It’s THE most important dress that you will ever buy. Its something that you have thought about a million and one times since you were a little girl, you know the exact shape, size and design and have said many times “when I get married my dress will be …….” Or you may have never ever thought about buying the dress but when it’s actually time to shop for that all important dress, where do you start ? 

Finding “The One” wedding dress can be as stressful as finding “The One” true love. It can be one of the most expensive items to buy for a wedding and it is usually something that you have actually never even tried on before. 

To make matters harder Brides in 2019 are often also opting for more than one bridal gown, so never mind finding one dream gown, some brides have to find two or more! One for the ceremony, one for the reception and one for the evening entertainment. Phew that’s a lot of lace, tulle, organza and sweetheart necklines to think about and look through. it’s no surprise that it can be quite daunting even thinking about starting the process.

Wedding dress shopping can feel stressful and aggressive as you search, sometimes feeling hopelessly, for the dream dress. The fun and romance of finding the gown can feel like its lost and not what it was meant to feel like. To avoid this feeling it can help to feel focused at the bridal appointments and be politely assertive. The appointment should not be rushed and you should have the time to explore different options finding out what suits your body style. The experience should be fun and memorable from start to finish.

It will help to have done a little research before your bridal appointment. There are many social media outlets now to search through and this itself can become overwhelming. However, it may help to stick to just a few such as Pinterest or Instagram and save the style of dresses you like. Rip out photos magazines as you see them, check out which bridal designers the latest celebrities are wearing. When you view them back you will start to see a picture of the styles and designers that you are most drawn to, are they open back, are they fitted, are they ballgowns?? Take these with you to the bridal appointment or send them in to the bridal consultant beforehand so they have a clear idea of what dresses you are most likely to want to try. Try to narrow your search of designers down to one or two and approach the bridal boutique that stocks this designers collection. That way you are sure to be able to try on some of the gowns you may have fallen in love with online.

Be open to new ideas and new styles. Many times, brides have walked away and said “I never thought I would wear that”. 

Vera Wang said it best “just go and try things on…. Things you may think I would never wear that. Give yourself that freedom” Bridal gowns are a completely different style of dress, one that you are most likely never to have tried on before. Allow the bridal consultant to show you other styles and dresses that they think would flatter and suit you. Even the most beautiful of gowns can look mediocre on a dress hanger but once that dress is put on it transforms into the most stunning gown.  

Definitely don’t go it alone when bridal shopping. However, taking many people with you to the bridal appointment can cause confusion, stress and you are likely to be influenced by other peoples tastes. What one person would choose for a bridal gown could be significantly different to your own individual style and taste. Its great to have that all important second opinion, to see your mum’s eyes well up when the curtains are pulled back and you stand there in your dream gown but its your day and your dream dress. Having a large group with you is likely to create anxiety and feeling overwhelmed by choice, save some of those wow moments from your guests for the big day itself. 

When you have found “the One” stop looking! Put away the photos of dresses take yourself off the mailing lists for designer days and trunk shows and move onto the next stage of planning your wedding. If you continue to try on gown after gown you are likely to confuse yourself. There will always be other dresses out there but resist the urge to look and continue to browse. 

Be realistic in your goals. If you plan to lose weight before your wedding order your wedding dress in your current size. Do not order a wedding dress in your dream weight size. Its easier to take in a dress if you do lose weight than trying to work with a dress that it too small. 

Bridal sizes are different. Wedding gowns vary in size just as any dress does. They also vary depending on the designer. Take advise from the bridal consultant regarding sizes and don’t just order a dress in your usual size because that’s always your size. Bridal gowns can be one or even two sizes bigger than your usual size. Ordering a larger size can seem a little horrifying but remember that none knows the size of your wedding gown but you and your consultant, it doesn’t matter, what matters is that you look amazing in your bridal gown.

Don’t leave it too late. Bridal gowns take on average around 14 – 16 weeks to order and arrive. Following this alterations are likely to be required. As such make sure that you have sufficient time for your dress to be order, made and altered. 

Be realistic regarding your budget. Decide on a budget before you go bridal shopping and stick to it. Don’t try dresses on that are over your budget. It is uncomfortable to discuss numbers but its necessary. Decide who is paying for your bridal gown in advance and discuss the budget with them if someone else is paying for your gown it will avoid any awkward uncomfortable discussions later. 

Decide on the theme of your wedding before you purchase your bridal gown. In many weddings the bridal gown also sets the theme and tone for the wedding. It will focus you to stick to certain styles which will help you choose a bridal gown and will allow your wedding gown to tie in beautifully to your theme. For example if your having a beach wedding some opt for a loose more bohemian style rather than a ballgown for example 

Find a bridal boutique that’s worth your time and money. Do your research beforehand, does that boutique stock the designers that you actually like, do they stock the style of dresses you like, are they close enough for you to get to if you need to make several trips to the boutique, do they have good customer reviews. Don’t waste time going to a store that doesn’t stock the style of dresses or designers that you like you will come away disappointed.