The Wedding Dress Search is in equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. For most, this may be the first and only time you’ll be looking for a wedding dress, and it’s not the same as picking out an outfit for a night out. Finding the perfect wedding dress can be a lengthy process and isn’t always easy.
No matter how many years you’ve been looking, and if you’re anything like me, it’s been since you were 5, it’s a very different experience once the question has been popped. You may have been planning your dress for years but you’ve never actually planned buying one, have you? The difference between the two is trying on dresses – realising what looks fantastic on celebrities may not suit you, and the price to have a real diamond encrusted corset may actually be just out of reach in your real budget.
So to help you avoid any bridal boutique faux pas, tears or embarrassment, and make the wedding dress shopping as fun and easy as possible, we put together this quick guide to bridal shopping with our top wedding dress shopping tips. It’s a few simple pointers and suggestions, gleaned from the experience of many brides to help you know what to look for.
Soon after you’ve gotten used to seeing that sparkling rock on your wedding finger, you will immediately want to start wedding dress shopping. It’s only natural! The dresses are gorgeous, like nothing you’ve ever wore before, and trying them on in the beginning when pressure is low, is unimaginably fun, like playing princess dress-up as grown ups. But how do you get started? What should you be looking for? And is there such thing as the perfect wedding dress?
Before writing that cheque or passing over the plastic, it’s a good idea to have your venue booked and at the very least know the season you’ll get married in, says Meg Keene, author of A Practical Wedding Planner.
“Often, someone will find a dress she likes or a good deal on a dress and buy it, and then figure out three months later the dress doesn’t match the wedding itself,” Keene warns. “That fuels the used wedding dress market.”
According to Keene, it’s quite possible that there isn’t one perfect dress for everyone. Despite what romance films tell us – we won’t all end up in tears exclaiming “this is the dress”. Debunking this myth is the first step you can take to help relieve stress when buying the dress.
“This is the perfect dress!” scenario often doesn’t happen and brides-to-be end up feeling like there’s something wrong with them or the styles they’re trying on. A lot of people don’t have the personality where you put on something amazing and you cry,” she says. “You’re supposed to be in love with your partner. You don’t have to be in love with your dress.”
When choosing your wedding dress it’s important know what body type you are so that you can find a dress that can fit you properly. Nothing can ruin your opinion on a dress more than it fitting improperly.
A skirt that gradually flares out in an A formation from the natural waist to the floor, highlighting the narrowness of the upper frame and floating away creating a discrete transition from the hips and thighs. (Sturdier fabrics, such as duchesse satin and taffeta, are your go to choices, since they won’t cling.) A spaghetti-strap bodice or a V neckline will also showcase a more slender upper body, however keep in mind V necklines can be your best friend at a wedding until made from a loose fitting cheaper material. An A Line style dress is perfect for pear shaped bodies as it accentuates the small bust area while leaving hips and legs hidden beneath the flared skirt on each side, leaving a beautiful confident bride.
A dress with a slight scooped neckline, will open up your face and display your décolletage without baring too much cleavage. If you heart is set on strapless gowns, be sure to choose one that has a slight dip along the neckline, perhaps a sweetheart, rather than a style that goes straight across as this will make your bust appear even larger and more squared.
It’s important to keep in mind the fabric on the bodice. If the material used has a sheen to it (such as organza, satin, or silk) it will add a certain volume and call attention to your chest. Material that is ruched will also have the same non desired effect.
An Empire dress with a skirt that begins just under the bust and flows into a gradual floor-length A-line is perfect for the full figure bride to be. Make sure the Empire seam does not start on the chest and that there is no pleating of the fabric, which is reminiscent of maternity wear. The dress should play up your shape; if it’s too loose, it will add pounds.
A very common misconception for full figure brides is that they cannot have a fitted dress because it will just show off unwanted curves – this is untrue! It’s often the case that loose unfitted dresses can make a bride look bigger than she actually is. Find fabrics like satin that provide structure, rather than anything too flowy to create a slimmer silhouette. If you love the romantic look of airier fabrics, choose a gown with a stiffer base.
A dress that cinches in at the smallest point on the waistline, then flares out into a gradual A shape. Opt for a bodice with a lot of texture to it―think ruche or lace detailing―that will camouflage and fit snugly, creating a corset like effect. The most slenderising neckline for you is one with a deep V, which will draw eyes toward the vertical, not the horizontal.
Tall & Thin
A simple silhouette. The strategy is to emphasise your natural shape, so every aspect of the dress―the lower waistline, a floor-sweeping hem―needs to reflect your longer proportions. If you’re wearing long sleeves, they should go past the wrist. You don’t want to look as if you’ve borrowed a gown from someone shorter than you. Because you are statuesque, you’ll want to err on the side of simplicity when it comes to embellishments. Too many bells and whistles, like ruffles and rosettes, can come off as cutesy, particularly on a tall person.
Trumpet, sheath, and modified A-line gowns. Find a style with a waistline above your natural waist, to make the lower half of the dress (and therefore you) appear longer. The fabric is up to you―you can pull off a high sheen. But the detailing should be small (no huge bows) and limited to the bodice, to draw the eye upward. Be wary of dresses with a dropped waist, which will make your legs seem nonexistent, and ball gowns―it’s easy to get lost in that voluminous skirt. Also, avoid anything calf-length, which will make your legs look short.
So now that you may have an idea on the type of dress that is suited to you and your body type, the next part is of course the shoes and accessories. The first rule to remember for picking out your wedding day jewellery and accessories is – don’t go overboard. No matter how tempting it is to load up on sparkles and bling, you don’t want to risk letting your accessories outshine you. Keep “less is more” as your mantra and stick with a few key pieces rather than accessorising everything.
Pearl are unique and beautiful in their own way. They come from the ocean and require no special cutting or treatments to allow their true beauty to shine through. Pearls are a classic and sophisticated jewellery piece ideal for a small yet stylish statement alongside your wedding dress. Pearls go well with simplistic dresses and high and sweetheart neck lines.
Orchira Maison Monet Earrings
Orchira First Lady Pearl Necklace
Orchira First Lady Bracelet
Diamonds and Crystals
There tends to be two types of brides, the reserved classically beautiful and the sparkly princess bride, and possibly at times a mixture of the two. So if pearls aren’t what you’re looking for, then diamonds or swarovski crystals are more likely to be your cup of tea. Again the idea of diamond jewellery is to be simplistic and discreet, being sure to not take any focus from the dress. A lot of bride’s opt for diamond or crystal jewelry to enhance any jewels that they may have detailed on their dresses.
While the options below do include a necklace – some bride may opt to settle for just drop earring and a bracelet especially when dealing with a slightly more scooped neckline. In the case of catering to all our brides needs we’ve opted for a selection of swarovski crystal based jewellery but of course if you prefer these could be swapped out for diamonds for a slight price increase.
Swarovski Crystal Earrings
Swarovski Crystal Necklace
Swarovski Crystal Bracelet
When it comes to your bridal shoes many brides leave it as an afterthought – thinking no one will notice my shoes while i wear this beautiful dress. Unfortunately that isn’t true. As a bride all eyes are on you and people notice every little detail as they try to soak in the beauty that is before them. The shoes are one of the most important parts of your wedding day outfit – even if they don’t seem all that important right now. The shoes being left to the last minute can often be a bride’s biggest fault.
The temptation of going for something that looks stunning or is cheaper is really hard to resist. Sadly that leads to the wrong choice of footwear in most cases and then after having painful shoe bites and blisters, brides wish they had chosen their footwear properly.
Comfortable wedding shoes are an essential part and their importance can never be overstated. Below we’ve listed a few pairs of some truly beautiful bridal shoes, that are both stylish and most importantly well made and comfortable. Making it easier for you to last the entire day and night.
Menbur Julieta by Sarenza
Coria by Moda in Pelle
Menbur Zulema by Sarenza
Menbur Giovanna by Sarenza