Continuing my series of wedding planning posts, no series is complete without a few wedding dress shopping tips. For most brides, this is the best part of wedding planning. How often do you get to try on a range of beautiful dresses and have people gush about how amazing you look? However, when you’ve got a whole array of anxiety and confidence issues, it can be more stressful than enjoyable. So, in the spirit of helping out any anxious brides out there, I’ve put together a list of my 6 top wedding dress shopping tips to help make the whole thing that little bit easier.
1. Have an Idea of What You Want
It’s a good idea to do a bit of research on the style of wedding dress you want. Buy some magazines, or simply take a look at Pinterest. I’m not saying you have to know whether you want a ballgown, a mermaid style or an A-line style (to be honest, I didn’t know what any of these were until I looked them up), but just a few basic preferences will help make the process easier. Literally just a few things like whether you want sleeves, a big poofy dress or something slim and fitting is enough to get you started. In my case, I knew all along that I didn’t want something big and poofy, because it would have looked ridiculous on my small frame, and immediately that whittled things down.
2. Keep Your Budget in Mind
One of the most valuable wedding dress shopping tips I was given is to be mindful of your budget. It sounds obvious, but it’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of the bridal boutique. All good bridal shops should ask you what your budget is at your first appointment, but if they don’t, make it clear what sort of price range you’re working within. The simple reason being is that it’ll stop you falling in love with a dress that’s way out of your budget! What you don’t want to risk is trying on a wedding dress that’s way out of your price range and loving it so much that nothing else compares. I read many times about the Alfred Angelo Disney inspired wedding dress range, but I hadn’t researched the price. I went for my dress appointment declaring my budget between £500-600, but the Disney dresses were at least £1500. I’m a bit of a hypocrite here, because despite my mother’s protests, I was determined to try on the Ariel, Elsa, Rapunzel and Cinderella dresses, which I did. It got down to the Rapunzel dress and the one that I actually went for being my final two, and I thought, realistically, did I want to spend over £1000 on a dress that I’d only wear once, and – knowing my luck – would get dirty by the end of the day? In addition to that, I decided that I preferred the other dress anyway, but I know for a fact that had I adored the Rapunzel dress just that little bit more, I would have gone and bought it anyway. Of course, if you’re not massively restricted on your budget, this won’t be so much of an issue, but it’s so important if you’ve only get a set amount in your dress fund!
3. Don’t Torture Yourself
I was very guilty of this, and I’m still angry at myself for it. Once you’ve found the one, stop looking. If you’re anything like me, you’ll overthink it. That picture you took on your phone? Delete it. Trust me. I spent so much time looking at it and picking apart every single thing about the dress that wasn’t quite right. Within a week I was questioning whether or not I had made the right decision. Every time I saw a dress I liked in a magazine or if I saw pictures of someone else’s wedding on Facebook, the doubt would come flooding back. This carried on for the entire 4 months that I had to wait for my dress to be made. I remember going for my first fitting appointment and I felt physically sick, but thankfully, when I saw how it looked in the mirror, and the look on my Mum’s face, I knew I’d made the right decision. Unfortunately, anxiety got to my wedding photos, which I’ve talked a little about in a previous post, so that feeling didn’t last long. Maybe I’ll talk about it a little more in a future post. However, in the case of 90% of brides to be who’s minds don’t destroy and overthink everything, my advice would be this: trust and remember your gut feeling. If at that exact moment you feel as though the dress is the one, chances are it is. Remember how you felt when you first tried it on, and how you felt when you had your first fitting appointment. Don’t overthink it and stop looking at dresses on Pinterest!
4. Don’t Feel Pressured
It’s important to know that just because you’re trying dresses on at a particular shop, you don’t have to buy it from there. Like any other big purchase, if you’re not 100% sure, it’s perfectly fine to shop around. Don’t feel disheartened if you don’t find your dream dress at your appointment – you can always come back or try a different shop. It’s a big decision – don’t rush into it!
5. Wear the Right Underwear
It may not be the first thing that crosses your mind when it comes to wedding dress shopping, but wearing the right underwear makes all the difference. Obvious advice would be to wear pale coloured underwear – ideally white or ivory – and preferably a strapless bra, and then you’re covered for all eventualities. If you’re not 100% sure of your bra size, it can be a good idea to get measured beforehand so you can not only invest in something good fitting, but you can also get the right size for your bridal underwear. Wearing the right thing doesn’t just extend to your underwear either – wear an outfit you feel comfortable and happy in. Even though you’re not going to be paying attention to the outfit you wear into the shop, if you feel pretty and confident from the get go, you’ll find the whole process a lot easier!
6. Keep it Low Key
While it’s such an exciting time, and you probably want nothing more than to have your mum, your nan, your sisters, your auntie, all 8 of your bridesmaids and your Mum’s friend to come with you to your appointment, it may not be the best idea to bring a whole entourage. While you may think it’s a good idea to get as many opinions as possible, sometimes if there’s a few too many, things will get a bit overwhelming. Not only that, the dress is the big moment of the day – why would you want to show it off to a large portion of your guests before the big day? I took just my Mum and my Mother in Law, mainly because I wanted to keep my dress a surprise for the rest of my guests, and who else better to give an opinion on your wedding dress than your two mamas?
What tips would you give brides to be when it comes to wedding dress shopping? Let me know in the comments!