Wedding dress shopping was a fun, exciting, and eye opening experience for me this summer! I loved getting to try on lots of dresses and see how different dress shops and boutiques operated! To my surprise, they were all so different!! I absolutely loved the experience of where I ended up purchasing my dress from: BelFiore Bridal Boutique! BelFiore is owned and run by the amazing Angela Marchese! Her store was the first one we went to, and as soon as we arrived, she made us feel right at home! I love that she only does one appointment at a time, so you have the whole place to yourself! She made the try on process super fun and relaxed, letting me and my MOHs pick any dresses we wanted to try on! Me and my two MOHs had a blast! 🙂 Needless to say, I not only fell in love with my wedding dress, but I also fell in love with the experience at BelFiore! If you are looking for a wedding dress – BelFiore Bridal Boutique is a must go!
I recently had the absolutely pleasure of spending an afternoon hanging out with Angela and taking some branding photos for her at BelFiore – if I could just hang out at her shop all the time I would! It’s decorated so cute and homey, I seriously love it there!
Angela not only owns and operates BelFiore, but she is also a wedding coordinator! This girl knows. her. stuff. Because I LOVED the experience she creates for her brides, and everything about her & her shop, I asked Angela if she would be willing to share some tips for brides who are preparing to start the wedding dress search! And boy, does she have some good nuggets of wisdom here! Grab your wedding planning notebook, and a pretty pen cause you might want to take some notes!
Angela, thank you so much for sharing all of your knowledge and wisdom and your kind, warm heart! You truly are one of a kind, and create the most memorable experience for your brides! You’re the best! xoxo Jen
I had a dream at 7 years old to become a wedding planner. After watching countless Disney movies and hearing over and over, “happily ever after,” I wanted to get in on this! As I grew up I was always planning fake weddings and even dressing up as a bride for every Halloween. While in college I worked for a special events florist. I thought I would have grown out of this wedding phase, but my love for weddings only grew deeper. I just knew this is what I was supposed to be doing for the rest of my life. After college I attended The New York School of Art and Design to get my certificate in Event Planning. As years past, I wanted to open up a store front for a “one stop shop” experience. I wanted to be able to offer brides, event planning services, decor ideas as well as bridal gowns, bridesmaids dresses and even mother of gowns.
The second you enter the store you become family not just a customer. This is why I offer only one appointment at a time, so I can dedicate the two hour time slot for all of your needs without any distractions. I take pride in helping from start to finish!
My number one suggestion is dedicated to timing. You typically want to start looking for your dress a year out. I don’t suggest looking before a year, as your opinions can change as new trends are released, which can cause you to second guess your decision. I recommend having your dress ordered by the 8 month mark. You don’t want to wait too long to order your dress as you need to leave time for production, as well as alterations. Production on most gowns can take upwards of 3-6 months. Alterations usually begin anywhere from 4-6 weeks before your wedding, based on how much work needs to be done.
Picking a budget is tricky. Sometimes brides really don’t know what the average is to spend on a dress to wear for only one day! In my store, BelFiore Bridal Boutique, the average amount spent on a dress and veil is $1800 – $2200. However, price really does come down the the designer and the material used. Do your research and know before your appointment what your budget limit is, so you don’t fall in love with something you didn’t budget for.
Picking a theme for your wedding can really help narrow down your dress search. First look at your venue and decide if you want your dress to tie in with your venue vibe, such as a boho, classic, or modern. Then you can start to plan ahead on the style, color, etc. of your gown.
Once you have your theme down, then you are able to start thinking about your fit! The fit is supper important since us women all have different body types. What works for one bride may not work for another. We are drowned in the bridal world of looking at 6 foot models, but realistically how many of us are really 6 foot? Now, I say research the different fits, not choose one before your appointment because you really won’t know what looks great until you put it on. I always say, what it looks like on the model, the mannequin, or the hanger may not look the same on you, so give it a try! Some brides right out of the gate know they do not want a ball gown and they must have a fit and flare. Others may want to try on everything. So do your research to know what’s out there!
This is super important. I understand that we want to include everyone in this special day, but sometimes too many peanuts in the peanut gallery may make it difficult for you to really see and think for yourself. Really think about who you want to bring with you. Will they support your decision even if they don’t love it? Will they make faces behind your back? (Yes, this has happened.) Will they cry because you didn’t pick the dress they wanted for you? (YES, this has happened, too). Remember, at the end of the day it’s your wedding day, and only you have to wear the dress. No one else in your bride tribe has to wear it, so if you love it that’s ALL that matters.
That’s really all I can say is enjoy it! Have fun and don’t get stressed. It’s supposed to be the happiest time of your life!
Learn more about BelFiore & connect with Angela on Instagram @belfiorebridalboutique.