If there is a best practice list for wedding dress shopping, I most certainly missed it when looking for mine!
I had fixed ideas about silhouettes and fabrics, no real set budget, tried on way too many dresses, and ended up completely confused. Then I decided to order the perfect bohemian beach wedding dress from Australia—that didn’t work out. After that, I started my own custom-made dress only to change course mid-way. It was only after I focused on what I really wanted and did my research online when I finally found the elusive dress.
I hope your experience will be better than mine, so here are some things to consider:
Manage Your Expectations
You may have a Hollywood scene in mind where the bride shows up looking like a goddess in her white flowing dress and everybody is in tears. Well, let’s just say it’s not as glamorous as the movies!
The first few wedding dresses I tried on were a complete disappointment—instead of feeling happy I felt stressed and the task felt daunting. It turned out that ball gown and A-line silhouettes don’t necessarily flatter everyone! There might be some disappointments along the way, but hang in there, you will find your dream wedding dress.
Know Your Options
You have more options than you think – you can buy a new wedding dress, a preloved wedding dress from a bride like you who has worn it just once to her wedding, you can rent your dress, or you can design your own wedding dress. Each option has its own benefits.
Buying a new wedding gown comes with a high price tag and you might compromise on selection to accommodate the price. Of course, you can tailor the dress to a perfect fit. Luckily it is now possible to recuperate up to 70% of its value once you’re done by listing it on DRESS COME TRUE.
You can find your dream wedding dress by browsing wedding dresses listed by brides like you—dresses have usually been worn once and some have never been worn. The clear advantage is the reduced-price tag, as some dresses are listed at more than 50% discount of the retail value. If possible, try the dress on, and if not, ensure you are confident about the dress before ordering it online. Please read our guide on size conversion and ask the bride for as many pictures and details as you need. You’ll then have to tailor the dress to your fit.
You can also rent your dress and tailor it at the store, but of course this means a completely sunk cost that you will not recuperate.
Do Your Research Online
This goes both for both styles and budgets. Get familiar with terminologies, silhouettes, necklines, and fabrics – download our guide to Wedding Dress Silhouettes – have a feel of trends, your personal preference, and price range of all your options. I found my own dress online, then I went to try it on.
Set Your Budget
If you’re one of the lucky few where the sky’s the limit, skip to the following point.
If you’re like the rest of us, set your comfort level budget before going shopping—this will help you stay on course once faced with a persistent seller trying to convince you otherwise.
I remember falling for an Oscar de la Renta dress at one boutique. The seller tried to convince me with an emotional speech on “it’s a once in a lifetime event that deserves every penny” and for a moment, I got carried away. Then I swiftly realised I am no Amal Clooney…
Be Open to Changing Your Mind
I was originally sure that I wanted an A-line silhouette that hides all my curves. It turns out I ended up with a mermaid silhouette that highlighted all my curves. Do your research online but then be flexible to other options, you never know what surprises you will find.
Choose Your Shopping Companion Wisely
It might seem like a good idea to take your entire entourage when going wedding dress shopping, but trust me, it is not!
You might be emotional, uncomfortable, or simply overwhelmed. The last thing you need is conflicting feedback when your head is already all over the place. Choose one or two people whose opinion you trust blindly. Thank God I had my sister by my side on that day. The look on her face gave it away—I had finally found my dream dress!