White satin, ivory taffeta, layers upon layers of tulle, plunging necklines and statement sleeves. You’re not planning a wedding until you’ve gone to bed dreaming about all of these iconic gown features and letting them completely take over your life.
Going wedding dress shopping has to be one of the most exciting moments during the wedding process, but it can very easily become super stressful. Avoid ruining such an iconic moment by preparing ahead and prepping for all of the common mistakes brides make when looking for their dream gowns.
Among all the hustle and bustle of wedding planning, one of the first things you need to do is plan out the perfect time to go wedding dress shopping. It’s super important to get the timing right; not too soon, and not too late.
If you start shopping too soon, you run the risk of changing your mind closer to the date, which would have a world of problems on its own. It’d be a horrible thing for you to spend time and money on a dress which, by the time the next season of dresses rolls out, you realise isn’t actually your style, or that you much prefer the look of a different dress.
On the other hand, shopping too late will mean you’ll be rushed to make a decision and there won’t be enough room for the dress to be made or to make any last minute alterations. Also, the later you leave it, the more likely it is that you’ll be charged more for it.
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Before you hit the shops, consider what your budget is going to be. On average, brides are spending an approximate $5,180, so first figure out where you sit with such numbers. Once you’ve sorted that out, let your consultant know, and then make sure you’re not looking at dresses that punch above your limit. There’s honestly nothing worse than finding a dress you love, trying it on and finding out that you look killer in it, and then realising you can’t even afford it.
It’s also important to be honest with yourself when figuring out the specific amount. Don’t lie to yourself and pretend you can afford a $6,000+ dress, when in reality $2,000 sounds more fitting. Whether it be pressure to go big, or because you think a larger price tag equals a nicer dress, be realistic and remember, you can find The One at any price tag.
So save yourself the heartbreak, and budget your way through your wedding dress shopping.
Another thing you need to do before going shopping for your gown is to do your research first. There’s a lot of terms that can be thrown around when in the world of wedding dresses, and if your consultant is suggesting changing the bodice so you have more of a sweetheart neckline and nothing is making sense, it can get pretty stressful. You definitely do not want to end up agreeing to a dress that looks nothing like you imagined, or not knowing how to communicate to the consultant, so sit down, grab a pen and paper, and get to researching.
4. Have An Open Mind
If you’re like us and you’ve been planning your wedding from the tender age of 16, then you know exactly what your dream dress is going to look like. Now while that’s all nice and dandy, do make sure that you’re not completely glued to the idea.
It’s great to have a plan, but be open-minded. Don’t rush into a boutique, grab the first dress that fits the image in your mind, and then refuse to try on anything else that someone recommends. Often, what we love might not actually look that great on us, and might not suit our body type. Be ready to accept another opinion, and branch out from what you think is best for you. You might just be surprised.
5. Don’t Knock It Till You Try It
Keeping in line with having an open mind, don’t go around judging a dress while it’s still sitting on a hanger. They almost never look good just hanging there, and you need to try it on first. A dress might not look amazing while on the rack, but then fit your body so perfectly once you’ve tried it on. You’ll be surprised with what you might find when you stay open-minded and try different things that you might not usually go for.
As they say, don’t knock it ’till you try it!
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OK, now this is an important one, because we’re all guilty here. It can be VERY tempting to shop for a dress or outfit in a size that you hope you’ll be, come the special occasion. We’ve all fallen victim to the craze that is last-minute dieting to look a certain way, and we’ll all continue to be doing it in the future.
Yes, you could very well reach the size you aimed for, but why take chances on a dress that wasn’t exactly cheap to make? It’s a lot easier to make a dress smaller than it is to make it bigger.
Play it super safe and shop for your current body, not your future one.
7. Be Selective With Who You Bring
While it sounds great in theory to bring along all of your girlfriends, your mother-in-law, and every second person you know to your dress fitting, please don’t. The attention might be great, and having everyone ooh and aah and tear up at the sight of you, it’s best to just save that for the big day.
The more people you have, the more opinions you’ll be hearing. There’s nothing worse than trying on a dress and having 5 different people telling you different things about it, especially if you love it. Everyone has different tastes and your best options are to avoid anyone who is too different to you, or who won’t give you an honest opinion.
So instead of taking your whole village to the tiny boutique store, take someone you trust, someone who has your best interests at heart (say no to jealous bridesmaids) and someone who isn’t afraid to yell out, nicely, that the dress isn’t very flattering.
8. Be Prepared To Bear All
You’re going to be trying on a number of different dresses, some with way too much poof for one person to handle, with intricate beading or even with a tricky button up. You’re going to need help putting them on, and chances are the consultant is going to be the one to do that. They do, after all, know how to handle the dresses with the best care.
So be prepared to have a stranger see it all. This might be a bit uncomfortable for some, but it’s just something you’ve got to do. Don’t worry too much over it as the consultant has seen so many different women in all shapes and sizes, so you won’t be her first.
If you’re the type to stress over someone seeing your unshaven legs, be warned. Shave all, avoid your granny panties or that bra with the funny stain and unravelling thread, and get ready to get pretty intimate.
9. Bring Your Shoes
Once you have your shoes picked out, bring them in, or a pair with the same height, to your fitting. This will help the seamstress figure out if your hem will need to be shortened as the heels serve as the perfect guiding point to how tall you’ll stand on your wedding day. This point might not matter as much depending on what dress you choose, but if it’s already sitting on an exact floor length, and you know that it won’t look right lifted, then bringing in your shoes is a must for you.
Written by Hanan Merheb
Cover photo by @lovellabridal