Today we’re talking about the most loved and hated part of wedding planning: finding the perfect dress. It’s not always an easy task as we’ve seen on countless reality shows and from even more first-hand accounts, but it can be done with minimal stress.
I’ve watched so many brides struggle through this part of the planning process and I don’t want a single bride to go through that again. So, I’ve compiled a list of tips to help you find the perfect wedding dress with as little stress as possible.
Do some research before you start.
Look into the dress shops in your area. Make sure to look up reviews, ratings, and ask around for the reputation of the shop. You don’t want to get stuck waiting for your dress to arrive because the shop isn’t organized.
You’ll also want to research dress shops in a certain radius from where you are. If you’re close enough to a larger city (a few hour flight or drive) be prepared to make the trek (but don’t expect to find the perfect dress the first time). You might have to make the trip a couple of times to find the right dress.
Find inspiration pictures and bring them to the appointment
It’ll be easier for you to show what you like instead of awkwardly trying to describe necklines with random hand gestures (am I the only one who did that?). The photos can help your stylist find your preferred style, and will give them a jumping-off point when they start pulling dresses.
Keep an open mind
I’ve seen brides swear up and down that they won’t wear [insert dress style here] only to finally try one on and it ends up being the perfect dress for them that they fall in love with instantly.
Give your stylist some guidelines and parameters, but give them the freedom to use their expertise to choose dresses you wouldn’t have normally considered.
Don’t expect to get the shopping done in one day
Many brides leave the house on the morning of dress shopping expecting to come home with a dress that evening. That’s just not how it works. Not only is it incredibly difficult to find the right dress the first day, you’ll need to have the dress tailored to fit your body.
So, don’t procrastinate
I’ll repeat: you’re probably NOT going to find the perfect dress in the absolute perfect size in one day, so do not wait until a month before your wedding to start looking. I’ve seen too many brides make this mistake! You need to start looking for a dress almost immediately after you get engaged. Start planning early!
You’re going to be spending a decent amount of time in your dress so consider your own comfort (and ease of movement) before you make a purchase. If you’re uncomfortable squeezed into a corset standing in the dress shop you’ll be doubly uncomfortable standing in front of hundreds of people, full of nerves, making vows to your soulmate.
Don’t try on dresses that are over your budget
Not even once! It’s so tempting to try on dresses over your price range but it’s just torturing yourself. You’ll no doubt fall in love with the $10,000 dress and be heartbroken when you have to give it back. Tell your stylist your price limit and stay firm.
Consider your friends and family’s opinions, but not too much
It’s fun to get your friends and family together to go dress shopping with you, and it’s important to get second opinions, but don’t give those opinions too much weight. If they all love a dress that you feel uncomfortable in, don’t get it. You won’t love it and it’ll take away some of the enjoyment of your big day.
Be gracious accepting their opinions, but remember that you get to make the ultimate decision.
So there you go, those are my tips for finding the perfect dress. What do you think? Do you have any advice you’d add? How was your dress shopping experience? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
Photography via Katherine Ridgely