You landed the perfect person and have the perfect ring on that finger. Now, it’s time to wedding dress shop, right? Well . . . maybe wrong.

According to Lori Allen, owner of Atlanta wedding salon Bridals by Lori and star of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, there are a few things that need to be determined before you walk down the wedding gown aisle at your salon of choice. The first, said Allen, is to determine your style. However, she notes to not be so dead-set on a certain style or dress because being open to trying a few other styles may result in a surprise winner.

“Look online and in magazines to determine what styles you are interested in, but always be open to trying other styles,” she told OurStyle in an email interview. “When you are in a good open-minded state, a connection with a gown just happens — I see it every day. Relax, enjoy, and let the magic happen.”

The next — and probably most important — thing you will need to know before trying on your dress? Your budget.

“If you are shopping, be prepared to buy. You don’t want to fall in love with your dream dress and have it become discontinued or be unable to purchase. Have the big discussion with your significant other, parents, or whomever is paying for your gown. Know your budget before you enter a salon,” she said.

While she explained that the average bride purchases a gown eight months before the wedding, there are a few exceptions. There are some styles that she is able to sell off the rack and some designers that have rush service available for quicker wedding dates. But, if ordering a dress, she said to keep time for alterations in mind as well.

“We you are thinking of selecting your dress, remember to allow eight weeks for alterations and if you are doing a portrait before your wedding, your gown needs to be completely altered before the portrait,” she said.

However, no matter when you begin shopping for your wedding dress, Allen said that having the right people around you is key. “Bring a few close members of family or friends when shopping. You do not need to bring everyone you have known since kindergarten to help you make this decision,” she said.

Image Source: Chris J. Evans Photography

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