Wedding Gown Shopping: 17 Tips to Quickly Find and Choose the Right Dress Before You Buy

5. Gather Visuals to Shop With: In advance, gather ideas of what to try on at the shops.  Before going to the shops, check wedding magazines and internet (Instagram, Pinterest Boards) to find ideas of wedding gown style pictures that appeal to you, and at the same time have cuts similar with your best-flattering long dress (or long skirt and blouse) outfits (I’m talking of those ones that you get the most compliments on, even from strangers).

Cut out pictures from magazines, save website pictures to your phone.  Bring along pictures of wedding gowns you like, to give the bridal shop attendants an idea of styles to show you for try-on.  Remember to find pictures of wedding dress styles you like by and also tell the shop attendants the styles you like for each of the wedding gown part (silhouette, neckline, bodice, sleeve style, train style, skirt style).

Seeing so many styles and designs of wedding gowns at the shops can be overwhelming.  Having ideas in advance, of what to try on, will help you reduce overwhelm and ultimately find the right dress for your body shape faster, without engaging in several try-ons. That’s because you will know what you want (styles and shapes to ask for) and  the shop reps will also know what styles to recommend to you, based on what they know you like.

Try-ons are an essential part of the process for finding that dream wedding gown, but here in Nigeria, that can be very frustrating because most bridal stores will only allow you to try on a few dresses, for fear of having sweat stains on the white gowns that could make them difficult to sell (if you do not buy).  Not really their fault, as they usually do not have sample dresses, unlike bridal shops abroad (USA, UK, Canada and many other countries).  With the above tips, you will be able to find “the right one” with not too many try-ons.

6. Keep An Open Mind:  The purpose of trying-before-you-buy a wedding gown is to ensure you find the perfect fit.  So, ensure to try on plenty different styles and shapes of wedding dress in order to find the best shape for your body.  While I advice that you have something in mind before going for wedding gown fitting/ try-ons, also allow the shop assistants to bring you different gowns to try, including styles and shapes you wouldn’t imagine wearing – you never know.  Just try them and see – only you should make the final decision (it’s your money, so don’t let anyone push you to buy what you’re not comfortable with).

Sometimes, the wedding gown you have in mind may not look that good on you, and maybe, the shops in your part of town may not have them in stock.  So, don’t say no to trying-on wedding gowns suggested by the shop reps.

FUN FACT: Many brides said they found their dream wedding gown by trying-on what’s suggested by the bridal shop person – even when they didn’t think it would look good on them.  The above video illustrates the point I’m making about keeping an open mind – the perfect wedding dress for that bride was not the style she had in mind, but an entirely different silhouette.  

7. Know Your Dress Size: While this may sound like common-sense, not every woman knows their dress sizes. Before you leave to the shops, ensure to know what size of dress you wear – because the shop assistants would ask you.  Besides, you don’t expect to try on 5 different sizes of the same dress, just to know which is yours.  Read the labels on your old outfits to find your dress size in UK, USA, at least.

HINT #1: When shopping, only try on wedding dresses whose sizes are your size or close to your size, as it’s easier to have a tailor take in the dress sides to make it fit better. However, by all means, do not touch any gown that is a lot bigger than your size, because amending it would involve some serious re-cutting that could go wrong on such an expensive outfit.

HINT#1: If you have the upper and bottom part of your body as different sizes (for example: size 14 up/ tops/ blouses AND size 16 bottom / trousers or skirts), a good idea is to purchase a bridal gown in the size of the bigger part, and have a tailor adjust it the necessary part.

8. Online Wedding Dress Shopping Tip:  Ensure to know the country of the website you’re shopping at, and specify your dress size to that country’s.  You’ll need to do a conversion for that – but not to worry, Google is your best friend. All you need is to type something like this into Google: dress size 12 UK to China OR dress size 12 UK to USA or dress size 12 UK to Italy. Hope you get the gist.

HINT: To score a significant bargain when buying wedding your dress online, many shops offer big discounts during American Thanksgiving day/ Black Friday / Cyber Monday holidays and Christmas.

HINT (again): Oh, what if the dress arrives but looks totally different or doesn’t fit you?  So, before you pay, call and speak to someone and ask if there’s a money-back return policy.  Be sure that the duration of the return policy is long enough for the shipped item to reach them early.


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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. U guys gat me imagining maself in dos SWIT n LUVLY dresses, dey’r sooooooo biuti4ul

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