How to Choose Your Dream Wedding Dress
Whether you've been dreaming of your wedding dress since you were five and know the exact specifications you want for it down to the last sequin, or you've never thought about it until your future spouse's mother nagged, "You still haven't gotten your gown?" — we've got you covered on how to choose a wedding dress.
Finding your dream gown can be stressful. After all, you've likely never even tried one on before, and it's the most expensive garment many women will ever own, so it can feel like the pressure is definitely on. Plus, your dress sets the tone for the wedding as a whole, whether it's a grand ballroom affair or a casual beach bash. It may also feel like there's a whole new language to decode — tulle, A-line, fit and flare, organza, sheath. Plus, more brides than ever are doing multiple dresses, a more formal one for the ceremony and a party-centric (danceable or more blingy and outrageous) one for the reception, which can double the task of shopping.
The choices can seem overwhelming for sure. No matter your budget, your personal style, or your timeline, check out our wedding dress shopping tips for finding the gown of your dreams — the one you'll love today, on the big day, and in 30 years from now when you look back at your wedding photos.
Before you buy
First things first, don’t start trying on gowns until you’ve confirmed a few technical details: what time of the year will the wedding take place? Where will the reception be? This will stop you from falling in love with a dress that doesn’t suit your wedding. I.e. A velvet dress for a garden party, a ballgown(with all the bells and whistles) for a registry ceremony, a skimpy strapless frock for a winter wedding up in the mountains... You get the idea.
Before you head out shopping, it's important that you set yourself a general budget. Do you have $500 to spend? Or $5,000? That way, you won’t fall in love with a dress you simply cannot afford. It is important to find an outfit you adore, but it's also important not to blow your budget before you've even begun!
Think About Your Venue
Brides need to go through their day in their mind before buying their dress. If you’re marrying in a small church or chapel with a narrow doorway or aisle, a wide dress won’t make an elegant entrance very easy. If your reception venue has a lot of steps, how easy will they be to tackle in a figure hugging fishtail gown?
Develop your idea
Find bridal boutiques online, explore on Pinterest, and check out what celebrity brides are wearing to compile a visual file of your favorite dresses. Then look for a connecting theme Have open backs? Find a couple commonalities of styles you like and bring your ideas to your first appointment.
Shop in Advance
Many gowns take four to eight months to be produced, and once it arrives, you still have to factor in more time for alterations and accessorizing.
Wedding Dress Fabrics
When you are picking your wedding dress, think about the fabrics. The fabric used can completely alter the feel and appearance of a dress, and can impact how practical it is.
Synthetic linings can often make a bride too hot and uncomfortable, but if you do decide against natural fabrics, a small hoop can help air circulate under the dress, which will keep you cool.
Think about practicalities, too
Your wedding will be an active day. So, if you think you've found The One, run a few tests. Sit down, stand up, try raising your arms (as if you were to dance or hug someone) and make sure you're comfortable. Is the dress too heavy? Too revealing? These are all-important matters to consider...
Be yourself. That's the most important thing. During your wedding, it's all about how you feel. If you feel yourself, happy and beautiful, everyone else will see you that way.
Once you've chosen your dressWhen you’ve decided which gown you want, your measurements will be taken. Most stores require a deposit (sometimes as much as 50 per cent), with the rest of it due after your final fitting. Don’t despair if, when you go back for your first fitting, the dress isn’t what you imagined it would be. At this stage, there should still be plenty of time to get it adjusted and altered. This is the time to pinpoint any problems you may have overlooked during the excitement of choosing it. Trust the seamstress to do her work and keep a positive mentality.
I really wish that our clients knew to plan ahead. We're living in an Amazon world, where we all think we can just click 'buy' and it'll be delivered the next day by drone! But gowns, whether they're bespoke or made-to-measure take a lot of care and time to create. We think purchasing a dress eight months in advance is ideal – to allow fittings and alterations to take place without a lot of last-minute stress.