help you avoid the common mistakes women make when buying their bridal gowns.

By the way, this article is part of our ‘wedding gown shopping 101′ series, and was drawn from real life brides’ I-wish-I-knew-before-shopping-for-wedding-dress. Be sure to read the other helpful wedding shopping and planning articles.

Did I miss any other must-know-before-buying a wedding gown? Have you already started shopping for your dream dress? If so, which of the above things have you already put to use?

About Stella Anokam

Stella is the founder and Editor of this blog (NaijaGlamWedding). Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Submit your photos to be featured - it's FREE, because we love everything weddings, bridal showers, engagement shoots.


  1. Sania Jogarr says

    Great post. I totally agree with specifying your budget is very important when it comes to buying a bridal dress.

  2. House of Pinkola says


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