How to find your perfect wedding dress
06 Jul 2018
Struggling to start your hunt for your dream wedding dress? Take a look at our guide to help you along the way
There are so many elements to consider when planning a wedding, from the venue and theme to the catering and entertainment. But most brides will agree that from the moment they said ‘yes’ to getting engaged, finding the perfect dress was at the top of their to-do list. It can be difficult knowing where to start when it comes to dress hunting; luckily, we have condensed the process down into an easy-to-understand list for all you brides-to-be.
Don’t jump head-first into the search for your perfect dress by visiting shops and trying gowns on immediately. Instead, take some time to decide what it is that you want. There are several things to consider when looking for your wedding dress: what type of venue are you getting married at? Do you have a theme and/or colour scheme? What types of dresses typically suit you, and what silhouettes are unflattering on you?
Once you have decided on these elements, you can start looking at your options. Use the internet and bridal magazines to look at gowns – and be sure to check out how they look both on models and on real brides. Pinterest is a brilliant resource full of inspiration for brides-to-be; as is Instagram. If you want to stay ahead of the upcoming bridal trends, make sure to stay up-to-date with your favourite wedding websites and blogs. When you have a rough idea of what you’re looking for, start researching bridalwear boutiques in your area and further afield to see which designers they stock, their approximate price bracket and what additional services they offer.
2. Set a budget
You will have undoubtedly settled on an overall budget for your wedding – but how much can you spend on your dress? Wedding dresses can vary in price from under £100 for high street items to several thousand pounds for high-end garments. You can’t begin your hunt for your dream dress until you know what your limits are, so be realistic and know your options.
But don’t feel limited by a lower budget; many bridalwear boutiques have a sale lounge where they sell sample gowns or out-of-season items for a cut price, and there are plenty of places to purchase second-hand dresses from. Many high street stores and online clothing retailers now have dedicated bridalwear ranges that, despite the budget price tag, are high-quality. There is also the chance that your favourite designer will hold a trunk show with discounts and offers. Furthermore, a lot of bridalwear boutiques will offer the option of a payment plan if you’re not able to pay upfront.
3. Start looking
You have your budget; you have an idea of what you want – now it’s time to start shopping. It’s rare that bridalwear boutiques accept walk-ins, so be sure to make appointments at your selected stores, gather your bride tribe together and make a day or weekend out of it. When shopping for your wedding dress, it’s recommended that you wear nude, strapless underwear and bring along either the shoes you’ll be wearing or shoes of a similar height. Don’t wear too much make-up or perfume, either; some boutiques will not allow either.
While wedding dress shopping is a fun experience, it can also get stressful. Unless you’re one of the lucky ones who find the one immediately, be prepared for lots of changing and undressing. Wedding dresses can be heavy, and trying them on can get hot and stuffy, so make sure to take your time, drink water, and have breaks in between each shop. Be sure to be vocal about what you do and don’t like, too, so you don’t waste time.
4. Listen to others
Although finding your dream dress is all about you, it’s important to listen to what others have to say about your gown as well. What you look like in the mirror may not be exactly how other people see you, so be sure to check in with your bride tribe about whether each garment is flattering or suitable. Take advantage of the knowledge the boutique’s staff have, too – they have brides visiting them every day looking for dresses, so they know what does and doesn’t work.
Don’t stop when you’ve found your perfect dress, though; make sure to utilise the expertise of the staff to help you select your accessories. Most bridalwear boutiques will stock veils, jewellery, belts and cover-ups, so take your time trying everything on to create the perfect ensemble. Sometimes the accessories truly complete the entire look, and can completely transform a gown you originally thought you disliked.
5. Say ‘I do’
Finding a wedding dress is rarely a straightforward process. Many brides go on several trips before they finally decide on one – and a lot of the time, the gown they select is one they originally tried on during their first visit. While it’s important to take your time and be sure about what you want, don’t be afraid of saying ‘yes’. It’s a big investment and can seem intimidating, but the more dresses you try on the more confused you’ll end up.
Once you’ve chosen your dress, make sure to take photographs of yourself in it so you can look back on it while you wait for your dress to be delivered. Dresses generally take around nine months to come in once ordered, which can be enough time to doubt and second-guess yourself. Stay confident in your choice, and just know that once it comes in and is, if necessary, altered, you’re going to look incredible.