Your Go-To Guide For Wedding Dress Shopping

Your Go-To Guide For Wedding Dress Shopping

This Feisty Life may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

There’s no denying that weddings are expensive. So many costs are involved; the venue, catering, decorations, invitations. It adds up quickly and a wedding dress only adds to the expense, but you can’t show up to your wedding naked! So here’s a comprehensive guide for wedding dress shopping to save you time and money.

Do Your Research

First things first, make sure to do your research! It is absolutely important to go to a physical store first before buying it online.

Try On Wedding Dresses In A Store First

Trying on the wedding dresses in a store first will help you narrow down what style wedding dress you prefer and the right size for you. And if you find one in the store that you LOVE but the price is too high, there’s an excellent chance of finding one very similar online for about half the price.

Figure Out Your Size

You may think you can just take your measurements and figure it out yourself using the online sizing guide, but I can tell you from personal experience, measurements can be wrong.  My fiance took my measurements at home, twice, and both times I would have needed a size 18 according to his measurements. Well according to the David’s Bridal dresses that I tried on and their measurements they took in the store, I needed a size 12!

Decide On A Style

There are so many different styles of wedding dresses! Trying dresses on in a store can help you figure out what you like and what you don’t.  A great thing I discovered about buying a wedding dress online is that you can often find a dress that combines multiple aspects of dresses that you liked in the store.  For example, I liked a longer train and an a-line style. I also liked a ballroom skirt but I didn’t want it to be too poofy. I was able to find an excellent dress that fit all my preferred criteria.


An a-line style is flattering for every size and shape.  


If you want to create an hourglass effect, mermaid dresses are for you! I personally didn’t like the narrowing in at the bottom.  

Train Length

There are multiple train lengths you can choose from! Cathedral train is the longest, think Kate Middleton’s wedding dress and how she needed her sister, Pippa, to walk behind her and help carry it haha.  Next in length is the chapel train, perfect for a semi-formal wedding gown. Then there’s the court train, which is between 11 inches and 19 inches long. And finally there’s the sweep train which is under 11 inches long, and perfect for an elegant yet casual wedding dress look.  I went with the sweep train. If you want a longer train but don’t want to risk tripping over it at the reception, you can get a veil in those lengths as well!

Dress Length

Just like there are multiple train lengths you can choose from, there are multiple dress lengths as well! Full length seems to be the most common, as most of the dresses at David’s Bridals were full length.  Tea length comes to about halfway down the shin and can be very beautiful; perfect for a casual wedding vibe. Then there are even shorter lengths which I did not like but always an option.

Strapless or Not

Strapless dresses in general can be hit or miss, but wedding dresses even more so!  I tried on several strapless wedding dresses but none of them fit right on me in the bust. They were either too gaping at the top or too tight.  Luckily, if you don’t like a strapless style, there are many options for a style with sleeves. There’s long sleeve, cap sleeves, spaghetti strap, etc.

Don’t Forget The Back

The back of the wedding dress is just as important as the front.  For example, I did not like buttons down the back of the dress AT ALL.

Take Advantage Of Sales & Coupons

Buying a wedding dress online already saves you a big chunk of change, but you can save even more by taking advantage of sales and coupons.

Email Lists

A lot of sites offer a 10% off coupon if you subscribe to their email list. You can always unsubscribe after if you like to keep your email inbox neat.  

Where To Find Promo Codes

Retailmenot is a great site for finding promo codes for anything, not just wedding dresses.  If they don’t have a promo code for the site you plan on buying your dress, a simple google search with the name of the site + promo code will come up with plenty of results!  Keep trying promo codes until one works. I saved an additional 15% with a promo code after the already discounted sale price!

Return Policy & Shipping Times

Since buying clothes online can often be a tricky experience, making sure you know their return policy and average shipping times can help a lot.  There’s nothing worse than buying something that doesn’t work that you can’t return. Well maybe there is… buying a wedding dress that you can’t return!

Know The Return Policy

The website I bought my wedding dress from has a worry-free return policy but it’s only 7 days!

Factor In The Shipping Time

I ordered my dress on December 21, 2018 and it didn’t arrive until January 7, 2019 which isn’t bad at all.  Other sites could be even longer though depending on their processing time and shipping time. So if you’re in a hurry for a wedding dress, then I wouldn’t recommend buying it online.  Also factor in the possibility of needing alterations.



  1. January 9, 2019 / 9:55 am

    This is wonderful advice for choosing and saving money on a wedding dress! Finding the right dress is so important! My sister just got married and this would have been very helpful for her!

    • Ellie
      January 9, 2019 / 10:35 am

      Thank you so much! I agree the dress is so important. Every bride wants to look beautiful on her wedding day. Congratulations to your sister. 🙂

  2. Rachel
    January 9, 2019 / 2:17 pm

    This is indeed helpful! I ordered my first dress online and ended up donating it to Goodwill! Thankfully I was planning ahead, so I had time. I hit the bridal shops, extended my budget just a bit, had a friend help make recommendations on a flattering style, trusted that friend and found THE PERFECT dress. I didn’t want to take it off at the end of the night. I felt like a radiant princess. Even when my hairstylist fell through and my sister stepped in I still had an amazing wedding day because of how much I loved my dress! Thanks for sharing!

    • Ellie
      January 9, 2019 / 2:22 pm

      I can’t wait to wear mine, it just needs a tiny bit of alterations done in the bust because I am lacking in a bit the in the boob department haha. I’m so glad you found your perfect dress! 🙂

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