From Bride to Bridal Consultant: What I’ve Learned

by Ashton Cude

We’re continuing our Wedding Wednesday series on all things wedding planning. Today I thought I’d share with you the biggest things I’ve learned from being a bride then becoming a bridal consultant in such a short span of time. Just one year ago, I myself was a bride. Less than one month after my wedding, I started my job at Meant to Be. I’ve been married for a year and can reflect on my wedding with some hindsight. I’ve also been a bridal consultant for almost a year and have gained so much knowledge through my experience. Keep reading to hear the things I wish every bride knew about shopping for her wedding gown.

Keep an open mind:

Photos by Leah Barry Photography

Photos by Leah Barry Photography

It happens every day at bridal shops the world over. A bride walks in and “knows exactly” what type of dress she wants. The consultant puts her in the gown she described…maybe even the exact dress she’s seen on Pinterest! She comes out to her group, looks in the mirror and…cue the drumroll…HATES it. Panic ensues. If I had a dollar for every time this happened in an appointment, I wouldn’t be writing this blog because I’d be a millionaire. It’s great (and fun!) to collect inspiration from Pinterest and magazines, but remember that you have never had a wedding gown on your body. You truly don’t know what styles you will like best until you try them. Dresses look different on six-foot-tall models in professional photo shoots than they do on real brides. Stay true to yourself, but be willing to try anything once. It is not an exaggeration to say that 9 out of 10 of my brides end up in the exact opposite of what they thought they would like.

Location matters:

Photo by Rachael McCall Photography

Photo by Rachael McCall Photography

Before I shopped for my wedding gown, I had only shopped for wedding gowns at chain stores with friends. I knew I wanted a different experience. I chose local boutiques in my area because I wanted more personal service. Now that I work for a small local business, I cannot stress enough how much different the experience is from a customer service standpoint. We live and die by word of mouth advertising from our brides, so we will do anything we can to make sure you leave our store happy and stay that way through your wedding day. If you want individual attention and an intimate, personal setting, boutique shopping is your best bet. If at any point you feel pushed or pressured into buying a dress you’re not ready to commit to, be honest. A good bridal shop will work with you to make sure the dress you end up with is right for you.

Trust your consultant:

Photo by Leaf & Pine Photography

Photo by Leaf & Pine Photography

As a bride, there was just so much I did not know about wedding gowns. Bridal consultants have a wealth of specialized knowledge that you simply do not have if you’re not in the bridal industry. Trust them to help guide you through the process. Make sure you’re listening to them and allowing them to help you choose and accessorize the gowns. The whole point of having a consultant is so they can do their thing while you relax and celebrate the excitement of becoming a bride. There is a whole vocabulary to bridal gowns covering everything from fabrics, silhouettes, gown colors, designers, alterations, lace, beading…you name it! Consultants work hard to stay up to date, educated, and bring expertise to their brides. The more trust you show them, the harder they will work to help you find the wedding dress of your dreams. There truly is nothing more rewarding than working with a bride and then seeing her shine in her wedding photos.

I hope what I’ve learned will help the brides out there who are searching for their wedding gown. We would love to see you at Meant to Be, but wherever you are shopping, we hope your experience will become a memory you and your loved ones can cherish! All the photos featured in this post are Meant to Be Brides.

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