For some brides, buying their wedding dress is the stuff dreams are made of. For others, trying to find the right dress is harder than climbing Everest.
I wore three different dresses on our (three) wedding days. The first was a very simple champagne coloured Alfred Sung bridesmaid dress with cap sleeves. The second was a bigger gown with a frill neckline from J Crew. And finally, I wore my Mum’s wedding dress which I had altered – from an apricot flower neckline with puffy sleeves to a more fitted dress with a mocha lace belt.
Funnily enough, none of these dresses came even close to the dress I’d originally imagined wearing. I thought I’d wanted a larger ballgown with a lace top – and I may well have loved that particular dress, but for me, the $6000 US price tag deterred me from even trying it on. Even so, I loved all three dresses and was very happy with how I looked and felt in them.
Here are my personal top tips for hunting down the dress for your big day:
1. Prepare before your shopping. Firstly, make appointments at the dress shops you’re interested in. This will save disappointment if you arrive to a place and they can’t assist you.
2. Secondly, do a little prior thinking and research before you start the search. Check out each bridal store’s website for a catalogue of their dresses and size ranges. The internet is full of wedding dresses to drool over, from simple to epic to elaborate. Make a Pinterest board or print a few favourite dresses and bring them to your appointments.
3. Keep an open mind. Your “dream dress” may not suit your shape or feel comfy when you try it on (or, like me, be in your budget). Be prepared to try a few dresses you may not usually consider!
4. Think of the overall look. When you are trying dresses, think about what accessories, shoes and veil you would like. Would that dress work with those items? Would it fit your wedding theme?
5. Buy a dress you feel comfortable in! Wedding days can be lengthy so choose a dress that’s comfy enough to be in all day long. If you’re like me, it must be up to lasting on the dance floor too! Bustles are great for this if your dress is longer.
6. Don’t overlook or overthink it. Once you’ve found the dress you love, stop shopping. Most brides have a few dress doubts, but going to too many other places and trying too many dresses after the big purchase will only confuse you!
7. Make a day (or two) of it. The lead up to your wedding should be exciting and fun. Take your closest girls (or boys if you wish) to look at dresses and enjoy the shopping. Just limit the number of your ‘panel’ and make sure they will give you completely honest opinions and advice. Then afterwards, celebrate with a champagne or beer together – it’s good for you.
8. A quick note for curvy girls like me – do some prior online shopping to find boutiques that stock sizes and styles that will suit your body shape. More bridal salons are realising that brides are not all one size, which is fabulous! Don’t forget that alterations places work wonders and belts and boleros/sleeves can be added to dresses to make them different or suit you better. Alternatively, you can get a beautiful gown made just for you from a talented seamstress.
There are no rules when it comes to finding your wedding dress… So make sure it reflects your personality, looks and feels good and will be flattering on you.
Happy dress shopping!! Abby xx