We’ve got you covered on how to choose a wedding dress, whether you’ve been dreaming of your wedding dress since you were five and know the exact specifications you want 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.”
Finding your ideal gown might be a difficult task. After all, you’ve probably never tried one on before, and it’s the most costly garment most women will ever buy, so the pressure might be intense when it comes to traditional hanfu wedding dress shopping. It may also feel as if you’re learning a new language—tulle, A-line, fit-and-flare, organza, sheath, and so on. Not to mention the fact that more brides are wearing two dresses—one for the ceremony and one for the reception—which can make buying even more stressful.
These wedding dress shopping recommendations are guaranteed to help you locate the gown of your dreams, regardless of your budget, personal style, or timeframe.
Find out what you like by doing some research.
To create a visual dossier of your favorite dresses, tear pages from magazines, browse online wedding boutiques, explore Pinterest, and see what famous brides are wearing. Then search for a common thread—are they all incredibly ornate, lacy, or voluminous? Is it true that they all have open backs? Bring your ideas to your first session, along with a couple of commonalities of styles you like.
Bridal consultants will tell you that they frequently see women come in with a preconceived notion of what they want in a gown, put it on, and then fall in love with something completely different they hadn’t considered. When looking for a wedding gown, keep an open mind. You can come across a dress that you didn’t realize was your dream dress.
Be Prepared for Bridal Sizing
Bridal sizing refers to the fact that your gown will most likely be one to two sizes larger than your usual clothes. Even though going bigger sounds terrifying, keep in mind that only you and your consultant will know the exact number.
Shop for your true size
Even if you aim to lose weight before the big day, instead of going smaller, shop for gowns in your current size. It’s far easier to take a dress in than it is to try to work with one that is far too tight.
Shop ahead of time.
Many gowns take four to eight months to make, and you’ll need even more time for adjustments and accessorizing after they come.
However, not too soon
If you have a long engagement and begin looking for gowns right away, the gown you choose may be out of style by the time your wedding day arrives, or you may find one you like even better closer to the date.
Make a financial plan
Yes, talking numbers is uncomfortable, but it will save you a lot of misery in the long run. Determine who will pay for the gown before your first appointment (your family, your spouse, or you?).
If someone else is paying, acquire concrete numbers on your budget so you can stick to it or pay the difference to receive the outfit you desire.
Budget for Costs That Aren’t Immediately Visible
If your fashion budget is $2,000, you shouldn’t buy a gown that costs that much. That’s because, if you want to keep your gown as a keepsake, you’ll need to account for tailoring, accessories (your veil, jewelry, and shoes), as well as cleaning and preserving it after the wedding.
Locate a Fantastic Bridal Salon
You don’t want to waste time at a shop that doesn’t sell your favorite dresses or has poor customer service, so do your homework before arranging appointments. To identify shops with a good reputation, ask married friends for recommendations and look at online reviews.
Make a call ahead of time
Don’t waste your time in a store that doesn’t carry the style, designer, or price range you’re looking for. Before you go, call the boutique or salon ahead of time to find out what they have in stock.
Schedule an Appointment
The dresses in most wedding stores aren’t arranged in a way that allows you to leaf through them and browse on your own, as they are in other retail stores. You’ll need to make an appointment so that a consultant can assist you in selecting and trying on outfits.
Begin with a low-cost option and work your way up.
Make your first appointment at the cheapest bridal boutique you can find and work your way up if you don’t find anything. The same applies for trying on dresses at your appointments: start with the cheapest and work your way up to the most expensive. It’s possible that you’ll fall in love before then.
Choose three adjectives to describe the dress of your dreams.
Go into wedding dress shopping with a clear idea of how you want to look on the big day, whether you want to feel classic, vintage, and comfy or romantic, glamorous, and stunning. Selecting three adjectives to describe your mood will help you narrow down your outfit options.
On a weekday, go shopping
On weekends, bridal boutiques are packed, which means you may receive less personal attention or that the dress you want is being tried on by someone else. It’s worth taking some time off from work to schedule your appointment during the week.
Make shopping a full-day event.
Putting one bridal gown on and off, much alone three or four, takes a long time, and you don’t want to feel pressured into making a selection. Instead of making plans for brunch after your appointment or cramming it in between other errands, block off a few hours so you can browse and try on gowns at your leisure.
Select Your Shopping Group Wisely
Yes, you adore your mother, sister, sister-in-law, maid of honor, and six bridesmaids—but if you’ve ever attempted to get a group of people to agree on a restaurant, you can only imagine how difficult it will be to reach an agreement on a gown. Reduce the group to the two or three persons whose opinions you value the most.
Bring the Correct Underwear
When your leopard bra straps protrude, it’s difficult to imagine how a strapless dress might look on you, or how a curve-hugging gown would fit once your hips have been flattened. Bring Spanx and wear a nude thong and strapless bra to your appointments.
Select a Silhouette
The shape of your perfect gown is determined in part by the style you choose, the venue, and the atmosphere of your wedding, as well as what flatters your figure best. A fit-and-flare gown is both modern and traditional, and it flatters a wide range of body types, whereas a basic sheath suits tall, willowy brides best. A voluminous ball gown provides drama, but it can be too much for a diminutive figure. Mermaid styles, like your beloved pencil skirt, flaunt curves.
Keep your travel plans in mind.
If you’re traveling to your wedding location, familiarize yourself with airline laws ahead of time. You don’t want to fall in love with a ball gown style dress just to find out it’s too big for the airport when it’s time to fly.
Consider Using Shorter Lengths
Untraditional lengths can be a fun way to bring your personality to your big day dress for a more casual, rustic, or beachy wedding. While they are unlikely to work for a formal wedding, they can be a fun way to bring your personality to your big day dress for a more casual, rustic, or beachy wedding. For a quirky bride, a tea-length gown is playful, while a white minidress exudes a rocker-chic party mood.
Fabric is an important consideration.
Fabric, in addition to silhouette, color, and decorations, has a significant impact on how a gown looks on you. A more structured, heavier fabric (such as silk shantung, taffeta, or guipure lace) will keep its shape and smooth your figure. For brides with curves, unstructured silk and filmy chiffon are less flattering.
To the Appointment, Wear Heels
Some bridal salons offer communal high heels that you can borrow, but that’s a little gross, and a dress will look a lot different in flip-flops than in stilettos. Bring heels that are the same height as the ones you believe you’ll wear on your wedding day so you can get a better idea of how the dress will appear.
Bring photos of outfits for inspiration.
Bring a photo collage of the wedding dress styles you like best with you when you go shopping, whether it’s printouts of fantasy dresses from your secret wedding Pinterest board you’ve had since college or a page from a magazine.
Photographs that Set the Scene
Bring images of your ceremony and reception setting to the appointment, in addition to gowns you’ve found in publications or on Pinterest. Seeing the atmosphere of the venue might assist your adviser in selecting gowns that are most appropriate for the setting.