How To Find Your Perfect Wedding Dress
I’ll meet you at the altar, I’ll be the one in white! ~ Stephenie Meyer (Tweet this)
I know that most of you are stressed out by all the pressure and tension surrounding the Big Day. But think about it—is all that stress worth it? Just for that one day, when everything will be perfect anyway? Of course it will be perfect; it’s your wedding day! But there’s something else you should consider.
A wedding is not just one day, it’s the whole time you’ve spent thinking about it, discussing it, organizing it. And it happens once in a lifetime (well . . . if you’re lucky, that is). So why not fill this time with happy memories rather than stress?
Now let’s get to the point. One of the most important things that complete that all-important day is finding your perfect wedding dress. We know how brides can freak out if they’re experiencing difficulties in finding “the one,” so we’ve talked to a few married women, done a little research and here are few tips on how to find that drop-dead gorgeous perfect wedding dress easily. First and foremost:
Listen to you heart and don’t pay too much attention to trends. Stay true to you and you will find your dream gown. ~ Steven Khalil (Tweet this)
Be positive and get rid of the stress!
Read the first paragraph again. It will be your dream day no matter what. The key is for you to stay positive about it. Do you know what can turn it into a nightmare? Your mood! If you’re grumpy because the decorations are not exactly what you wanted them to be, or you’ve just had another argument with your mom about the guest list, or because you barely fit into your wedding gown (hey, you still fit, right!), your guests will sense it and there will be no joy.
So, calm down, get a Spa day, spend some time with your girlfriends and let those happy feelings flow.
You already know how to find your perfect wedding dress
I mean that! All you need is just a few reminders. Let me put it this way: if you’re at the stage of looking for that perfect wedding dress then you’ve at least already found the Man. And finding your dream gown is pretty similar to finding your soul mate. Just remember all the feelings, the joy, the butterflies you got when you first kissed, when he told you he loves you, when he proposed to you.
Believe me, you will know when the dress is right, your heart will tell you that. You will feel the same butterflies and joy around you.
I hope you feel a bit relieved now, so let’s move to the practical part. What you should know about the tons of dresses out there, is that there are different styles, fabrics and colors and you’ll need to try a number of them on to see how they fit you. Of course, you can’t spend too much time doing this, so you need to prepare before heading to the bridal stores.
A wedding dress is both personal and intimate for a woman—it must reflect the personality and style of the bride. ~ Carolina Herrera (Tweet this)
Consider your body type
You should know that there are different dress styles matching different types of bodies. You can save a lot of time if you know what your body type is and what gown styles fit you best. There are plenty of tests online that can help those who can’t define their body shape. I find this one pretty accurate.
Styles of wedding dresses
If you’ve always dreamed about being a princess on your wedding day, this might be your type of dress. It fits perfectly on most body types. Just imagine how it floats around while you go down the aisle to your Prince. The ball gown will definitely add a feel of royalty to your wedding ceremony. This reminds us, do consider the overall theme of the wedding when you are choosing your dress. The Ball Gown just wouldn’t feel right on the beach. Remember, this dress can be a bit uncomfortable in small spaces but it definitely looks gorgeous.
This chic wedding dress is for those who look for simplicity and comfort. It’s a perfect fit for tall or petite ladies with hourglass and straight body types. Combined with a V-neck line and skirt starting from right below the bust it can ideally fit women with oval and reverse triangle body shapes and plus-sized brides-to-be. Remember, adding long straight lines will visually lengthen your body so if you’re tall, you better choose a pattern that will show you as you are. You should avoid it if you’re pear-shaped as it will highlight your hips and make them look bigger than they are.
This type of gown surely looks astonishing but it’s not for everybody. It’s ideal for the hourglass body shape and with a few modifications can decently fit pear-shaped brides as well. What’s specific for this type of wedding gown is that it may be a bit uncomfortable especially if you want to dance all night long. Remember, you should be absolutely sure that you are okay spending the day with something that squeezes your knees.
Classic and comfortable. This is all that comes to mind when you think of an A-line wedding dress. Like the ball gown, this one fits any body type and looks amazing. You may keep the A-line with a hoop or with additional layers of tulle and both are well-fitted for a night on the dance floor. Remember, an A-line dress will always be a good choice, so even if it’s not what you’re going for, it can still be a safety option.
Or the so-called “drop waist” dress. It’s similar to mermaid but is more comfortable and can be worn by hourglass, pear, straight and spoon body types. It hides exactly what needs to stay hidden and underlines what you want to show off. So, if you’ve been dreaming about a mermaid gown but don’t have the body for it, then trumpet is your winning choice. It wouldn’t fit well on plus-sized oval or diamond shaped brides though, so keep this in mind.
The more traditional bride still prefers white or ivory, but the young girls . . . seem to like the idea of using colors. ~ Reem Acra (Tweet this)
Long or short wedding gown?
Well, every bride-to-be has her own taste and style. However, you should consider your wedding theme, style and what looks good on you before choosing the length of your dress. If you’re plus-sized, then better go for something that is below the knees, while if you’re tall with long, skinny legs you can choose something that is just a little over the knees.
I’d like to mention one more thing here: you may not even want to wear a dress! Maybe you want to wear a suit. It’s perfectly fine to wear a white suit on your own wedding. Just choose one that will fit you best. You may combine white pleated trousers and a top made of flowy fabric. In fact, many famous women are doing that and Instagram is filled with images of brides in alternative wedding attire.
A few words about the fabrics and necklines
Besides the type of the dress, you have to think about the fabric and the neckline—and you have to be careful with those (as they can ruin your entire look). Here are a few tips on how to choose the perfect neckline and fabric for your perfect wedding dress:
Pear Body Type:
Avoid a deep, V-neck line as it will draw the attention to your hips, and this is what you want to hide. The best necklines for you would be strapless, straight or slightly curved. A U-neckline is a perfect alternative to the V if you long for it. As for fabric, you can go for duchesse satin and taffeta. You can also combine a little bit heavier fabrics for the top and lighter for the skirt part. You may add some lace here and there but don’t overdo it. This way you will accentuate your petite upper body and your curvy lower half.
Straight Body Type:
You’re lucky here as you can choose from a variety of necklines. Just be sure to avoid sheer or high neck lines as those will make your upper half look bigger than it is and will draw the attention away from your waist. As for fabric, you need something that will hug your body all the way around and create some curves where needed. Satin and silk will skim the body and outline the curves. A simple accessory like a wider belt can do wonders.
Hourglass Body Type:
What you need to know here is that you have the beautiful curves and all you have to do is show them. A sweetheart neck, one-shoulder, halter, boat neck . . . you can choose any. However, stay away from a square neckline as it will add corners to your curvy shapes and kill the effect of the hourglass. As for fabric, you may just be one of the lucky ones. Almost any fabric fits amazingly to the hourglass body shape. Chiffon, silk, lace, satin—you name it. Any fabric that hugs your body can be the right fabric.
Apple Body Type:
De-emphasize your waist no matter what you do. After choosing the type of dress you’ll need to carefully choose the neckline and the perfect one for you is the V-neck. It will create the illusion of a tighter waist. Alternatively, you may go for square neckline. As for fabric—avoid anything that isn’t flattering: shiny and overly clingy fabrics such as satin, spandex and chiffon. Your perfect choice of fabric would be viscose. Add a layer of lace or ruche over it to add some texture that will create a corset like effect.
Similar to the apple body type, when you’re plus-sized you have to hide the problem areas of your body. Not that we don’t love plus-sized brides—the more awesomeness, the better—but consider V-neck, square, strapless slight curve or sweetheart for your neckline, so you keep the focus where it needs to be.
Adding a pair of long gloves or flowy sleeves will make your arms look slimmer. As for fabric, girl . . . you have choices! Look for fabrics that flow. You need your dress to move with you and accentuate to the right curves. Chiffon, satin, taffeta and heavier silk fabrics would do wonders for you.
Just go in and try things on. Even if you think “I would never wear that”. Give yourself that freedom. ~ Vera Wang (Tweet this)
Before you rush to the bridal boutiques
You already know how to choose your perfect wedding dress, but it would be useful to consider a couple more things before rushing to the bridal stores and boutiques.
First of all, forget about the trends. Remember that a super trendy bridal gown can be a super-extravagant-pinkish, dress-like, curtain. Trendy doesn’t mean that it’ll look good on you. Look for the one dress that will fit you and your style best. In short, follow your heart. It found you the right man, it’ll show you your perfect wedding dress as well.
The other thing you should consider is the company. Choose one or two close friends or your mom to accompany you throughout the bridal shopping. No matter who you choose to take with you, they have to be supportive and yet give their honest opinions on how a certain dress looks on you. And remember, less is more here. The more people you bring with you the more stressful your shopping will be. You’ll be overwhelmed with opinions, making your choice even tougher. If you trust no one in your group, hire a stylist. Just one consultation wouldn’t cost that much compared to being the prettiest of them all on the best day of your life.
Don’t get your wedding underwear before you choose your dress. You have to consider the neckline when choosing the bra and if you are planning to wear one of those fun panties that say “Just Married” you need to ensure your dress allows that.
Go online and make a list of the wedding boutiques and stores in your town. Then you may filter them by going through their websites and choosing the ones that you like most. Don’t visit more than 3 stores unless you absolutely have to. That would just get you exhausted.
And last but not least, give yourself plenty of time to try on as many dresses as it takes until you find the perfect wedding dress. Now you’re ready to go for a big bridal shopping. Fun! Grab your purse, your friends and your positive mood and get on with it.
Bridal gown on a budget
I know it sounds hard to believe, but there are plenty of options for that perfect wedding dress that won’t cost you a fortune. And if they look great and you feel great in one of them, that’s exactly what you should go for.
Let me make something clear first: you don’t need to be ashamed of the fact that you’re going to wear a more-affordable dress—especially if it doesn’t look that way. There are plenty of gorgeous bridal gowns fitting your small budget. It’s literally a one-day wear, after all.
Leave the multimillion-dollar dresses to those who can afford it. And a small secret: some celebrities don’t even pay for their dresses. All they have to do is to show themselves wearing designer clothing and promote it. For them, it’s just business (and a free wedding dress for one day). The designer takes it back after the wedding.
Let’s go back to the options of getting that perfect wedding dress on a budget. But first, let’s also clarify a couple of things before rushing into anything:
The early bird gets the worm. The earlier you start looking for your perfect wedding dress, the better. You’ll have more time to check all the stores in your town. You may even find a sale on old collections and get some pretty good discounts.
Bonus tip: Schedule your wedding dress appointments as early in the day as possible. This way you will avoid crowds and will try on dresses without anyone disturbing you. Moreover, you’ll get fresh and energetic bridal store staff that hasn’t been dealing with the concerns of hundreds of brides already.
Stick to your budget
If you’ve decided to go for a brand new dress, define a budget before going out and do your best to stick to it. The easiest way to stick to it is to define two lines: one with a medium price you’ll pay for a wedding dress and one with the maximum price you’d ever want to pay for it. It’ll make things easier by giving you a little room to wiggle.
When I design a wedding dress with a bustle, it has to be one the bride can dance in. I love the idea that something is practical and still looks great. ~ Vera Wang (Tweet this)
After you’ve defined your budget, it’s time for the fun part!
Get a sample dress
Most of the bridal boutiques have samples of different dress types. They are usually used for showcases and try-ons. These gowns are much cheaper, if you are interested in buying one. Usually, sample dresses that are put on sale are from old collections but if it fits you, then why not? Most stores will have such a dress dry-cleaned and ironed upon selling it, so don’t worry . . . it will still look amazing.
Check out the mass retailers. Most of them offer a huge variety of amazing gowns at pretty reasonable prices. If you want to add something unique to your dress, go on and spend some of that savings on custom tailoring like removing a couple of details or adding a few.
Yes, there are outlet stores for bridal gowns as well. Go around and check those out. It may be last season or a really old collection, but so what? If the dress makes you look amazing and feel good why leave it? The prices are usually great.
Look for a tailor
Getting a tailor to design your perfect wedding dress is a cheaper option in some countries. Go out and check the tailor shops in your town and see their fees. If it’s cheaper than getting a dress from a boutique, then fantastic! You will get the dress of your dreams at a pretty reasonable price. Moreover, some tailors may be able to even design your perfect wedding dress just by looking at a photo, so do some research online, choose the dress you want and print a photo of it. Then just show it to the tailor of your choice and leave the rest in the hands of the pros.
Of course, nothing can replace the romantic feel of going into a boutique and trying on a number of dresses and models in front of your amazed girlfriends and a big mirror. However, shopping online may save you a lot. There are plenty of online stores that will ship your dress to any corner of the world. And it will cost you less than going into that designer boutique downtown. After all, it gets too tiring and boring after trying on the third dress.
Bonus tip: you actually may go and try on a few different styles of gowns just to see how they fit on you. Then you may find the chosen dress and purchase it online on a much more reasonable price. And if you are a firm believer of the old-style wedding dress shopping, you can at least order your bridesmaids dresses online and save a bit this way.
I did get to keep the wedding dresses from ‘Runaway Bride.’ They’re all boxed up in my garage. I’ve never opened them. It’ll be fun one day when Hazel is taller. She can play dress-up with her friends. ~ Julia Roberts (Tweet this)
Second-hand? Why not?
There are a huge number of wedding dresses that are worn just once and now waiting for their next owner. Many brides put their gowns online for selling so you can contact them directly and negotiate price and shipping options. If you’ve decided to purchase such a dress, have the following things in mind:
- The dress might not be the size printed on the label. Many brides apply some individual adjustments to their gowns so they can fit. So ask for the exact measurements and some recent photos of the dress before buying. Otherwise you may end up with something so utterly modified that even the best tailor in the world cannot customize it.
- It might be a “divorce” dress. It may seem a bit superstitious, but no bride wants a dress worn for a wedding that ended with divorce. However, it’s impolite to ask the seller this question so you will have to accept that there is a 50% chance of this dress being bad luck . . . I guess that’s one vote against buying second hand.
- See if there are any wine or champagne stains. Those can be really difficult to remove after some time. Then professionally clean the dress after buying it. It doesn’t matter if the owner did it already. It’s best not to risk getting an annoying rash on your wedding day.
- Always choose a bigger size. It’s always easier to customize a dress to be smaller. Any tailor can help you with fitting the dress to your body.
A good alternative to purchasing a second-hand bridal gown online is for you to go thrift shopping. There are shops that offer second-hand wedding dresses and accessories. The benefit of this is you can try the dress on, choose the one that fits you and most importantly, they’re definitely cleaned.
Your Mom’s dress
Talking about second-hand dresses, why not check your mom’s dress? In some countries it’s a tradition for the bride to wear her mom’s dress on her wedding day. And it’s perfectly fine and (almost) free. Go on and ask your mom about her dress. Check it out. Try it on. See how it fits you. Don’t worry about the style; if your mom chose a classic dress then it can still be trendy. Remember, everything new is actually well-forgotten old. You may find some really amazing things in your mom’s closet.
If you’ve decided that you’re going to wear your mom’s dress, have in mind that you may need to spend a couple of bucks on some customizations. Other than that: Hello, free wedding dress!
Borrow a dress
In case you didn’t like your mother’s bridal gown, or she doesn’t have one, you can borrow one. There are shops which offer wedding dresses for rent. You may go through those, choose the one fitting you best and rent it for a certain fee (which depends on the type of dress). Remember that you’ll need to professionally clean the dress before returning it to the shop.
Create your own dress
If you’re not into shopping and you like playing with threads and needles, then why not design your own dress? Of course it’ll cost you some money and time but, in the end, it’ll be the gown you want. Have in mind that you’ll still need to go shopping for the materials and get some classes on how to create a wedding dress. There are some small tricks when it comes to this type of sewing as the materials are a bit different from common clothing fabrics and need to be sewn in a specific way.
I’m absolutely sure that right now you’re even more stressed than before reading this. It’s normal, with all that information. However, think about it: now you know how to define your body type and choose the perfect wedding dress, if you haven’t already done that while reading. And remember that no matter what you choose, your man is sure that you’ll be the most beautiful bride in the world, so I think you should start believing that, too. What if your mom doesn’t like your dress of choice? Well, honestly, she had her time! Now it’s your time. Just (politely) explain to her that this is your wedding day and you will wear whatever makes you feel good.
In the end, don’t lose your mind over a piece of clothing, stay positive about it and you’ll remember this time as one of the best ones in your life. Now, put a smile on your face and start looking.
Selecting a wedding dress is more than just a fitting. It’s a process—a memory in the making. ~ Olivelli Cape Jown (Tweet this)