One of the best parts of wedding planning is finding your wedding dress. Get your bridal party together, pop a bottle of champagne and play dress up for the day. This is the dress you will look at for years later
when reminiscing about your wedding day. You will show your album to your kids and grandkids with
the hopes of still having that same feeling as you had when you first tried it on.
Here are a couple tips to note when you are going shopping for the first time!
1. Always book an appointment. Most places do not allow walk-ins and if they do, it will most likely be a rushed appointment and they will not focus all their attention on you.
2. The ordering time for a wedding dress is usually 6 to 9 months in advance prior to your wedding (keep that in mind when scheduling your appointment). If it is less than 6 months, they may charge a rush fee or either you will have to buy something off the rack. In addition, if you don't want to feel rushed I would suggest to not book an appointment on a weekend. Weekend slots fill up very quickly and they schedule back to back appointments. If you go over your hour time slot, usually they tell you and you will have to book another to try on more. Weekday appointments are more flexible and I find they devote more of their attention to you.
3. In my personal and professional opinion, these appointments are filled with emotions. I would suggest inviting no more than 5 people to your appointment. Invite people that share you vision and that you trust to give constructive criticism, NOT insults. If you invite more, there may be too many opinions which can result in persuasion, manipulation, becoming overwhelmed and flustered. At the end of the day, you are the one wearing the dress and not them. You want to feel the most beautiful you have ever felt and comfortable and you know yourself better than anyone else.
4. Have a budget. There is always a limit. Be realistic and set expectations. Keep in mind alteration costs, additional accessories (veil, belt, jewelry etc.) and taxes. The number on the tag is only the beginning.
5. If you have a lower budget, do not book an appointment at a high end bridal boutique because most likely you will not find anything within your budget (stay within your means). This way you will avoid the issue of potentially falling in love with a dress that is way over your budget but fits you like a glove, which results in you having to walk away extremely disappointed, or making a huge dent in your credit card.
6. Do not try on more than 50 dresses. If you surpass this amount, you may get overwhelmed and lose your vision of how you want to look on your wedding day. There is such thing as "overshopping" - sooner or later, all dresses begin to look the same, you would feel quite confused and won't remember the ones you loved or just liked.
Now some tips on finding a dress according to a couple different parameters...
How you want to look on the wedding day may reflect the theme of the event. This is the most important part to keep in mind when trying on dresses. Dont sway away from your vision. With your vision comes the components of the dress (please read ahead).
Rustic Wedding: Something vintage or woodland like - ex. lace, tulle and pearl beading
Elegant Wedding: Something timeless - ex. simple patterns (or no patterns), off-the-shoulder, long sleeves
Fairytale Wedding: Something princess like - ex. full skirts, sweetheart necklines, tight bodices/corsets
Beach Wedding: Something light and airy - ex. flowy, thin fabrics, minimal beading, loose fit
With your vision in mind, account for your body type. You dress your body every day and know what feels most comfortable and flattering. If you are heavier in the hips or legs and want to hide those then go with a ball gown or an A-line. If you are heavier in the stomach section, I would suggest to not get a dropped waist gown as it accents that area of the body; get something that falls cinches at the waist (this accents the smallest part of your body). If you have a perfect figure, then we are all envious of you (just keep in mind your vision)!
We all know that white represents purity which is why it is a bridal colour. But there are many shades of white (off white, ivory, champagne, antique white, cream, pearl white, diamond white and ghost white - yes, there are THAT many). Keep in mind your skin tone and the delicateness of the dress and details. If you get a ghost white dress, you can play around with different accents (i.e beading, embroidery) etc. or add different shades with your accessories (i.e. belt, necklace, veil). If you have any cultural traditions or are an out of the box bride, white may not be for you. Pick a vibrant colour like red or black that reflections your personality and traditions. Red is the lucky colour of most eastern cultures - particularly South and Southeast Asian - so white may not even be something you consider at all! Blush is also a popular trends these days, as it is an ethereal, romantic alternative to the traditional white.
Some things get passed onto us from family members such as a veil, jewelry, gloves, hair pieces, shoes, or a belt. If you have a family heirloom or a particular accessory you HAVE to wear then make sure the colour of your dress compliments the theme and accessory. If you still haven't gotten the accessory yet but know you absolutely need it to complete the look (i.e. fresh flower crown) keep your vision and silhouette in mind when choosing your perfect dress. Lastly, if your accessories aren't of particular importance to you, find the dress first and accessorize after! It may be a good idea especially if your dress is particularly elaborate (which means you may want to tone down the jewelry a bit) or if it's more simple - for which case you may want to bling it out!
I hope this will help you in with your shopping experience and saying YES to your perfect dress!