Welcome brides! Choosing your wedding dress is obviously the most important part of wedding planning, isn’t it? The pressure really is on when you go out to shop for your dress. You feel like you must have that ‘this is the one’ feeling, and then if you don’t get it after the first 20 dresses, you start to question whether you will ever have it. Trust me, you will!
Although you don’t need to overthink the process of choosing your wedding dress (like I did), I feel that it helps to do a little preparation prior to getting on out there, so that you get the best experience from your wedding dress shopping day(s).
WHEN TO START THE SEARCH
I guess the first thing to consider is… when should I go wedding dress shopping? I had been advised to go shopping 9-12 months before the wedding. That worked for me, as I booked my wedding 18 months in advance. Let’s face it, whether you go to get your dress super far in advance or a little last minute, there’ll be something to worry about.
My thoughts were ‘if I get my dress really early, what’ll happen if I see something else that I love more!’ and of course it’s obvious that, if you leave it too late, you’re getting your dress off the rack and keeping everything crossed that the seamstress will save you!
“ When you love your dress, you really love it! ”
I went shopping exactly one year before my wedding and that seemed to work out perfectly. It took some of the pressure off and quite honestly, once you find your dress, you won’t have time to continue scrolling through Pinterest because you have a thousand other things to do. Plus, when you love your dress, you really love it!
I think it’s soooo very important to consider your budget before you arrange your bridal appointments. This is something I did, and although going to a high-end boutique and trying on the most extravagant dress whilst sipping champagne would be EVERYTHING, I certainly did not want to fall in love with a £25k dress! And that was a possibility because the designers I fell in love with prior to my shopping day were nowhere near acceptable when it came to my price range!
Although many of the wedding dress shops and boutiques will not necessarily label their dresses with prices clearly on the website, many of them will state their cost bracket (such as ‘dresses ranging from £500-£3500’). Or if you can’t determine the prices that way, you can go directly to the individual designer and look on their website for an indication. Also, to state the obvious, the shop itself can be a huge giveaway in relation to what kind of market they’re aiming to cater for. Think about its location and its presentation.
Prior to dress day, much like all brides-to-be, I had done my fair share of scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration. I knew the brands that I liked and had started to identify styles and features that I loved. Of course, the dresses and brands I loved varied completely, so in actual fact I’d hardly narrowed the style down at all really!
“ Berta Bridal – OMG! These dresses are a complete dream”
It was going to be white, long, and it was going to have a mega train. Those were my essentials. Other than that, I was ready to be guided by my body and the dresses. You can download wedding planning apps where you input your body shape and it guides you in regard to the silhouette that will suit you best. Although the apps and websites I visited did end up being quite accurate, I kept an open mind. I loved the way the mermaid dresses looked on the models, but I know I’m not a model and I was going to embrace all the options including the huge meringue numbers!
In case you’re interested, my designer inspos were…
Berta Bridal – OMG! These dresses are a complete dream and if I had the budget, I would have gone Berta allllll day long!
Other dreamy designers for me were Steven Khalil, Galia Lahav and of course Pronovias. I knew that Pronovias was within my reach and I found many of the dresses to be true to my style, so I booked myself in to a store where I knew these dresses were stocked. Spoiler alert, my dress was Pronovias.
Who comes with you when you choose your dress… ***insert red-faced emoji here!!***
It’s pretty easy to offend someone when it comes to deciding who to take with you when you choose your dress, however you really can’t have a big group with you, if for no other reason than you won’t all get seated in the dressing room! No one can tell you who to take along, as everyone’s family setup and relationships are different. I took my mum and my mother-in-law, as well as my sister who was also my Maid of Honour. Having your mum there is wonderful, however, it was also nice to have a younger person present (soz mama) because that adds an extra level of reassurance.
When the day comes, I would advise that you think about your hair and makeup. I know that there really isn’t any way to be certain on what your look will be for the big day, however many girls have an inkling. I knew that I would want to have my hair down for my wedding for a number of reasons, two of which being that I have a rather round head and kinda big ears! I also knew that I’d want a nude or pink lip, so I styled myself in this way for the day to give myself the best overall vibe. Also from an enjoyment perspective, seriously make a day out of it! Should you be lucky enough to find your dress on day one, you want to remember it. So go out for lunch, have a glass of champagne and really have fun with your nearest and dearest.
If you didn’t gain anything useful whatsoever from the above… then sorry about that! But to finish off, hopefully these final few pointers will give you a little food for thought –
Know your budget and stick to it – well… sort of!!!!! ?
Don’t rush your decision… when it’s right you’ll know it’s right, whether you go to one shop or ten.
- Know the brands that you like and use this to influence the shops you choose to visit. If you want a fuller dress with a long train, you may not find it in a boutique specialising in tea-length dresses.
Stay true to you. I know that we aren’t exactly walking the streets in a white wedding dress day to day, however I think it’s great if you can embody your own personal style in to your wedding day look. I tend to overdress and do my best to be classy/elegant with my fashion. With that in mind, I hoped I would find a dress that would make people think ‘wow’ and ‘yes, that’s very her’ but at the same time, be pleasantly surprised. Sounds impossible I know!
Take people with you that will give you an honest opinion. You don’t want to go shopping alone with your mum if you’re the apple of her eye and she thinks you’d look good in a sack. Likewise, don’t take anyone who would make you feel self-conscious. Take people whose opinions are helpful and valuable to you.
Please let us know if this was useful to you in the comments below!
Happy hunting gorgeous ladies!
Next up… Choosing my wedding dress, including alterations and overall look.