The Bride Guide : Wedding Dress Shopping

Wedding dress shopping is one of the most exciting parts of being a bride-to-be. However, the thought of choosing that one special dress can also be a little scary. The Bride Guide is here to bring you a few bits of advice to ensure your bridal shopping trips are devoid of stress and full of excitement. 

It's so important to book an appointment, many stores won't let you try anything on without an appointment. Also, when you do book your appointment at the bridal store, check how long the appointments are. I would advise booking an appointment for 1.5 hours - 2 hours. You don't want to be rushed and you want to enjoy the experience too, so give yourself enough time. The time goes super quick, and this moment is too special to rush.

Don't over do it 
The more you look, the more confusing it gets. Trust me, too many options does not help the situation. Try to only visit 2-3 stores at most, and try on a variety of dresses at each. Most stores have much of the same thing anyway, and you don't want this choice to be more stressful than it already is.

Less is more
When you're dress shopping, so try to keep the people you bring with you to a minimum. Too many opinions will overwhelm and confuse you, so choose the people who will give you honest opinions and help you choose. I took my mother and my maid of honour, so keep it to 2 or 3 max.

Bring water
Getting in an out of those dresses is more exhausting than you might think. You so easily get caught up in the excitement that it's super easy to becoming dehydrated quickly.

Bring a variety of different underwear. All dresses are different, and will require different underwear to wear with them. So bring a few different styles so you can see what works best. If you only bring one bra, I would advise strapless, as it will work with almost all dresses. Also remember that you don't always have to wear a bra, some dresses a designed to hold you without the added support.

Take pictures
Take pictures of the dresses you like. When you look in a mirror you only see your reflection, obviously. But a photograph will show you what others see when they look at you. You can also get close ups of details. This will help you if you're trying to decide between dresses, so you can put the photos next to each other and compare. It's important you remember to ask first  if you can take pictures. Some stores are really funny about letting you take photographs, so ask first.

I'd also advise using a proper camera to take the photos, not your phone. After all your wedding photos wont be taken on a phone, and you want to know how the dress will look in photos.

Take a video of you in the dress if you can, keeping in mind the point above, and ask before you film. Taking a video of you in the dress is such a great way to see how the dress moves and how you move in it.

Think ahead
The majority of dresses will need to be made to order, and this process can be time consuming. If you can, choose your dress around 9 months before your big day. It can take up to 6 months for your dress to come in to the store, and you will also need to allow time for alterations and fittings leading up to the wedding. Also bare in mind that lots of designers will shut up shop for the entire month of December, so calculate this into your schedule.

Be open minded 
I'm sure you've heard it before, but try on all sorts of styles. When you look at dresses in bridal magazines, the dresses look amazing on the models, that's because they are suited to them. So unless you look just like the model, the dress is most likely not going to look the same. So try on a few of everything, and pick the style that suits you and your body type. It's often the dress you least expect that looks the best!

On and off the box 
Many bridal stores will provide a platform or a box for you to stand on and look in the mirror. These are great, particularly as most sample dresses will be too long. This extra height allows the dress to sit correctly. Saying that, it's also important to see the dress when you're standing on the floor. Everyone looks amazing when they're 6ft 5, but that isn't reality. So stand on the floor at your normal height too, so you get a really good idea of how the dress will look on the day.

By this point you probably wont have chosen your wedding shoes, but try to bring some shoes of a similar height to what you want for your wedding day. This will help you see how the dress looks, and how your posture will be on the day. This one is particularly important if you're going for a shorter style.

Try a veil 
If you're thinking of wearing a veil, it's important to try one on with the dress. There are so many different styles of veil, and you'll want it to go with the style of your dress. Also adding a veil is really the OMG moment, when you really feel like a bride. Get a few pictures with you in the veil to make sure you're happy with the complete look.

The back
Obviously the front of the dress needs to look killer, but don't neglect the back of the dress. The back of the dress is what people will be looking at during the ceremony, so make sure there's some party in the back too!

The store 
Take note of the store you're buying from. The bridal store is the place you're likely to have all your fittings, so you want to make sure the staff are welcoming and helpful to you. You're going to be spending a fair bit of time there, so if the staff just don't care, look elsewhere!

Most dresses are made to order and will fit you pretty well when they arrive. But inevitably you'll need some adjustments and alterations. Lots of stores have in house seamstresses who can offer you this service, or you may prefer to source your own, but try to get an idea of the cost beforehand so you can work this into your budget.

Enjoy it
This is one of the most exciting days you'll have as a bride-to-be, so remember to enjoy it. It can get overwhelming and stressful at times. The dress is one of the most important parts for most brides, so it's important to make the right decisions, it will also be one of your fondest memories of wedding planning, if you get it right. So relax,  pop open some bubbly and enjoy it!