Wedding dress shopping is daunting, exciting, scary, joyous and stressful all rolled into one. No matter what your temperament is as a person, you will experience a whole range of emotions when choosing THE DRESS. And rightly so, your dress will be what makes you feel beautiful on your wedding day, and you will want to feel like a million dollars.
I’ve been off work this past week and have been indulging myself by watching a LOT of TLC – in particular, ‘Say Yes To The Dress’, so today’s topic could be nothing other than this. Here’s a few tips of my own (and some stolen from the show) for when you make the decision on your wedding dress.
- Time – two things to consider:
- Leave enough time before your wedding to choose your dress, you have to consider the usual lead time from ordering your dress to it arriving. You will also need to set aside enough time for the alterations to be made. On average it can take 9 months, so bear this in mind. I was quoted 6 months for mine to be ready, and it actually arrived just two weeks before the wedding. It was a worry I did not need!
- When making appointments with bridal shops, ensure you leave enough time for the actual appointment. Each shop will have so many styles to choose from, you may need longer in some than others depending on the range available, experience and knowledge of the bridal consultant etc. Feeling rushed when choosing and trying on different dresses could lead to rash decisions.
- Set a budget that includes accessories and alteration costs. Typical alterations can include, bust, waist and height so you will need to factor an estimate of cost in for this. Unfortunately not all sizes will fit perfectly. You may also choose a hoop with the dress, and these come at an extra cost.
- I’d probably also consider what lingerie you think you might like before you choose your dress. For example, I have a larger bust and knew that not wearing a bra for my wedding day was a no go. That also meant low backed dresses were not an option for me. I decided fairly early on I would like a corset as I am also quite conscious of my tummy.
- Following on from this, decide what is important for you for the style of dress you like. You may be set on a lace dress, or a dress with sleeves, or a skirt style like A-line. However, always be open to other options.
- Communicate your initial preferences (like the corset & style) to the bridal consultant and also to your friends and family who come with you to your appointments. For the consultant this is a great starting point for them, to get a feel for what you are after. If you don’t have any preferences, then I would definitely suggest you try lots of different styles, colours and fabrics to try and narrow down what you like and don’t like.
- In fact, even if you do have set ideas on what your perfect dress is like, make sure you try on at least a couple of different options just to make sure. You never know! I think it’s a great idea to try on a style of dress you would never normally consider. At the very least, it will reaffirm your final choice.
- I’d also consider asking the bridal consultant to pick out at least two dresses for you to try. They have the most experience on this, and they can choose options for you based on your colouring, size and the current trends in bridal design, as well as your price range.
- Try and take heels similar to the height that you want to wear on the day with you to the appointments. Even though length of dresses can be altered, you need to know how tall you are going to look in the dress.
- Know when the dress is THE ONE. It may well be the first one you try on! Of course, carry on trying on some more dresses, knowing you can always come back to your favourite at the end of the appointment to make sure. Conversely, if you are not grinning from ear to ear when trying any of the dresses on, then move on from the appointment. Visit some more stores, and maybe make notes about the dresses you didn’t like and why. This should help you find the right one at a future date. I tried my dress on three times at two different stores before I chose it, and my body language when I was wearing it confirmed my decision.
- To veil or not to veil? I was ADAMANT I didn’t want or need a veil for my wedding day. The bridal consultant suggested I try one on with the dress just to see how it felt and I have to say, it transformed my dress from a lovely dress to my perfect wedding dress. It completed the look for me, and I was amazed at how I felt about it once I had tried it on. Luckily, I borrowed a veil from a good friend (thanks Fiona!) so didn’t need to find extra money in the budget for this!
- Make sure you order the size that fits you now, and not a smaller (or larger) size that you hope will fit you in the future. The bridal consultant will measure you and advise which size you need based on your dresses size guide, and I strongly suggest you take their advice. You can’t add material, you can only take it away. I lost just over a stone in weight between ordering the dress and my wedding day, but I was more than happy to pay for the alterations needed. Imagine the heartbreak if I had ordered a smaller size and hadn’t lost the weight!
- Ask for discount. I am so serious about this I can’t even tell you. What’s the worst that can happen? They say no, and you pay full price. Most stores are competing for your business, and discounts are an important incentive to you choosing the dress from their store as opposed to another. I didn’t even have to ask for any discount on mine, the consultant knew what my budget was and told me she could discount my dress to come within my price point. Lovely stuff.
Here’s some of the dresses I tried on:
And here’s the dress I chose. The last pic was taken at the final fitting.
I hope you find these tips helpful!