Lots of us dream of our wedding day: serenely walking down the aisle in the most gorgeous dress, while the man or woman of your dreams is fighting back tears because of how breathtaking you look. But these fairytale ideas can mean that the pressure is on when it comes to choosing a wedding dress, as we all want to get *that* feeling when finding “the one”.
If you’ve recently gotten engaged (in which case, congratulations!), and you’re wondering how to pick a wedding dress, then you’ve come to the right place! Our top 10 tips will hopefully prepare you for finding your dream dress, as well as having lots of fun along the way!
1. Do your research beforehand
Whether or not you’re already confident you want a puffy princess dress, or a sleek, mermaid chic look, it’s always worth doing your research before you start trying on dresses.
Create your own bridal board on Pinterest where you can save your favourite looks, or if you want to do it old school, buy a bunch of bridal magazines and start your own scrapbook.
The silhouette is the most important thing to determine early on, but there are so many other things to consider too: do you want a lot of lace, or a classic satin number? Do you want a long train, a daring backless look, or a chic Bardot off-the-shoulder? Of course, you don’t need to know exactly what you want, but the clearer idea you have, the more focused you can be in your dress search!
2. Book appointments at your chosen boutiques
It’s very unlikely you’ll be able to walk into a bridal store and start browsing, so look around to see which stores have good reviews, and which stock your favourite designers, and then you can call to book an appointment.
Book a few different consultations for one day, where you can spend a couple of hours with a consultant, who can help you choose a wedding dress that’s perfect for you.
When it comes to deciding who to bring with you, whilst you might have a lot of bridesmaids, it’s usually better if your dress search is a more intimate affair. Narrow down your crew to two or three trusted people whose opinions you value, and you know will be honest with you (without being domineering!); and make a day of it! Think girly drinks, brunch, and a few different consultations to keep you all enjoying the day, without feeling overwhelmed with what feels like constantly trying on more dresses.
3. Determine your budget
Sadly, whilst this isn’t the most exciting part of picking a wedding dress, it’s something that you’ll need to determine early on, to stop yourself from being heartbroken later on down the line.
Work out your budget so you know exactly how much you can afford on a wedding dress, in addition to any extras (think a veil if you want one, jewellery, and shoes). You might even want to factor in the cleaning and preservation of your dress after, too, and any extra embellishments you choose to add, as that can be very pricey.
The last thing you want to do at your fitting is torture yourself and try on your dream dress that’s way out of your budget.
If you want something cheaper and you’re a sample size (UK 8-10), then you can hit sample sales! Bear in mind that designs will be last season’s stock, but you could bag yourself an amazing deal – and a great dress too!
4. Give yourself plenty of time
Wedding dresses can take months to make. Unless you’re buying a sample size, it’s not as straightforward as simply choosing a dress and being done with it. There will be a couple of rounds of alterations and fittings you’ll need to attend, so it’s best to start the process of wedding dress shopping 9 months to a year in advance of the big day.
That being said, if you have a long engagement, we wouldn’t recommend choosing a wedding dress any more than a year in advance, in case you get bored of it before your big day!
5. Go to your appointment with an open mind
So we know we mentioned that you should start doing your research before you attend your appointments, but that doesn’t mean you should *only* try on dresses that fit your exact requirements. Remember that bridal consultants are experts, and they’ll likely know styles that will suit you, without you even realising.
A lot of brides try on what they think will be their perfect dress, only to feel completely underwhelmed, so be open to trying on dresses that you wouldn’t consider, as it will ultimately help you to find your dream one!
Also, don’t think you have to get white (after all, not everyone suits it!). A feminine ivory or a soft blush could actually complement your skin tone way more, so the key to choosing a wedding dress is to be open to new ideas!
6. Don’t take bridal sizes to heart
Wedding dress sizes run very small, which means that if you normally wear a UK size 8, your dress will likely be a size 10-12. Whilst going a size or two bigger sounds scary, please don’t worry about it when picking a wedding dress, as it’s not a true reflection of your size – and at the end of the day, no one other than you is going to know what size your dress is.
The other thing to note is that whilst most wedding dresses that you can try on in-store run to a larger size, this isn’t always the case. So, if you’re plus-sized, it’s worth calling the boutique in advance to make sure you’re not limited in what you can try on.
7. Bring the right underwear
If you’re trying on strapless ivory gowns, the last thing you want is your black bra straps poking out the top! We’d recommend wearing nude underwear and a strapless bra to your consultations, so you can better see how each dress will look on you.
When it comes to choosing a wedding dress, we’d also recommend bringing your own heels to try on, as opposed to wearing the same stock heels that every other bride-to-be has stuck their sweaty feet in!
8. Wear your hair and makeup like you want it on the big day
Let’s be realistic: you don’t want to attend your appointment with no makeup on, and greasy hair. Apply your makeup how you think you’d like it for your wedding, and the same goes for your hair – do you want it up or down?
This means you’ll be able to get an accurate representation of the dress, and you’ll be able to see how it will look on the big day.
9. Make sure you can move in your dress!
Yes, the dress has to be beautiful, but it has to be comfortable too! Before you say yes to the dress, see if you can move around in it, and if you can sit down comfortably. After all, the last thing you want to feel on your wedding day is restricted, so it’s important you consider that when choosing your dream wedding dress.
10. Be prepared to try on lots of dresses
Some brides will get lucky and find their perfect dress quickly, but unfortunately, that doesn’t often happen. If you’re wondering how to choose your wedding dress when you feel like you just can’t find “the one”, then try not to be too frustrated. It might be that you need to plan in a few more days of fittings.
At the end of the day, it’s one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make, so you’ll want to make sure that you find your perfect dress – just keep an open mind, be patient, and you’ll get there!
That being said, don’t make any snap decisions. If you feel like you’re being pressured into making a choice, then sleep on it, and you should have more clarity in the morning.
And if you really love the dress you’ve tried on, but you don’t feel like you’re overcome with happy tears, then don’t worry – not every bride has to have *that* feeling!
Hopefully, you’re now armed with everything you need to know to choose the wedding dress of your dreams! So, start researching, pick your posse, book yourself in for some consultations, and get ready for a day of trying on the most amazing dresses!
And if it’s not your big day quite yet but you’ve got another wedding coming up soon, you should definitely browse our range of funny, sweet, and romantic wedding cards.
Alternatively, if you’re after more wedding-related content, you’ve come to the right place! From choosing a wedding colour scheme, to picking your ultimate hen do destination, we’ve got you covered – just head on over to our blog.