We understand that finding the perfect dress is likely high on your list of #weddinggoals, but isn’t the easiest task. Well, whether you think you have an idea of your ideal gown, that idea keeps changing, or you find yourself overwhelmed amidst dozens of wedding magazines and dress pins, we’re here to help revert this often-overwhelming decision into the meaningful and fun experience that you deserve as a bride. What can be most helpful during this process is deciding not only which elements you would like to incorporate but why; like how they factor into your overall vision for your wedding.
1. What do you want your dress to say about you & your wedding?
Fast-forward to the day of your wedding, close your eyes, and see yourself walking down the aisle. In this vision, what is it that you see, and what is it about that dress that speaks to you as a bride? It doesn’t have to be a full image, but once you have that vision in your mind, ask yourself “why?” Does a flowy chiffon or taffeta (see fabric glossary) dress speak to the romantic theme that you envision? Maybe a lace, fit and flare gown (see neckline options) represents your dream of being a more modern-vintage bride? Maybe the dress has the boho-chic style that is just “so you”, or perhaps you see yourself in a ballgown with beading and embellishments from head to toe, your princess dreams coming to life! If you can’t quite garner together that vision, researching on Pinterest or in bridal magazines can be a great start. Go into it with no reservations, pin all that speaks to you, then go back and establish a pattern; if most the gowns feature a certain fabric, neckline, flow, or style that fits with theme of your wedding, you may then prioritize these elements during your search.
2. What’s your budget?
We know, this isn’t exactly a fun question; however, it is one of the most essential questions to consider during this process. The earlier you decide how much you are willing to spend on your dress the better, as this will shape certain aspects of your experience. For example, if you have a higher budget ($2,000 total or above) then you may want to look for boutiques and bridal shops in your area, looking at reviews to ensure that they feature dresses you are interested in and that their customer service is on point. Shopping with a great consultant means that they can keep this budget in mind to keep you from falling in love with a dress that breaks the bank. However, remember that gown alterations can cost up to $500 or more, so you will want to factor this into your budget as well. If you have a lower budget, ($1,000 total or less), you may want to keep your eyes out for sales, specials, and events. Many bridal companies have annual or sample sales where you can get amazing steals on dresses that are just as amazing! If you feel comfortable, you can even shop for gowns online! Whether on google or Pinterest, you can find links to online ordering from various shops or pre-owned gown marketplaces, among many others. If you choose this option, then it could benefit you to pre-shop at an actual store to make sure you like what you envision (as far as fabric and style) before you go all in. Some online shops like Nordstrom even allow for returns if what you order isn’t exactly what you were looking for, but you’ll want to avoid any unnecessary stress as the day nears.
3. What’s the rush?
Another key factor in making this decision is how much time you have left to make it. When is your wedding? Shops with a large selection ask brides to allow 6-8 months before the wedding so that the gown in your chosen size and color has time to be ordered, shipped, and fitted. If you decide to carefully purchase a gown online, the ordering process could still take months, and then an additional number of weeks to be appropriately altered. The longer you wait, the higher the risk that you may not have enough time to purchase exactly what you want or make any necessary changes, so plan to shop as early as possible!
4. Color: which white is right?
If you’ve tried dress after dress and none have felt like “the one”, an unsuspected factor could be the culprit: color. The perfect dress isn’t just about the beauty of the gown itself but your beauty showing through while you’re in it, and the right tone of white will bring that out like nothing else can!
- For our fair-skinned ladies:
- Avoid stark whites – they will likely wash out or dull your skin tone.
- Go for a warm shade of white with a slight yellow tone that will make you glow!
- For our olive/sallow skinned ladies:
- Look for cool whites (those with a pink undertone). Shades like champagne and silk white will perfectly complement your complexion!
- For our medium-skinned ladies:
- If your skin is pinker or has blue undertones, try some dreamy, creamy ivories. Their yellow undertones will prevent redness and will ‘wow’ you and your guests!
- For our dark-skinned ladies:
- If your skin has olive undertones, stay away from yellowish ivories.
- Though every bride is different and you should try on a few different shades to find what’s right for you, your dark complexion means that nearly every shade of white will complement it, leaving you with a dewy, fresh look!
Now, go have some fun your search! Remember, if you start having organza overload or feel you are drowning in an ocean of fabric and style options, stop thinking and start visualizing walking down the aisle. This will reveal what is most important in making this choice: what’s in your heart and what will make you a happy, confident bride.