Wedding Dress Shopping: What To Expect & Tips To Ensure A Great Experience During The Pandemic

In case you missed on my Stories, one week ago today, I said YES to the Dress! And literally at Kleinfeld’s, too – what are the odds!?

I honestly had no expectations other than to get a better idea of what kind of dress silhouette I liked. This was only our second bridal boutique we’ve visited too. So the last thing I was thinking about was finding THE DRESS here. I anticipated we’d have at least another 2-3 more places in mind to check out after this one. Plus, my mom suggested we check out Kleinfeld not only because of its legendary status for brides everywhere thanks to TLC, but because it was also the place where my mom got her dress with my grandma back when Kleinfeld was based in Brooklyn.

So considering how full-circle this all came to be (saying yes to my dress here as well) feels weirdly magical & meant to happen. I guess you could say the stars aligned in some sort of way. Not only am I absolutely in LOVE with the dress I chose, but I’m just as relieved to be already done shopping for it lol. I’ve never been one to enjoy dedicating an entire day to shopping (crazy, but true – I’m much more prone to shop online.) Throw the Pandemic into the mix and it can easily become overwhelming & exhausting. At least those were my personal concerns going into this wedding dress shopping experience.

I’m very happy to report I had an incredible, stress-free experience the two times I went to try on dress options. For those of you recently engaged or planning future wedding dress shopping during this crazy time, I hope my personal experience helps to share some insight on how to go about the process, so you can feel relaxed and excited over anxious and overwhelmed.

Pretty sure this goes without saying but just in case – none of these dresses in this post are THE DRESS; just some of the styles I tried on for fun because, why not!?

DETERMINE YOUR DESIRED SILHOUETTE

Some girls know exactly what they want when it comes to their wedding dress – from the designer, dress style, even all the terminology that describes all the details. All of which remains to be entirely over my head. I had ZERO idea about what kind of dress I envisioned myself in; in all seriousness, I never ever thought about it until my mom made my first Bridal Boutique appointment for the first week of Feb…

The reason I mention this fact is because you don’t need to know every designer, dress style, nor the terminology in order to properly go about trying on your dream gown. But it’s definitely helpful to try on a bunch of different styles all at once to help guide your decision making when determining what you like vs what you strongly dislike. The best way to go about that is to book an appointment at a Bridal ‘Warehouse’ where there’s tons upon tons of dress styles to try on back-to-back.

Our first appointment was at RK Bridal – a large bridal shop in NYC with an enormous wedding dress inventory. I kid you not, I tried on close to 16 dresses during our 90 minute appointment window *Most bridal appointments are maxed to 1.5 hours in NYC, similar to the indoor dining time limit. My bridal consultant Lauren was beyond amazing! She made me feel so comfortable and so excited by the time I had my 3rd dress on – as I mentioned before, I’m not a “shopper” and was feeling a bit nervous going into this appointment. My concerns were over the thought of still not having any clue what I wanted in a dress for myself by the end of the appointment – but thankfully, thanks to Lauren, those concerns disappeared by the time she zipped & clamped me up in dress #3.


Once you have a better idea of what silhouette you like most, you’re in the position to select specific dresses from smaller bridal boutiques that you’d like to try on; from what I’ve learned/researched, only a handful of dresses can be tried on during your 90 min appointment due to COVID/social distancing restrictions being inside a smaller bridal location.

BE OPEN MINDED

One of the many words of advice I got from my married friends over & over again was to be open minded when it came to trying on dresses. Even if you have your desired silhouette in mind, there’s no reason not to try on anything else that catches your eye – esp if it’s an entirely different shape all together. For instance, I tried on the above dress after seeing it on the post-sanitized rack outside my try-on room. I wasn’t anything I felt I’d like but it was super pretty and unique looking. So why not try it on? Although it wasn’t the dress for me, and waaaay too heavy of a skirt haha, I LOVED the lace details and how pretty it felt on my body. It ended up inspiring me to be on the lookout for a similar (much more affordable) dress option to wear for the Rehearsal Dinner.


When you go into dress shopping with an open mind, you’re once again positioning yourself to be safe from disappointment. Trust me, whenever I get set on something & it doesn’t work out the way I’d envisioned, I’m in an instant sour mood and feel discouraged/overwhelmed. So don’t do that to yourself when trying on wedding dresses, as there’s no place for such negative thoughts & feelings during such a precious time in your life.

TAKE PICTURES OF EVERY DRESS YOU LIKE

If there’s anything I feel most strongly about doing, it’s making sure you get a front/back/side photo of every dress you LIKE  (not necessarily love) while wearing. I was so surprised how many dresses I thought I liked ended up either not photographing well at all, or simply didn’t reflect what I envisioned for myself after a couple hours & looking at them again. In the moment, you can easily get lost in the excitement and lose focus on some of the details – and those details often make or break your decision later down the road. So best to capture every dress option that you simply like – whether it be for the skirt, the top, the straps, the color, the fabric, or how it looks when worn. You can use these photos for reference as you continue your bridal shopping experiences too.

A FEW MORE THINGS TO MENTION

Most places only allow for 2-3 people to accompany you to your appointments. I recommend choosing wisely – someone’s who’s opinion you trust, and someone who’ll buffer any sort of criticism from your strongly-opinionated guest haha. For my first appointment, I had my mom and one of my sisters come with me & for my second, I had my mom and my soon-to-be Mother-in-Law with me.

I suggest wearing a white mask to your appointment, as it’ll allow for less distraction while trying on dresses. I found some cute options on Etsy – like this lace one, this one for the bride, and these for the bridal party if you plan to have someone/members of your squad there with you too. Kind of wish I got these masks for my mom & MIL to wear haha.

However, when in your private room and safely away from others outside your bubble, ask your consultant if it would be ok to temporarily take off your mask and get a photograph in the dress without it. Because you truly want to love all of you in it, nose & mouth included. To be honest, I tried on a dress I thought I loved & photographed myself with/without my mask. The minute I took my mask off, I didn’t like it on me. Strange, but was an eye-opener for sure. Just please make sure it’s ok to do so before taking your mask off, ensure you’re alone and a safe distance from anyone you don’t know well, and promptly place your mask back on once the photo(s) are taken.

Wear skin tone, seamless undies & don’t worry about your bra – you’re most likely going without one anyway. I personally don’t mind being topless while changing into dresses; The way I see it – your bridal consultant has seen it all already, countless times from countless brides-to-be. But I know not everyone is as comfortable stripping down in front of a complete stranger. At Kleinfeld, my consultant Madeline would step out of the room and asked me to knock on the door each time I got into a new dress so she could zip/clamp me up in it. I didn’t ask her to do that, she just told me to do so once ready – seemed like a courtesy thing. So I’m sure you could ask your consultant to do the same if you’d prefer to strip down in private.

If shoes are important to you, pack a pair that represents your desired height. I ended up not wearing any shoes at all when trying on – knowing me, I’ll most likely be wearing my Keds under the dress 😀

If you’re interested in trying on dresses at either RK Bridal or Kleinfeld, please use my name as your reference when booking your appointment! I’m not sure if you can request specific consultants, but both of mine were simply WONDERFUL and made both experiences so great for me. I’ve included their full names/details below & don’t worry, I’m not making any sort of commission off of your referral haha I already bought my dress – but both ladies will remember me I hope!
I’ll also mention you’re best off booking during the weekday morning hours if you can swing it, as they’re less likely to be crowded (according to both locations when I asked.)

Book Appointment at RK Bridal | Bridal Consultant: Lauren Allen
Book Appointment at Kleinfeld | Bridal Consultant: Madeline “Maddy”

 

4 Comments

  • Reply mary February 19, 2021 at 10:52 am

    Pockets! First instincts! haha.
    Congrats on your marriage. You 2 look like a great couple I must say.
    Spaghetti straps – you rock them girl!

    Have a great weekend.

  • Reply Grace February 19, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    So many pretty dresses and great tips!! Congrats on saying yes to yours, that’s so exciting and picturesque that it was at Kleinfeld’s. My brother is getting married next year so my future sister-in-law has been keeping me in the loop with her dress shopping! I can imagine it’s a lot less fun during the pandemic though. You look so pretty in all of these!

    Miles of smiles,
    Grace

    gracefulrags.com

  • Reply Lee February 19, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    Beautiful dresses! Just found your blog via a linkup and I;m excited to have found another blogger bride-to-be!! Hope your planning is going well!
    Lee | LegalLee Blonde

  • Reply Heather February 19, 2021 at 5:26 pm

    Oh my goodness, you look absolutely gorgeous in every single dress! You’re going to be such a beautiful bride!

  • Leave a Reply

    2 × 5 =