For most women, choosing the perfect wedding dress is one of the biggest headaches ever. You try dozens of gowns on and end up not sure if every next dress is better than the previous one, if this particular style suits you more, or if you should just have a break and start the whole process from the beginning. It is very important to plan your shopping ahead and use the experience of other brides-to-be that succeeded before you. That’s why we offer you these pieces of advice and useful tricks. We hope they’ll help you to choose the most magnificent and breathtaking dress for your big day.
Hello. I'm Holly, and today I'm going to tell you all about my experience finding the one. In this case, the wedding dress.
So honestly, I thought it was going to be super hard for me to choose the right style, just because when I was little I would look through all those bridal magazines, and I liked everything, every single style. I was like, oh, wait that one's better than the last one. I love tulle, I love lace, I love the princess cut, the mermaid cut, long-sleeved, short-sleeved, strapless, you name it, I was into it. But surprisingly enough, it was super clear to me which dresses weren't for me and which dress was the one.
1. Get an idea of what you want
So my first bit of advice for you would be to get a good idea of what styles you like, at least on models – it's going to be different when you put them on yourself. But definitely do your fair share of flipping through magazines, looking at wedding blogs, Pinterest, etc.
After clicking around for quite a bit, I realized that I love Pronovias dresses, even though they're a little on the pricey side. I definitely wanted them sort of as an inspiration for when I went shopping for my actual dress.
I ended up downloading the app, and they allow you to save your favorite looks into “my dressing room”, and if you go through them, you start noticing quite a trend, quite a pattern.
2. Take note of your favorite styles
The dresses I chose have lots and lots of lace. No real embellishments other than the lace. Some beautiful tulle is always a key factor. And definitely, I love both the princess cut and the mermaid cut.
3. Take your location into account
Obviously, when you're thinking about what kind of gown you want, you're going to think about where you're going to actually be getting married. In our case, it's going to be on the beach.
This should play an important role but at the same time, your dress is your dress. So if you want to be a princess on the beach, you go ahead and do that.
4. Choose a good local boutique
My next bit of advice would be to choose a good shop, preferably near your house or somewhere in the vicinity that you can drive to.
5. Do not buy a wedding dress online
I do not think it's a good idea ever to buy a wedding dress online.
I thought about it for a second because it was going to save thousands and thousands of dollars. But I probably saved thousands and thousands of tears not doing so.
I don't even know how legit those sites are anyway. I think it was some Chinese site, and I've heard horror stories about the dresses coming out terribly.
So, yes, you want to get yourself to a good shop. Find a place that carries some of the designers that you like.
6. Pay attention to reviews
Definitely check out Yelp for reviews to see if the customer service is up to par if it's a place you'd like to spend time in.
I think being able to see reviews by people we don't even know, is amazing and it's something that we didn't have 20 years back. And it should help us give business to the businesses that deserve it.
Anyway, through Yelp, I found several places that carried some of the designers I wanted to check out and through the reviews, I was able to narrow it down to one store.
7. Invite your friends/family
Most of these places are by appointment only, so make sure that you do that and try to get a few girlfriends or family members to come along with you. I think that's super key because not only do you want a second opinion, this is all about the experience.
This is something that you're going to do once in a lifetime, and you want your friends there with you.
8. Wear your hair how you’re planning to wear it on big day
A few tips for the day of: wear your hair the way that you're planning on wearing it at the wedding, just so that you can get the general feel of how you're going to look.
9. Wear comparable heels
If you're going to be wearing heels, you might want to consider wearing heels that are about the same height.
Although, you'll go through all of that when you end up doing the alterations, which is further on down the road.
10. Get dolled up
You might want to get dolled up with your makeup so that it's even more true to life.
11. Share your vision with pictures
And once you get to the store, help the attendant help you. Give them as much information as you can about what you're looking for, the context of your wedding, how you envision yourself, what textures you like. Just any information that can help them pick out the best selection for you to try on.
It's kind of like when you go for a hair appointment. One thing is saying “chop my hair up and dye it red” and another thing is showing them two, three, four, or five pictures of exactly how you want it to look in the end.
12. Try dresses you wouldn’t have chosen
Next, you're going to wander through the store with your friends, picking out random dresses that catch your eye.
Invite them to pick one or two that they'd love to see you try on as well if you want.
The attendant usually will also pick a few dresses for you. Definitely try them all on, and here's why.
For some reason, I was super anti strapless. I told the attendant, I don't want to look sexy, I want to look pretty. And in my mind at that moment for some weird reason, that meant I need straps or sleeves.
So when she brought in a dress that was outside of the parameters that I had given her, I didn't even want to try it, even though I thought it was absolutely gorgeous. Just because I was scared it would look too sexy.
Well, guess what? That's the dress that I ended up falling in love with!
So, yeah. Go outside the little box that you've constructed for yourself and you might be surprised.
As far as my experience, I went to this store, probably, two weeks after I got engaged – just to get my feet wet, just to see what was out there, and how dresses looked on me, since it's something that I had never really done.
And as I was trying on the dresses, I was like, okay, this looks nice on me, this is cool. Some of them were like, okay, that's me and a white dress, whatever. But when I tried on the dress that I ended up buying, my entire face lit up. I'm not even joking.
And when I walked out of the dressing room, I could swear there was a collective gasp. I'm not trying to say like, oh, I looked so amazing, I took their breath away. But I really feel like this dress was made for me.
My friends were super sweet. It was their favorite as soon as they saw it on me. But they didn't tell me that until I had told them that I had chosen it. I remember my friend Kristen letting out a sigh of relief and saying, “I really wanted to tell you that that was the one, but I wanted you to choose it first”.
They were so sweet, even the attendant. Both of them are copywriters and every time I come out of the dressing room with a new dress on, they would describe it perfectly. I remember at one point them being like, see, that one's more of a ceremony, but that other one is more of a celebration. I ended up going with the celebration.
13. Tack $1,000 on to the price tag
All in all, when you're budgeting, I think it's important to not just look at the price tag but to also add on maybe a thousand more dollars. That's what I ended up paying – just for alterations, taxes, and the veil.
Oh my goodness, the veil! When I was about 70% sure that I wanted my dress, she put the veil on me, and it was done. It was over.
The whole process of choosing my wedding dress took me about an hour. And I know it doesn't happen that quickly for everyone. But just know that when you find it, you'll know it.