While some brides-to-be have been dreaming of their wedding day throughout most of their life, and know exactly what their perfect wedding dress looks like down to the last bead, others haven't thought about it at all, with no idea what kind of gown to wear. For those in the latter category, we've got you covered with these tips.
Know Your Budget
We'd all like to have an unlimited budget that allows us to spend whatever it takes to get that perfect dress, but few actually enjoy this privilege. If someone else is paying, find out what your limit is so that you can stay within that or plan on paying the difference out of your own pocket.
If you're responsible for it all, give yourself a price range and stick to it. Don't even try on dresses over that range or it's likely to end up causing major disappointment. Be sure to figure in everything, including any necessary alterations and accessories like a veil, jewelry, and undergarments.
If you're starting from scratch, it's time to do some research, and lots of it. Click through online bridal boutiques, check out Pinterest and rip pages out of magazines. Once you have a visual file of your favorites, try to determine if there's a certain theme they follow - maybe they're simple but elegant, they have lots of embellishments, or perhaps you find yourself drawn to a lace wedding dress, Victorian-style. Find a couple of similarities in the types of dresses you like and then bring your ideas when shopping.
Think About the Wedding Venue
While getting married in a church was once a given, a study by The Knot found that in 2016, just 26% of couples had their ceremony in a religious institution, down from 41% seven years before.
There are many other options you might consider these days from vineyards and ranches to beach resorts. The venue you choose will also help you determine the right kind of dress, for example, a fancy ball gown may not be the best choice for getting married on the sand.
On the other end of the spectrum, a short dress that doesn't leave much to the imagination probably isn't the best choice for a ceremony in a large cathedral.
Which Styles Flatter Your Body Type the Most
Before you get your heart set on one type of style, it's important to understand which styles flatter which body types the most. After all, the whole point is to look your best on that special day.
Ball gowns overwhelm petite frames, for example, while tall, slender brides can pull them off well. If you're short, you can elongate your body by choosing an A-line style dress that has a natural waist. There are styles for every size and shape.
Choose Wedding Shops Wisely
Before you start making appointments at those wedding dress boutiques, avoid wasting time by checking online reviews to be sure each one has a good reputation for outstanding customer service.
You'll also want to make sure that they have the types of dresses you like, and within your price range. If any of your friends have gotten married recently, referrals can be the best way to ensure a positive experience.
Keep an Open Mind
Many women walk into bridal shops with a set idea for exactly what they want in a gown only to find once they try it on, they don't really love it. Bridal consultants may have a better idea of what will make you shine, so don't immediately say no if they suggest something you haven't really considered. By keeping an open mind, you could discover that dream dress that you would never have found otherwise.