Choosing your wedding dress

I can read your mind already 


You're excited but nervous, questioning yourself on how you will you know if you find the right shape, fabric and fit.  What if the ones you have filling your Pinterest board, you hate in person, where will you go from there? How do you commit to purchasing without visiting every bridal store in your city so you don't end up with fomo, who do you invite to be in your bridal fitting entourage, is it ok for your future mum-in-law to come along....aarrgghh the questions are endless.


Firstly BREATHE, it is going to be ok, I've got you covered!


Let me start breaking it down for you and give you my top tips to successful wedding dress shopping before allowing yourself to get overwhelmed.

Choosing your wedding dress is the biggest piece of your puzzle to get right, we know this already which is why you are feeling the pressure of this monumentous event, so let's move on from this quickly and look at some facts.

There are 7 common silhouettes in bridal; Ballgown, A-Line, Sheath, Mermaid, Fit & Flare, Empire and T-Length so this is all you will get to try on, no matter how many stores you visit, these are the only shapes out there. They can be referred to as different things but they are the same silhouettes i.e fishtail/mermaid...same thing, sheath/column...same thing, you get the idea.

It's pretty easy to initially rule our certain silhouettes based on your general likes and dislikes, and ladies I have to tell you the word YOUR is the most important word when you are finding your dress and don't let anyone try to dissuade you otherwise.  

As ladies most of us have elements of our bodies we generally want to reveal or conceal and this is a good place to start when considering what wedding dress you want to wear on your big day.

From experience these are commonly (not always) concealing tops of arms and tummy area and to reveal the la la's and the booty! 

Narrowing down the silhouettes (notice it's plural) you love is key, and I am here to tell you ladies that you can only truly do this through trying them on.  Keep an open mind, the amount of brides who have told me over the years they hate a certain silhouette and have ruled it out in all appointments until trying on with me and end up walking away with the very thing they have ruled out, happens more often than not.

This isn't because I'm superhuman, it's purely because I give you the confidence to be experimental, especially if you've tried the same silhouette for multiple appointments and are still getting no-where, the chances are you just need a confidence boost to give something else a go!

Don't get me wrong ladies, this isn't me pushing you into silhouettes that push your comfort limits, this is me saying be open minded to other silhouettes that you have initially ruled out, no harm can come to you from trying on a dress. 

How many times do you see an outfit online and love it, order it then send it back because you hate it on you?  This is the way of the world in fashion, you can never tell what something is really like until it is on YOUR body, we all carry curves in different ways and each dress will hug your body differently, it is a very rare specimen of woman who suits everything, that's why there is so much choice out there!

So the TOP TIP is simple here ladies, ALWAYS KEEP AN OPEN MIND


The biggest thing that differs in wedding dresses is the fabric and detailing, such as lace and beadwork along with obvious things like neckline, straps, strapless, sleeves etc...

Top Tip; when you first try on, pick no more than 4- 6 dresses (you'll get overwhelmed after 6) make sure each of your initial picks have a range of silhouettes that you are confident enough to give a go and remember if you hate it on you, then you are not obliged to show your entourage. 

Make sure each dress then has different elements i.e one with sleeves, one with straps, one strapless, one lace, one plain, one with a sweetheart neckline, one v neck and so on... if you can do this within your first 4-6 dresses you will give yourself and your consultant the best shot of finding your dream dress. 


TOP TIP When you actually have each dress on, instead of dismissing it because you 'hate the sleeves', search for any elements you do like, it could be a really nice neckline on you or the fit on your waist is insane and is really cinching you in.  Honesty is always key here ladies, I am yet to meet a consultant that is insulted by you not liking something, there's so many options, it is all about finding YOUR dress.

Your consultant picking your 'wild card' and you loving it, isn't them having an all seeing eye, it should be them listening to your likes and dislikes as you work through your initial picks and then going to find a dress that has all of YOUR likes and none of your dislikes.

Can we discuss dress sizes...

Be warned ladies in bridal you will be going up in size to what you wear in high street sizes. What size jeans you wear is the best gauge for you to give your consultant, as we know, sizes vary from shop to shop but your jean size is a great gauge for us.  When you start trying on you will find you are going up in size.  This can, and will vary from 1 to 4 sizes, yes it can be that big a jump up!  

This isn't because the coffee and cake you stopped off for has added 2 dress sizes to you in the last hour, it's just bridal!  Bridal is structured differently to any other dress you have tried on, it has boning and multiple layers which take up precious space on your body, then we have to factor in your 'blessings' some ladies are blessed more than others in certain areas, in bridal, to accommodate this we have to go up in size as there is no stretch in bridal fabrics. 

Trust me ladies you won't be the first bride to take exception to fact we are sizing you up in gowns, it's not our choice, it's something we have to do for your comfort on the day.  Comfort is no.1 in my book, don't be shy of upsizing if it means your la la's aren't spilling out in front of the vicar as you say your 'I-DO's'.

Hopefully after reading my blog, you will now be expecting to upsize and know that it is PERFECTLY NORMAL in the wonderful world of wedding dresses, this is why brides find it so hard to order that bargain dress they have seen online, then wonder why it doesn't fit them, each dress will fit differently and have a different size gauge based on it's fabric, structure, design and your own body shape.


Let's take a look at your entourage and who should be included in it.

This is a really easy one to answer, anyone YOU like.  There really is no right or wrong here, your bridal store may limit your numbers due to space and many won't allow children or gents into the fitting rooms, so always check this out ahead of your visit as you're probably not the only bride in for a fitting that day. 

As a bridal professional, I've seen brides bring their mum-in-law, fiancée, man of honour, work mates and so really is just who you want there. 

TOP TIP Most stores will advise best practice is to stick to no more than 3 people in your entourage, and I'd support this.


A large group sounds like lots of fun right? Sometimes it is, however sadly this isn't always the case.  Time and time again I have seen that, the more, is not always the merrier when it comes to the success of finding your dress.  I have seen so many brides come through my doors completely overwhelmed by not only the amount of dresses they have managed to try on in one day but by their entourage and what the versatile mix of opinions can do to their positive mindset.

Choose your entourage wisely by the way they talk about YOUR wedding day and YOUR dress, you want to bring 'team bride' with you and not every excitable person you've ever know with a love of dresses, don't feel bad about limiting your'll thank me for it later.  

TOP TIP Quality over quantity when it comes to your entourage


While we're on the topic of being overwhelmed, how many shops is to many to book into try on in one day?  My opinion: limit yourself to one or maybe two at a push.  I know this may sound boring and goes against your fun day out with your ladies/gents, however bridal stores can vary so much in the way they operate and I'm not saying they are right or wrong, just that if you haven't been wedding dress shopping before you may not know what to expect. 

I know of stores that will literally throw as many dresses at you as you can manage to try on in your time with them, then there are those who limit you to a handful and as I say neither is right or wrong, just keep in mind that if you try on 10+ in appointment one (phew what a lot of dresses) are you ready to repeat that in appointments, 2, 3 and 4?  How many do you think you can keep track of in your mind at one time to refer back to?

TOP TIP Give yourself time to digest what you try on in each appointment, rather than stress yourself out by pressurising yourself to find YOUR dress in one day, just because it's the day you have managed to get everyone together.

No-one will be mad at you for wanting to limit your numbers and maximise the surprise of the dress you choose, it is all about you and your grand entrance after all.


Finding THE ONE!

This is where you have to trust yourself and your gut feelings about your dress, some ladies get the feels in their dress and are full of emotions, others are calm as cucumbers and can just appreciate that the dress looks amazing on them, again there is no right or wrong, not everyone will be in floods of tears and pulling out the tissues.

Listen to yourself, you'll inevitably notice a change in your body language, how you hold yourself, how you initially reacted and so on and so will your entourage.  This may be in your first dress of the day or the last, so don't be surprised when you find the one, this is after all what you went wedding dress shopping for!

If you've followed the process of being open minded, tried on different silhouettes, neck lines, features etc.... Don't feel obliged to attend your other appointments, when you find YOUR dress it's ok to stop looking, it's expected, after all you stopped searching when you found the right partner, you didn't feel you needed try more out to be sure, you just knew, treat your dress the same :)


Summary of TOP TIPS!

  • Keep an open mind on your dress silhouette and features
  • Limit yourself to 4-6 dresses in your first appointment, picking out different silhouettes and features to try on
  • Don't dismiss a dress because you hate a feature of it, help a girl out, look for the elements you do like so we can start building a positive picture of your dress
  • Don't be afraid to limit your entourage, quality over quantity is what will make your appointment a successful one
  • Don't book your appointments back to back, or even in one day, you need time to digest what you have tried on before you get yourself overwhelmed 
  • When you find YOUR dress STOP LOOKING!


Happy shopping ladies!


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