It's about to be the most important day of your life... As a little girl, most females dream of what their wedding day will look like, and more importantly, what their wedding dress will look like. Princess gown? Mermaid dress? Ball gown? ... the list goes on. However, when it really comes down to that do-or-die moment of selecting the perfect wedding dress, there are a few things to keep in mind, so we thought we'd share.
- DO keep an open mind. You'll go to your consultation with a vision of how you expect to look on your big day, you find the dress you've been dreaming of forever, then you put your dream dress on, and it looks TERRIBLE. It doesn't flatter your waist, doesn't accentuate your boobs, doesn't cover that tattoo on your back... it's just NOT RIGHT. In that moment, most brides start to panic... fear not! This is the time to allow the consultants to offer you suggestions about what will fit you right, will flatter your shape, and will make a statement. They have experience and knowledge of brides and dresses. Put some trust in them. Go a little outside of your comfort zone, try things on you wouldn't expect to like, because sometimes a dress that appears drab on a hanger, can look stunning on a body. And sometimes what you think you know, you actually do not. There is an art to styling, and most people don't always know what the best fit is on their body shape. Leave it to the experts and let them provide some consultation. That's what they are there for. All you have to do is keep an open mind.
- DON'T bring an army with you to dress shop. Bridal boutiques are not a battlefield and you do not need a firing squad, especially when you're the target. The day you shop for a bridal gown is supposed to be momentous and special, and truth-be-told, not every dress is going to look amazing when you try them on. Emotions are high on this day, and the worst feeling that could accompany this experience is a group of friends making negative comments or facial expressions, giving mixed reactions, picking out an assortment of dresses that overwhelm you, or rather, having no opinion at all! The reality is, everyone has a different opinion, and whether or not they are a supportive or fashionable group, they won't necessarily all agree, or have the same taste as you. Furthermore, they probably don't know very much about bridal fashion. Keep it simple. Bring one or two honest close friends, who will provide feedback, but who won't overwhelm you. You want honesty, but you need to also have some sensitivity when it comes to decision making. For the most part, women are an insecure species when it comes to their appearance, so when the most demanding of all shopping opportunities confronts us, we want to have a support group behind us. Wedding planning already creates anxiety for lots of brides, so having a great wedding gown shopping experience will make things less stressful.
- DON'T feel upset if you don't have that 'this is it' moment right away. Not every bride has that Ah-Ha moment when selecting their bridal gown. Some brides just don't have the tears, the overwhelming joy, and all that good stuff. It's not always going to be a Say Yes to the Dress moment. Just like it took meeting a bunch of frogs to find your Prince, it sometimes takes several dud dresses before you find 'The One'. Be patient. When you know, you'll know.
- DO be realistic. Just like you were advised above to keep an open mind, be sure to be realistic. Don't imagine a dress that doesn't exist, especially if you're working within a budget. If you purchase a custom dress, you've got the opportunity to make it exactly what you want, however, custom dresses are incredibly expensive, and may not always turn out how you envisioned them. Keep a level head. Focus on feeling great about how you look in a dress that's within your grasp, as well as your price range.
- DON'T blow your budget. Just don't do it. You will regret it in the long run. It may be tempting to try on that stunning dress sitting on the mannequin on the boutique floor with the mentality that you're 'just trying it on for fun', but once you have it on, you risk falling in love with a gown that's not within your realistic budget. This comes back to being realistic. Be honest with yourself. Don't set yourself up for disappointment. Look at it, love it, and walk away. Unless you're willing to deal with the financial repercussions, keep looking at dresses within your budget. There are so many beautiful gowns and something for everyone within their budget. You'll be able to find the one. Fear not!
- DO some background research. Get on Pinterest and start pinning. Screenshot images of gowns on Instagram. Flip through the variety of magazines available to brides and fold down the corners of pages. Create a vision board. Decide what features you like on dresses, and more importantly, what you don't like. Again, we recommend keeping an open mind when trying things on, because sometimes you just don't know until you actually know, but it's great to show up to shop for dresses and have a background of knowledge on dress shapes, designers, fabrics, and your likes/dislikes. With this information, you can assist the consultant in their search to bring you gowns that fit your desires.
- DO prep, as well as give yourself time. When going to shop for wedding dresses, don't just wing it. Be prepared. Bring a strapless bra, wear seamless, nude, and minimal undergarments. You need to consider what the dress will look like the day of your wedding, so wearing appropriate undergarments will aid you in the fitting process. Have clean skin. While everyone loves a sun-kissed glow, don't go for a gown fitting after a visit to your spray tan or covered in oil/lotion. We know you want to look great trying the gowns on, but it's important you also don't ruin the dresses in the process. Furthermore, keep in mind how much time the bridal gown purchase process usually requires. Bridal gowns often require altering and fittings to get the shape just right so that it truly compliments a bride's figure. With this being said, depending how long your engagement is intended to last, it's a good idea to start shopping shortly after your significant other pops the question. You'll want to find a dress and give the shop time to get it ready to be perfect for you on your big day. However, you also don't want to purchase a dress too early if your body may have time to change drastically, because then your dress may not look the same way after some time. Think wisely about this process, and just plan to be prepared for the shopping experience.
- DO consider all of the elements of your wedding. When selecting your dress, be sure to keep the location, the weather, the theme, the formality or informality, the season and every other detail in mind. The last thing you want to do is wear a huge princess ball gown at a beach ceremony, or a short leg-baring dress during an autumn exchange of vows in a park. You should wear what makes you happy and makes you feel good, but it's a good idea to consider all the factors and what makes sense so that you're also comfortable on your special day.
Good luck on your dress hunting endeavors! We hope we were able to help make this experience an easier one.