These expert-shopping tips will help you find "The One" for your big day.
Whether you've been dreaming of your wedding dress since you were five and know the exact specifications you want for it down to the last sequin, or you've never thought about it until your future spouse's mother nagged, "You still haven't gotten your gown?" — we've got you covered on how to choose a wedding dress.
Finding your dream gown can be stressful. After all, you've likely never even tried one on before, and it's the most expensive garment many women will ever own, so it can feel like the pressure is definitely on. Plus, your dress sets the tone for the wedding as a whole, whether it's a grand ballroom affair or a casual beach bash. It may also feel like there's a whole new language to decode — tulle, A-line, fit and flare, organza, sheath. Plus, more brides than ever are doing multiple dresses, a more formal one for the ceremony and a party-centric (danceable or more blingy and outrageous) one for the reception, which can double the task of shopping.
With all eyes on you, not to mention photos you'll keep forever, of course you want to look perfect on your big day. But what does perfect mean to you? For some brides, a dream dress is a regal ballgown fit for a princess. For others, a dream look is a sexy, va-va-voom sheath gown that makes everyone appreciate her curves; to other brides, the best dress is one that allows her enough movement to be able to re-enact the choreography from "Thriller" on the dance floor.
The choices can seem overwhelming for sure. No matter your budget, your personal style, or your timeline, check out our wedding dress shopping tips for finding the gown of your dreams — the one you'll love today, on the big day, and in 30 years from now when you look back at your wedding photos.
1. Do Research to Find What You Like
Rip pages out of magazines, click through bridal boutiques online, explore on Pinterest, and check out what celebrity brides are wearing to compile a visual file of your favorite dresses. Then look for a connecting theme — are they all very embellished? Lacy? Voluminous? Have open backs? Find a couple commonalities of styles you like and bring your ideas to your first appointment.
2. Be Open
Bridal consultants will tell you that they constantly see women come in with a set idea of what they want for a gown, then try it on and don't actually love it — and instead, fall for something completely different that they'd never considered. Keep an open mind to finding a dream dress that you didn't know would be your dream dress.
3. Brace Yourself for Bridal Sizing
Bridal sizing means your gown's number will often be one to two sizes higher than for your regular clothes. Even if going bigger sounds horrifying, remember that no one will know the number but you and your consultant.