Of all the weird and wonderful decisions you and your partner will make throughout wedding planning, choosing your wedding dress is one of the only ones you might find yourself making on your own. You’ll have friends and family counselling you, if you want them to of course, but you might also be feeling excited about revealing the dress to your partner and to your guests on the day. Picking the dress can be a difficult and emotional decision, especially for those of us that aren’t confident shoppers, so try starting your wedding dress search with these positive thoughts: your partner is going to LOVE the way you look, no matter what you choose, because you’ll be you – you will look and feel amazing, and, if you stay true to yourself, everything around you on your wedding day will be a celebration of who you are individually and as a couple.
Try to keep these positive thoughts in mind, and to take the process lightly – have fun, hang out with friends and family you love, and let yourself be swept up by the magic. I’ve put together some advice for brides looking for their perfect wedding dress, that I hope will help you enjoy every moment of it!
TIPS & ADVICE
- Find what looks resonate with you using Pinterest, Instagram, and magazines — if there’s a common thread in the styles you like, keep those “key words” in mind at your first appointment, and share them with your bridal consultant. Take inspiration from the shapes and fabrics of your favourite items of clothing, and let dresses catch your eye instinctively.
- At the same time, do try to keep an open mind and try on different styles (and colours!) in case something unexpected feels right for you once it’s on. Dresses always look different on hangers than they do on your body, and you never know what you might fall in love with! Bridal consultants are there to help – speak to them if there are any features of your body that you’d like to accentuate, or any you feel insecure about that you’d like to de-emphasize.
- Shop true to your size now even if you’re planning on losing weight for your wedding, as it’s much easier to take a dress in than the other way around. Also – you are absolutely gorgeous as you are, and you really don’t need to lose weight for your wedding, unless it’s something you’re doing for YOU. Magazines and blogs can sadly sometimes make this feel like something you’re “supposed” to do, and that’s really not the case – especially if it will affect the quality of the memories you’ll have from this period of being engaged and being excited for your wedding.
- Budget about six to nine months for a custom or designer gown, as they need to be made to order, shipped, and altered – so start shopping early if you’re set on a high end designer. Having said that, be careful starting the hunt TOO early, in case you fall out of love with it by the time your wedding comes around. If you’re open to it, take a look at indie designers and even your favourite high street brands, to find the right combination of look and budget for you.
- Keep your venue, season, and wedding style in mind, so that on the day you feel comfortable and in harmony with everything. What’s the terrain like around your venue? Are you having a formal and traditional ceremony in church? What’s the typical weather like at that time of year and area? Do you want to make sure you can dance until the early hours?
- If you have a strict budget for your outfit, make sure to factor in alterations and accessories so you know what figure to be mindful of when looking for the dress itself. If you’re not sure where to start, your designer, wedding planner, or bridal boutique consultant will be able to help you with these estimates.
- Explore and make appointments at bridal salons and trunk shows local to you in your country, but take a look at small, indie international designers too, as most will ship worldwide. There’s SO much choice now when it comes to styles, fabrics, costs, and colours, so don’t settle for anything less than an outfit you ADORE and that is 100% right for your natural style, for your wedding look, and your budget.
- Don’t rush or crowd the appointment schedule – it can be quite time consuming and emotionally tiring to try on lots of gowns, so try to make a day of it and balance it with a relaxing catch up with your parents or bridesmaids.
- Pick two or three close loved ones to come with you to appointments, ideally people you trust to be honest but also kind – too many opinions can be overwhelming! If the bridal salon allows it, ask your friends to take a few photos from various angles, so you can look at them later to remind yourself how a dress looked and felt.
- Bring a nude thong, strapless bra, and heels along with you to appointments, and also any heirlooms or accessories you know you want to wear. Sometimes seeing how everything looks together can really help guide your decision.
- Pay attention to fabric, as well as the shape – keep in mind that heavier and more structured material will hold its shape and can smooth your figure, but flowy soft fabrics can be more comfortable.
- Don’t expect the first one to be “the one”, don’t worry if you don’t find yourself crying, and – most importantly – keep checking in with how you’re feeling – have you tried on enough? Are you feeling pressured? The wedding dress journey is different for everyone, so don’t let other people’s experiences make you feel like you’re not doing it right.
- Most important of all, stay true to what YOU love. You’ll have a lot of eyes on you on the day, and it’s so important for you to feel comfortable, confident, and happy. Listen to your inner style and voice, and follow your instincts.
That last point really is key – of course opinions from your friends and family will be important to you, but ultimately you know best what feels and looks good on you, and also what your vision is for your wedding day. You will treasure the memories, photographs, and videos of the day for many decades to come, so think about how the dress, your hair, your make-up, and your accessories can most authentically reflect who YOU are. What’s the outfit you wish you could wear all day every day? What makes you feel like the most beautiful and awesome version of you? There is no end to the wedding dress options available now, and what your partner and your loved ones truly want most for you is for your wedding day to be as fun and as happy as day as it can be. Whether it’s a fairytale cloud of sparkles, a slinky head-turning number, a wild boho dream, or a stylish pant-suit, or anything in between, there is no such thing as the “perfect” dress – it’s all about the RIGHT dress for you.
I really hope these tips help you find your wedding dress in a happy, mindful way! If you’d like to have a chat, or would like any support in planning or styling your wedding, don’t hesitate to get in touch.