Written by: Francesca Allsop-Pick
Getting married is one of the most exciting things in any woman’s life. After the ooohing and ahhhing over the sparkling rock that is newly gracing your finger, the next question on everyone’s lips will inevitably be “what will you wear?”
For many women, this is the most important part of the wedding planning yet for others this is the moment that fills them with dread. Body hang ups, undressing in front of a stranger and the attack of the meringue are all common worries that some women will experience.
So, before you either whip out the credit card ready to purchase or break out in a sweat at the very thought of dress shopping, here are my top 10 tips for buying your wedding dress.
1. Consider your venue Although you may not think it, your venue will play an important part in the purchase of your dress. Where you get married and the time of year your wedding takes place will to some extent dictate the type of gown you choose. An intimate wedding on a beach will undoubtedly be more suited to a light weight gown and in turn a full skirted structured dress will look the part during a grand Cathedral ceremony.
2. Budget Before you start to try any dresses, think very carefully about your budget. Be realistic and honest in the amount you can both afford to spend and what you are comfortable spending. There is nothing more disappointing than falling for “the dress” only to discover that the budget won’t stretch.
3. Book appointments early Most bridal boutiques will work on an appointment only basis and many dresses take a minimum of 6 months to be made and delivered. Look to purchase your dress 9-12 months in advance to allow for making, delivery and alterations.
4. Shopping companion Limit the amount of people you take with you when you are buying your dress. Whilst it may seem great fun to take your entire bridal party with you, too many opinions can cause stress and conflict. Keep your shopping companion to 1 or 2 people and only those whose opinion you trust and value.
5. Be prepared A well fitted nude strapless bra and with either seam free knickers or nude shapewear will help to create the right silhouette for the garments to sit over. Black bra’s or novelty knickers are likely to show through some of the more fitted silk gowns and will undoubtedly be distracting. Most good retailers will provide you with shoes to try with the gowns but of you know the heel height you are likely to wear on the day, take your shoes along with you.
6. Be open minded It is a well known fact that most brides end up choosing a dress the opposite of what they initially thought they would wear. Be open minded and try a variety of styles. You may be surprised at what does and doesn’t suit you.
7. Ask advice Bridal stylists know their dresses and they know body shapes. Don’t be afraid to ask for their opinion. A dress you may never have chosen may end up being “the one” so listen to what they suggest and try it regardless. A good bridal stylist should be honest with you and tell you if a dress isn’t flattering but they should also show you what shape to wear to make the most of your figure, accentuating the good and disguising any parts you are not so keen on!
8. Accessories Consider your accessories at the time of trying on. If you have an heirloom necklace that you want to wear on the wedding day, take it with you to see if compliments the gown you are wanting to wear. Try a veil, tiara, haircomb, birdcage veil and shrug. As with dresses, you may be surprised that you actually love the tiara that you thought would be too “princessy”!
9. Trust your instincts When you find the right dress, you will instinctively know. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be tears of joy but you will know when it’s right. Trust your judgement, if you feel fantastic, then that is all that matters. Don’t be swayed by what others think, it is your day and your dress, remember that!
10. Enjoy yourself and celebrate This might seem like stating the obvious but it is all too easy to over-think your decisions and turn what should be a memorable experience into a chore. Relax, have fun and remember why you are buying a wedding dress; you are about to marry your best friend and life partner and that is certainly something to celebrate