Confessions of a Bridal Consultant: Do's and Dont's of Wedding Gown Shopping

Maybe I am a little bias but when it comes down to wedding planning, finding the dress is definitely one of the most important factors. For most of us, we’ve never had a wedding and more than likely never put on a wedding gown. Mermaid, trumpet, ball gown, fit-to flare…how do we really know what looks good on us? As bridal consultants, we understand how overwhelming the gown-finding process can be, and we know what possible questions are running through your mind when you step into a store with hundreds of white dresses. As much as we see brides who quickly find the "one" and are completely certain of their decision, we also see brides who exhaust themselves in the process. To us, we think finding the gown you will be wearing when you say "yes" to the man of your dreams should be easy and most of all...FUN! So here are some key questions brides ask when starting their search and some do's and don'ts to make the process just a little bit easier.

How do I know where to start?
Do: Do little bit of research. Online has done amazing things for the wedding industry. Browse around on Pinterest, in magazines, or online for inspiration on your spare time. Many times, you end up with something completely different, but it good to have somewhere to start even if it is choosing a particular fabric, silhouette or just a feeling that goes along with a gown. 
Don’t: Be afraid to try something different from your initial vision. Go into appointments with an open mind. You may miss out on your dream gown by limiting yourself to only a specific style. This is particularly true if you haven't tried on before, and you spend your entire process replicating an image you pinned or ripped from a magazine.  Also, have a little faith in your consultant. They have seen their gowns on many different body types and will be able to make suggestions that will accentuate your best assets. A wedding gown not only looks, but also is constructed, like no other garment. And you will be surprised on what you end up liking!

When should I start looking for my gown?
Do:  Allow yourself enough time. Gowns typically take 4-6 months to arrive. Then add 1-3 months of alterations. Bridal portraits happen at least a month before the wedding. Then plan for any changes that may happen (i.e. shoe change, extra cleaning, extra alterations). We always recommend brides purchase 10 to 12 months before the wedding. 
Don’t: Start before you are prepared to choose but also do not start too late. Getting started on knocking things off that long wedding to-do list is a great thing and we highly suggest it, but if you aren't prepared to purchase a gown, wait until you are ready. Starting early so you can see "everything" out there can really turn out to be a disservice and all those white gowns will start to run together. Wedding gowns are so beautiful and falling in love with a gown will be natural, so when you do...say yes! On the other side of things, starting too late can accumulate stress such as rush fees, limit on gowns dependent production and/or choosing a sample that may not be your size. 

Who should I invite to my appointment?
Do: Be selective of who you choose to bring with you to appointments. Bring a small party of supporters who you value their opinion and more importantly, they value yours. Your closest family and friends will be on the same page with you when it comes to your feelings and your taste. My favorite thing to hear is when a party says, "that's so you!" The last thing you want to do during this amazing time is convince your party why the dress you have chosen is for you. If there are people you want involved in the process, invite them to your first dress fitting or your pick-up appointment. Pick-up appointments are a whole celebration on their own.
Don’t: Ignore your instincts. You know yourself better than any one. On such a special day, you want to walk down the aisle in the gown you love and feel good in. This will definitely show on the day and when looking back, you want to know your final decision was all yours. Along with the man, you're the one marrying the gown and no one else. 

What if the sample gowns don’t fit me?
Do: Keep an open mind when looking at the gowns that don’t fit properly. I always tell brides right off the bat that they have to be a little creative when looking at the samples. More often than not, the gowns are too big, too small, too stretch, etc. Bridal consultants have tons of tricks to show you what your gown will look like when it comes in but there will be some things you’ll have to use your imagination for, so try not to stress over those few wrinkles or loose crystals.
Don’t: Hesitate to ask any questions that concern you. Consultants know what gowns look like in their newer form so they tend to see the gown that will come in rather than the gown you have clipped to you. We’re always happy to address any questions you have. Unless you’re taking a gown off the rack, keep in mind your gown will be much brighter, newer and more fitted to you.

Should my gown match my venue?
Do: Focus on how you feel in the gown. If you’ve fallen in love with a gown, close your eyes and imagine yourself on your wedding day. You will find that many gowns will fit in most venues. Who is to say you cannot pull off a ball gown on the beach?
Don’t: Rule out a gown because you think it won't fit into your wedding. If you love the way you look in a lace sheath but you think it won't match your grand ballroom reception, consider throwing on a sparkly Swarovski belt, earrings and a cathedral length veil. Accessories will top off your final look. At the end of it all, you will be the main focus of the entire extravaganza not the venue or even the gown.

What if there are more out there I haven't seen?
Do: Open yourself up to other options, but stop when you’ve found the one. I love to tell the story of a bride I’ve worked with for her very first appointment. We pulled about 15 gowns but as soon as she slipped on Watters “Kerry,” she declared it the one. One appointment, one gown…it can really be that simple. I hate to be cliché, but when you know, you know. And why not keep that momentum going and knock this very big TO-DO off your list? Making the jump may seem hard, but it will make the rest of the planning much easier. You won't think of other gowns that are out there. You will be too busy with your other 100+ decisions you'll have to make. You can then focus on the bridesmaid dresses, decor, etc. 
Don’t: Be afraid to purchase when you've found it. You've made a bridal appointment to narrow down your options and ultimately make a purchase decision. We always say, "there is such thing as trying on too many gowns." If you need to try on more, 3 bridal salons is a good number. Just think: 3 salons and 10-12 gowns at each salon is 30-36 gowns! Do you keep dating after you’ve found the one? If you’ve found your dream gown, enjoy that weight that was taken off your shoulders. Not to mention, waiting can result in disappointments such as discontinued styles, samples being sold and price increases.

What do I bring to my bridal appointment?
Do: Come prepared. When making your appointment, ask if the salon has shoes, strapless bras, or anything else you think you will need to help you see the full look. If they don't, bring a few things along. If you want to wear super high heels, bring a pair with a similar height to the ones you plan to wear. If you're wearing your mother's veil as your something old, pack it neatly with you. Wear the proper undergarments as you will need help slipping in and out of these gowns. Also, consider coming with hair and makeup done. Looking good and feeling good come hand-in-hand. When you have all the same essentials as you will on your wedding day, choosing a gown will be just a little bit easier. Plus, you'll want to take a ton of pictures of you in your gown when you say "yes!"

        How do I know when it is the right time to say “yes”?
Do: Say “yes” when the gown feels right. Close your eyes in the gown and imagine your fiancé at the other end of the aisle. Do you see his face lighting up when he sees you in the gown? Do you feel beautiful and comfortable? If the answer is yes and you're in a sample gown, can you imagine how you will feel on the day of your wedding? Also, tears are a definite indication it is your gown but....
Don’t: Wait for tears. This goes for both the bride and the party. We've all heard someone in the party say, "You'll know it's the one once you have it on." While this is true for some brides, it just isn't the case for all brides. If you aren't a cryer in your everyday life, the tears that will tell you a gown is "it" may never come. The same in true for the company you've brought with you. Waiting for your mother to cry can make you lose focus on how much you like a gown. High expectations of the clouds parting when you have a gown on can often lead to disappointments. Sometimes, the best indications are simply when a gown makes you happy, you feel beautiful in it, you want your fiancé to see you in it and you do not want to take it off.

Tina Le, Bridal Consultant & Social Media Manager

Antonio Gual for Tulle New York Trunk Show

      Inspired by the gracefulness of the koi fish, Antonio Gual's latest collection for Tulle New York displays exquisite femininity and quiet sophistication through its wispy fabrications, fluid trains, and plunging backs. Gowns with tiers of silk chiffon, flowing tulle a-line skirts, and cascading, lace-ruffled backs mimic the fluency from which it was inspired while still keeping silhouettes body-conscious, feminine and contemporary. 

       During next week's trunk show, you can expect everything from mermaid skirts to ball gowns.  So whether you're planning your nuptials in a beautiful, botanical garden or a grand ballroom with a black tie only requirement, we think Tulle has something to offer your special day. 

...And just for you Mia Musers, here is a first look at some of the gowns from the "Koi" collection:


To see the rest of the collection, please call (713) 622-2022 to schedule an appointment with one of our expert consultants. 

-Tina Le, Social Media Manager

Top 10 Amsale Hollywood Moments

Tina Le, Marketing Coordinator

One thing we know is true...Hollywood LOVES Amsale! With the Amsale Trunk Show fast approaching, we thought we would do something a little fun and pay homage to all of the great moments one of our favorite designers has had in Tinseltown. So here it is...our top 10:

Remember that '90s song "Stay"? The singer married music supervisor, Roey Hershkevitz, in a silk taffeta ballgown in front of 275 guests in New York City.


We, at Mia, thrive off weddings and a great love story. That's why romantic comedies are just right up our alley. Malin Akerman, who plays Tess Nichols, in 27 Dresses dons a beautiful silk taffeta ball gown with straps for her wedding with the love of her sister's life, George. Yes, you read that correctly.

Country star, Jake Owen, popped the question to model Lacey Buchanan on stage during a concert and a month later the two were married! The bride wore a beautiful detailed-bodice ballgown for their barefooted beach wedding.


No matter what can possibly go wrong, you know an Amsale gown will make any situation look good. In the Hangover Part One, Sasha Barresse looks elegantly stressed in a strapless Amsale while waiting for her fiance to show up for their wedding. 


Staying true to Roberto's roots, actress Malin Akerman, and Petalstones drummer, Roberto Zincone, said their I do's in Sorrento, Italy where Akerman's father read a love poem in English and Zincone's father read the same poem in Italian. Although the couple are no longer together, Akerman looked gorgeous in her strapless Amsale. 


In The Romantics, Anna Paquin wears a lace bodice, a-line Amsale for her outdoor wedding with Tom, played by Josh Duhamel. We don't want to ruin the film for you if you haven't seen it, but we can say Paquin still looks gorgeous in her love triangle with her M.O.H (maid of honor), played by Katie Holmes and her fiance. 


For their small, tropical wedding in Hawaii, Lisa Stelly wore a beautiful bateau neckline, tulle-skirted ballgown. It was a star-studded affair with the the most important guest being their adorable daughter, Pearl. 


Can you imagine have your own musical composition to walk down the aisle? How about having it composed by your future husband? That's exactly how the fairy tale was for Marla Sokoloff. "Marla's Wedding Theme" was what music composer, Alec Puro, named the musical piece for their 113 guest, Italian wedding.


When a bride knows, she knows. Even without a vision of what her "dream" gown would be, the future Mrs. Baldwin tried on only 3 gowns before choosing the one. 

I don't think there's much explanation needed for why this is our #1 pick. Sara Rue is absolutely stunning in Dahlia. A perfect pick for their outdoor, hummingbird and butterfly-themed wedding!


To schedule an appointment for the Amsale Trunk Show this weekend, 
please call (713) 622-2022.

Fashion Field Trip

Jill, Co-Owner

Fashion Field Trip 
At Mia Bridal Couture, we take great pride in knowing where our gowns are created and the teams that stand behind them. So when I was granted a behind the scenes tour of designer Amsale Aberra’s production office, I leapt at the opportunity.  And, I took fabulous pictures to share with you all!
On the second floor of a very unassuming building, nestled in the heart of NYC’s Fashion District sits a jewel box of bridal fashions…

The Journey Begins 
The circa 1970’s-looking printer below may not look glamorous, but what it produces definitely is. From this bulky beast, a pattern (fashion blueprint) for each and every Amsale order is printed.
A waste of paper you say? Some designers may see it that way, but Amsale’s dedication to printing individual patterns, for every customer, guarantees superior accuracy.

From the pattern printer to the cutting tables every gown begins the same way: by hand and under watchful eyes.

But before you can cut, there must be fabric. One person stands at the machine pictured below and inspects each and every inch of fabric for any flaws. Whether it’s French Alencon lace or Italian silk, it all must pass rigorous inspection.  Amsale is known in the industry to have extremely high expectations for the fabrics she accepts!

One of my favorite parts of the tour was seeing the team that works so diligently on the gowns. Here you can see Amsale’s team hand-placing lace detail over tulle in preparation to hand sew the details. The second image is an example of Amsale’s intense quality control. This person inspects seams, beading, measurements and proportions of finished gowns.

Once said in an interview, Amsale said that when creating gowns she ,“let’s the fabric speak to me.” Amsale chooses to drape with the actual material instead of muslin so she knows exactly how the gown will lay and how the fabric can be manipulated to achieve the ultimate design.
I was clued in that Amsale’s desk isn’t always so neat. This is definitely the design office during the quiet moments that happen post NYC Bridal Week.

As much as Amsale likes to sketch her ideas, she is a “draper” at heart.  Her passion is draping designs as she adores working with the amazing fabrics in her studio.

To schedule an appointment to try on the Spring 2015 collection, please call (713) 622-2022.

Amsale Spring 2015 Trunk Show

To schedule an appointment, please call (713) 622-2022.

Mia Favorites: Staff Picks

                       Every bridal season, the ladies of Mia Bridal Couture gather around and gush about all the new gowns we can look forward to in the upcoming season. Sparkle...lace...full skirts...fitted skirts... It's hard not to have a new favorite gown every time we watch a runway show. So as fun experiment, I challenged the girls and I to narrow it down to one gown if it was our special day. Each one of us picked a gown, how we would accessorize it, and where we would want to host the party.  Some of us were even lucky enough to wear our dream dresses while others are still happy having a new favorite gown every few months. 

Jill and Michael Nelson: Married December 8, 2012
Photo credit: Photo Element Studio
Monica and Mason Handfelt: Married May 31, 2014 
Photo credit: Grant Daniels Photography 
Brittany and Sam Boyer: Married May 9, 2014

To inquire about the gowns you've seen here, 
please call (713) 622-2022 or visit

Tina Le, Marketing Coordinator

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