The time has come. You said yes to the ring (and your fiance!), and now it’s time to say yes to the dress. And although you’re excited about dress shopping, you’re also secretly freaking out.
You feel clueless about the shopping process and don’t even know where to begin. What if you can’t find a gown that’s flattering? What if it doesn’t fit the budget? How will you know it’s “the one”?
Plus, somewhere deep inside you can’t help but think…This is my one and only chance to find and wear a wedding dress. What if I screw it up?
It’s time to take a deep breath, bride-to-be! Although it may seem like an overwhelming journey to find the dress of your dreams, it’s not that difficult. In fact, if you keep these tips in mind, you won’t only say yes to the dress, you’ll say “Yass!!!”
1. Think about how you want to feel in your dress
When it comes to finding your dream wedding dress, it’s not just about what’s on the outside, but how you feel on the inside. You may have heard of Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map - a guide to creating goals with soul. Danielle says that, “Knowing how you actually want to feel is the most potent form of clarity that you can have.”
To apply this to wedding dress shopping, try not just focusing on what a dress looks like and how it looks on you, but how you want to feel when you try one on. Instead of attaching a lot of “must haves” to your dress (ie: must have ruffles/long sleeves/lace for me to be happy with it), go into dress hunting with the intent of finding one that makes you feel happy/confident/sexy/like a goddess with wings.
Knowing how you want to feel is much more open than setting a bunch of restrictions on what you think you want in a wedding dress. This kind of mindset gets you much closer to finding a gown that makes you say, “Yass!”
2. Look to the styles in your closet
To help you find an amazing wedding gown, just take a peek inside your closet. You already have a plethora of style inspo at your fingertips - tried and true pieces you go to again and again. Ask yourself which pieces make you feel confident and beautiful. What do you like about them the most? How can you incorporate those details into your wedding gown?
Maybe you notice a lot of lace and bohemian details in your wardrobe or perhaps you love simple styles and clean lines. You can use what you already love as a foundation for your bridal style.
3. Be open: try on dresses you think you don’t like
A dress might not look good on the hanger or you might think it’s not your style, but many times brides find that they actually look and feel way better in a dress they wouldn’t have considered.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with color, style, and silhouette. The great thing about getting to shop for a wedding dress is that it gives you permission to find and wear something that you normally wouldn’t. You might not be able to look like a Disney princess on the daily, but if that’s your dream, now’s your chance!
4. Consider ordering a dress online
You’ve probably heard or read horror stories of brides buying what they thought was their dream dress online, only to receive something that looked more like a garbage bag with ruffles. It’s important to do your research and be aware that dress scams exist, but don’t let the fear keep you from finding “the one” online.
There are a variety of online wedding dress boutiques that offer bespoke and customized gowns. These companies can work with you to make sure your dress is exactly what you want, from how it fits to how it looks.
Dress shopping online is great for gals who live in rural areas, for those who’ve exhausted the local salons, and introverts who would rather shop in their pajamas while sipping wine. You might not be able to feel the fabric and try on the dress right away, but you will be able to browse at your convenience and take your time looking through all of the options.
5. Consult your tribe, but trust your intuition
If you’re headed to the bridal salon with your Bride Tribe, you’ll no doubt have a sounding board to guide you through the dress shopping experience. You’ll also have a gown consultant to help you thumb through all the tulle - not to mention, help you get dressed.
It’s great to have support during such a special time. Feedback is precious when it’s given with good intent and can help you make important decisions, as well as offer a different viewpoint. So go ahead, talk to your squad and consultant, consider their advice and tips, but remember, in the end it’s your decision. If your heart is screaming YASS over the pantsuit, but Mom would just love to see you in the ball gown, listen to your heart (cue Roxette).
That deep down place of wisdom is your intuition and it always knows what’s best for you. Now’s not the time for people pleasing, no matter how much you love them or how much they want to see you walk the aisle in a Kate Middleton number. It’s your day, your dress, your decision. #noregrets
6. Ditch your damn diet
There’s nothing wrong with getting fit for the wedding. The big day can actually act as a great catalyst for boosting one’s health, but here’s the thing…
A lot of brides go on diets and then shop for dresses in their goal size. The problem with this is that if the bride doesn’t hit her target weight on time, she’s left with a dress that doesn’t fit. I know no one wants to think they won’t reach their health goals by wedding day, but this is life and I’m pretty sure you can’t predict the future. So with that in mind, try on dresses that are true to your present size. This gives you a bit of wiggle room (and less stress, btw). Dresses can always be taken in, but it’s much harder to do the opposite.
7. Stop looking for the perfect dress
It’s true that you should try on a variety of gowns (kind of like kissing many toads to find your prince), but at some point, you might feel overwhelmed or second guess yourself. Pro tip: give yourself a limit to how many dresses you’ll try on per trip or walk away if you’re feeling overwhelmed. There’s no sense in forcing a say-yes-to-the-dress moment. It will happen, darling bride.
Saying yes to your dream wedding dress may take a little more effort than saying yes to your now fiance (squee!), but it doesn’t have to be hard or overwhelming.
It is absolutely possible to find a wedding gown that highlights your best features, makes you feel like a million bucks, and makes you light up like the precious gem on your finger.
Whether you head to the local bridal salon or shop online while sipping a glass of champagne, finding your dress will be a breeze when you follow these tips. So why not go ahead and have a celebratory glass of your favorite bevy? Your dream dress is waiting for you!
About the author:
Cassandra Key is a freelance writer with a penchant for helping starry-eyed brides navigate their way through the most magical of all times - wedding planning! Get more of her wedding tips, tricks, and treats at ieie Bridal.