Is it really time? You have probably been dreaming about this moment since you were a little girl. It’s time to research and begin trying on wedding dresses! You may have always dreamed of wearing a ballgown or maybe you adore the mermaid cut. No matter what type of dress is your favorite style, you get to finally try them on and feel like a princess! Not only will you get to try on beautiful white dresses, you will also get to try on veils and other bridal accessories to make the look feel complete. Now, let’s get into the different styles of dresses and then we will dive deep into how to shop for your wedding dress!
Wedding Dress Styles
These are the most popular wedding dress styles right now!
A ball gown features a fitted bodice with a corset and a wide, full skirt, most often achieved by using layers of tulle. Since the full skirt slides over your lower torso, this silhouette is great for brides who want to cinch in their waist, prioritize bust support, or create the illusion of wider hips!
A sheath wedding dress is fitted in the waist and falls straight to the floor below your hips, with very minimal flare. This wedding dress shape is perfect for brides who want an effortless gown, since it requires less fabric and layering than other dresses. What this dress lacks in volume, it makes up for with its versatility. This dress works well with nearly every type of fabric, from beaded materials to lace, satin, and stretch.
The mermaid wedding dress shape is extremely fitted throughout the bust, waist, and hips. A mermaid gown will create the illusion of an hourglass figure if you’re naturally slim. This attention-grabbing dress flares out at the knees and is often paired with tulle, ruching, or ruffled skirts for a more dramatic look.
The trumpet wedding dress shape is very similar to the mermaid but there are a few subtle differences. Pay close attention to where the skirt begins to flare out. The trumpet dress is less fitted throughout the hips and gradually gets wider at the lower thigh, while the mermaid dress doesn’t flare until above or at the knees. A trumpet gown gives you a little more freedom to move around while still creating a dramatic look.
Brides who want to show off their figure without committing to the dramatic mermaid or trumpet silhouettes should consider a fit-and-flare gown instead. The toned-down version still hugs your body throughout the bust and waits while being a little more forgiving through the hips, bottom, and thighs. The skirt flares out mid-thigh, giving you plenty of freedom to walk, sit, and dance as your please!
A A-line skirt, which is named for the way it creates an “A” shape on the body, flares out from the waist more than you’d see on a sheath gown, but not as dramatically as a ball gown. This gown is ideal for all body types and wedding styles. A-line wedding dresses often feature organza, lace, or tulle, but you’ll also see them made of structured fabrics, such as Mikado silk.
Midi or Tea-Length
Midi or tea-length dresses are popular options for pre-wedding events, like engagement parties and bridal showers, but they look just as chic when worn for your actual wedding. This dress shape is longer than cocktail and mini dresses. The skirt stops mid-calf, about six inches above the ankles.
This sophisticated wedding dress shape is similar to sheath, but the opening at the bottom is more narrow and structured. Column wedding gowns can be slightly fitted or loose at the waist and fall straight to the floor without and flare, creating a straight up and down look. They are typically made of thicker fabrics.
*There are other styles as well so don’t forget to try things on and look around!
Now that we have seen the various styles of potential dress options, let’s get into how to shop for your wedding dress!
Be sure to begin trying on wedding dresses 10-12 months before your wedding because you have to order between 6-8 months ahead of time according to most bridal boutiques. That is to make sure that the dress comes in and to do any alterations. You can often times still get a made-to-order dress closer to time, but it will cost a lot more.
Decide Where You Want to Shop
Have the dress shopping experience that you have always dreamed of and visit a bridal boutique or two! Here you will get hands on experience from a sales consultant and they will help in finding the perfect dress, style, and fit for you! Be sure that if you are a need a bigger size than an 8 to call ahead to make sure they have your sizes. Calling ahead means that they can order some dresses in your size so that you have options.
Trunk shows are when a boutique carries the entire collection from a designer instead of just a few pieces. They do these special events once or twice a year and usually you can get at least 10% off. Check with your local boutiques and schedule an appointment during their trunk shows.
Secondhand dresses will definitely save you some cash and if you don’t mind wearing a pre-worn dress, then it is perfect! Do research and see if there are any consignment boutiques in your area. Some boutiques operate just like a made-to-order bridal boutique and you can still get that princess experience. If there are none in your area, you can decide to travel or purchase secondhand online.
Online shopping is a lot more common nowadays but isn’t too thought about for purchasing a wedding dress. You can definitely find gowns online but you may not be able to get that discounted alteration that a boutique would offer. Online shopping is also a great option for finding a dress in a pinch. You can get it a lot quicker.
Make your Boutique Visits Matter
Always be sure to book an appointment ahead of time and do your research. Never book more than two boutiques in a day and be sure to take a break in between them. Another way to be prepared is to bring styles you have looked at, your color palette, and photos of your venue so that the sales consultant can help you find the perfect dress a lot quicker.
Keep an open mind
Most people go in knowing exactly what they think they want but won’t even give other dresses a try. Don’t be afraid to at least try them on because the worst that happens is you don’t like it and try another one. If you keep and open mind, you might even find something you love that you weren’t expecting to like at all.
Take your time
Don’t begin putting on the dress and then immediately take it off. Spend a few minutes in each dress to really look at it and figure out what you like and don’t like about it. This will help you in finding the one that you do love.
Move around in each dress
Move around in each dress to see how it feels. Usually wedding dresses are heavy and some are quite restrictive. Make sure that you can walk, sit, stand, and dance in it.
Document your favorites
It is helpful to write down or even take photos of the dresses that you loved. This way you can look back and see why you loved them and it might help you make a decision.
Buy the One That Feels Right
Buy the one that feel right and feels like “the one”. A lot of people regret not purchasing the one they loved the most. When it is time to choose your dress, the consultant will take your measurements and ask for the closest fit from the designer. This is why you have to order it 6-8 months ahead of time. The designer needs time to make it and it needs time to get to the boutique and have alterations done if necessary. Generally a deposit is due when you choose a dress but some boutiques offer different payment plans.
Make Those Final Touches Pop
Jewelry and hair accessories will really add to your wedding look. Bring your accessories to your final dress fitting to make sure everything feels right.
Most dresses have built in bust support however if you feel that you need more, ask the tailor to sew in a strapless bra of your choice. It will provide more support and overall comfort for you throughout the night.
That train is going to be annoying for the entire night unless you ask for a bustle. A bustle is a tie, buttons, or loop that is added to your dress so that you can pin up your train when it is time to walk around or dance. It is smart to have a friend or bridesmaid who will be assisting you on the wedding day to take a video just in case they can’t remember how to do it.
Veils are absolutely beautiful and can make your wedding look even more magnificent. Before purchasing a veil, make sure that you have ordered your dress so that they go together. Also, make sure that you keep your venue in mind when purchasing a veil. If you are at an outdoor venue, a long, cathedral veil will just blow around and nobody will be able to see it.
Friday: The Ultimate Guide to Tuxedos/Suits
Tuesday: Thank You Cards