Time to go dress shopping? It doesn't have to be a crazy-stressful, overwhelming, 'find the perfect dress' time. (Here's a secret the 'perfect' dress is the one you feel fabulous in - not the most expensive, not the one everyone else has pinned on their Pinterest Boards, not the one from a famous design house.)
Follow these guidelines to make your wedding dress shopping experience easy-peasy and fun!
Your dress should fit your budget
Your dress should fit your body
Your dress should fit your wedding vibe
Wear pretty and practical underthings in nude
Bring appropriate shoes
Wear an easy, flexible hairstyle
Bring positive peeps only
Your Budget - decide how much you want to spend before you book appointments and then choose Bridal Salons accordingly. Best to book a bunch of appointments on the same day or weekend so all of your options are fresh in your mind. Once you decide on a dress - ask about getting a discount for bundling the veil and accessories.
Your Body - knowing what suits your body type will help with determining a dress style that will look and feel fab. Call the Bridal Stylist at the Salon ahead of your appointment and give her an idea of your shape and size and what you would like to accentuate so that she can have some options ready before you arrive. Be open-minded once you get there... they know their dresses and dresses may look WAY better on you then they do on the hanger!
Your Wedding Vibe or Style - you will be the centerpiece of your wedding day and everything around you should compliment your look. If you are having a chic, downtown, hotel wedding and choose a gown that it super boho... it will feel off and disconnected - same goes for if you are going for a woodland, natural, cottage wedding and have chosen a dramatic, classic Hollywood gown - it just doesn't mesh. Trust your gut and your wedding stylist - you know you best and she knows the dresses best. It's great to have a couple of keywords or phrases to describe your vibe (urban and edgy vs romantic and soft). All this being said.... as a professional wedding planner - if you choose a swanky, contemporary suit to be married and the venue is deep in the forest.... I will make it work for you! (I am picturing Philippe Starcke Ghost Chairs for the ceremony with mirrored planter boxes and fuschia blooms - simple, elegant, woodland)
Your Underthings - be sure to wear pretty but practical undergarments - preferably in a skin tone .... because, truth be told, they are going to be seen. Were you thinking of trying a slim fitting gown? Bring along some Spanx to get the full effect. It's also smart to choose something simple to wear to your appointments that is easy to get on and off quickly - it will save time and headaches in the change room... think pull-over dress.
Your Shoes - If you are planning on wearing flats for your wedding - bring them to your appointment. Heels? Same deal. They don't have to be the exact pair you will be wearing but will give you a better idea of the overall look at the right height. Not sure? Bring both.
Your Hair - Depending on the style and neckline of the dress you are trying - having your hair up or down may make a difference in helping you decide if it is the dress for you or not. I recommend wearing your hair either long and bringing elastics and clips to quickly put it up - or wear it up, knowing that you might end up pulling it down to try while at an appointment... if you need a brush for either of these maneuvers, pack one.
Your Team - Positive people only! This is, traditionally, a pretty special time for a bride (and also for her mom) so it is important for the people that you invite to attend the appointments with you be fully invested and engaged in the process and able to give honest but helpful opinions.
The Bubbly - Call the salon ahead of time and ask if it's okay to bring champagne. A pretty bubbly drink will make the appointment an event and finding your perfect gown will be cause for a toast! If it is not permitted - be sure to pack some water and snacks for you and your girls.. you can work up a sweat heaving gowns on and off for a couple of hours.
Don't be discouraged if you don't find 'the one' on the first outing, look over the pics that your girls took on the day and see what you liked or disliked about your favourites and go from there. At least you know what to expect and next time.
Illustration of Anne Hathaway's Wedding Gown by: @maisonvalentino