12 Tips for Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress

Bride finding the perfect wedding dress inside a box

You've pictured yourself glowing in a stunning white dress as you walk down the aisle. It's the perfect moment, and you look and feel amazing. But now it's time to start shopping for a wedding dress and you aren't sure where to start. There are so many options it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Here are a few tips to help in your search for the perfect wedding dress.

Picture Yourself as a Bride

Close your eyes and picture yourself as a bride. What does your picture look like? Are you sensational in a full ball gown or an ethereal, flowing dress? Write down five or six adjectives that describe the way you want to look and feel on your special day. Consider adjectives like romantic, traditional, sexy, princess, summery, or elegant. Have your groom do the same thing and compare words. Look for areas you have in common and set a mood that you'll both love.

Work with the Setting

The style of your wedding dress should fit with the formality of the ceremony and the location as well as the mood. A short sundress is not appropriate for a formal candlelit ceremony, but could work great for an afternoon garden party or beach setting. Develop a sense of the mood and formality of your wedding before heading out to try on wedding dresses. Don't shop first and then try to build a ceremony around the dress.

Be Realistic About Your Wedding Dress Budget

Figure out before you begin shopping how much you can afford to spend on the wedding dress, then stick with your budget. Also, avoid buying a cheap dress because you want something big with a small budget. It's better to have a beautifully made dress that fits you perfectly than to have big dress that looks cheap.

Schedule Early Appointments

Early morning appointments mean the bridal store is usually less crowded and the staff is fresh and energetic. You often can only schedule for one hour at a time, so make that hour count by getting the full attention of your consultant.

Focus on Finding the Perfect Silhouette for the Dress

It's easy to get caught up in the details of wedding dresses, but your first priority should be finding the silhouette that works best for you. Focus on your style and what flatters your body type. After narrowing down the wedding dress style, you can start looking at the details.

Consider the Top of Your Wedding Dress

A full skirt or flowing train are gorgeous, but keep in mind that the top of your dress is what people tend to notice and what shows in most pictures. Shots with guests are often of the waist up, and even professional photographs include a number of close-up shots.

Avoid Trendy Wedding Dresses

Trendy wedding dresses may be fabulous this year, but it's usually better to stick with something more likely to stand the test of time. A gown containing traditional and modern elements that makes you feel glamorous and sexy won't go out of style.

Bring Your Camera

Snapping pictures of dresses from different angles is a great way to think back on your favorites and compare them later. Plus, it's important to know how the dress looks in pictures because that's the way you'll see it for years to come. Some stores don't allow photography, so be sure to get permission before you start shooting.

Try on Dresses

Wedding dresses look different on your body than they do on the hanger, so be willing to try on a variety of dresses. Also, be ready to put on a lot of gowns because it takes time to find the perfect wedding dress. But know when to stop, and don't feel like you need to try on 20 dresses at every store. Too many choices add confusion and stress. If you aren't finding anything you like at a particular store, then go somewhere else.

Shop with Support

Don't feel like you have to take every female family member and friend with you when wedding dress shopping. Having one or two trusted friends or family members to provide support can be wonderful. But too many people results in an overwhelming number of opinions and objections. This is your day, so your opinion matters most. Many brides prefer shopping alone, so do whatever makes you comfortable.

Ask Questions

When trying on dresses, ask the staff and your support group questions about any concerns you have. Remember to ask yourself questions too. Think about the way you feel in the dress. Ask yourself if you feel confident, comfortable, and beautiful. See if you can dance and sit down in it, and if you feel self-conscious about your body in the dress. If the dress looks great, but you feel trapped and can't move, then it's not the right dress.

Get Fitted Close to the Wedding

Shop for the dress at least four to five months before the wedding, but save fittings for closer to the big day. If you are trying to lose weight, then wait until you are the size you want to be before getting fitted. Too many fittings and adjustments can ruin the way you feel about your dress.

Remember, finding the perfect wedding dress that complements your personality and the style of your wedding will takes time. But these tips can help you discover the wedding dress that makes you shine.

Make sure you avoid pitfalls too - read 5 Mistakes Brides Make When Shopping for a Wedding Gown to make sure your dressing shopping experience goes smoothly.

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