Bow detail on Elie Saab wedding dress


Wedding dress shopping guide

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How to choose a wedding dress and not regret it.

How to choose a wedding dress? Embarking on the quest for the perfect wedding dress is like entering a labyrinth of choices, where doubt and regret lurk around every corner. We’ve sought the expertise of the esteemed team at Eternal Bridal, one of Australia’s leading bridal boutiques, to craft an ultimate guide that combines their knowledge of dress shopping and our expertise in photographing weddings. Are you ready to uncover the secrets of choosing the single most important dress of your lifetime?

Picture this: you, decked out in a fluffy white robe, armed with a magnifying glass and a checklist of gown requirements. As you step into the bridal boutique, the consultants tremble with anticipation, ready to unleash a tidal wave of lace, chiffon, and questionable fashion choices. It’s a battleground of taffeta and silk, and you, my friend, are about to become the ultimate fashion warrior.

First step before choosing a wedding dress. The B word…Budget.

Having a dress budget or a price range is essential. It serves as your starting point when choosing a wedding dress and helps narrow down your options. Consider the cost of alterations and include it in your budget. Inform your consultants about your price range so they can guide you accordingly.

Shop Early but Not Too Early

There’s no such thing as starting too early. As soon as you get engaged, the excitement of finding your dress begins. Begin your search online, through social media, and bridal magazines for inspiration. Allot around 10 months before the wedding to visit boutiques without feeling rushed.

Trunk Show

Ever heard of a trunk show? It’s like a fashion sneak peek on steroids. Imagine getting a front-row seat to the hottest wedding dress collection before it hits the boutiques. Sip champagne, nibble on canapés, and prance around in luxurious gowns like a true diva. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will make you feel like the Queen (or King) of the bridal catwalk.

Fit & Size of your wedding dress

When choosing a wedding dress, the fit and size are crucial. If you love a dress but are unsure about the fit because the sample dress is too big or small, ask your consultant for a gown with a similar fit and shape in your size. This will help you visualize how the wedding dress will look and aid in making the right decision.

Bride is posing in Baldwin Monique Lhuillier wedding dress

Sticking to Who You Are

Stay true to yourself when choosing a wedding dress. Don’t feel pressured to change your style or personality just because it’s your wedding day. Choose a dress that makes you feel comfortable and reflects your natural self. Saying “yes” to the dress may not happen immediately for everyone, so take your time and trust that your moment will come.

Whom to Bring to the wedding dress shopping appointment

When inviting people to accompany you, choose wisely. Bring those who will provide helpful advice and lift your spirits. Common choices include mothers, sisters, or best friends. Avoid bringing too many people to keep the dress a surprise for everyone, including your partner.

Right Undergarments for your wedding dress

Wearing the right undergarments is crucial for a comfortable and seamless look. Shape-wear can help create a smooth silhouette and avoid visible underwear lines, ensuring you feel your best.

Have a Professional Take Your Measurements for a wedding dress

Having a professional take your measurements is essential. Consultants are trained in accurately measuring your body, and their knowledge of dress fits is invaluable. Trust their expertise to ensure the dress you choose fits you perfectly.

Consider Location of your Wedding Ceremony when choosing a wedding dress

Choose a wedding dress that suits the location of your wedding ceremony. For traditional cathedral ceremonies, opt for dresses with trains and embellishments that match the grandeur of the space. A-line or mermaid silhouettes with lace details are ideal for garden ceremonies. Beach weddings call for lightweight and flowy wedding gowns that can withstand wind and heat.

Travelling in the Wedding Dress

Consider how far you’ll have to travel from your “getting ready” location to the ceremony. Ideally, get ready in the same venue where you’re getting married. If you need to travel, choose a fabric that travels well and won’t wrinkle easily. Prioritize comfort, as some fitted wedding dresses can be uncomfortable for long distances.

Choose Heel Height Before the Wedding Dress

Decide on the appropriate heel height before searching for a gown. Bring your chosen wedding shoes to the appointment or select similar ones. This will help you visualize which gowns will look most flattering. Consider the venue restrictions, such as not wearing heels for a beach wedding.

Traditional or Fashion-Forward wedding dress?

Embrace your unique style on your wedding day. While many brides opt for traditional wedding gowns, don’t be afraid to go for something bold and fashion-forward. Choose a dress that allows you to express yourself while still staying elegant.

Pose in your Wedding Dress

Consider the photography aspect when trying on wedding dresses. Visualize how the wedding gown will look from different angles and practice poses you plan to use during your photoshoot. Certain dress styles may restrict movement for certain poses, so take that into account.

Bride is posing in Petal Monique Lhuillier wedding dress

Practice Sitting, Walking, and Dancing in your Wedding Dress

Ensure your wedding dress allows you to move comfortably. Practice sitting, walking, and dancing while wearing the dress to see how well it accommodates different activities. A dress that fits well and allows for ease of movement will make you feel like a goddess on your special day.

Plan your Hair and Makeup Beforehand

Coordinate your dress, makeup, and hairstyle to complement each other. Decide on your desired hairstyle and makeup look before shopping for a wedding dress. When trying on dresses, recreate your wedding day hair and makeup to get the full picture and make the best decision.

Details Matter

Look for a wedding dress with details that enhance your best features. Details on the back, long sleeves, unique embroidery, bows, or sparkles can elevate your wedding photographs and make them more captivating.

Veil or No Veil

The choice to wear a veil is personal. From a photographic perspective, a veil can add drama to your pictures. Alternatively, consider dresses with capes, overskirts, or oversized sleeves to add a touch of “drama” without a veil.

Front of the wedding dress is more Important!

Now, here’s a pro tip for choosing a wedding dress: if you are torn between two dresses: remember that most of your wedding photos will capture you from the front. Consider the impact of the dress’s front design, especially from the hop up, to make the best choice. Those precious moments—the first kiss, the family portraits, and the exchange of rings—will forever be frozen in time, framed on your walls for all to see. So, when torn between a dress with a breathtaking back and one that makes you radiate from the front, think of those future photo ops and choose wisely. After all, you want to be the star of the show, not just the supporting act!

Confidence is Everything!

And last but certainly not least, let’s talk about the most important accessory you can wear on your wedding day: confidence! Confidence is the key to unlocking your inner bridal goddess. Remember, no matter what wedding dress you choose, you are the star of the show. Embrace your uniqueness, celebrate your quirks, and own that aisle like it’s your personal runway. When you feel like the queen you truly are, it will radiate through your smile, your laughter, and your every step. So, my fabulous friend, go forth, conquer that dress quest, and let your confidence shine brighter than a thousand suns!

Bride is standing in front of the Sydney Opera House in blush couture wedding gown

And there you have it, I hope you enjoyed our ultimate guide to finding the perfect wedding dress. Remember, amidst all the craziness and stress, this is a time to celebrate love, joy, and laughter. So, take a deep breath, gather your tribe of trusted advisors, and embark on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure of finding the gown that will make you feel like the dazzling bride you were born to be. Happy wedding dress hunting!

Published in Wedding Sparrow

Bride wearing double pearl headband and pearl earrings

Want to find out how to choose perfect wedding accessories?

Read our accessories guide where you can find everything you wanted to know about accessorising your wedding look

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