Looking for and finding your wedding dress is one of the most memorable moments of your journey to become a bride. But with so many choices between very different styles, to the expectation to find ‘The PERFECT dress’, wedding dress shopping can sometimes get stressful and daunting. How do you know which is it one when there are so many beautiful gowns on offer?
Before you panic on the showroom podium, here is all the support you need for a straight-forward wedding gown shopping experience. With these points in mind wedding dress browsing will be really enjoyable and choosing feel easy!
From finding a style that works for your wedding and your body, to how to actually know which is the one, this is your ultimate guide to choosing a wedding dress.
Stay aligned to the type of wedding you are hosting
It is really useful to be quite certain already about what wedding you’re planning, and at what location, when booking bridal salon appointments. As the circumstances of the day (such as ceremony style, number of guests, season, the time of day and day of the week) might affect the type of attire and level of formality, you are going to find it much easier to establish the dress you are looking for.
Additionally it is not a bad idea to share your decor and reception mood boards for the wedding so that the consultant can advise you better of what styles will hit the jackpot.
Consider silhouettes for a harmonious fit
When it comes to wedding dresses there are tricks that will help every bride feel her most confident. Finding what waistlines and silhouette you already prefer is as easy as taking a look in your wardrobe to try to assess what shapes you feel great in.
Having some awareness of which dress silhouettes works for your shape will help to reduce the number of unflattering dresses you have to try on (and time wasted) before finding the perfect fit, which can be deceiving and definitely something to avoid. The difference can be subtle but make a huge difference, so be sure to check out our guides on silhouettes and body types to find the most promising looks for you.
You might find it worthwhile to assess what neckline and wedding dress colors are likely to work out best for you, not to follow strictly but at least to use as a start-off point.
Create a style reference that reflects your vision
Unless you wear formal gowns often, it’s likely that you’re not sure what style of wedding dress will represent you best. First try to determine what vibes you want your dress to give off. This could be something which is related to you as a person, and perhaps also the intended wedding style. Perhaps you had an idea from long ago about your fantasy wedding dress – all these ideas could be a reference to hone in on in your outfit. Examples could be romantic, elegant, fashion-forward, contemporary, minimal, ethereal, unique, edgy, etc, or a combination.
It can be helpful to have a few key words like this to share with your bridal consultant, who can suggest current dresses which will bring on that look.
Know your inner bride and listen to what she says
Almost needless to say, what is the most important thing when you look for your dress, is to go with your own instinct. Don’t let your entourage mislead you, and only take so much advise from the bridal consultant that feels aligned with your goals. Most importantly, choose with your personal style and comfort in mind. If you feel great when you wear it, then you know this might be the one no matter what others tell you!
Take some time before the appointment to figure out what kind of bride you want to be. Remember that your wedding day is the perfect opportunity to live out your innermost couture ambitions, and if you are normally a casually dressed person, you have an excellent opportunity to be as flamboyant, feminine, modest or daring as you want.
Don’t let anybody else dictate your style for you – stay true to your inner Bride because nobody else but you knows her – not even your bestie or mum!
Let go and trust the process
As you start dreaming about dresses, you might find that it is really hard to know what is the best dress for you. To spend a few weeks looking and saving dresses and checking trends from Instagram is wonderful, but try to not form too strong opinions until you have actually worn a few dresses.
It’s a good idea to have a shortlist of designs that you love, and an awareness of what you don’t. But also remain open to styles that you have overlooked as they might surprise you.
Show images, describe your wedding, point to references and initial ideas, but once you are at the salon, hand control over to the consultant and allow yourself to go with the flow! It might take 3-4 gowns to figure our what works for you and what doesn’t – so just keep trying and stay upbeat. Plan to try at least one “wild card” to see if what the consultant pulled for you exceeds your initial expectations.
How do I know it is the right wedding dress?
At this stage in your search it is good to reflect back on your keywords and referenceto check if the gown you are wearing fits in with the vision of your wedding, and attuned with the idea you have for your bridal look. Remember that it is totally OK and natural if your direction has changed and you have discovered something new during the course of the appointment.
If you don’t know if it is the one when you wear it, it is not the right wedding dress. The smallest doubt is a sign that second thoughts are on their way. But if you find yourself wanting to keep it on, or no longer keen to try something else, it might well be the dress. Pay attention to how long you are wearing it – if it is longer than all the other gowns and if you are liking what you see, this gown has great potential!
Your guest or consultant might agree in jubilation that a particular dress looks fabulous on or that is so you – but you must always listen to your own instinct first.
Practically speaking, the dress should flatter your figure, feel comfortable, and fit with your wedding vision. Emotionally speaking, you should feel confident and love what you see in the mirror from all angles.
It is an emotional garment and so it should be – but it is good to think sensibly too. There are many, many dresses that could be “the one” for you – so keep an open mind whilst shopping.
Contrary to popular belief, you or your family or best friend don’t need to tear up for the dress to be your perfect dress – it can still be your dress even if nobody cried!
Furthermore, just because your mother shed a tear when you had that particular dress on doesn’t mean you need to buy it. Maybe she just had a happy memory from her own wedding?
The signs that this is the right wedding dress
Giving a gown its final verdict can definitely be a challenging process so be patient with yourself and take your time to come to the right decision. Even though the gown ticks all the boxes, there still might some things to verify just by tuning in to your own reactions. If the dress makes you look and feel extra beautiful, you might be able to visualize yourself walking down the aisle. Other people should be able to tell from the look of your face or the twinkle in your eyes. Maybe you simply just light up, perhaps smiling differently to when trying the previous dresses?
The description “feel like a bride”is hard to define, but it is somewhere along the lines of regal, divine, or just damn good. Maybe its none of those for you, but you’ll notice a different sort of tingle than in any other gown and probably full of giggles. A bit like falling in love or feeling a bit tipsy.
When you are in The Dress, you will feel proud of who you are, excited about the wedding, and you will probably think about your groom and how great it will be to see him at the end of the aisle. Remember, he will love you and adore you no matter what gown you choose – he just wants to see you happy!
If you think this is maybe the one because it it the best you have tried so far, but having trouble knowing for sure – it is always possible to sleep on it and come back another day!