Today is another wedding post, which I haven’t done in a while. I found my wedding dress back in April, after two months of looking and visiting countless stores. It was a pretty wonderful moment – my mom and most of my bridesmaids were with me, and it was so nice having them there to support me. Throughout the dress-shopping process, I picked up a few tips that I would like to share. Obviously, there are absolutely no rules when it comes to finding your dream dress, but there are a couple of things that are good to keep in mind and may make it easier to find the perfect dress!
1. Have an Idea of What You’re Looking For, but Be Open-Minded to Other Styles
Every time I pictured myself walking down the aisle, I always imagined myself in a certain style of dress. Before I went dress shopping, I scoured the internet looking for pictures of specific wedding dresses that I liked. The SAs seem to appreciate it when you can show them pictures of the general style I was going for, or even tell them specific designers or model numbers you are interested in trying on. It makes their job easier to pull dresses for you.
That being said, make sure you try on many styles the first time you go dress shopping. This contradicts what I just said about knowing what style you want, so let me explain. Don’t limit yourself to only the styles you think you like. Try everything on, at least on your first visit – ball gowns, mermaids, sheaths, sleeveless, with sleeves, V-neck, sweetheart neckline…try on all of these, in all variations! Trying every silhouette may help you discover that a certain style you never would have tried actually looks beautiful on you. It also helps you eliminate styles that don’t look as flattering on you, so that you can narrow down your choices.
At the first store I went to, I told the SA “I think I prefer A-line or ball gowns, but since it’s my first time shopping, I would like to try on other silhouettes”. As a result, she mostly pulled A-lines and ball gowns for me, but also gave me other silhouettes to try. My MOH is big into the mermaid style, so I tried on a couple of those. I found out that I looked a lot better in them than I thought I would, which I never would have known if she hadn’t pushed me to try!
2. Have Someone Take Photos of You in the Dresses
The first time I went wedding dress shopping, my MOH whipped out her phone and started taking a million pictures of me in each dress. Looking back, it’s kind of common sense, but I never would have even thought of this (And this is why she’s my MOH!) While the odd place may not let you take photos of their dresses, most stores encourage it. Having pictures of you in each dress allows you to see what the dress looks in photos, which is equally as important as seeing it in person. It also allows you to make comparisons after the appointment, when all of the dresses you tried on have blurred together in your memory. After my appointments, I would make a collage for each dress I tried – half of the picture would be what the dress looks like from the front, and the other half would be the back of the dress, so I could get a better idea of the whole dress. So many of the dresses I tried on were beautiful in person, but I changed my mind about them when I saw them in photos.
3. Tell Them Your Budget, and Be Firm on It
If you’re a bride on a budget, tell the SA your budget before pulling dresses, and whether or not you have any wiggle room in that budget. Most wedding dress stores will only pull dresses below your budget – there is no point in trying a dress that is over your budget, because you risk falling in love with a dress that you can’t afford. When you’re thinking of the budget for your dress, keep in mind that you may likely need extra cash for alterations; for wedding dresses, this can sometimes be upwards of a couple hundred dollars.
4. Keep the Venue in Mind
It’s easy to get caught up in find a dress in a certain style, but depending on where you’re getting married, you may want to keep your wedding venue in mind. If you’re getting married on the beach, having a poofy dress with a long train may not be easy to deal with (imagine all the sand getting caught in the train!) Again, there are no rules here – if you want to wear a dress with a cathedral-length train on the beach, then you rock that train! Sometimes there are just little things you might not think of that may cause issues.
5. Focus on How the Dress Feels
Brides are so focused on how the dress looks that they often forget about how the dress feels on them. You are going to be in this dress all day, so make sure you feel comfortable and unencumbered in it. Is the dress really heavy? Is it hard to walk around in? Can you sit in it comfortably? Can you dance in it? Being comfortable was important to me. I am very petite, and even though I wanted a dress with a train (which adds extra material/weight), I wanted the material to be light and airy. I don’t want to be carrying an extra 20 pounds of dress that day! I also found myself waddling like a penguin when I wore mermaid dresses, so that was a no for me, too (props to girls who can wear them, because I am not graceful enough!)
6. You Will Know When You’ve Found the Dress
Don’t just pick the very first dress you try on just because it looked nice on you. Out of hundreds of dresses in a store, you only pick out a handful to try…most of which will probably look beautiful on you because YOU picked it and it’s your style. If you try on many dresses and still find yourself thinking about that first dress, then you know that first one was the one. I tried one dress that I was close to purchasing, but I wanted to keep looking. After buying my dress, I realized that I had kept looking because while I loved that other dress, part of me just knew it wasn’t the one. You know how in movies/TV shows, brides get all emotional when they find the dress? Well, I tried on so many dresses and it never happened to me, so I was pretty sure that was just a thing they do in the movies. But my friends and coworkers told me to keep looking, because if I didn’t get that feeling, it means I haven’t found the one yet. When I tried on my dress, I got a little emotional! When you’ve found the one, you will know.
7. Ultimately, it’s Your Choice
All of my bridesmaids have different styles – some prefer something super dramatic, the others prefer something simplistic. After I bought my dress, my MOH said, “It’s not my personal favourite dress that you’ve tried on, but it’s very you”. I loved that she recognized that although the dress isn’t her personal style didn’t mean it isn’t a beautiful dress. Anyways, what I’m trying to say is, there is no pleasing everyone. Your mom may not like it, your sister may not like it, half of your guests may not like it. This sounds cliché, but it’s really true – as long as you feel beautiful in it, that’s all that matter.
Those were pretty much the tips I picked up during the several wedding dress shopping escapades I had. For those of you who’ve bought/are buying wedding dresses, has there been anything that has stuck out to you?