5 Steps To Choosing A Wedding Dress
1. Do your research
Before you even begin to look around it is best to research. You should always have a bit of knowledge about dresses before you even set foot into a bridal shop. There are also many bridal magazines that will provide a ton of information, including Brides, Modern Bride, Bridal Guide, Wedding Bells, etc. All of these magazines have websites, where you can find quick information without paying for the magazine.
2. Decide on a silhouette
Wedding dresses are made in several different silhouettes. Before considering anything else, know which type of gown will flatter your figure the best. Look at photos of each type. You can browse wedding website message boards and member profiles for photos of real women wearing gowns, rather than relying on professional photos of models wearing them.
- Ball gowns have very full skirts and generally will look beautiful on any body type, unless the bride is very short and small. In this case, it may be overwhelming to her small frame. Ball gowns generally either have crinolines built in or a slip you must wear to support the shape of the gown. Be advised that this extra fabric can be heavy and bulky and will require extra care to wear.
- A-lines usually have a fitted bodice with a skirt that flares gently from the waist to form an "A" shape. They generally work for everyone as well, and are a terrific choice for someone who would like to hide lower body flaws, but does not want a ball gown. A-lines are not as full as ball gowns.
- Sheaths flatter women with slim, balanced figures. They shouldn't be worn by brides who dislike their figures. This gown will not hide any flaws. If you think your thighs or bottom is too big, you'll be miserable in this type of dress. Don't try to pull it off because you found a gown you love in this style. You don't want to risk being uncomfortable or self conscious on your wedding day, or regretting your choice every time you look at wedding photos.
- Empire waist gowns have a skirt that falls from just below the chest. Although usually listed with various waistline types and not always considered a type of silhouette, they are a wonderful choice for a casual, non-formal wedding, or weddings in a tropical climate. They're usually made of light, flowing fabric. They're also excellent for pregnant brides, because they provide extra room in the waist, making them a comfortable choice. They also won't draw as much attention to the belly as a dress with a lower waistline would.
3. Envision your Wedding. Picture yourself on your wedding day.
What are you wearing? What silhouette is your gown? What fabric? Is it embroidered or beaded? What color is it? With so many choices for the dress, it can be overwhelming to look through hundreds or thousands of them. Some brides have said that after looking through racks and racks of dresses, they all begin to look the same. So before you even set out to try them on, envision your wedding day and how your dress looks, and jot down a list of things that describe the dress of your daydreams. You don't have to know all the wedding dress terms. Just write down a description of the gown you're envisioning. Example list: "princess, satin, some shade of white but not pure white, spaghetti straps.
4. Location, Location, Location
Knowing the place and time of your wedding will help focus your search. Will you be having a daytime ceremony on the beach? You can rule out ball gowns with long trains and dramatic embellishments. Most fabrics are suitable year-round, but some, like linen and organdy, are more appropriate for warm weather, while velvet and brocade are best left for winter.
5. Decide on a budget
When deciding on your budget, you don't need to set a very specific price. Just make it a general range.You can always break this rule later if you're able to and really want to, but it helps to have a general range. Some experts suggest devoting 10% of the overall wedding budget to the bride's attire. Just be sure to remember that "attire" includes not just the gown itself, but the other stuff: veil, shoes, slip, jewelry, gloves, etc. All of these things are optional, of course (except for the slip, which is usually necessary to keep the dress from going between your legs when you walk). But you'll have to factor in the price of whatever items you decide to wear with your gown.