Whether you’ve been dreaming of your wedding dress since you were little or you haven’t given it much consideration prior to having a beautiful shiny ring on your finger (because let’s be real, there are so many options to consider!), We’ve got you covered on what to think about when embarking on the exciting adventure of finding your wedding dress.
Amidst the flurry of engagement bliss and wedding planning, finding your dream dress can sometimes feel like searching for a diamond in a sea of other beautiful gems. (No pressure, right?) Another daunting aspect is the high likelihood that you’ve never actually tried on a wedding dress before (and if you have, you’re already one step ahead!). Speaking from experience, the imposter syndrome can feel very real at times.
However, the process of finding and choosing your wedding dress is an adventure in itself! One that’s full of excitement, anticipation, and heart-bursting joy. It’s completely surreal and all-consuming, and once you find the “one”, you’ll never want to take it off.
Regardless of your budget or personal style, these handy tips will ensure you have all the information ready to take with you on your very own dress-finding journey!
1. Finding Inspiration and Researching What You Like
By the end of this, you’ll be a research whiz for weddings! Grab out those magazines and get your Pinterest pins ready! There is an abundance of material to be explored and so much inspiration just waiting to be discovered. Keep an eye out on social media too, and slowly start to compile a list of your favourite dresses (or even any specific details that you come across and love!).
Do you have any “must-haves?”—It could be something as simple as wanting an ivory-coloured dress, or perhaps you’re wanting something with sleeves. By collating all of your favourite dresses, you can begin to identify those commonalities between the specific dresses. Perhaps they all have lace detailing or long trains. This information is very beneficial when you begin to attend your bridal appointments! But we’ll talk about those a little later on in the blog.
2. Be mindful of your timeline.
When you begin the process of shopping for your wedding dress, you want to ensure you’re starting at the right time. I know, it sounds a little ridiculous, but there is such a thing as looking too early. On the other hand, you certainly don’t want to leave it too late, either!
For example, if you and your partner have decided to have a long engagement, you may not want to start shopping immediately. The potential danger of shopping too early is leaving yourself with all of this additional time prior to your wedding date to potentially fall out of love with your chosen dress or fall even more in love with something else! And whilst this might not happen specifically to everyone, it is a risk that might not necessarily be worth taking.
Wedding gowns can take up to 8 months (the exact time will vary based on who you go with) to be produced, and that’s without any additional time for alterations and accessorizing. This is why it’s important that you give yourself enough time to not only explore your options and try on different styles but to give yourself that breathing room to find something that speaks to your heart.
3. Be open and honest
I know this one might sound incredibly obvious, but the biggest piece of advice that I was gifted and now swear by is to go into your bridal appointments with an open mind. Sometimes the best results can come from the most unexpected places!
I encourage you to try on as many options as you can: lace sleeves, different necklines, overskirts, separates, and don’t forget about your accessories too! Pop on a veil, try on a tiara (have your Princess Diaries moment!) Play around with gloves—when you give everything a chance, there is no room for regret down the line!
4. Have (and Keep) Your Budget in Mind.
No one likes to talk numbers, but it’s, unfortunately, a necessary conversation to have to avoid any heartache later on. Whether you’re covering the costs yourself or someone else is on your behalf, it’s very, very important to have a clear figure in mind.
Not only will this allow you to stay within your budget, but it also provides you with peace of mind knowing that everything that you’re trying on, you can comfortably afford. I like to think of a budget as a wonderful anchoring tool that can keep you grounded throughout this entire process! (Because it’s so easy to get swept away when you see beautiful, shiny things.)
If you’re looking for a helpful budgeting resource, check out our tips and tricks on planning and budgeting here.
Bonus Tip: When considering your dress budget, remember to keep any alteration and/or express fees within the budget, as well as any accessories that you might love!
5. Start looking for bridal boutiques
Prior to jumping straight in and making any appointments, start by doing some research on bridal boutiques in and around your area. In Victoria, Australia, we are spoiled with options! Therefore, I’d recommend checking out their website and social media to scope out what designers they stock, their average price ranges, and most importantly, if they have any specific dresses that you would like to try on.
Also, don’t sleep on your married friends and family; they can be a wealth of knowledge! Word of mouth is an incredibly useful tool and will allow you to also get a sense of their personal experiences with customer service, production timelines, and what to expect going into a bridal appointment.
Bonus Tip: If you can’t locate a size range for the sample stock on their website, I would highly recommend getting in contact with the bridal salon prior to making any bookings. This way, you’ll ensure that there are an array of options for you to try on in your size!
6. Make Your First Appointment Booking
You’ve done your research, and you’ve got your dress inspirations and your ideal budget in mind. It’s now time to book your first appointment! Woohoo!
Make sure you book a date when your chosen loved ones can come and support you (we love a hype group!) and remember to have fun with it! Embrace the unexpected!
Finally, (and I can’t stress this enough) whether it’s your 1st, 3rd or 10th try-on appointment – please don’t ever feel pressured into making a decision if you’re not 1000% confident with it. You want to know in your heart and soul that the dress you choose is the dress you want.
This is your wedding; this is your journey, and ultimately, you want to say “Yes!” to the dress that fills your entire being with love and joy. Be open with your consultants, with your loved ones, and most importantly, with yourself. It’s a collaborative process, one that will ensure you have the dress of your dreams!
With all the time, effort, and energy that you pour into finding the perfect wedding dress, I’m sure you’ll be bursting with excitement to show it off to your partner on your wedding day. Therefore, have you given much consideration to having a private, first-look before your ceremony? Click here to find out more.