Poppy Belle Design is a Raleigh wedding planner & florist. Feature photo by Amber Hatley Photography.
Said yes to the dress yet?
The show, the hype, the general culture worshipping wedding dresses has turned picking your gown almost into another proposal—albeit one between you and you.
Remember it takes several months to deliver the dress, so begin shopping six to nine months ahead of your wedding date. Also, remember most boutiques require an appointment, so call them ahead of time.
Ask your man (or woman)
You may not want your fiancé to see your dress before the big day; you may not care. But remember you’re wearing that gown for him, too. So ask if he has an opinion. Would he prefer strapless or not? Lace or not? What kind of dress does he like on you the best? You might wind up not being able to cater to his requests, but it’s not a bad idea to keep it in mind while you’re looking.
Don’t go alone
Bring friends (and moms, if you’re brave enough). You’re going to want some other opinions—yes, even opposing ones. Truth be told, you may be a little star struck seeing yourself in these gorgeous gowns. Bring some trusted side kicks who you know will give honest yet sugar coated tips. That being said, don’t feel like you have to invite the whole guest list. One or two people will work just fine.
Bring a camera
In-person advice is great, but you’ll want to be able to look back at the different dresses, especially if you go to more than one boutique or if you’re deciding between one or five.
Wear whatever you plan to have on underneath your dress on your wedding day with you to the store. You’ll want to make sure it doesn’t leave a crease or show in a way you don’t want. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring any jewelry or other accents with you, as well, if you have them already. Will your necklace work with the neckline? Will the earrings catch in any lace?
Mix it up
Try on lots of different styles (even ones you might think look a little silly on the rack). You never know what might look good on you—and you might just be surprised. Don’t limit yourself on the number of dresses you try on, but also don’t feel like you have to try on everything in the store. Just don’t be afraid to branch out a little.
Keep an open mind
Going along with the above, I’ve heard so so so many times brides tell me that they went into dress shopping thinking they wanted one thing and hated another and wound up leaving with the latter—because it best flattered their body type.
Don’t go above your budget
Don’t even go there. Put that dress back. If you know you can’t afford it, don’t even try it on—at least not until after you’ve already put in your order. After you’ve paid and that gown is on its way, if you want to go back to some fancy boutique just for kicks and giggles, go right ahead. But whatever you do, DON’T open yourself to any sort of temptation.
Remember you have to actually wear it
Many, many gowns are absolutely gorgeous. Some can be a bit impractical, depending on your style, personality and the event itself. If it’s going to be 90 degrees and humid at an outdoor venue, don’t pick the heaviest gown with layers and layers of lace—especially under the armpits where it might chafe in hot weather. If you have a hard time keeping strapless tops up through the course of an evening, maybe go for something with sleeves. That row of buttons all the way down the back looks beautiful, but someone has to snap them all up! Maybe go for the gown that has the fake ones.
Think about the photos
Remember that the top of the gown will probably show up more often in pictures, so if the back or the hem is the only thing you really love, you may want to take a second look. Also while something might be all the rage right now, also keep in mind you’ll look at these snapshots for the rest of your life.
When you try on the dress, an attendant will stand you on a small podium and pin the dress up around you. Don’t just stand, stare at yourself in the mirror and dream. Walk around, sit down, maybe even break out a dance move or two. You’re not going to be still on your wedding day, so make sure your gown can move the way you want to.
Don’t worry about size
At the store, all the dresses will be ginormous, and they’ll use large clips to tighten it to fit you. Don’t let that worry you! Also wedding gowns tend to run small, so focus on how the dress fits you not on the number on the tag. The employees will help you decide on a size, and you can have it further altered to fit you like a glove. Everyone in this business works to make you look as gorgeous as humanly possible—trust them to do their job.
Grab a glass of champagne, turn on some classic romance music and relax. You’re only going to do this once in your life. Even if trying on clothes or wearing dresses isn’t your thing, try to have a little fun with it.
It’s just a dress
At the end of the day, remember this is something you’re going to where for one day—and that will probably be it. Don’t feel awful or slighted if you don’t get a mushy, weepy sensation when you find the one. This is an important part of your wedding day, but it is just one aspect, after all.
Not sure where to start or need some help with your search? Give us a call at Knots ‘N Such, and we can help you get started!