Wedding Dresses Flowy- 75+ Images Ideas

How to Choose Your Dream Wedding Dress: 15

Things to Know

B
Photo by Emmy Lowe

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 even 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. Plus, your dress sets the tone for the wedding as a whole, whether it’s a grand ballroom affair or a casual beach bash. It may also feel like there’s a whole new language to decode — tulle, A-line, fit and flare, organza, sheath. Plus, more brides than ever are doing multiple dresses, a more formal one for the ceremony and a party-centric (danceable or more blingy and outrageous) one for the reception, which can double the task of shopping.

With all eyes on you, not to mention photos you’ll keep forever, of course you want to look perfect on your big day. But what does perfect mean to you? For some brides, a dream dress is a regal ballgown fit for a princess. For others, a dream look is a sexy, va-va-voom sheath gown that makes everyone appreciate her curves; to other brides, the best dress is one that allows her enough movement to be able to re-enact the choreography from “Thriller” on the dance floor.

The choices can seem overwhelming for sure. No matter your budget, your personal style, or your timeline, check out our wedding dress shopping tips for finding the gown of your dreams — the one you’ll love today, on the big day, and in 30 years from now when you look back at your wedding photos.

1. Do Research to Find What You Like

Photo by Patrick Demarchelier

1. Do 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 favorite dresses. Then look for a connecting theme — are they all very embellished? Lacy? Voluminous? Have open backs? Find a couple commonalities of styles you like and bring your ideas to your first appointment.

BHLDN Wedding Dresses Fall 2018

Photo by Sara Kerens

2. 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 that they’d never considered. Keep an open mind to finding a dream dress that you didn’t know would be your dream dress.

Hayley Paige Fall 2018

Alyssa Greenberg

3. Brace Yourself for Bridal Sizing

Bridal sizing means your gown’s number will often be one to two sizes higher than for your regular clothes. Even if going bigger sounds horrifying, remember that no one will know the number but you and your consultant.

4. Shop True to Your Size

Bertrand Rindoff Petroff

4. Shop True to Your Size

Even if you plan on losing weight before the big day, shop for dresses in your current size rather than going smaller. It’s much easier to take a dress in than trying to work with one that’s way too snug.

5. Shop Early

Alyssa Greenberg

5. Shop 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.

6. But Not Too Early

Alyssa Greenberg

6. But Not Too Early

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.

Rack of Wedding Dresses

Getty Images

7. 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, the groom, you?). If someone else is paying, get the hard numbers on your limit, so you can choose to stay within that budget or pay the difference yourself to get the dress you want.

8. Know Your Wedding Theme Beforehand

Alyssa Greenberg

8. Know Your Wedding Theme Beforehand

Before you start dress shopping, decide whether you want a casual garden party-themed wedding or a formal, romantic affair. Always keep the venue and theme in mind as you browse gowns, because the last thing you want is for your dress to clash with your overall wedding style.

9. Plan Non-Obvious Costs Into the Budget

Thecabook Fotolab

9. Plan Non-Obvious Costs Into the Budget

Say you plan to cap your dress spending at $2,000 — you actually shouldn’t buy a $2,000 gown. That’s because you need to factor in for tailoring, accessories (your veil, jewelry, and shoes) and cleaning and preserving the gown after the wedding if you want it to be a keepsake.

A view of Loho Bride, a bridal salon in LA and San Francisco, California.

Courtesy of Loho Bride

10. Find a Great Bridal Salon

Do your homework before you start making appointments, since you don’t want to waste time at a shop that doesn’t carry dresses you like or has terrible customer service. Get referrals from married friends and check online reviews to find shops with solid reputations.

Idan Cohen Fall 2018

COLLIN PIERSON PHOTOGRAPHY

11. Call Ahead

Don’t waste your time shopping at a store that doesn’t have the style, designer, or price range you had in mind. Call the boutique or salon ahead of time to get the low down on their inventory before you make a visit.

12. Make an Appointment

Alyssa Greenberg

12. Make an Appointment

In most bridal stores, the dresses aren’t displayed in a way where you can just leaf through them and browse on your own, the way you can in other retail stores. You’ll need an appointment so a consultant can help you select dresses and try them on.

13. Start Inexpensive and Work Your Way Up

Courtesy of Isabelle Armstrong

13. Start Inexpensive and Work Your Way Up

Make your first appointment with the least-expensive bridal shop and keep scaling up if you don’t find anything. Same goes for trying on dresses during your appointments — try on the most affordable one first, and work your way up to the bank-breaker; you may fall in love before then!

14. Pick 3 Adjectives to Describe Your Dream Dress

Getty

14. Pick 3 Adjectives to Describe Your Dream Dress

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

Dany Mizrachi Fall 2018

Courtesy of Dany Mizrachi

15. Shop on a Weekday

Bridal salons are packed on the weekends, meaning you may get less personal attention or that the dress you love is being tried on by someone else. It’s worth using some personal time from work to have your appointment on a weekday.

Lela Rose Fall 2018

Alyssa Greenberg