The Ultimate “How to Choose Your Wedding Dress” Guide

You are likely to have more photographs of yourself in your wedding dress than in any other outfit so it is crucial you wear a dress which makes you look fantastic and, even more importantly, feel sensational.

1) Research
Before you start shopping you should have an idea about what you are looking for. What is your reception venue like? What season are you getting married? What designers do you like? Is there a celebrity whose red-carpet style you admire? What celebrities are a similar shape to you, and how do they dress? Is there a particular part of your body you want to reveal, or to disguise?

Familiarise yourself with the main wedding dress silhouettes, as well as the different types of fabric which are used, so when the bridal consultant uses terms like charmeuse, and illusion bodice, you know what they mean.

2) Budget
According to Brides Magazine, the average British bride spends £1,378 on her dress, with a further £299 on shoes and veil. That is a significant amount for an outfit you will only wear once, so spend it wisely. Remember to factor in the cost of any alterations – shortening a hem, for example, can cost between £75 and £200 depending on the type of fabric and the number of layers.

Do not panic if you fall in love with a dress you can’t afford. There is always a solution, whether it means considering that style in a different fabric, or adapting a similar dress with sleeves, a belt, or an overlay. With a little creative thinking, you will get there.

3) Planning and appointments
While some bridal salons take walk-ins, it is always wise to make an appointment to ensure you have a consultant’s full attention. Ordering to delivery of your dress can take six to eight months, so start looking eight to ten months before your wedding day. Don’t shop more than a year in advance – the chances are high that you will change your mind, and once a dress has been ordered it can’t be cancelled.

Wear a good fitting bra, preferably a multi-way one, to your trying on appointments, and take shoes which are around the same height you will wear to your wedding. Ignore the size (wedding dress sizes are two to three sizes smaller than normal clothing) and focus on how it fits. Most dresses can be taken in one size before the shape is compromised, but they can only be let out half a size at most.

4) Be flexible
Try on dress styles you normally wouldn’t wear. A wedding dress is no ordinary dress, so you may be surprised by what suits you. One area you should not flex much on is your budget. Be upfront with your consultant about how much you are willing to spend.

5) Saying ‘Yes to the Dress’
You will try on a large selection of gowns during your shop visits, but don’t be afraid to ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ once you find a gown that takes your breath away! In the same way that you stopped searching when you fell head over heels for your fiancé, you should do the same when you find your dress! Trust your gut and don’t let the fear of missing out take away that special moment!