Shopping for the perfect wedding dress should be a fun, memorable experience. However, it can also be a lot of pressure. If you bring friends or family along to the salon, you’ve got to juggle a lot of opinions. Everyone has a different idea about how to choose a wedding dress, what the perfect wedding dress looks like, etc. It’s hard to focus on what you
want in the midst of all that noise.
It can also be hard to find “the one” for other factors. Maybe you have budget concerns, or you’re indecisive, or you’re just waiting for the dress that gives you that overwhelming urge to say “yes.” How can you ensure that finding the perfect wedding dress is a fun, stress-free experience?
We’ve got great tips to help you know how to choose a wedding dress. From researching styles beforehand to knowing how to make that final decision, we’ve got you covered.
How to Research the Perfect Wedding Dress
Styles, silhouettes, and accessories, oh my! There are tons of factors that go into finding the perfect wedding dress. Doing research before you go into the salon will make the experience much less overwhelming and way more fun.
Get inspiration from real brides.
We all love browsing bridal magazines for inspiration, but keep in mind that these aren’t real brides—they’re models. They’re likely thinner than most women, and they also have the advantage of photoshop and studio lighting. Check out our real wedding blogs
for inspiration from brides just like you!
Determine the best silhouette for your body.
When deciding which styles you like, this is a good place to start. Do some research (we recommend hopping on Pinterest
) to learn more about which silhouettes and dress styles will flatter your body shape. Once you’ve narrowed it down to the dress shape you like best, you can start thinking about essential details.
See what’s realistically within your price range.
Once you have an idea of what you like, start browsing wedding dresses
. This will give you an idea of what you can expect to find in your price range once you go into a salon. Keep in mind the cost of accessories when setting your dress budget, too! The dress isn’t complete without a veil, jewelry, and shoes. These things add up quickly.
Pro-Tips for Your Bridal Appointment
With the months of anticipation leading up to the wedding, your 1-2 hours at the bridal shop will breeze by. Here’s how to make the most of your time trying on dresses. Follow these tips and it will be easier to know if you’ve found the perfect wedding dress.
Book your appointment in advance.
While some bridal salons accept walk-ins, it’s always a good idea to call ahead. That way, you’re not disappointed if you arrive on a busy Saturday only to find all the consultants are busy and you can’t try anything on. Let the salon know who’s coming with you, too, so they can reserve an area for you that’s big enough for your entourage.
You don’t have to bring an entourage.
This is one occasion when “the more the merrier” doesn’t apply. You’re not obligated to invite every female friend and family member to tag along. The more opinions you invite into the conversation, the more complicated the decision becomes. Aim to invite 2-3 people who you trust to help you choose a dress. It’s also totally fine to go alone! The process of finding the perfect wedding dress can vary based on your personality type
—if you’re an introvert who wants to make the decision on your own, go for it! You can always count on your consultant to provide an opinion if you need it. Also, take photos
to share with those who missed out—if this is okay with the salon! The Wedding Shoppe encourages photography, but some salons might prefer you keep the camera tucked away.
You’ve done your research in advance—great! Now share your findings with your consultant. As your personal shopper, she’ll help you find dresses that incorporate all your favorite elements. This helps narrow down the search. You don’t have time (or energy!) to try on everything in the store.
Trust your consultant.
Your consultant is there to help you know how to choose a wedding dress. They know the store’s inventory back and front. They have also fit plenty of brides of all sizes, so they can advise you on what styles will be the most flattering on you if you’re not already sure. As you try on each dress, be honest about what you like and don’t like about it. This will help your consultant hone in on the perfect wedding dress for you.
Be honest with yourself—and your consultant—about your budget.
If you have a strict $1500 dress budget, let your consultant know. They can show you dresses in the style you like that are within your price range. If you don’t let them know upfront, you may end up falling in love with a $5000 dress that’s just not feasible. A low budget doesn’t always mean sacrificing all the details you love, either. Sometimes adding an inexpensive rhinestone belt can make all the difference with a budget dress. Be sure to check out sample sales as well. Many sample dresses are in great shape and can be altered to fit you perfectly if needed.
How You’ll Know You’ve Found the Perfect Wedding Dress
Now you know how to choose a wedding dress—right? Except when it comes to making the actual decision. What should it feel like? How do you stop yourself from wondering if there’s a better dress out there?
The perfect wedding dress might surprise you.
At the end of the day, the perfect wedding dress could be totally different from what you expected. Maybe you thought you wanted an A-line dress, but none of them worked for you, so your consultant showed you a mermaid-style gown that blew you away. We don’t always know what we want until we see it on ourselves. Be open to surprises when choosing a wedding dress!
You may not have a “Say ‘Yes’ to the Dress” moment
With all the pressure to find the perfect wedding dress, it may seem like choosing one is an impossible feat. Don’t count on an emotionally climactic moment where you know you’ve found “the one.” Think back to your relationship with your spouse-to-be—did you know
immediately, or did you fall in love over time? Shopping for a wedding dress can be the same. Some dresses will grow on you the more you think about them. Others may be like exes—they seemed great at first, but after a while, you realized it wasn’t mean to be.
Say ‘yes’ to… the following questions.
recommends asking yourself a series of yes or no questions about the dress. Will I feel comfortable in this all night long? Can I dance in it? Is it within my price range? Does it flatter me now
, without me needing to lose weight or worry about certain features? Does it make me feel confident? The process of falling in love with the dress may be a series of small “yes” answers to questions like these—not an emotional climax.
Don’t worry about finding the “perfect” dress—find a dress you love.
Don’t waste your time shopping for “the best” dress. When people talk about finding the perfect wedding dress, this puts undue pressure on the experience. It often leads to disappointment, too. You don’t have to try on hundreds of dresses to find one you love, just like you didn’t have to date hundreds of people to find the love of your life. So don’t worry about whether or not there’s something better out there—find something you love and say yes.
In the end, there are thousands of wedding dresses out there that would look amazing on you. The biggest tip for knowing how to choose a wedding dress is to stop worrying about finding the “perfect” one. Take some time to explore your options, then choose the one that’s right for you (and your budget!). Remember that it’s your
big day—don’t let others take away from your special experience. Don’t buy the dress just because mom loves it—buy the dress because you
What’s the best advice you’ve been given about finding the perfect dress? Share it with other brides in the comments below!