This is, arguably, one of the biggest decision for the bride. Of course, picking the groom is pretty high up there, but the dress is close behind! I was the type of bride that couldn’t make up her mind to save her life on a specific dress. That resulted in 11 different stores, and probably close to 100 different dresses. This experience, as well as that of friends around me, led me to these tips for finding that perfect wedding dress.
1. Pin your heart out! I wish I had done more research before actually getting engaged. You think you’ll have plenty of time to pour over details and ideas but in actuality, time will fly by and before you know it, you’re late on picking your dress! Don’t be embarrassed to be the kind of bride that has her day planned out before she finds the groom- I’m serious about this! Having a good idea of what you want will make the entire searching process so much easier.
2. With that being said, make sure you try all styles!! I have heard from so many brides that the dress the ended up picking is the exact opposite of the one they originally wanted. You might think you know what would look great on your form or for your wedding- but sometimes the dress is just the dress.
3. Search through local boutiques. For one, supporting local businesses is a wonderful thing to do. Second, hands down my favorite experiences were all in the smaller, quaint boutiques. These stores don’t see quite as many brides, so their interaction with you is more tailored to your style and personality. I also noticed that they tend to provide service specified to what I liked- meaning that they were as involved or not involved as I wanted.
4. Don’t be afraid to go by yourself. I did this once, and it helped to get a clearer image of what I wanted, without loads of opinions chiming in. I was able to FaceTime my sister to still get feedback, but it allowed time for me to just take it all in.
5. Only take a few friends with you at a time. Too many opinions can be a bad thing. I personally think the mom is the most important person to have with you when you “say yes to the dress.” Try taking different bridesmaids at different times so they all get to be a part of the process. You can easily send pictures to the ones that aren’t there of the dresses you love. [Try an app like Photo Circle that you can use to share them all!] There is plenty to cover during the wedding planning season that they will be involved in many other things if they can’t be physically there for this!
6. Look for real brides in the dress styles you like. Brides often put their own twist on a dress [like my gold leaf belt you can see below!] so what you see in the mirror when you try it on is only the beginning of possibilities. Seeing how others have tailored it to their big day could help give you ideas for your own. Most designers have examples on their websites [see if you can find me on the Maggie Sottero page for my dress!]
7. Consider the temperature of your wedding. If it’s outside in July, a huge ballgown or sleeved dress might be a bit uncomfortable for you. If it’s winter, you might want to make sure a shawl or chic jacket would go well with the dress.
8. Know or take a seamstress with you. At the very least, have a seamstress’s opinion while trying on dresses. We have a family friend who altered my dress, and it helped so much to have her to bounce ideas off of as we went and to know what was possible with dresses I liked. [She also came to the rescue the week of the wedding when we found out I lost weight and the lace edge of my dress had to be rehemmed.[Still sorry, Janet!]] All stores have their own specialist, but having someone who knew me, could understand what I was expressing, and that I trusted made a big difference.
9.Trust the sales associates. My dress was picked for me by one of the lovely ladies at Dar-Lynn’s Bridal in Matthews [just south of Charlotte]. She saw what we were gravitating toward and what I described and suggested it- it was a perfect match. The good ones take note of your reactions and have often seen most of the dresses on other girls- they know how it will fit on your body. Go with their advice.
10. Take loads of pictures. We have literally close to a thousand pictures from all the dresses I tried on. I would compare dress after dress, trying to imagine them on my big day and in pictures for years to come. You might notice things or feel a certain way when you aren’t bogged down by how beautiful you look in simply all of them. Embrace the mirror selfie- remember how you saw yourself in each dress. [Check out the Photo Circle app mentioned above! It helped to show grandmothers who live farther away all the dresses I was trying.]
Most importantly my dear, it’s YOUR decision. You are wearing this dress, not your bridesmaids, not your mom, not your dad, not even your groom! What makes you feel the most beautiful you’ve ever felt? Which dress, when you put it on, do you just never want to take off again? Which can you picture walking toward your groom, twirling with your father, laughing with your friends? Because that’s your dress.
That face? That shows you how I felt in that dress, on that day.
I hope this helps you lovely brides-to-be out there! Soak this time up for the rest of us that have already had that journey- I guarantee at some point in time, we all miss it!
Linked with: Style Elixir