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August 8, 2019

Wedding Fashion

Wedding 101: Dress Shopping Tips

Wedding dress shopping isn’t always what you see in the movies or on reality TV. Sometimes it’s downright painful. Too many opinions, cost factors, not finding ‘the one’ – it’s all too real for some brides. We’re here with our best tips on how to make your wedding dress shopping experience the most stress-free as it can be – and the most effective!

Do some research

It always helps to have SOME idea of the type of dress you’re looking for. This is where you can just go down the rabbit hole of wedding-ness: pin all the dress photos on Pinterest, rip out all the pages of those wedding magazines. Study those silhouettes, fabrics and necklines. Figure out which shops have the designers you find yourself leaning towards.

But here’s the catch: don’t be afraid to try something different if it catches your eye or is presented to you in the store by a stylist. You never know what will look just amazing on you (but sometimes a good bridal stylist absolutely will), so remain open to another style of dress than maybe you pictured.

Here’s something important to keep in mind during the research phase: your overall wedding vibe and location. It’s not going to make much sense for you to wear a giant princess ballgown to your casual beach wedding. Your dress should look like it’s appropriate for the setting or it’s going to look very odd.

Shop Strategically

If you remember nothing else from this post, remember this: Don’t bring an entire entourage with you to look for dresses. Yes, it looks fun in movies but in reality it devolves into too many opinions and is actually detrimental to the process. Too many cooks in the kitchen leads to confusion – if you bring 10 people, the odds of all of them liking the same dress as you are very small. Pick 2-3 people at most who you know will make the experience amazing and whose opinions you trust (read: don’t bring those negative friends – you know the ones).

Not all bridal shops are created equal, but here’s a hard and fast rule: yes, you need an appointment. Whether the shop is big or small, you want some confirmed time in the space and with a dedicated stylist to help you.

Down to the Detail

Remember those heirlooms or special pieces! If you already know you will be wearing your grandmother’s pearls or a specific pair of earrings, bring them with you so you can take them into account for the style, neckline, etc. of any potential dresses.

While trying on dresses, have someone take photos of you in each one – both with your hair up and hair down. This will help you later on with your hair and makeup trials, and will be a great help if you have trouble deciding between a few difference choices.

Don’t get bogged down in bridal sizing! it’s really arbitrary, and you’ll most likely get it tailored and altered anyway so who cares. Just tell the stylist your street size for dresses and go from there. Also – don’t fret if there are clips holding up a too-small or too-large sample size on you, this is very common!!

When returning for your fittings – make sure you are taking a trusted friend or family member with you (only one!) who can really be that final sounding board, and also preferably be the one who will be there to help you into the dress and help with the bustle. These are things that are discussed during fittings that maybe you won’t remember because you’re focusing (rightfully) on how the dress fits and looks on you. *Even better: have them take a video of any bustle so it can be referenced on wedding day if need be.

Notes on ‘The One’

As mentioned above. movies and magazines will have you believing that you’ll try on dresses and one of them will magically speak to you and ta-da! That will be ‘the one’! Sometimes this is true, but not always. Sometimes you’ll have to rely on those photos you took and some decisions about budget, style and fit to pick the perfect dress for you. Don’t think something is ‘wrong’ if you don’t magically find ‘the one’ and have to make a thoughtful decision, like you would about anything else in life.

And most important…..make sure with whatever dress you choose, the fit is what you want. Pulling up or messing with your dress 500 times on wedding day does not make for cute photos. Same for tripping on your dress – so ensure you are bringing your wedding shoes to your final fitting.

Photo Credits from top: Sarah Linda Photography, Katie Pritchard Photo, Logan Cole, Mary Costa, Katie Prtchard Photo and Miki + Sonja.

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