Finding your wedding dress is the second most important wedding decision that you’ll make next to picking your groom (because that’s a pretty big decision, too). But while some brides finding picking the dress one of the easiest decisions they’ll make through the wedding planning process, others struggle finding “the one” (just watch any episode of Say Yes to the Dress where the bride has tried on 75 gowns and you’ll know what I mean). In order to find your dress, you have to consider a few things and, luckily, since we’re going through the process, too, we know exactly how to help you.
1. Get some inspiration
THIS IS THE FUN PART!!! When you picture yourself walking down the aisle, what do you picture yourself in? Since you’ve already established your overall theme to the wedding, why not start there? I’m personally going for something a little romantic and whimsical, so it was important to me to choose something that reflected that: soft fabrics, delicate details and, since I like to do things a bit different, something unconventional and unexpected (I like to keep people guessing). When you’re looking for inspiration for your theme, you’ll surely come across some images for dresses, too. Flip through bridal magazine and tear out images of gowns that you think you’ll like. If you see a designer that sticks out to you, see if there’s a boutique in your area that sells their gowns and book a consultation. If you bring some of your inspiration and tears, the consultant will do their best to match it or find something with a similar aesthetic that might work. Fun tip: ask your close friends and family to find some ideas of what they see you in… it might just surprise you.
2. Go for what you’re comfortable in
I could give you a speech about dressing for your body type, but this has nothing to do with that. Who cares if you’re curvy or not, the point is to feel comfortable in your own skin and your gown. With that being said, though, you know what cuts and styles look best on your body and which make you feel like a super bridal princess and which make you don’t. You want to look for something that reflects your personal style, whether that’s traditional, a bit sexier, or somewhere in between. Do not let anyone else dictate what you should be wearing, whether it’s style, silhouette or any other details (including colour! Blush dresses are all the rage).
3. Try different styles on
While some brides can identify what kind of gown they want before even trying something on, like your groom, you may need to try a few before finding the one. This may seem counter-productive, but once you think you’re close to finding the style that you want, switch gears and try on a completely different silhouette. For me, I went in looking for a ball gown, so when I thought I found the ball gown that I would walk down the aisle in, I tried a mermaid gown on instead (also flattering for someone with curves like myself). What it did was reinforce my love for the dress that I already knew in my heart was the one.
4. Articulate why something isn’t working
This is a little tricky, but one of the traps you see brides falling into when trying on gowns is having this vision of what they want in the end, trying a bunch of gowns on that just aren’t working, but they’re not able to articulate why it’s not working for them. Is it too much bling? Is it cutting too high? Do you want a different back? A lot of times, alterations can be made (yes, they can run up a bit of a tab, but if it’s swapping from a zipper back to a corset, you can probably negotiate a little bit) to make it the gown of your dreams, but at least if you can identify why something isn’t working, it’ll make it easier for your bridal consultant to identify what might work for you. If you don’t express it to them, they can’t do much for you other than run out the extra time on your appointment and send you on your way for the next bridal boutique to deal with. And nobody wants that. This is supposed to be fun, remember?
5. Say yes!
Pretty self-explanatory. When you know, you’ll know. Promise.
But our expertise doesn’t stop there… Because you still have bridesmaid dresses and tuxes to think about, too. When it comes to bridesmaid dresses, you’ve likely already chosen your colours, but if you’re between two, go for the one that the flowers will pop against (for me, mint green dresses with vibrant purple flowers… POP). As for style, it’s really a personal choice, but you’ll make your ‘maids super happy if you give them a bit of choice since not every body is made the same and what is comfortable for one of them may not be the same for the other. Again, keep your theme in mind… if you’re doing something flowy and more relaxed, it may look weird to put them in something super glitzy and fitted, ya know? As for tuxes, while black is always classic and for the most part standard, it also makes more relaxed styles look overly sophisticated so you may want to consider a dark grey instead to soften it. If you are going for a more glamorous, elegant affair, then you can never go wrong with a classic pairing. If you want to modernize it a bit, opt for suits instead of tuxes and do something funky like a bowtie or add some colour in the way of pocket squares or on the boutonnieres.
The Wedding Planner is an ongoing series where we give you some real-life wedding planning advice, from finding the dress to dealing with that ever-growing guest list, over the next few months as we figure it out ourselves.