For many brides - as soon as they have that bling on their finger - the first thing on their mind is DRESS SHOPPING! But for many others - it's the one thing they dread!
Shopping for "the one" can be an incredibly exciting and happy experience, but it can also be quite daunting and a little bit overwhelming. But it's a right of passage and one that you'll remember and share with your sisters, cousins, daughters, grandaughters, nieces and friends for years to come. It should be enjoyed - and more importantly - you want it to be a success. So we've had a wee chat with the experts and found out all the things you should know and want to know about what to do, and not to do, when it comes to Wedding Dress Shopping!
- BE REALISTIC - the FIRST thing you need to know about shopping for "the one" is - it's NOT quite the same experience you'll see on TV (you know the show I'm talking about). Firstly - the majority of brides try on A LOT more than 3 dresses, and some need more than one visit to a Bridal Store (or even multiple visits to multiple stores) before they find the one. Also - although it's lovely and quite magical when it happens - NOT every bride, or their entourage, are overcome with emotion when they find the one. There isn't always tears and there definitely isn't always clapping and cheering - when there is - it's fabulous - but when there isn't - that's okay too!
- One of the most common questions we hear is "When should I buy my wedding dress?" Now - the official answer to this question varies on where you intend to buy your gown. The smart answer is no later than 6-8 months before your wedding as many gowns take 4-6 months to arrive in store when ordered. HOWEVER - my honest answer to this questions is - When YOU are READY! There are a couple of reasons for this - firstly - there is nothing worse than feeling under pressure to make a decision about your gown when you're not actually ready to make a purchase. All you will do is find yourself questioning and maybe even regretting your decision - which will cause even MORE stress than making the decision in the first place (however - do realise that your options can be limited by your timeframe - but if's meant to be - it will be - right?). Secondly - it's all very well going to "have a wee look" - but I generally don't advise this unless you're prepared to buy if you fall in love. Sometimes Brides get caught up in the excitment of getting engaged and want to go straight out and look at wedding dresses - when their wedding isn't for another 3 years. They find "the one" on that first visit. They fall in love - but they're not financially ready to commit. So they wait - they go back 18 months later to retry the gown and order and it's no longer in store, or WORSE - the Designer has discontinued the gown. There are lots of differing opinions on when and how you should shop - but we reckon - when YOU are ready is the way to go!
- WHO should you take? People you trust, love and whose opinions you value. EVERYONE will want to go along and help you make this important choice - but the more people you take, the more opinions you have to deal with (and probably the more dresses you'll HAVE to try on because everyone will want to see you in what they perceive to be the PERFECT dress for you). Take a few of the special people in your life, your mum, your grandmother, your sister, your maid of honour - those kinds of people. At the end of the day - take the people who are important to YOU. It's a right of passage and you want to make special memories with your loved ones. As a side note - when you book in with the Bridal Store - make sure that they can accomodate your party if you do intend to take lots of people.
- WHAT to wear..... another common one. You can't go wrong with clean, nude underwear and if you have it, a nude strapless bra. If you're feeling body concious - you can of course wear shapewear or a slip, particularly if you intend to wear them under your wedding gown. This is always another great question to ask your chosen store when you book in as they will be able to make suggestions that best suit the gowns they stock. Don't wear make-up, definitely don't wear fake tan (of any kind) and don't go freshly coated in moisturiser or sunscreen - all of these things can cause staining on the gowns and most Bridal Stores don't permit you to try on wedding dresses with them on.
- Have an OPEN mind and TRUST your consultant. They're there to help you find the right gown and they're equipped with all the right experience and knowledge to guide you through the process. Don't be afraid to step out your comfort zone and try something you wouldn't normally like - and don't be put off with how things look on a hanger. Sometimes you might be surprised to find the thing you LEAST expected to like turns out to be "the one" (side note - this ACTUALLY happened to me!)
- Know your budget - having a good idea about how much you're able and willing to spend is a GREAT place to start when it comes to Wedding Dress shopping. A good consultant will be respectful of this and will be able to offer you the best options within your affordability. Don't be tempted to "just try your dream dress" when it's double your budget - all this will do is cause you heartache in the long run when you cannot find anything comparable without comprimising on your affordability and in debt is NOT the ideal way to start your marriage. Ask your chosen Bridal Store what payment options they have available and work out what you can afford based on them.
- HOW do you know it's THE ONE - this can be tricky. Lots of brides are waiting for "THAT" feeling. Goosebumps, a gut feeling, tears, your heart skipping a beat, your mum and sister being overcome with emotion. It doesn't always QUITE happen like that - and that's the honest truth. If you feel like you don't want to take it off, that you want to stay in it all day - then it's the one. If you feel like you want to call your dad and ask what he thinks of it - it's the one. If it's comfortable and you can dance in it and it makes you feel beautiful - it's the one. If you look at yourself in the mirror and think - DAMN my fiance is the LUCKIEST person in the world - it's the one. If you go home to think about it and you find yourself day dreaming about it when you're supposed to be cooking dinner - it's the one. If you keep shopping and keep comparing EVERYTHING you wear to it - it's the one! If YOU feel good about yourself wearing it - it's THE ONE! YOUR ONE feels different on you than it will on anyone else and your reaction is unique to you. Trust yourself and your decision.
- Shop for the body you've got not the body you want! I can't stress this one hard enough! It's all very well to want to be the very best version of yourself on your wedding day and I'd be in full support of anyone who wanted to just be a bit healther BUT when it comes to Wedding Dress shopping - you should NEVER EVER feel pressured to shed weight to make a dress fit and quite honestly - anyone who tells you otherwise should just....well....keep their opinions to themselves (thats the polite way of saying it). Most wedding dresses can be taken in after they've been purchased so if you are on a weight loss plan - discuss this with your consultant and take their advice on what to do. But don't be tempted to order in a gown 5 sizes smaller than you are with a goal to losing 40 kgs because if you don't end up meeting that target - your wedding dress may not be able to be altered to fit - this won't just affect your pursestrings - but moreso your self esteem. Remember to love yourself more than you love anything else - a happy bride is a beautiful bride!
When it comes to Wedding Dress shopping - there are an ENDLESS stream of dos and don'ts and questions to ask and answer - if you have a question that our blog hasn't answered - drop us an email and let us know and we'll do what we can to find out the answer. Remember - Wedding Dress shopping, like all the other aspects of planning your wedding CAN be stressful but they should also be happy and memorable. We hope you have a lot of fun searching for "the one" - we always love to see photos of brides wearing their beautiful gowns on their big day - so feel free to send your photos in if you'd like your big day to be featured on our blog
Happy gown shopping!