How to choose your dream wedding dress: 10 things to know

Finding your dream gown can be stressful, but we've got you!

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Whether you've been dreaming of your wedding dress since you were five and know the exact specifications you want for it down to the last sequin, or you've never thought about it until your future spouse's mother nagged, "You still haven't gotten your gown," we've got you covered on how to choose a wedding dress.

Finding your dream gown can be stressful. After all, you've likely never tried one on before, and it's the most expensive garment many women will ever own, so it can feel like the pressure is definitely on while wedding dress shopping. It may also feel like there's a whole new language to decode—tulle, A-line, fit-and-flare, organza, sheath, etc. Not to mention, more brides are doing multiple dresses—a more formal one for the ceremony and a party-centric one for the reception—which can make shopping even more stressful.

No matter your budget, personal style, or timeline, these wedding dress shopping tips are guaranteed to help you find the gown of your dreams.

  • Research to find what you like

Rip pages out of magazines, click through bridal boutiques online, explore on Pinterest, and check out what celebrity brides are wearing to compile a visual file of your favourite dresses. Then look for a connecting theme—are they all very embellished, lacy, or voluminous? Do they all have open backs? Find a couple of commonalities of styles you like and bring your ideas to your first appointment.

  • Be Open

Bridal consultants will tell you that they constantly see women come in with a set idea of what they want for a gown, then try it on and don't actually love it—and instead, fall for something completely different they'd never considered. Keep an open mind while wedding dress shopping. You may find your dream dress that you didn't know would be your dream dress.

  • Shop early, but, not too early

Many gowns take four to eight months to be produced, and once it arrives, you still have to factor in more time for alterations and accessorizing.

If you’re having a long engagement and immediately start shopping for gowns, the one you end up buying might be out of style by the time your wedding comes around, or you might find one you like even better closer to the date.

  • Figure out your budget

Yes, it's uncomfortable to talk numbers, but it will save you from heartache later on. Before your first appointment, figure out who is paying for the gown (your family, your partner, you?).

  • Pick the adjectives to describe your dream dress

Whether you want to feel classic, vintage, and comfortable, or romantic, glamorous, and beautiful, go into wedding dress shopping with a clear vision of how you want to look on the big day. Choosing three specific words to describe your vibe can help narrow down your dress selections.

  • Pick your silhouette

Your ideal gown's shape is partly based on the style you like, the venue, and mood of your wedding, and also what flatters your body most. A fit-and-flare is both contemporary and traditional and works on many body types, whereas a simple sheath is best on tall, willowy brides. A voluminous ball gown adds drama but can overwhelm a petite frame. Mermaid styles show off curves like your favourite pencil skirt.

  • Stay true to what you love

It's easy, especially for people-pleasing brides, to bend in the moment to what gown your mom, sister, or maid of honour loves on you. But it's crucial that you go with what you love and what feels like your dream dress, regardless of other people's expectations.

  • Order too big than too small

Most gowns can be altered down one or two sizes and, depending on the seam allowance, up one size, so it's better to order too big and take it in than be stuck with a zipper that won't close.

  • Test to make sure you can move

No wedding gown is going to be as comfortable as your pyjamas, but you don't want to be pulling it up or constricted by it all night, so bust out some moves in the dressing room. If you're planning a church wedding where you may need to kneel or sit during the ceremony, practice doing that in the gown. If you're planning to drop it like it's hot on the dance floor, try it out to make sure you can move how you want.

  • Relax and stop looking

Now that you've found your dream gown, stop shopping—it will make you nuts if you keep looking at dresses. Yours is great! Now just look forward to showing everyone on the big day.

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