A wedding is one of the most special days in your life where you celebrate your new beginning. Whether a lavish event or a simple one it is uniquely significant for all. While the wedding itself is an awestrucking experience the preparations for the big day is a different kind of excitement.
The biggest part of wedding planning is undoubtedly choosing the perfect dress with all eyes on you. That dress that every woman dreams of from childhood. Every bride-to-be has her individual tastes, some know exactly what they want to the last sequin, while some are completely confused as to where to start. To help you find your dream dress and make shopping for it hassle-free we’ve listed the most important factors that need to be considered beforehand.
Now’s the time to Pinterest with realistic expectations of course. Surf all the bridal sites you can find, rip the magazines apart and visit as many stores as you can. Look at all possible avenues with an open mind until you find the perfect choice.
2. Shop early but not too early
Purchasing a wedding dress is quite an ordeal. You don’t want to rush yourself at the last minute. However, you don’t want to shop too early either as trends keep changing and you surely don’t want to end up with a dress that has run out of style. Ideally, it’s best to shop six months before the big day.
3. Plan your budget
Everyone wants the best without having to consider figures. Nevertheless, it is important to stick to your budget so you don’t strain yourself in other areas and get stressed. A little plus or minus is alright but it’s definitely not wise to go blind. Especially if someone else is paying for the dress (your parents or partner). Need help allocating your budget? Use our Budgeter for easy allocations.
4. Find the right place
Do your homework on bridal stores and shortlist the ones that stock your style to save time.
5. Call ahead
Make sure you call your consultant ahead of time and make an appointment to make sure you won’t be kept waiting and are well aware of the appointment fee if any. Moreover, not all dresses are kept on display, consultants often keep a hidden stock and only bring them out if they feel it would suit the bride-to-be. Thus, it’s always a good idea to call ahead and brief them so they are prepared. Book in advance with just a click on Bride Control with our vendors.
6. Shop on a weekday
Try to shop on a weekday. Bridal stores are usually packed on weekends, so if you can manage a weekday, the consultant will be able to give you more exclusive time.
7. Plan the theme beforehand
Plan your wedding theme before you decide on the dress. Whether it is a casual garden party or a formal ballroom event, decide ahead so you don’t look out of place or clash heavily with the decor.
8. Schedule early in the day
Don’t schedule your appointment late in the day. It's a whole day affair and you got to go in energized and fresh with peace of mind and focus only on the dress.
9. Don’t have other appointments
When you go wedding dress shopping, leave the whole day just for that. Don’t make other appointments that will have you thinking about other to do’s. The Checklist can wait.
10. Mood Matters
On the day of your appointment if for any reason you are feeling down, don’t go. You can’t go wedding dress shopping in an off mood. Reschedule your appointment for another day when your spirits are up.
11. Consider who you take along
If you have toxic relatives or friends, don't take them along. You are not obliged to take along anyone at all, especially not those who could ruin your experience. It's your day and you don't want to get confused, side-tracked, or irritated. You are supposed to enjoy the shopping so take along happy go lucky well-wishers and make awesome memories.
12. Don't take too many people
You don't have to take every lady friend with you. Too many heads mean too many opinions and contradictions.
13. Be prepared to try on many dresses
Try on many different styles. You may think a certain style would suit but it may not. You may think a particular style is not for you but upon wearing you might realize that is the best. So be prepared to be surprised and try on lots and lots of dresses.
14. But not too many
Don’t try too many of the same style either, that can confuse you big time. Too many options and too many choices can add a lot of stress and confusion resulting in a major panic. Stay calm and shortlist your choices.
15. Definitely not too many on the same day
Limit the number of dresses you are going to try on in one day, maybe to about fifteen. This is the maximum you can process in a day without going to bed super confused.
16. Keep your options open
You may have that dream dress in mind but it may not suit you. So be prepared to try on different styles that would enhance your features and become the new and ideal dream dress.
17. Brace for sizes
No one will know what size you are except for you and your consultant so don’t try to squeeze into a smaller dress for the sake of size. It is particularly important to stay as comfortable as possible to enjoy your big day and last through the celebration.
18. Stay true to your size
Stick to the size you are in, even if you expect to lose weight don’t buy the smaller size. It is much easier to pin down and alter the size to a small number later than to open it up and make it bigger.
19. Talk freely to your consultant
Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with your consultant. It may seem silly to you but these consultants often have a trick up their sleeve and if you are lucky they might pull it off for you.
20. Don’t just pick based on trend
Don’t just choose a dress simply because it is in trend, the style might not suit you. Try on many different styles and opt for one that flatters you the most. If you feel sexy and glamourous in a dress then that is the right one for you.
21. Trendy, traditional, or vintage
Decide exactly how you want to look, traditionally classic, vintage and timeless, or trendy and unique. You could even opt for a fashionista look and try on a cape with hemmed sleeves as a add on for part of the day.
22. Take along a camera (if it is allowed)
It's always a good idea to take a camera along to see if the pictures also come out well and to review later. Some dresses tend to look good in the mirror but are just not flattering in photographs.
23. Pose in different angles
To make sure every move of yours is photogenic, do take plenty of photos from many different angles so you won't be disappointed on your big day. Shop Photographers
24. Choose the perfect accessories
Your accessories highlight your dress more than anything else. You could be wearing a dress to die for but if your accessories don’t match or suit well, the look won’t come together. SHOP Accessories
25. Pay attention to the bodice
Carefully choose the bodice of your wedding dress because that is what is going to be visible the most from afar and in pictures. Hence, it is incredibly important that it suits your personal style and flatters you well.
26. Pick your silhouette first
A small trinket and an extra button can make a world of difference in a dress. Nevertheless, you can pay attention to all those details later. First, pick out the perfect silhouette that flatters your body the most. The little details can be included later.
27. Pay attention to fabric
It is imperative that you stay comfortable throughout your wedding. It's going to be a long day and you don't want to end up in a dress that makes you irritable, scratchy, or worse scarred after long wear.
28. Wear the perfect inner-wear
Wear new, fitting, and gorgeous inner-wear be it lingerie or shapewear. Often we don't realize the importance of hot inner-wear. A well-fitting inner-wear can make a huge difference in the way your dress fits and shapes your figure, not to mention the confidence! SHOP Lingerie and Boudoir shoots
29. Wear heels or not
Wear your selected heels at your appointment so you can measure the perfect length for your dress. The right kind of shoes can make a massive difference in the way your dress would look. Wanting to wear sneakers or flats? Take that with you. SHOP Shoes
30. Wear makeup and do your hair
Bad hair and a dull face can make the most beautiful gown look average. For a closer real look, wear light makeup and groom your hair well when you go to try on wedding dresses so you can be sure it is perfect for you. MUAs and Stylists
31. Check out celebrity styles
You may not have the celebrity budget, but you can always find tailors who could do similar designs for you. That way your dress would still be trendy and stylish.
32. Start inexpensive
Despite common opinion, the perfect dress does not have to be expensive. Money does not necessarily buy style. If you are lucky you can find a good dress at a really good price. If you don’t then you can gradually work your way up.
33. Try different colors
Often white being the traditional color is the first choice for most brides. Nonetheless, you should try on different colours too. Perhaps that would suit you better, you never know, it could be more ideal for you.
34. Bring along heirlooms
If you have a family heirloom you wish to wear on your wedding day, like a relative’s veil or a piece of jewelry, it is best to bring them along so you can be sure it would match your wedding dress.
35. Consider your feelings
If you feel comfortable, glamourous, beautiful, and sexy in a particular wedding dress go for it. Listen to your instincts, it always somehow just knows.
36. Be sure
Agree only and only if you are a hundred percent sure. Even if there is a slight hesitation, think twice, there are always more options available.
37. Take opinions
Take opinions from your family and friends, but not too many. In the end, it is your day and you know what’s best for you. Especially if you are unable to decide between two gowns, their opinions can definitely come in handy.
38. Get measurements by a professional
You don't want to end up having the wrong fit. Have a professional seamstress take your measurements so you know for sure there won’t be any mistakes.
39. Test to move
Do a pivot and a dance, check if you can comfortably move. You don’t want to end up walking strangely or doing a robotic first dance.
40. Keep the season in mind
The weather would play an important role in the type of dress you choose. For instance, if it is winter and if you have a garden wedding, you don’t want to get too cold.
41. Ditch the rules
You are not obliged to follow any rules. Dress as you wish, whatever makes you happy. This is YOUR DAY. Don’t let anyone or any protocol limit you.
42. Do not alter a lot
Too much altering will make the dress look messy and lose its style. You can always tweak the design a little to give it a personalized touch but re-designing it would be a no-no.
Wedding dress shopping is one of those days you will always remember. Celebrate with some chocolates or champagne, make it a happy memory when you say yes to the dress!
44. Be ready to walk away
You don’t have to buy a dress just because the consultant is your friend, and you don’t want to hurt his/her feelings. Walk away if you feel pressured. A good friend will always understand that the dress is about you and your choice.
45. Be you
You don’t have to choose something because somebody else chose that. Your choice is uniquely yours alone, so simply be you and make the right choice.
46. Don’t expect to find it in one day
You may have to shop for several days before you find the right dress. Don’t get disheartened if you don’t find it on the first day or even the third. Have patience and keep looking.
47. Try online
Consider online shops as they can surprise you. With covid having hit, online stores are a far better experience than they used to be. Plus, there’s also the added benefit of shopping in other countries where you know you can find your dream dress.
48. Take your time
You don’t have to decide then and there. Take your time, consider well, sleep on it and then decide. Don’t rush yourself.
49. Don’t look at anymore dresses
Once your choice is made don’t look at anymore dresses. The more you look the more tempted you will be to try on. At that rate, you will be trying on dresses until the last day and will not be satisfied with anything.
50. Don’t keep the dress where you live
Don’t keep the dress where you live or if you must, keep it out of view. Store it elsewhere so you won't be tempted to look at it all the time. Give yourself the gift of falling in love with your dress all over again closer to the time of the wedding.
We hope this list gives you the confidence to go out dress shopping!
What’s next on the to-do list? Wedding Online Checklist
To get you started, check out our wedding vendors offering the most beautiful dresses:
Now that you are all sorted, help your groom out with What Grooms Forget on the Wedding Day