After finding the right partner, finding the right dress may be one of the biggest - and most exciting - parts of wedding planning. It can also be daunting with so many options to choose from. 

"Sometimes, when I look at all the beautiful dresses in the shop, I try to picture myself walking in the first time as a bride, and that seems exciting - and overwhelming. That's where my team comes in!" says Geri, owner of Fiori Bridal Boutique in Essex, Vermont. Fiori has been a pillar of the Vermont wedding community for 26 years, and continues to be a destination for brides to find "the one."

"It's our job to help the bride figure out her preferred silhouette, and then find the perfect dress with the right details for her. Each consultant listens to the brides intently to make sure we know what she's looking for. We have the advantage that we've seen dresses on hundreds of brides, which is way more helpful than looking at them on a hanger." 

Ready to find your perfect fit? Geri sat down with Vermont Weddings to answer some frequently asked questions about what you can expect from your first appointment at a bridal boutique.

How long are bridal appointments?

Appointments are 90 minutes in length, which gives most brides an opportunity to try on up to ten dresses, with time to retry favorites and take photos.

"We'll have brides try on veils or other accessories with their favorite picks, but we don't 'jack up' every dress," says Geri. "It's too much information for one visit!" Brides are advised to make a separate appointment after they choose a dress to decide on accessories.

Of course, not all brides pick a dress at the first appointment. Geri says her team encourages brides to sleep on the decision and make a second appointment to focus on the two contenders. "We want each bride to be absolutely sure that it's the one for them."

How do I find the right bridal gown for me?

You may already have a Pinterest board full of dress ideas, which can be helpful to give the consultants an idea of your style. "We ask what you like about each dress to narrow in on your style." 

Geri notes that while photos can be helpful, brides are often surprised to learn that gowns are designed for women who are 5'9' to 5'11", so she cautions that how a dress looks on you may be different than how it looks on the model if you are shorter (which most of us are!). 

Whether you have a style in mind or are still figuring out what you like, Fiori encourages brides to try a variety of styles at the first appointment. "Often brides are surprised to find they like a style they wouldn't have thought to try on," explains Geri. "Trying on every shape rules out second-guessing down the road!"

What do I wear to my bridal appointment? 

Brides are encouraged to wear comfortable seamless underwear. Geri says that most dresses will conceal them, so they don't have to be nude or white. Dresses look better without bras, so there's no need to bring a special bra to the appointment. Most dresses have built in support, and many have illusion or low back details which a bra can distract from. 

"Our bride's comfort always comes first, and if it feels awkward for her to dress and undress in front of someone, the consultants will wait outside her room and she can let us know when she is ready for help," says Geri. "We do appreciate the chance to have one-on-one time with brides in the fitting room to get her read on each dress. It's an opportunity for the bride to express herself without worrying what her guests may think."

Who do I bring to my bridal appointment? 

Who you bring with you to your appointment matters. You want to share this special moment with someone, but also choose someone who will support your choices. "If it is the first time trying on dresses, we have seen that fewer is better, says Geri. "If the bride comes with just her mom or best friend, for example, it makes for a more relaxing appointment." 

Once a bride has narrowed her favorites, she's encouraged to make an appointment with more people, such as close friends, bridesmaids or additional family members. "This is the time to pop the champagne and celebrate!"

If a bride is worried about her guests' opinions overshadowing her own, she's encouraged to talk about it with the consultant. "We can advocate for the bride's choices. If she tries on a dress and LOVES it, we can step out of the dressing room first, and very excitedly say, 'She loves this one, wait until you see her!' This hopefully is a cue for the party to also love the dress." 

What changes should I expect at my bridal appointment because of COVID?

Currently, Fiori brides can bring up to three guests. Upon arrival, everyone has their temperature taken at the door upon, and everyone must wear a mask during the appointment. Additionally, only the bride and consultant can physically pull dresses from the racks. 

These small adjustments help to keep appointments safer for everyone! 

Ready to become a Fiori bride? Visit Fiori's profile in the vendor guide to learn more.