Updated: Apr 25
Finding your dream dress can be such an overwhelming process. It's hard to know where to begin so let us start here.
Your wedding is in 8-12 months and you know it takes time for a dress to come in. To be exact, a bridal gown takes an average of 6 months for it to arrive once ordered. The hard part is finding your WOW dress. However, you're not sure where to even start your search. The following is a guide to how you can approach shopping for the perfect dress.
“Dress shopping is all about finding the gown that matches your personal style, will wow your guests, flatters your figure, and is just plain fun!"
Step 1: Create a Wedding Dress Board
One of the many ways brides today search for gowns, is through the one and only Pinterest. There are hundreds of beautiful gowns to choose from and Pinterest just helps you find it all in one place. Always begin your search by creating a fun wedding dress board. Think about the vibe of your wedding. Are you going to be indoors or outdoors? in a ballroom, garden, or beach? Will the weather be warm or cold?
These factors might help you determine whether you'll want a dress to be light and flowy, or more grand and regal. Start pinning dresses on your board that match your personal style and will look well with the wedding vibe you have chosen. Once you've pinned a few, take another look at all the choices you have put together and see if you have a common theme going. If you have a common theme, this is great! because it means you're envisioning a pretty specific style that matches your personality. If your board seems to be all over the place, don't fret you are only beginning your journey and you'll need to hone in on the different elements of a dress that will look the best on you for your special day.
Step 2 : Hone in on your silhouette
Dress shopping is all about finding the gown that matches your personal style, will wow your guests, flatters your figure, and is just plain AWESOME!
Everyone's body shape is different. Which means it's important to find the right dress shape or "silhouette" for you. You've created a wedding dress board so it's time to put that board to use. Book your first appointment with a local bridal boutique and show your inspiration board with your stylist. This will really help them understand what your going for in style and feel. for instance you've shown them the following gowns.
The gown to the right is called "Betti" by
the designer Milla Nova. It's in a trumpet silhouette or generally labeled as "fit and flare" with a sheer illusion top and floral applique. These terms will be the language in which you'll hear a lot of as you shop so read up on the different styles before your appointment.
The gown below is called "Rita" also by Milla Nova. This happens to also be in a trumpet silhouette but this time with a quarter sleeve, wide V-neckline and a little bit more of a classic lace pattern.
Your stylist will now understand that you're obviously interested in this designers work and you really love the
trumpet silhouette. First, they may let you know whether they carry this designer, and if not, they will pull or show you options within that silhouette and design for you to try on. If you're board had two or three different looks or silhouettes then that's fine too, this is your time to try them all on to see what looks best.
It is important that you try on the desired silhouette to make sure it suits your body type and it is truly what you envision on your wedding day. Keep an open mind and try on other various silhouettes as well so you can be 100% sure and eliminate options while considering others.
You may have heard this before. That you go in with one idea and come out with a completely different one. This does happen quite often. So try the silhouette you think you truly want then try on other silhouettes to make sure you know what they all look like on your figure. You will start to get a better feel for what you want and don't want.
Step 3 : Use the Process of Elimination
It's funny, because I do approach this topic like a test. Once you start eliminating options you know are a definite NO, you start getting closer to the answer.
If the dress doesn't look good, don't just take it off and move on. Determine "why" you don't like it. Is it the shape? the neckline? fabric? details? etc. You should always be asking yourself what you like and dislike about a gown.
The moment you have the "dream" gown on, you'll feel it. You'll love everything about it. This doesn't always mean you'll be jumping up and down for joy like a crazy woman but you'll definitely feel very beautiful in it and can envision yourself walking down the aisle, doing your first look, or having a grand old time at your reception.
So, you've tried on a trumpet style and you found out you don't like the silhouette on your body at all! You can now eliminate that silhouette from your options. This doesn't mean that your board is now invalid it just means you'll need to start redirecting your style to the shape you do indeed fall in love with. So if you end up trying on an A-line, and that is the shape you are most in tune with, then go ahead and create another board from scratch. Nothing is set in stone and to be honest, you know pinning is fun, so just do it again.
As you try on more A-lines you should ask yourself what you like and dislike about each A-line. Start eliminating necklines, back necklines, lace patterns, beadwork, etc. until you've found the perfect combination of what you do indeed really like.
This process can happen as quickly as the first appointment, or could take up to 3 or 4 appointments. Regardless it's about finding the perfect gown for YOU.
This is also a great segway into purchasing online. The best way to shop online for designer dresses that are preowned, overstock, discontinued,etc. is by knowing what looks amazing on you.
Once you're ready to purchase in store, begin to ask your stylist about the following questions before finalizing:
1. How much of a deposit do I need to put down?
2. How long is the production time for my dress?
3. On average how long will it take for alterations?
4. On average what do alterations cost, is it included?
5. Are alterations done in house or somewhere else?
6. Should I choose my veil now or later?
7. Is the hem line going to come in my height or will I need to take care of that during alterations?
YOU'VE NOW SAID YES TO YOUR DRESS!!!
Now it's time to continue planning your wedding.