How to Shop for a Wedding Dress

You may absolutely love a dress on a 6ft something model who has been photoshopped beyond recognition, however how it looks on you and its practicality is a whole new story. You need a wedding dress that will take everyone’s breath away, for the right reason. Now that you’ve found the one to marry, finding a dress will be easy if you follow these simple rules!

Start shopping early
Not that you need an excuse, but you should start dress shopping a good eight to ten months before the wedding. It can take a few months to find the dream gown then several more for the dress to be made and fittings. Give yourself plenty of time and keep in mind that the sooner you start looking, the less likely you will feel rushed into making a quick and usually regretful decision.

Figure out your budget
Even though you might want to jump straight into trying dresses, its important to establish a rough budget first. Trust me – you’re better off not trying dresses that are outside your price range. Also, be sure to remember that within your wedding dress budget, you need to consider the costs of alterations, your veil, headpiece, shoes, lingerie, jewelry and everything else that is needed to finish the look.

Determine the dress code
A massive ball gown is not going to go down well in the middle of summer at a beach wedding, so save it for a hotel ballroom wedding. Keep in mind practicalities when choosing your dress, for example if you’re having a garden wedding you might want to minimize the train to avoid you dragging along leaves for half the day. Another important thing to consider that many people to forget are religious restrictions. If you are getting married in a Church or other place of worship, check with your ceremony officiant as to whether there are any guidelines on what is appropriate – you may need to cover your shoulders or skip that plunging neckline.

Know your go-to style
Go into your appointments with a vision of your style. Do you want to be romantic, vintage, sexy, classic, elegant or glamorous? Knowing which look describes your wedding will make both your job and the styling assistants role so much easier.

Book Appointments
Scheduling an appointment is often the only way to ensure you will have a full hour of undivided attention from a stylist, and many boutiques will only see you if you have an appointment.

Shop at off-peak times
When booking your appointment, keep in mind that weekends and evenings can get extremely busy! Shopping during the week means you will have the staffs undivided attention and be able to sample a wider selection of dresses.

Be open-minded
When your stylist brings a gown to you and insists you must try it – try it. Don’t eliminate anything at first glance, even if you don’t love the way it looks on the hanger, on your body it could be a whole new story!

Shop with a supportive entourage
In saying this don’t bring every member of the bridal party! Limit your shopping partners to one or two of your closest friends and your mum, these will be the best in helping you start your search. Any more you WILL have clashing ideas and you WILL be pressured by others’ opinions! Consider taking a solo trip to a bridal salon first to form your own opinion about what you like, and save bringing the entire entourage when you have a more clear understanding so you can’t be swayed from what you truly want.

Buy a dress that fits now
Even if you’re on a radical bootcamp plan and swapping those sneaky cookies for carrots, your body type isn’t going to completely change. You want a dress that fits your body the way it is now, it is a lot easier, not to mention cheaper, to have a dress taken in then let out. On average dress can be taken in up to three sizes easy, so don’t get too fussed about thoe extra 5 kilos.

Sleep on it
Even if you fall in love with it, don’t buy it that very second! Give yourself a chance to look at a few more dresses before you make the big commitment. Take a day or two to make absolutely sure its “the one”. You’d rather be certain then be regretting it for years to come.

Trust your instincts
If you have to be reassured that the dress looks great on you, its probably not “the one”. If you can’t see yourself walking down the aisle in this gown, take it off and move on. In saying that, don’t be expecting fireworks and tears when you finally find it. Some people have that emotional reaction, some don’t. You know yourself more then anyone so trust your own reactions.

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