Shopping for your wedding dress is a significant part of your wedding journey. For some brides, this is the time when it all starts to feel real, so make sure your experience is as good as it can possibly get:
1. Take your time
Don’t rush the process. Book an appointment to go look at dresses and try them on, but don’t think of it as something you can do over lunch. You need at least two to three hours to try on as many dresses as you wish, to take your time to look at them properly and consider what they feel like. You’ll most probably be spending a large amount of money on your gown, so take your time to make a proper decision that you won’t regret.
2. Enjoy the attention
With everybody’s eyes fixed on you and all the ooh-ing and aah-ing, it can get a little overwhelming. Don’t see this as a time to feel pressured or under scrutiny, but rather as an opportunity to be spoiled and admired. And who doesn’t love that!
3. Wear the right underwear
Don’t make the mistake of wearing black underwear or a bra that doesn’t fit properly. You want to be able to see the complete look as it would be on your wedding day. Take a few options along – a strapless bra, something offering a little more support, stickies and seamless nude panties.
4. Do your homework
It’s important to know what you like, but more importantly, what you don’t like, before putting on a dress. Do some research on silhouettes, types of fabrics, lengths, colours and detail beforehand so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by all the options on the day of trying on. That said, be open to suggestions and trying on dresses you’re on the fence about. You might end up loving something you never thought you would.
5. Take your own shoes
You need to be able to walk comfortably while wearing your dress, so if you already have your wedding shoes, take them along. If not, take something with a similar heel and height of the shoe you’d probably go for to get the best idea of what’s going to work. This is also important for making sure the length of the dress is right for you.
6. Be realistic
A multi-layered dress with tons of hand-stitched jewels and paperthin straps might look beautiful on the hanger, but if you’re blessed in the bust department, you may need something with a little more support up top. Be realitic about what fits your body type and will flatter you the most instead of setting your sights on something that just won’t work.
7. Set a budget beforehand
You absolutely need to be clear about what you can afford before even setting foot in the shop. Tell your consultant before he/she makes any suggestions so that they can’t force any higher price on you. This might give you slightly less options, but will avoid you setting your heart on a dress that you just can’t afford. Also, don’t be afraid to negotiate – if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.
8. Don’t bring a crowd
Your entire wedding party and their ancestors don’t have to be at your fitting. Everyone has an opinion, and this will just add fuel to your anxiety fire. Take along a bridesmaid, a family member or a friend who knows you and who’s opinion you trust. You want your confidant(s) to be honest with you, but also respect your wishes.
9. Don’t put pressure on yourself
If you’re wanting to lose weight before your wedding, good on you, but don’t let this drive you insane. Don’t put pressure on yourself to fit into a 6 if you’re normally a 10. You can always have a dress altered to make it smaller, but not vice versa. Also, don’t put pressure on yourself to find something immediately or at the first shop you set foot in. Give yourself ample time to shop around and try out as much as possible.
10. Timing is everything
If you’re getting married in a year, now is the time to start booking appointments. If you want to get a dress custom made, you need to give your designer enough time to make the dress, as well as do any alterations if necessary. If you’re buying off the rack, don’t rush it. Shop around and make sure you’re confident in your decision, but also make provision for any alterations, so that you know your dress will be completely ready a month in advance.