Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Everything You Should Know Before Your First Wedding Dress Try-On

Stella York designs on display at CC’s Bridal Boutique in Tampa, FL.

Every girl dreams about the dress that she will wear on her wedding day. We pin countless inspo images to our Pinterest boards, clip out magazine photos, and save posts to our Instagram collection.

I was so nervous walking into CC’s Bridal here in Tampa - it was my first appointment of the week and I had no idea what to expect. My stomach was in knots the entire time until I came out in my first dress. It was a beautiful mermaid style lace gown with a nude underlay (pictured below). I couldn’t believe that I was actually trying on wedding dresses and the excitement just kicked in! My incredible stylist, Marilyn, was there to help me every step of the way and made sure she understood my vision for the wedding day. Should any of you visit CC’s here in Tampa, you must ask for her! You won’t be disappointed.

Essense of Australia, Style D2680 in ivory/maple

I had such a fun time partnering with Stella York and Essense of Australia to try on some of the newest spring designs. They are stunning!! You can browse all of Stella York’s dresses here on their website. I’ve added in the style information below each photo so that you can reference the designs.

Stella York, Style 6753 in ivory/maple 

Trying on wedding dresses for the first time can be very overwhelming, but I want to share my tips to help make your experience just as fun as mine was! Make sure to call ahead to the boutiques you’re browsing to secure an appointment at their shop (many boutiques are by appointment only).

Essense of Australia, Style D2548 in ivory/ivory


The general rule of thumb is to start looking for your wedding dress 8-10 months out from your ceremony. Why this early? Depending on where your dress is shipping from (it could be international or domestic), it can take months for the designer to make. Plus, you have to factor in potential alterations needed after the dress arrives, which add to the timeline for completion.

Looking through Stella York gowns with my CC’s Bridal stylist, Marilyn


Decide your budget in advance and stick to it - don’t waste your appointment time trying on dresses that are out of your price range. Have you decided the dress code for your wedding? It helps to know this beforehand to make sure your dress is appropriate for the venue, attire and time of year. Above everything else, you have to go into gown shopping with an open mind. I went in thinking I knew exactly what I wanted, and ended up selecting a dress that was a different style! Communication is key! Tell your stylist if you really aren’t loving a dress, or if there’s aspects that you like or would change. I made sure to share a lot of details with Marilyn as we tried different ones on, and she nailed it! She even took me back into their stockroom a few times to get my opinion on some styles and browse with her. There are so many designers out there who create beautiful dresses - be sure to try a variety!

Stella York, Style 6729 in ivory/ivory


First-time wedding dress shopping is emotional (to say the least!). I am pretty decisive when it comes to my clothing - I either love it or hate it. But this was uncharted waters, and I wanted to make sure the environment was right. I kept my dress shopping crowd small for this reason. I only wanted those there that had a good idea of my personal style and the vision I had for the wedding. My wedding dress shopping wouldn’t have been complete without my mom - the wedding planning process is such a special time for the bride-to-be and her mother. I also have to give a special shoutout to my maids of honor: Paige for coming on her day off and taking these photos, and Chelsea for keeping up with us via text/snapchat to help make the final decision while working in D.C.! I feel like I had a rockstar support system to check this major to-do off the list.

Essense of Australia, Style D2432 in ivory/hazelnut combination


Make sure you wear something that’s easy to take on and off! I wore a simple sundress and shoes that were the height I was looking to wear on the wedding day. Since I had the shoe height handy, I got to try on my gowns with them on to get a realistic idea of the length. I highly recommend this if you have a shoe style or height in mind already. Make sure you do your hair and makeup! You want to go into shopping feeling confident - this is not the day to go in dirty gym clothes with your hair all over the place. I also wore sticky nipple covers and a slip so that I could try different styles with ease. If you’re on the shy side, most stylists can provide you with a robe to wear or will step out of the room for you.


Depending on how many appointments you book or how many consecutive days you’re planning for try-ons, make sure you have no other distractions. I opted to go during the work week given my flexible schedule so that there were less people in the shop. If your schedule doesn’t allow for that, you can make all of your appointments for the weekend. However, some shops will require you to provide a credit card to hold the reservation.

Stella York, Style 6506 in ivory/ivory


After my first try-on, I went home and stared back and forth at photos of my favorites from the day. I kept going back to one of the dresses and just couldn’t get it out of my mind. The next few days as I continued to try on other options, I kept going back to that one dress. The next day I told my mom that I HAD to go back and try it on again. Once I put it back on, I knew it was the one and said “Yes to the Dress”!

It’s important to have fun while you’re going through the wedding planning process and gown shopping! Try not to stress too much. If you don’t find the dress for you during your first few stops, just keep looking! There is always the option to begin with a designer dress and customize details (i.e. sleeves, adjusted neckline, more beading, etc.).

Cheers to hoping you all find your dream dress, too! Click here to find the Stella York and Essense of Australia retailer near you! I can’t wait to share the one that I picked with you all this November!

x, B

Special thanks to Essense of Australia for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.


  1. How did you pick one- you look gorgeous in every single one of these!!!

    1. You are so sweet, friend! I ended up with something much different than I thought! It was tough, but I kept going back to the same one in my camera roll and was in love!


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