Say Yes to the Dress: What Every Bride Should Know Before Wedding Dress Shopping

Are you currently planning your dream Vermont wedding? Then it’s time to think about one of the most magical parts of your journey to the altar: wedding dress shopping! (Cue a happy dance!) Whether you’ve been dreaming about your perfect gown since you were a child or you’re diving into this part of the planning without a clear vision, shopping for your wedding dress is a unique experience that should be cherished and enjoyed.

Thankfully, with our tips and expert advice from the renowned bridal boutique, Veilmonté in South Burlington, Vermont, this blog post is here to ensure that your dress shopping adventure is everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more. We sat down with Veilmonté’s owner, Marina Smith to learn everything we could about wedding dress shopping and today we’re sharing her secrets!

For every bride-to-be looking forward to their fairytale moment, keep reading; this guide to wedding dress shopping was created especially for you.

Things to Know Before You Go

How far in advance should you start looking at dresses?

Each bridal boutique is going to be different. It’s recommended to start wedding dress shopping in Vermont at least 9 to 12 months before your wedding day. This timeframe allows ample time for browsing different styles, trying on dresses, making a decision, and accommodating any necessary alterations. Wedding dresses can take anywhere from 4 to 8 months to be made and shipped (ours take 4 months to create!), and alterations can take an additional 2 to 3 months. Starting early helps ensure that you have enough time to find the dress of your dreams without feeling rushed or facing limited options due to time constraints.

Can I walk-in or should I make an appointment with bridal boutiques? 

For most bridal boutiques, it is highly recommended or even required that you make an appointment before visiting. Bridal appointments ensure that you receive personalized attention from a bridal consultant who can assist you in finding the perfect dress, and it also ensures that fitting rooms and adequate space are available for you and your party. While some boutiques may accommodate walk-ins if they have availability, scheduling an appointment guarantees your spot and often leads to a more fulfilling (and less stressful!) experience. Always check the boutique’s policy online or call ahead to confirm their requirements. At Veilmonté we operate by private appointments only, giving you our undivided and personalized attention.

Is there anything brides should bring to their appointment?

Yes, there are several items brides should consider bringing to their bridal appointment to ensure they get the most accurate feel for how their dress will look on the big day!

  1. Undergarments: Bring a strapless bra or any specific undergarment you plan to wear on your wedding day. (Note: At Veilmonté all of our dresses are padded so in that case, a specific bra is not as necessary) Some brides choose to bring shapewear to see how it complements the dresses they try on. It’s important to bring these to see how the dress fits with the undergarments and to ensure there are no visible lines or bulges- and that you ultimately feel comfortable!
  2. Shoes: If you’ve already chosen your wedding shoes, bring them to see how they look with the dress and to get an idea of the dress length alterations needed. If you haven’t chosen shoes yet, bring a pair with a heel height similar to what you plan to wear so you can get an accurate idea of how the dress will flow. We also have a wide selection to choose from!
  3. Accessories or Hair Clips: While not essential, bringing along any jewelry, headpieces, or veils you plan to wear can help you visualize the complete look, the look of a blushing bride! Veilmonté has a wide selection of beautiful accessories, veils, jewelry and even shoes in store for brides to try on.

What To Expect During Your Bridal Appointment

In your experience, what helps you and your team select dresses during an appointment?

In my experience, having an open mind is absolutely key for a bride-to-be selecting dresses during her appointment! It allows for flexibility and openness to trying styles that you might not have initially considered but could turn out to be the perfect fit. I know many other bridal shops would agree.

We also welcome and encourage bringing along any visual inspirations, such as a picture of a favorite design from a previous appointment, pictures from the internet, or a curated Pinterest board. Visual references can greatly enhance our understanding of what brides are looking for and help tailor the appointment to their preferences.

For Veilmonté specifically, our brides benefit greatly from the wishlist feature we offer. Once an appointment is booked, our brides can submit their wishlist with designs from our website, which gives us a good starting point for their appointment.

We also prioritize getting to know our brides and their tastes by interviewing them before we start trying on dresses. This conversation, based on their descriptions and preferences, allows us to assist in picking styles from our racks that may appeal to them. To incorporate their vision into the process, we allow our brides to pick their first 3 dresses on their own from our collection – and it’s always so fun to see what they select! 

What tips can you offer for a first-time wedding dress shopper?

Aside from the information listed above, I have 3 additional tips for brides:

  1. Book your appointment after booking your venue and figuring out your wedding style or aesthetic. This will help you have a better image in your mind about how you want to look during the big day!
  2. Do not feel like we are bothered by how many styles you are trying on – this is why we do what we do! We want you to try on as many styles as possible so we can make sure you are choosing THE ONE.
  3. Listen to your inner voice when deciding on the dress selection. “The one” is a feeling and only you as the bride can truly sense it. It’s great to gather feedback from your friends and family, but at the end of the day it is your dress and you need to be the one who is head-over-heels in love with it!

You Found The Dress! Now What?

What steps should a bride take next after choosing their dress?

First, let’s pop that champagne, do a dance and shed some happy tears. Finding the perfect dress is so exciting. As you await your special day, the next steps are as follows: making sure you book your alterations (if you dress them) and storing your dress properly.

At Veilmonté, we provide a high-quality waterproof garment bag to all of our brides and a plastic bag if needed (in the case if the bride will travel with it). We advise our brides to hang it high so it doesn’t get wrinkled at the bottom. We steam all the dresses before brides come to pick them up and we advise them to get a portable steamer and lightly steam it the night before the wedding using distilled water and let it dry overnight. 

I also recommend unfollowing any bridal accounts related to wedding dresses after finding your perfect dress. They are a great resource before finding your dress, but after? They can sometimes leave brides second guessing themselves or doubting their selection! You do not need the extra and unecessary stress.

How far in advance of your wedding date should alterations be started and/or completed?

The specific timing can vary based on the complexity of the alterations needed and the schedule of your tailor or seamstress, so it’s wise to consult with them as early in your planning process as possible! 

It’s generally recommended to start the alterations for your wedding dress about 2 to 4 months before your wedding date. This timeline allows for enough time to have all the necessary fittings and adjustments made without rushing. Ideally, the final fitting should be scheduled about 2 weeks before your wedding. This close to the wedding, your body is not likely to change much, ensuring your dress will fit perfectly on your special day. 

Again, this is just a generic timeline and we recommend talking to the seamstress you’re hoping to work with. Most boutiques will have a list of trusted and skilled seamstresses they recommend.

About Veilmonté Bridal Showroom

Veilmonté, conveniently located off Route 7 in South Burlington, offers a truly exceptional experience for brides-to-be wedding dress shopping in Vermont. Owner Marina Smith guides all brides through the entire process and dedicates her time and expertise to helping them find the dress of their dreams – as well as other goodies, such as accessories, shoes, jewelry and bridesmaid dresses.

Unlike other bridal shops in the area, Veilmonté’s showroom is unique in that they make their own dresses at their factory, which is owned by Marina’s Aunt, in Moldova. The design team is extremely detail-oriented, utilizing high-quality fabric and materials, innovative sewing techniques and technologies, and a deep passion for beauty and perfection in every wedding dress they create!

Veilmonté’s commitment to excellence and personalized service ensures that every bride who walks through their doors will leave feeling confident, beautiful, and ready to say ‘I do’ in the dress of their dreams.

Book Your Appointment at Veilmonté Bridal Showroom

Veilmonté’s showroom operates by private appointments only, allowing the bride and her party to have the entire space to themselves while shopping for the most important dress of their lives. Learn more about Veilmonté and book your appointment by clicking here.

A Curated Collection of Stunning Wedding Gown Inspiration

Before going wedding dress shopping in Vermont, take a look at some of our personal favorite Veilmonté bridal looks from past Vermont brides:

Your Next Read:

While we’re talking about style, let’s not forget suits! Check out A Guide to Mens Formal Wear: Looking Dapper on Your Wedding Day.

Want more wedding planning advice? Check out any of these.

Best of 2023: Wedding Style

Today, we’re diving into a category that’s all about self-expression and personal flair: Wedding Style! It’s not just about the dress or the suit; it’s the full ensemble of attire, hair, makeup, and the overarching vision that brings a wedding to life. 

From sweeping trains boho chic boots, this category celebrates the unique choices that make a wedding genuinely reflective of the couple’s personality and love story. It’s where fashion meets passion!

Prepare to be inspired by the creativity and personal touch each couple brought to their big day.

But the excitement doesn’t end there! After you’ve seen our picks, it’s over to you to vote for your favorite in our Readers Choice Award below. 

Dazzling Duo

This bride wowed us with her dual looks. The first: golden and glowing, with traditional Indian jewelry and dress. The second: casual elegance with loose locks and a stunning off the shoulder gown. 
 
Makeup Artist: Hopcraft Collective
Photo: Liz Andolina Photography
 
 

A Vision in a Veil 

A sweeping veil paired with stunning sleeves adorned with intricate lace creates a harmonious blend of contemporary and classic. It’s absolutely gorgeous! 
 
Photo: Sarah Surette Photography

Lovely on the Lake

Envisioning an Italian getaway at Lake Como, this bride brought her dream to Vermont’s shores! Her classic sweetheart dress with a dramatic train is the perfect look for this elegant lakeside wedding.
 
Photo: Amanda Young 

A Sunny Start

Adorable, custom pearl sunnies added a playful touch to this bride’s look and became a memorable prop, circulating among guests to create a fun TikTok!
 

Cool & Chic

With a seafoam green suit for him, a gorgeous low-back dress for her, and a vintage car serving as a backdrop, this couple’s style is effortlessly cool.
 

Radiant & Romantic

This bride’s natural beauty shines through with a refined updo and glowing makeup. It’s simple and stunning; perfect for a Vermont wedding day!
 
Photo: Idena Beach Photography

Hey Shortie

Rocking a short satin dress with a dramatic bow and matching bowed heels, this bride’s outfit is playful, chic and oh-so-fun!
 

Tips Up

This fun ski lapel pin added a whimsical touch to the groom’s outfit. It’s a perfect nod to the overall theme for this winter wedding.
 

Dragon Dance Delight

This couple wanted to incorporate traditional Chinese elements in their wedding, including this enchanting Chinese dragon dance performed by some of their talented guests.
 
Videographer: Todd Stoilov
 

Boho Beauty

From macrame dream catchers to the colorful bouquet; the off-the-shoulder lace gown to the a white cowboy hat and boots, this couple’s boho style is goals.
 

Flannel Forever

Does anything say “Vermont style” quite like flannel? These brides rocked matching Vermont Flannel shirts while getting ready for their wedding morning. 
 
Photo: Andy Madea Photography
 

Elegant and Classic

This couple is the picture of elegance. From the luxurious white floral ceremony arch to their classic black and white attire, the overall effect is elegance at its finest. 

Photo: Jackie Fox
 

Adventurous Sole

Perfect for this trail-blazing couple, these hiking boots and socks are the ultimate under-the-dress accessory for the ultimate adventure!
 

Rainbow of Love

A vibrant rainbow of bridesmaids dresses add to the celebratory nature of this vibrant wedding.
 
 
 

Party Pizzazz

Sequins, feathers, hats, and all – this couple is dressed to the nines and ready to revel on the dance floor!

Photo: Ben Hudson Photography

Readers Choice Awards

Now that you’ve seen our picks for the best Vermont wedding style in 2023, it’s time for you to vote! We’ll share your top picks for each category at the end of the month.

Planning Your Own Vermont Wedding?

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Best of 2022: Wedding Style

This year like never before, couples slayed their wedding photos in style. From elegant, timeless looks to one of a kind outfits, Vermont couples came dressed to impress!

Check out the style inspiration below in our editor’s picks for Best of 2022 Style, and scroll to see who you voted for your Readers Choice Awards pick! 

In Vogue

This unbelievably chic couple looks like they stepped out of the pages of Vogue. Jennifer Perellie created a sophisticated look for the bride that complimented their unique elopement style perfectly.

Photo: Illume by Paul Reynolds

Timeless Beauties

This couple’s style is as elegant as it is timeless! His black tux, from McNeil and Reedy and her embellished gown from Fiori Bridal, are stunning choices for their wedding at The Essex. (And if the arbor by Tipsy Tulip Designs looks familiar, it’s because it was a pick for the best florals of 2022!) 

Photo: Amy Demos Photography

The Two for One 

Just look at the ruffles on her skirt – how can you help but soon?! This Veilmonté Bridal Showroom gown had a surprise though; not only was it perfect for a romantic ceremony but the skirt detached revealing a sleak, ready-to-dance reception dress. Amazing. 

Black Beauty

This bride was determined to show off her darker style in her wedding attire, and she nailed it! Her black lace top and dip dyed skirt combo are stunning. (She even painted her nails black to match!) 

Photo: Madison Anne Studio

Shades of Green

Jaclyn Watson planned this stunning wedding which featured shades of green from the wedding party to the decor. This bridal party totally nailed the mismatched look with their coordinated green dresses. I especially love how their bouquets kept in the same green and white palette, perfectly complimenting the style. 

Photo: Kelsey Regan Photography

Classy and Classic

I love this timeliness look by Fawn MUA! The subtle makeup and lush lashes compliment her traditional gown and beaded veil perfectly. Perfection.

Photo: Rob Springs Photography

The Winter Wow

This is what happens when your wedding party not understands the assignment but completely rocks it. From the goggles to the boots to the fur shawls, this wedding party has the après party look locked down!

Photo: Juniper Studios

Black and White Beauties (Readers Choice Awards)

The bride’s beaded black suit is truly unlike anything I’ve seen before; I’m obsessed! Add to that her beloved in a stunningly elegant white gown and the wildly lush bouquets by M’s Wedding Flowers and I’m rendered speechless. Their entire look is a showstopper! 

Photo: Colette Kulig Photography

The Cape Sweep

This glamorous couple works in theatre, so it came to no surprise to planner Odyssey Events that they understood drama! The bridal cape adds an unparalleled sense of drama and elegance to their classic look.

Photo: Savannah Brown

Wild and Wonderful

Photographer Hallie Jade got married this year at Wild Sugar, the venue her and husband own and maintain. I love their colorful style – from her veil to their wedding party…it’s a little wild, and totally wonderful. 

Photo: Jessica Dantowitz (Miranda Photo Co., second shooter)

Modern Love

I love the contrast between the clean, modern lines of the space (how cool is that metal arbor?) with the lush, colorful flowers by Yanique Events. Designed by Ehmann Events, this look is so fresh and lovely! 

Photo: Isora Lithgow Creations

Radiant in Red

The bride wore a stunning red sari for her Sikh marriage ceremony, known as the ‘Anand Karaj’, meaning blissful union.  This grand, multi-day event was planned by NJoy Weddings & Events. From the rich colors to her sparkling jewels to her natural excitement, this bride is positively radiant! 
 
Photo: Virdee Films 

The Getaway Look

I love this bride’s feathered jacket for the most perfect getaway outfit! It adds a touch of whimsy and elegance to their sparkler exit.

Photo: Idena Beach Photography

French Fête

This couple’s celebration was inspired by classic French culture (they even shared their first dance to a classic French song!). The bride wore an off the shoulder gown, and the groom wore a white tux jacket. The elegant style was mirrored by their decor, including the lush florals by Anaphora Flowers. Each detail provided the perfect ambience for their intimate fête.
 

Nailing It

I love this close up shot of the bride’s bedazzled nails. The design is fun and glitzy, and the neutral color palette keeps it sophisticated. Hands down, a great look! 

Photo: Jess Rene Photo

Dark and Dreamy  

This couple embraced their dark side with a color palette that was both dreamy and dramatic! It’s a great choice for their emotional fall wedding (just try to watch their vows without crying). 
 
 
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BEST OF 2021 WEDDING STYLE

Your wedding day style (attire, hair, makeup, accessories) reflects who you are and sets the vibe of your big day. While every couple is gorgeous in their own way, here are just a few of our favorite looks from 2021. Schedule your hair makeup trial, and go find your dream dress now because we promise you will want to recreate these looks for your wedding!

Love this post? We’re sharing our “semi finalist” picks on Instagram. Go check it out for even more inspiration!

Beaded Beauty

The scalloped beading on this dress from Fiori Bridal reminds me of butterfly wings, and is simply stunning. (Photo: AveyBaby Photography)

Glam & Gorgeous

With her bold lip and fur shawl, this bride embodies glamour! (Photo: Colette Kulig Photography)

The James Bonds

These grooms’ classic, debonair style is a great compliment to their killer (see what we did there?) wedding planned by Destinations Found. (Photo: GarrenTee Photography)

The Perfect Mismatched Bridal Party

This bridal party absolutely nailed the mismatched look. Each bridesmaid looks gorgeous in her own unique way. A coordinated color palette and beautiful, natural makeup by Jennifer Perellie ties it all together. (Photo: LuvLens Photography)

Boho Beauty

This couple crushed the romantic, boho look. The bride handmade her own lush bouquet, and her maid of honor (@makeupby_cbelle) created this natural makeup look that completes the vibe. (Photo: Jenna Brisson Photography)

Classic & Cool

This couple is so glamorous. Jennifer Perellie created a makeup look that allows the bride’s natural beauty to show through and compliments the classic wedding planned by Lindsey Leichthammer. And that candid shot of the couple with their sunglasses…too cool for words. (Photo: Matt Lim)

The Cape Skirt

The beading on this dress is enough to make us soon, but the CAPE…we’re toast. This dress sets the tone for this amazing celebration. (Photo: K Lenhart Weddings)

 

Sheer Perfection

This bride embodies feminine and free spirited style in this lace and tulle gown with blush undertones from Veilmonté Bridal Showroom. The addition of a long veil is perfection.  (Photo: Julia Rebecca Photography)

 

Happily Leather After

We are obsessed with this white leather jacket with “happily ever after” embroidered on the back. Your wedding reception, after party, honeymoon, bachelorette party, the grocery store…we can think of several occasions to rock this. (Photo: Colette Kulig Photography)

 

Effortless Elegance

Is there anything more elegant than a sweeping cathedral veil? This couple effortlessly married their two heritages (Indian and Filipino) with a beautiful celebration planned by Odyssey Events. (Photo: Nicholas Natale)

 

Thank you to everyone who submitted for the Best of 2021 series! Don’t forget to check out our “semi finalists” on Instagram, and sign up for our newsletter to get each Best of post emailed to you weekly this month!

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Quick recap: what is Vermont Weddings Best of 2021 Series?

A little backstory if you’re unfamiliar: we started the Best of series last year (2020) to highlight some of the amazing work by the talented teams in the Vermont wedding industry. It’s an opportunity to both celebrate a year’s worth of weddings and inspire couples who are planning a future Vermont wedding. (A quick note on the word “best”: the intention isn’t to make this a competition between weddings, but to share a small, but representative, sample of the weddings in Vermont this year.  To that end, please know that we love each and every wedding that was submitted, and the final picks are carefully chosen based on a variety of factors to create a compelling series.)

Here’s what you can expect:

All December, we’ll be rolling out inspiring stories in various categories:

  • Read Now: Best of Engagements 
  • Best of Style 
  • Best of Flowers
  • Best of Party Animals
  • Best of Design & Details
  • Best of Elopements
  • Best of Location
  • Best of Community

Plus, because the submissions were just THAT good, we’re sharing our “semi finalist” picks for each category on Instagram. That means you’ll want to follow us to see even more highlights, and come back to the blog each week to see the “best” picks in each category.

We recommend signing up for our newsletter – we’ll send you an email each week with the highlights so you won’t miss a thing. (Going forward we only send 1 – 2 emails a month.)

MEET MARINA OF VEILMONTÉ BRIDAL SHOWROOM

One look at Veilmonté Bridal Showroom and I want to convince my husband to have another wedding just so I can wear one of these dresses! Owner Marina Smith shares more about her story, her love of dresses, and how this unique bridal shop came to Burlington. 

How did you get into wedding dresses?

I’ve had a passion for beauty all of my life. I am from the Republic of Moldova (Eastern Europe) and beauty is an important factor in our culture. I developed a sense for fashion and the latest beauty trends at a young age, and I always wanted to be a part of an industry that would let me express my passion for beauty. 

Our dresses come from a factory in my country that has been creating the most amazing designs for over twenty five years. The owners of the factory are my family friends, and I grew up with their children. When I was younger, I helped at the factory with little things and I absolutely loved being around the wedding dresses!

Flash forward to adulthood…I came to the United States ten years ago, never liked my job at the time. When I first went back home seven years ago, I visited our family friends (the factory owners) and they asked me to be their official representative in the US. I was thrilled by this idea and I started preparing to open my own showroom. I took my time doing research about the American wedding industry – I even worked part-time at wedding events to really understand the traditions and trends. 

After moving to Vermont from Chicago, I did a lot of research about the New England wedding industry. The brides here gave me positive feedback, so I decided that it was the perfect time and location to open my showroom. My American Dream finally came true and I cannot be happier to serve the brides in our community!

Photo of a bridge wearing a dress by Veilmonté Bridal Showroom 

How would you describe your shop’s style?

Different – that is what all brides say about my shop.

What inspires your work?

The ability to accomodate ANY bride. We are the only shop that offers custom size and design in Vermont, and we are very flexible when it comes to options. I have an immense passion for what I do!

Any special tips for brides for choosing a wedding dress?

Your not expected to purchase your dress at the first appointment. Take your time when shopping for the most important dress of your life! Make sure you feel comfortable in your dress (moving, seating, hugging people etc.). 

Your dress has to represent your personality; you might look amazing in a sparkly princess dress but if you are a reserved person and that’s outside your comfort zone, you might not feel comfortable on your wedding day having that look. 

Other people’s opinion matters, but the choice is ultimately yours. I suggest brides take pictures and look at those to help make a final selection.

Start shopping for your dress one year before your wedding. I recommend going right after picking your venue, as the style of your wedding will be defined off your look as a bride!

What’s your favorite moment during the wedding dress selection process?

When the bridal party starts crying saying “Yes!” to the bride’s dream wedding dress. That moment is priceless, and I often cry with them.

What’s your favorite thing to do in VT? / Local spot to visit? Etc.

I like to go biking on the Colchester Bike Path – this is my favorite place to meditate and it is where I get the most creative ideas for my shop. I also like watching the sunset over the Champlain Lake in the summer at the Spot on the Dock Restaurant in Burlington. 

If you weren’t in this business, what would you do?

I would be a travel blogger as I love to travel.

What’s a fun fact about yourself? 

I am a fun person overall…I go on a diet every Monday. 😉

What’s a song that always gets you on the dance floor?

I absolutely love dancing. I am a fan of house & electronic music. Any song makes me dance.  .

Thank you, Marina! Learn more about Veilmonté Bridal Showroom in the vendor guide, and visit them in Burlington!