Whether you have been dreaming of your wedding gown since long before you got engaged, or you haven’t given it any thought at all until now, one of the most exciting decisions you’ll make in planning your wedding is choosing your wedding dress.
You may have everyone asking what are you going to wear? & suggesting where you should go or giving you advice about what they wore to their wedding and what they think is appropriate.. Without a little bit of planning, choosing your wedding gown can go from fun to stressful.
So amidst all the excitement, if you keep a few simple points in mind it will help keep the process a smooth and memorable experience. Here are some of my top tips that you should remember when searching for your wedding gown:
1. While researching online for ideas or visiting a bridal store, do not limit yourself to a certain look or fabric. Be open to trying different styles on and see what suits you.
For example, you may have your heart set on a strapless style, but you could be more comfortable and find it more flattering to wear a style with a softly ruched strap. This allows you to wear a bra with straps which will give you more support if you need it. A gown with straps can also have a much lower back than a strapless gown (because a strapless gown needs to be fitted high to hold it up).
Or you may have imagined your bridal gown would be in rich silk satin, but it might look too heavy or be unsuited to the style of gown you like. To achieve the look of the draping, skirt and train you are after, you might need to go for something lighter like silk chiffon.
Perhaps you’ve been thinking lace is too fussy for you, but depending on the style and cut of the dress (and the choice of lace) it could look amazing..
2. If you have a particular budget in mind, communicate this to your consultant. Try on some gowns that fit into your budget first and this will give you an indication of what is possible at your desired price range. If you haven’t found anything that you’ve liked so far, you may wish to try on a couple of gowns in a higher price bracket. However at least if you have tried some gowns in your initial budget first you will be able to make an informed decision on how much difference there is in quality/fabrications/beading and fit between the different price brackets and whether it’s worth paying the difference.
When I design a gown for a bride, I am considerate of budgets. I use only the finest fabrications, silks and laces and this is something I won’t compromise on – even when trying to make the gown more affordable for a bride. However I can still make many allowances if you have a lower budget and this may mean I do less handwork, beading or different quality of crystals etc. I’ll always explain to you the options that you have so don’t hesitate to ask me about my price range.
3. It’s best to limit yourself from visiting too many bridal boutiques or trying on too many wedding dresses. It’s difficult to remember what you have tried on or you liked (no bridal salon will let you take photos) and it can get very tiring and overwhelming as well. A lot of stores have a maximum number of gowns they’ll let you try on at an appointment, so you need to keep that in mind as well.
If you are getting your gown bespoke made (like I do at Sarah Alice Andrews – Bridal Couturier) then I would recommend only trying a few gowns on to get an idea of the silhouettes you like. If you are thinking T-Length, A-line, big and full skirted, or mermaid it will give you an idea of whether that style will suit you.
When I work with a client, I can see the shape that will suit you best just by looking at your silhouette. & During the first fitting which I do in calico cotton (a toile) we will discuss the silhouette and you can see a basic shape of what your gown will look like. We can make any changes we wish to the silhouette at that point and I’ll be aiming to give you the most flattering look possible.
4. We suggest you carefully consider how many people you bring with you to your consultation or fitting appointment. It’s lovely to have everyone there with you (your mum, grandmother, all your bridesmaids and your aunties) but too many opinions can be confusing. It may also slow down the fitting process so you have less dedicated time focused on you and more time spent placating everyone else or trying on gowns you don’t like simply to please someone else (and remember time and the number of gowns you can try is usually limited).
I am happy for you to bring whoever you like (3 is a good maximum number) but bare in mind I work in a unique way from other bridal designers. As I come from a background of fine arts, I use a truly creative process to design your bridal gown so that it’s all about flattering you, your style and your figure and I can source inspiration from anything and anywhere. (an heirloom brooch, a beautiful piece of fabric, a ballet, a venue or an old photograph etc) So your experience will be benefited by trust and a little time and space for us to think about the perfect gown design for you so I can work my magic!
5. So what else should you consider before you start looking for your bridal gown? I would suggest you have your venue solidified. If you have not chosen your venue yet, than at least have an idea of the settting eg. Beach/destination wedding, church or garden, and whether you’ll be dancing etc at your venue or how formal it will be and of course the season!
An idea of your venue helps with choosing your wedding gown because certain styles are more suited to certain venues. You wouldn’t choose a huge ballgown for a destination wedding for example (and it would be very hard to pack in a suitcase!). As an artist and a designer, I like to think about the venue and tie these elements into your wedding gown concept. These could be very subtle design attributes, but it’s all about choosing the right style for you, your personality, your dream day and the venue that you have chosen is a part of that.
6. So lastly, when should you start your bridal gown search? We recommend brides start looking 8 – 10 months in advance of their wedding. Honestly the more time the better as we have limitless options for design possibilities. However if you have only a few months before your wedding it may still be possible for me to create your wedding gown. I will be more limited in my choice of laces for example as many of the laces I use have been woven to order in France which can take several months for that part alone, but don’t worry I will still source something Beautiful for you which is more readily available.