Lessons learned from bridal studio appointments | Bone and Grey Bridal #BGBrides Blog

6 lessons learned from bridal studio appointments

As a bride-to-be, the idea of trying on wedding gowns is of course synonymous with excitement, joy, and the anticipation of finding the perfect dress for the big day. Little did I know that my journey (and a whole lot of other brides) through various bridal studios would turn out to be a rollercoaster of emotions - filled with frustration, disappointment, and a few unexpected twists. I also interviewed past brides on what you can expect from trying on gowns in bridal studios to lessons we have learned from our appointments - so you're more prepared going in.

Disclaimer: experiences below are what some past brides and I have run into in our wedding gown-search journey and may not be representative of the whole industry or your personal experience.

⚠️ What you may run into ⚠️

The Dream:

Like any bride, I had envisioned a magical experience in bridal studios, surrounded by elegant dresses and helpful consultants eager to make my dreams come true. I eagerly stepped into my first few bridal boutiques in Vancouver, Canada, ready to say 'yes' to the dress.

Lessons learned from bridal studio appointments | Bone and Grey Bridal #BGBrides Blog

The Reality:

As only a select few bridal studios actually showcase their selection online, you're likely stepping into a studio blindly without knowing their full selection and prices - hoping that something will not only stand out from the crowd but also fit you in the way that you want. From the very beginning, my experience was marred by inattentive staff, rushed fittings that only allowed me to select a few gowns to try out of the hundreds they offer, and an overwhelming feeling that I was just another customer in line. The icing on the cake, sometimes paying an entrance fee to try on gowns you may not even purchase. 

Lessons learned from bridal studio appointments | Bone and Grey Bridal #BGBrides Blog

The illusion of perfection:

One of the most frustrating aspects was the illusion of perfection created by glossy photos and Instagram posts. The beautiful gowns showcased online seemed to transform into lackluster versions once on my body. Sizing issues, unflattering silhouettes, and fabrics that felt less quality than expected left me questioning whether I would ever find "the one." There were definitely a select few that I loved, but there was always something that was amiss.

Lessons learned from bridal studio appointments | Bone and Grey Bridal #BGBrides Blog

Pressure and no photos allowed:

As I tried on gown after gown, the pressure to find the perfect dress mounted. Bridal consultants sometimes added to the stress by pushing for a decision at a small discount (same-day decision pricing) or suggesting dresses that were nowhere near my preferred style or budget. One thing I didn't know before trying on gowns was that a lot of the studios I went to didn't allow me to take photos to share with my family overseas or send to friends to get an opinion, this was extremely frustrating! This especially happened in studios in Singapore, and instead they would take your photos on an iPad to show it to you.

Lessons learned from bridal studio appointments | Bone and Grey Bridal #BGBrides Blog

Differences in communication and expectation:

Effective communication with bridal consultants became another hurdle. Some seemed more interested in making a sale than understanding my vision. Requests for specific alterations or details were met with blank stares, and those that rented out their gowns wouldn't allow me to purchase, leaving me wondering if my input was truly valued.

I can't say the above happened for all studios I visited but this especially happened to me in one studio in downtown Vancouver, Canada and another one in Singapore. On the contrast, shoutout to Union Bridal and Everly Bridal in Vancouver for making me feel comfortable and providing great service during my appointments, too bad I couldn't really find a gown I wanted!

Lessons learned from bridal studio appointments | Bone and Grey Bridal #BGBrides Blog

💡 6 Lessons Learned (from myself and other brides I interviewed) 💡

  1. Bring photos of designs you like but keep an open mind
Lessons learned from bridal studio appointments | Bone and Grey Bridal #BGBrides Blog

The wedding gown I initially envisioned may not have been the one that stole my heart in the end. By keeping an open mind and trying on a variety of styles, I allowed myself the freedom to explore unexpected options that ultimately led me to the elements of my dream dress. However, because you only get a limited amount of gowns to try on, go in with designs you already have in mind/ think you will look good in, and save room for experimental styles.

I knew I loved mermaid, fit n' flare, and column gowns as I'm quite petite and those would accentuate my silhouette better, but I also tried on A-line and ballgowns for fun, which of course ate me up! You may also find yourself going back to the designs you have always loved, instead of what's currently trendy. 

  1. Don't be afraid to communicate your needs and budget
Lessons learned from bridal studio appointments | Bone and Grey Bridal #BGBrides Blog

Clear and open communication with bridal consultants is essential. It's crucial to express your vision, preferences, concerns, and BUDGET. If a dress isn't quite right or needs alterations, don't hesitate to speak up or ask. A good bridal consultant will listen attentively and work with you to make your dream dress a reality. If you don't feel like your bridal consultant is paying attention, you may have trouble in future fittings as well - listen to your gut!

From a past bride (Jodie): If your dress rides up or is bunching in certain areas during try-ons, then it’s going to do the same on your wedding day. Let the studio know if there’s anything that’s bothering you, even if it’s the tiniest detail! (Photo by @ppairscollective)

  1. Trust your own instincts
Lessons learned from bridal studio appointments | Bone and Grey Bridal #BGBrides Blog

Amidst the sea of opinions, trends, and advice, trust your own instincts. Your wedding gown is a deeply personal choice, and what matters most is how you feel in it. If a dress resonates with you, it's likely the right choice. It's easy to get overwhelmed by external opinions, but ultimately, your happiness should be the guiding force. Keep in mind what's trendy and what feels the most you, as those are what the photos/ videos will capture for you to remember years down the road!

From a past bride (Kim): Internalise your Pinterest board and don’t get swayed by other opinions. You know yourself best and know what you want in a dress! I experienced dress regret but luckily was able to exchange it with something that made me happy and was more of my vibe. (Photo by @danbrannanphoto)

  1. Embrace the whole journey
Lessons learned from bridal studio appointments | Bone and Grey Bridal #BGBrides Blog

Finding the perfect wedding gown is not just about the destination, it's also about the journey. Embrace the process, savor the moments, and enjoy the experience of trying on different dresses. Each fitting is supposed to be a step closer to discovering the one that will make you feel like the most radiant version of yourself on your special day.

From a past bride (Jodie): Don’t feel bad trying on as many gowns as you’d like (or the studio allows) and the same dress just to be sure! It’s your dream day, so be as much of a perfectionist as you want! (Photo by @ppairscollective)

  1. Have a budget and stick to it
Lessons learned from bridal studio appointments | Bone and Grey Bridal #BGBrides Blog

Wedding gowns come in a wide range of price points, and it's crucial to be mindful of your budget. Falling in love with a dress outside your price range can lead to unnecessary stress. (Pictured here is me falling in love with this gorgeous Galia Lahav dress that also looked amazing, but was way out of budget at $12K.) It's good to establish a budget before you start your dress hunt, and focus on finding a gown that not only fits your style but also aligns with your financial plan.

I recommend having a realistic range so it's easier for you to work with (eg. $1000-2000), the lower end is what would help with your overall budget and the higher end is so that you don't feel like you're missing out on any gowns. The higher end of the range needs to be realistic though!

  1. Start early, but don't rush it
Lessons learned from bridal studio appointments | Bone and Grey Bridal #BGBrides Blog

While starting the search for your wedding gown early is great, don't rush the decision-making process. If your wedding is still a year or more away, give yourself ample time to explore different options, sleep on decisions, and revisit your top choices. You're not the same person at the beginning of the year as you are at the end, which means that sometimes your taste may change and your body may fluctuate as well. However, once you've made a decision, get started on your alterations and adjustments early so you won't be left with unnecessary stress as the wedding day approaches!

I started trying on gowns 2 years before the wedding, for fun. That's also because I had a long engagement of 1.5 years which I think worked out really well for us. By the year of the wedding, I sort of already knew what I wanted and just had to piece things together. I didn't feel rushed in the whole gown-search journey and actually felt like I was in control (unlike the rest HA)!

✨ In conclusion ✨

My journey through bridal studios was not just about finding a dress, it was a transformative experience that taught me valuable lessons which I hope will help all future brides! 

While I did not end up finding my dream gown in a studio but decided to create it myself, the process itself was a stark reminder that the wedding industry doesn't always live up to the dreams it sells. I'm glad it happened this way though as I was able to discover a space where Bone and Grey can fit. We believe in transparency, quality and affordability, and top-notch service for all of our brides because we care deeply and have been through it ourselves.

Lessons learned from bridal studio appointments | Bone and Grey Bridal #BGBrides Blog
(Photo by @jiwaphotography)

To future brides, I recommend to manage expectations, communicate openly with others and yourself, and remembering that the perfect dress is worth the wait, even if the journey is not as seamless as we'd hope. May every bride embarking on this adventure find not only the dress of her dreams but also joy and gratitude in the wedding planning journey! 🤍


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