Matrimony Monday: The Dos and Don’ts of Bridal Gown Shopping

Picking a wedding gown is kind of a big deal. It is also very overwhelming. There are literally hundreds of thousands of dresses to choose from and you can only pick one. I have compiled a list to make the task of finding s bridal gown a little less daunting.

♥ Do shop before you shop: It is best to go to a bridal salon with an idea of what you like and don’t like. It will make the process easier for you and your dress consultant. Bring printouts of dress styles that you love for inspiration.

Do let the dress pick you: I know it sounds cliche, but the dress really will pick you. Now, let me clarify — some women expect to see Jesus himself when they put on the perfect gown. That probably won’t happen; but when you know, you know (and once you do know, that is your cue to stop shopping). On the other hand, if the dresses you thought you liked aren’t working for your body type, have your bridal consultant pull different styles for you to try. You may surprise yourself with what ends up being “the one”.

Don’t shop with an army: You might be tempted to bring every Jane, Sue, and Molly to help you try on dresses. Please, resist the urge. Picking a wedding gown is a very personal decision. If you bring too many people you may end up getting the dress that they like instead of the dress that you like. Bring two to three people tops. That is enough people to get an opinion, but still feel in control of your own dress search.

Do skip the second dress: There are some people that will heartedly disagree with me on this point, but I am 100% opposed to brides getting two dresses (unless it is a religious tradition). You only need one wedding dress. If you are concerned that you won’t be able to dance in your dress, then pick another style that you can wear all night. I have yet to see a “reception dress” that even comes close to the beauty of a “ceremony dress”. Don’t shortchange yourself. Wear the fancy gown all night.

Do have a “really, really” conversation: You picked the dress, now make sure you’re lookin’ right in it. Bring people you can trust to your fittings  to ensure your dress fits correctly. These people will tell you if you need Spanx or if the top of your gown should be taken in a bit more.

Do plan for emergencies: Make sure you have a steamer, a sewing kit and Tide to Go pens on your wedding day. White is not forgiving; neither is intricate beading, lace, or tiny buttons. All of which may end up being on your wedding dress.

Do pick a dress that suits your style: Bridal trends come and go, but your personal style is forever. Pick a dress that is totally “you”. The gown may be short, long, poofy, form fitting, laced, beaded, strapless or sleeved; but at the end of the day, it will make you feel like the bride you’ve always dreamed of being.

♥ Don’t be horrible: Temper tantrums in bridal salons are not cute. Neither is dragging your friends to twenty dress appointments or demanding that your parents pay $10,000 for a designer gown. Your wedding dress is important, but it isn’t that serious. Don’t forget to take a step back and remember that your wedding isn’t about the dress. We all know weddings are all about the food (just kidding). Your wedding is about marrying your life partner. So if Bridezilla begins to rear her ugly head. Tell her to take a hike.

Do have fun: Don’t let the wedding gown search overwhelm you. There is no need to try on 100 dresses or make a board of 5,000 dresses that “inspire” you on Pinterest. That will only confuse you. Approach the bridal gown quest in a positive way. You get to spend an afternoon trying on gorgeous gowns! That’s fun. Also, never forget that as the bride it doesn’t really matter what you wear. You could show up in a burlap sack and everyone would smile and tell you how beautiful you look (because you look beautiful in anything, duh). So don’t stress.

photos via: Grey Likes Weddings | KLK Photography | Pinterest
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  • Reply mollystillman August 6, 2012 at 11:25 am

    SUCH good advice, clare. i took only my sister and one friend with me and that was the best decision ever.

  • Reply Claresmom August 6, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Make sure the people you take with you get along. The bride has enough stress choosing a dress without having to play referee between friends or family.
    Be sure to take pictures of yourself from the back. That is the view people will see the most.

  • Reply FASHION TALES August 6, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I agree with these for the most part, both my sister and best friend only had 2-3 people with them when bridal shopping, I will do the same, when it’s a full entourage it becomes too overwhelming. 🙂

  • Reply Holly J August 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    All of these tips are spot on, but especially the last one. Whenever I watch wedding shows I get stressed out just watching how stressed out people get over the planning part of the wedding. If I ever get married I want the whole affair to be fun!

  • Reply MOSAMUSE August 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    i agree… no army needed
    xo
    MOSAMUSE

    http://www.MOSAMUSE.com

  • Reply biscuitsandnavy August 6, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Great tips Clare! I totally agree with not taking an army, it’s like having too many cooks in the kitchen. When I went, it was just me and my mom. It was really nice bonding time:)

  • Reply Cafe Fashionista August 7, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I honestly cannot believe that some people buy two wedding dresses. They’re so expensive!

    You should seriously submit some of your Matrimony Monday pieces to a wedding magazine, Clare; they are incredibly helpful and awesome to read!! 🙂

  • Reply Val August 8, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    that first dress is gorgeous, such dainty lace, yum

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