Wedding favors and centerpieces don’t usually come to mind when young girls picture their dream wedding. What they envision is the dress. The perfect gown is one of the first things brides think about when they slip the ring on the finger, even if they haven’t given wedding planning much thought. But before you get swept away by that sea of wedding gowns, we’d like to share a few words of advice. This guide will walk you through all of the factors you need to consider when choosing a wedding gown.

Set a Budget

When it comes to planning a wedding, you should set a budget before making any purchases. Also, make sure you are honest with your bridal consultant about what you can afford. There are times when we get caught up in the moment, as if we have found THE perfect dress, and we are shocked when they tell us how much it costs.

So many brides search for those stunning dresses on Instagram, but they do not see the price tags they come with and thereby have unrealistic expectations. Do not try on dresses that are out of your price range. Make sure you are up front and honest about your budget and ask the store not to show you anything that exceeds. Designer gowns usually cost about $2000 and more, so you should not try anything else unless you are willing and able to spend more.

 

Make an Appointment

As opposed to other retail stores, most bridal stores don’t display the dresses so that you can leaf through them and browse on your own. You will need to schedule an appointment so that a consultant can assist you in selecting dresses and trying them on. Scheduling during the week is always easier than on the weekend. Weekends are usually very busy, so you may get less personal attention, or you may have to wait for someone to try on the gown you want first. It’s worth using some personal time from work to have your appointment on a weekday.

Try On Fewer Dresses

When there are too many wedding dresses available, it is possible to end up overwhelmed with options. It is advisable to limit yourself to a few gowns per appointment or shopping trip and if you have that “wow” moment, don’t be afraid to follow your heart.

Often, brides come after visiting a number of shops and are still looking. This is not because they didn’t find the dress they liked; it is because they’ve missed that feeling already after trying on so many. At this point, every other dress is just a dress and eventually you will just get tired and buy whatever you see last. Once you have reached this point, you should take the time to rest and think about the choices you have made.

Choose Your Entourage Wisely

The bridal party, including mom, sister, sister-in-law, maid of honor, and six bridesmaids, are all very dear to you—but if you’ve ever had trouble deciding where to eat for dinner, imagine how difficult it will be to agree on a dress. Select only two or three people whose opinion matters most to you.

Make sure you only try dresses you like. Do not entertain your crowd by trying on something you don’t. It will only make you more confused.

Get a Similar Beauty Look

It’s obvious that you won’t feel your most beautiful while trying on wedding dresses if you have messy locks and no makeup. Ideally, you should attempt to mimic your dream wedding beauty look as closely as possible. Make sure you dab on some makeup and style your hair, depending on how you intend to wear it on your wedding day. Seeing a complete look is essential when making a final decision.

Make Customizations

 Make customizations if needed. Brides are always on the lookout for the perfect dress but finding everything you have in mind all at once can be quite a challenge. Remember that you can find the strapless gown and make the build up to it or add the lace and beading. It will open up more options when choosing a wedding gown.

But remember, even though seamstresses can make small changes such as adding straps or tailoring the hemline, customizing a gown that requires altering its inner structure or support, however, is costly. The more complicated or custom the gown, the more expensive it’s going to be.

Order True to Size

“Order bigger rather than smaller” is a concept we all have heard and read about, but in reality, it’s best to order the size you are currently in. It is common for stores to order items too large resulting in additional charges for alterations. Be mindful that the size chart is standard, and consultants always go with the bigger part of your body. Some parts of your body might be bigger than 1-2 sizes up, which could be a major factor in changing how the gown will look. 

Take Photos from Various Angles

If you want to get a true idea of how you’ll look in your wedding dress on the big day, ask a friend or family member to snap some pictures of you while trying the dresses on. It is important to get photos from every angle of each dress you are considering, from the backs and sides to images of you sitting down in the dress from the top down.

Do not, however, rely solely on the images you took during your fitting choosing a wedding gown. There are times when the lighting is not right, or the phone just does not capture good photos. Instead, try to remember how you actually looked and felt.

If You’re Plus Size, Call Ahead

Nothing is more disappointing than going to a bridal salon and discovering they only have samples up to size 10. Unfortunately, that’s the case for many. Even though they sell sizes up to 26, most of the stores carry 8-14 sizes and probably a few 16th here and there. If you know you are plus size (16 and up) inquire before coming to the store.

Call ahead of time to find out whether they have plus-size samples of the style and designer you are interested in trying on, or if they do not, whether they may be able to obtain some prior to your appointment.

Keep in mind that dresses are running smaller than the street sizes. In other words, when you are searching for a 14-street size, you will likely end up in a size 16-18 bridal.

Confidence is Everything

Every bride is beautiful in her own way. You don’t have to pretend to be someone else or be upset if you don’t look the way someone else does. The reason your partner is marrying you is because he loves you for you. Consider what makes you feel beautiful, what makes you feel like yourself, what makes you feel comfortable, and what makes you feel confident when choosing a wedding gown. Confidence and beauty will be clearly visible in your photographs, in your smile, and will contribute to the magic and unforgettable experience of your wedding day.