Choosing your wedding dress: the most fun part of wedding planning for some, and the stuff of actual nightmares for others. So how to make sure that you end up falling into the first category by the end of it all? Can you even come out of the wedding dress selection process happy and sane and not looking like a marshmallow (unless looking like a marshmallow is totally your thing)? Are there any rules to this whole wedding dress shopping??
Well, not exactly “rules”, but more along the lines of life-saving, totally not optional tips (hahah!). But seriously now, I have just 5 suggestions that will make this process so much more pleasant- take it from someone who may or may not have had her dream wedding dress in her closet A YEAR before the wedding (much to the horror of everyone who thought I’d be getting bored of it) :
Thou shalt honour thine wedding setting
The wedding setting is the backbone of your whole wedding planning process- it can help you streamline so many decisions, including your wedding look.
Take the venue: You will probably look gorgeous in an all-lace, cathedral-train gown, but how well will it fit in with your garden wedding? Same goes for a super glam, embellished mermaid dress that will look amazing for a stylish grand estate, but completely out of place in a rustic, shabby chic environment. Matching your gown to your venue is not a hard and fast rule, but it will increase the likelihood of you feeling comfortable and happy with your overall look.
Another part of your wedding setting that you can’t overlook is the season. As much as you may love a barely there, wispy tulle gown, you will need a cover up (and probably an extra just in case) for your Winter Wonderland wedding. And that sumptuous, heavily draped, dramatic taffeta dress? Best bet is it will suffocate you by the end of your nuptial midsummer night dream. Ethereal, light fabrics like tulle, organza, chiffon or a thin satin are perfect for warmer months, while the richer brocade, taffeta, thicker satin and even velvet are great bets for chillier times.
Thou shalt know thine body type (but don’t get hung up on it)
With all the pears, apples, reversed triangles, cellos and rectangles flying around, it’s normal that you’d be confused. Especially when you also add everyone’s opinions on how you need to “Camouflage those arms!”, “Hide that (gasp) thick waist!” or “Show off those pretty legs, you’re only young once!” Eh, so what if you despise short lengths?
I still remember how upset I was about reading somewhere that ladies with an… ahem, rounder bottom should stay away from mermaid dresses (my favorite cut!!) Hmpf… So what to do? Just let a random, generic observation keep me from my dream dress? Ain’t literally nobody got time for that!
Here’s the thing- knowing your general shape and where you pack most of your weight will certainly help. But don’t deny yourself a beautiful gown just because someone decreed “it’s not for your shape”. There are always tricks of the trade to make a dress fit and flatter you (for example, I added extra details to the top of the dress to balance out the rounder hips accentuated by the mermaid cut). And if you just can’t see how to pull it off, search for a truly great tailor- they are magicians!
Thou shalt consider thine skin, eye and hair colour
Now this may be a particular hang up of mine, but just consider this: the colours you wear impact how healthy your skin looks, how aglow your eyes are and how vibrant your hair. And you might be saying “Yeah, that’s colours- but hello, wedding dresses are white!” To which I say, if you think that white is just white, well then I’ve got: cream, eggshell, ivory, champagne, optic white, porcelain for you! And what about the ladies not getting married in white (myself included)? Knowing if you’re a cool, warm or neutral tone will help you choose the best hue for your dress.
Plus, your makeup artist will probably think of these things even if you don’t. And they may end up giving you the most magical, cool-hued neutral makeup to match your porcelain blushed skin, blue eyes and black hair… and totally clash with the champagne cream dress of your dreams.
Thou shalt think about having to wear the dress ALL day
Seriously guys, A-L-L Day! I can’t tell you how happy I am that I went with a dress I could move in, sit down in and dance my butt off in (which is what I spent all night doing). Try your dress on multiple times before the actual day, and make all types of movements in it to see if it’s too tight or too loose anywhere. Does it squeeze you after a gulp of water? Do those elegant spaghetti straps keep falling off? Is the neckline so revealing that you’re afraid you might accidentally flash everybody in church? These are all fixable issues, but you need to notice them first!
Thou shalt choose the dress that THOU loves (not thine mother, sister, aunt, neighbour from across the street or best friend since first grade)
I kept this one for last because it’s my favorite “rule”. I so often hear about young women who were forced or guilted or “friendly” persuaded into wearing a dress that was not 100% them- and I think that’s a damn shame!
I’m not saying that you should completely ignore an opinion from someone close to you (as long as you asked for that opinion in the first place!), but take it with a grain of salt. Your mom may have always dreamed of seeing you in a classic sweetheart neckline ball gown, but if your style is more urban and sleek, you will not feel comfortable at all. And it will show.
I have to say that I was lucky enough that my mom enthusiastically supported all of my wedding- related decisions. And also lucky enough to have had Alex’s mom design and make my dress exactly as I had envisioned it (well, even more beautiful to be honest). But for those of you for whom this is an uphill battle, remember- it’s your dress to wear and your memories to look back on. And there is always a polite way to refuse something you’re not 100% happy with.
So tell me: are you in the process of planning your wedding and dreaming of (or dreading) getting your wedding dress? Or are you already married and fondly looking back on that day and the sartorial choice you made? Do you have any advice to give a bride to be? Leave it all in the comments!
* All photography in this post was taken by our beautiful
wedding photography team at CorinaD.ro