You can’t wait.
You’ve pictured this moment for years.
You see yourself walking down the aisle, and your heart swells with joy when you glance at all the people you love and care about.
They’re beaming at you as you approach your husband to be.
You’re gliding down a soft current of music, flowers, and twinkling lights.
Your dad is at your side, doing his best to discreetly dab his eyes, but no one’s fooled.
Everyone agrees, you look absolutely stunning.
You feel stunning too. Your dress…
Your dress! You still need to get a dress!
With so many gorgeous styles, different materials and trends, it’s easier than ever to find your perfect gown – and a little overwhelming, too.
This guide’s here to help you navigate the world of lace and chiffon, and arm you with some additional things to take into consideration when dress shopping; before your mom’s eyes well up with tears as you emerge from the fitting room.
1. Your Vision
Chances are, the dress you pictured yourself getting married in at 12 years old is not the dress you’re looking for now.
Think about the dress silhouette you like, and era. Do you prefer something vintage, or more modern?
You probably have some ideas of styles you like, and Pinterest is brimming with wedding dress inspo as well.
It’s worth taking a look, and putting together a Pinterest board of the dresses that wow you. With each, make sure you’re able to specifically identify what it is about the dress that draws you to it.
Reciting your vows will be a challenge if you can’t breathe. You need to be able to move too, so don’t select something that totally restricts you.
Also, if you feel comfortable in more conservative dresses, a plunging neckline may make you feel somewhat uncomfortable, especially when everyone’s attention is focused on you.
That’s not to say don’t try dresses outside of your comfort zone. You may be surprised by something you normally wouldn’t consider.
Want to know a secret?
You don’t need a big budget to look drop dead gorgeous. Make sure you know your budget before you shop. And if you need shoes and other accessories, don’t forget to factor those in.
4. Know the style of your big day beforehand
Do you know what kind of wedding you’re having?
Will it be indoors or outdoors, country inspired or minimalist?
Knowing how you’re going to celebrate helps guide the direction of your dress selection.
If there are family heirlooms or other special pieces you would like to include, think about how they will look with your dress.
For example, a wedding dress with a high neckline and intricate beading is gorgeous, but may look busy and cluttered when paired with your great great grandmother’s garnet necklace.
If you can’t bring the pieces with you when you try on dresses, make sure you have a few photos of them – including a pic or two of you wearing them.
Is your skin easily irritated? Does lace make you itch? The material of your dress is important, and if you’re sensitive to certain natural sustainable fabrics, make sure to choose accordingly.
The good news is, even if you are limited to natural fibers, it doesn’t mean compromise. Wedding dresses are made from all sorts of material, so shying away from one won’t hinder your style choices.
7. Make a day of it
Shopping on an empty stomach is never a good idea, so grab your bridesmaids, and head to your favorite brunch spot first.
Over a mimosa and eggs benedict, share what you’re looking for in a dress. If you’re still somewhat unsure, use adjectives that describe the feelings you’re looking to capture: dazzling, glamorous, boho… that way, when you get to the bridal salon, your friends can help pull dresses that embody your adjectives.
8. Be Open
Be willing to be surprised and open to suggestions. Ultimately, the dress you pick is up to you, but it’s fun to indulge others, and who knows. The dress you’d never have chosen – it looked like an old wrinkled sail sagging from a hanger – may look jaw-dropping after you’ve slipped into it.
9. Don’t forget your bridal party
They’ve been by your side through everything, and your big day is no different.
Bridesmaid dresses don’t have to be soft pastels. In fact, incorporating bold colors – such as burnt orange – is sure to wow.
No matter what you choose, you are sure to look beautiful.
Just make sure not to leave any of the dress selection to the last minute, and above all, have fun!