As one of the most important days of a woman's life, choosing the perfect wedding dress is crucial. It's a moment that many brides-to-be have been dreaming of since they were little girls, and the dress they choose can set the tone for the entire wedding. With so many options available, from classic styles to modern designs, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.
In this article, we'll explore some tips and trends to help every bride-to-be find the perfect gown for her big day. We'll also cover the various factors that should be considered, such as body type, wedding theme, and personal style.
Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Dress
1. Know Your Body Type and Personal Style
Knowing your body type and personal style is key to finding a wedding dress that flatters your figure and reflects your taste. Here are some tips for identifying your body type and personal style:
Determining Your Body Type:
- Look at yourself in the mirror and identify the widest part of your body. Is it your bust, waist, or hips?
- Take your measurements and compare them to a body type chart to determine your shape. There are typically five main body types: hourglass, pear, apple, rectangle, and inverted triangle.
- Consider what styles of clothing tend to look best on your body. For example, if you have an hourglass figure, you may want to choose a dress that cinches at the waist to highlight your curves.
Identifying Your Style:
- Think about your everyday wardrobe and what styles and colors you tend to gravitate towards.
- Consider the style and theme of your wedding. Do you want a dress that fits with a traditional, formal wedding, or are you going for a more casual, bohemian vibe?
- Look for inspiration online and save photos of dresses that catch your eye.
Tips for Choosing a Gown:
- Choose a dress that flatters your body type. For example, if you have a pear-shaped figure, you may want to choose a dress with a fitted bodice and a full skirt to balance out your proportions.
- Don't be afraid to try on different styles. Even if you have a clear idea of what you want, you may find that a different style looks better on you than you expected.
- Keep in mind the practicalities of the wedding day. Consider the venue, weather, and any activities you'll be doing (such as dancing) when choosing a dress.
- Stick to your style. You want to feel like yourself on your wedding day, so choose a dress that reflects your taste and makes you feel confident.
Here's a link to an online quiz that can help you identify your body shape: Body Type Quiz: Are you an Endomorph, Ectomorph, or Mesomorph? | Everyday Health
2. Set a Budget and Stick to It
Setting a budget for your wedding dress is an important step in the wedding planning process. Here are some tips for determining a reasonable budget and finding affordable yet high-quality dresses:
Determining Your Budget:
- Look at your overall wedding budget and decide how much you're comfortable spending on the dress. Generally, wedding dresses can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
- Consider any additional costs, such as alterations, accessories, and cleaning, when setting your budget.
- Be realistic about what you can afford. It's important to find a dress you love, but you don't want to go into debt over it.
Tips for Finding Affordable Dresses:
- Consider buying a pre-owned or sample dress. These dresses are often significantly discounted but still in great condition.
- Look for sales and discounts at bridal shops and online stores.
- Consider renting a dress instead of buying one. This is a great option if you're on a tight budget or if you don't want to keep the dress after the wedding.
- Consider non-traditional options, such as a white evening gown or a bridesmaid dress in a bridal color.
3. Start Shopping Early
Starting the dress shopping process well in advance is important for several reasons. Here are some reasons why, along with some tips for scheduling appointments and setting deadlines:
Why Start Shopping Early:
- It can take several months for a wedding dress to be made and delivered, especially if it's a custom dress.
- Finding the perfect dress can take time, especially if you have a specific style in mind.
- Alterations can take several weeks, so it's important to have enough time for multiple fittings.
Tips for Scheduling Appointments:
- Start by researching bridal shops and designers in your area. Make a list of the ones you're interested in and call ahead to schedule appointments.
- Consider scheduling appointments during the week or during non-peak times to avoid crowds and long wait times.
- Plan to schedule appointments at least six months before the wedding to allow enough time for the dress to be made and alterations to be completed.
Tips for Setting Deadlines:
- Set a deadline for when you need to have your dress ordered and delivered. This will ensure that you have enough time for alterations and any necessary changes.
- Set a deadline for when you need to have your final fitting. This will give you enough time to make any last-minute alterations.
- Don't forget to leave some buffer time in case there are any delays or unexpected issues.
Here's a link to a wedding dress shopping timeline that can help you plan out the dress shopping process: Exactly When to Buy Your Wedding Dress: A Timeline (theknot.com)
4. Bring the Right People Along
Choosing who to invite to your wedding dress appointments and fittings can be tricky. Here are some tips for bringing the right people along and getting helpful feedback without unnecessary stress:
Who to Invite:
- Limit the number of people you bring to appointments. Too many opinions can be overwhelming and make the decision-making process more difficult.
- Consider bringing someone who knows your style and taste well, such as your mother or a close friend.
- Don't feel obligated to bring anyone who may be overly critical or whose opinion you don't value.
Tips for Getting Helpful Feedback:
- Communicate your preferences and what you're looking for in a dress before the appointment. This will help your entourage understand what to look for and give more constructive feedback.
- Consider providing inspirational photos or a mood board to give your entourage a clear idea of what you're looking for.
- Listen to feedback, but ultimately trust your instincts and make the decision that feels right for you.
Tips for Avoiding Unnecessary Stress:
- Schedule appointments during non-peak times to avoid crowds and long wait times.
- Avoid discussing the dress with people who are not invited to the appointment to prevent conflicting opinions.
- Don't feel pressured to decide on the spot. Take your time and think about your options before committing to a dress.
Trends in Wedding Dresses
Classic and timeless wedding dress styles never go out of fashion and are perfect for brides who want to stick with traditional designs. Here are some examples of classic wedding dress designs that remain popular, along with tips on how to incorporate timeless elements into a modern look:
1. Classic Wedding Dress Designs:
- A-line: A universally flattering style that flares out gently from the waist, creating an elegant silhouette.
- Ballgown: A full-skirted dress with a fitted bodice that creates a dramatic, fairy-tale look.
- Sheath: A form-fitting style that skims the body and is perfect for showcasing a bride's figure.
- Mermaid: A fitted style that flares out at the bottom, creating a dramatic, hourglass shape.
- Lace: A delicate and feminine fabric that adds texture and detail to any dress.
Incorporating Timeless Elements into a Modern Look:
- Mix and match: Combine classic and modern elements, such as a classic lace bodice paired with a modern tulle skirt.
- Accessorise: Add a timeless accessory, such as a classic veil or pearl earrings, to a modern dress to create a more traditional look.
- Embrace simplicity: Choose a modern dress with clean lines and simple details, and accessorize with classic elements such as a string of pearls.
2. Sustainable and Ethical Fashion
As more people become conscious of the impact of fashion on the environment and communities, sustainable and ethical bridal wear is becoming increasingly popular. Here's a discussion of the rising trend of eco-friendly and socially responsible bridal wear, along with examples of sustainable materials and production methods:
Eco-friendly and Socially Responsible Bridal Wear:
- Sustainable Materials: Designers are using eco-friendly fabrics such as organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo. Recycled fabrics are also being used to create unique wedding dresses.
- Ethical Production Methods: Designers are prioritizing fair trade and ethical production methods, ensuring that workers are treated well and paid fairly. Some designers even work with marginalized communities to provide job opportunities and training.
- Upcycling and Repurposing: Some designers are creating unique, one-of-a-kind wedding dresses by upcycling vintage dresses or repurposing fabrics from previous collections.
3. Non-Traditional Colors and Fabrics
More and more brides are breaking away from traditional white wedding dresses and opting for unconventional hues and materials. Here's an explanation of this trend, along with examples of non-white wedding dresses and unique fabrics:
Non-Traditional Colors and Fabrics:
- Colored Dresses: Brides are experimenting with a range of hues, from pastels to bold, bright colors. Some popular choices include blush pink, soft blue, and even black.
- Metallics: Shimmering metallic fabrics, such as gold, silver, and bronze, are being used to create unique and eye-catching wedding dresses.
- Prints: Some brides are opting for dresses with subtle prints, such as florals or polka dots, to add a playful touch to their bridal look.
- Unconventional Fabrics: Designers are using unexpected materials, such as denim, leather, and even neoprene, to create bold and unconventional wedding dresses.
Here's a link to a gallery of non-traditional wedding dress inspiration: 24 Nontraditional Wedding Dress Ideas That Are Gorgeous (theknot.com)
Choosing the perfect wedding dress is a crucial part of planning your big day. By knowing your body type and personal style, setting a budget, and starting the dress hunt early, you can find a gown that fits both your figure and your taste. Bringing the right people along to dress appointments and fittings can also make the process smoother and more enjoyable.
Additionally, brides are increasingly opting for non-traditional styles, eco-friendly and socially responsible dresses, and unique fabrics. With all these options available, it's important to stay true to your style and choose a dress that makes you feel confident and beautiful.
Ultimately, the most important thing is to enjoy the dress selection process and have fun finding the perfect gown for your big day.
When should I start looking for my wedding dress?
It's recommended to start looking for your wedding dress at least 9-12 months before your wedding date. This will give you enough time to browse, try on dresses, and make any necessary alterations before the big day.
How do I determine my bridal style?
One way to determine your bridal style is to look for inspiration in wedding magazines, Pinterest, or bridal websites. You can also try taking an online quiz or visiting bridal boutiques to see what styles you are drawn to.
How much should I budget for my wedding dress?
The cost of a wedding dress can vary widely depending on factors such as the designer, materials used, and level of customization. It's important to set a budget that is realistic for your overall wedding expenses. A general guideline is to allocate 10-15% of your total wedding budget for your dress.
Should I bring anyone with me when trying on wedding dresses?
It's a good idea to bring a trusted friend or family member whose opinion you value to your dress appointments. However, it's important to limit the number of people you bring to avoid feeling overwhelmed or getting conflicting opinions.
How many wedding dresses should I try on before making a decision?
There's no magic number of dresses to try on before making a decision. Some brides find their perfect dress on the first try, while others may try on dozens of dresses. The important thing is to keep an open mind and try on a variety of styles to find what works best for you.
How far in advance should I order my wedding dress?
It's recommended to order your wedding dress at least 6-8 months before your wedding date. This will allow time for the dress to be made and any necessary alterations to be completed.
What alterations may be needed for my wedding dress?
Common alterations for wedding dresses include hemming, adjusting the straps or neckline, and taking in or letting out the seams. It's important to factor in alteration costs when budgeting for your wedding dress.
Online Marriage with Courtly
In recent years, there has been a rising trend in online marriage services, offering couples a more convenient and flexible way to get married.
Courtly is one such service, providing a legal marriage option that can be completed entirely online via a video call with a licensed officiant. This is particularly helpful for busy couples who don't have the time or resources to travel to a physical location for their wedding ceremony.
With Courtly, couples can exchange vows in a secure and private environment, making their commitment to each other official. While online marriage may not be for everyone, it offers a modern approach to tying the knot that is worth considering.