One Bride’s Journey to Finding Her Perfect Wedding Dress
Congratulations on getting engaged! What an exciting time for you and your partner. You are probably feeling overwhelmed with the sheer number of things that you now need to organise. Let’s be honest, your partner probably has no idea where to begin or what he wants either. Take a deep breath and start your research. Write everything down in a dedicated notebook or on your computer. Sooner or later you will find yourself wedding dress shopping, my favourite part of my wedding planning journey. Hopefully, my experience in finding the one for me will help you find the one for you.
The ideal timeframe for finding your wedding gown is 6-10 months before your big day. Any earlier you risk having buyer’s remorse as new seasons bring new styles. If later you risk not leaving enough time for your dress to be made and alterations made. I ordered (and paid in full) my dress in October 2019 for my September 2020 wedding. Since rescheduling to September 2021 (thanks Corona), I have found myself looking at new styles and thinking twice about my decision. It is only because I now have so much time on my hands (17 months?!) and I am super indecisive.
The first thing you need to know is that there is no right or wrong answer. There are so many different unique dresses out there, I suggest finding the one that makes you feel good. You might have the perfect idea of the dress in your mind, but the real thing might not suit your figure. It is important to walk into your dress fitting with an open mind and some help.
In my search for my dress, I visited five stores in total with my entourage in tow. On the very first day of shopping, I tried to invite my bridal party (4) plus my mum. These are the people who know me the best and I trust them the most to give me an honest opinion, not just agreeing to anything I say. They even made fun little YES/NO/UNSURE signs to help me decide. I urge you to bring one to three important people with you to give you the truth. Some places do not allow more than a certain amount of people in the showroom with you, so watch out for the restrictions.
Look for stores that have a multitude of styles and brands. Store number 1 was the best experience by far and they set the bar high with their professionalism and helpfulness. Walking into the showroom was daunting having no idea what was expected of me. What if I didn’t know what silhouette I wanted (I didn’t)? What if I didn’t know the colour, the neckline, the embellishments I wanted (also didn’t)? I was starting with a blank slate and wanted to try on as many as I could to find the style which suited me best. My stylist helped me pick out several dresses (a couple I wanted to try on and a few chosen by my group) and later based on what I liked and did not like, brought out even more. I quickly found that anything slim was more flattering than anything else (no princess dress for me!).
I highly recommend taking notes and pictures if the store allows it. It helped me to see my reaction to a couple of the dresses so I could easily rule them out. The most unexpected part of the day was when I walked out of the change room in a gorgeous mermaid style dress and EVERYONE was speechless. We loved it! My stylist then made everyone, including me, close their eyes, she put a veil in my hair and a bouquet in my hand and told everyone to open their eyes. Everyone burst into tears and I knew I found a clear winner. However, it was only stop one, so I did not want to settle on a dress when there was more out there.
I had my eyes completely set on a dress from store number 2. It did not matter to me which one, but I was determined to purchase one of their stunning dresses. After my incredible experience at store number 1, I quickly realised that this store was nice – but the dresses did not suit me. With my larger bust, I need support in the upper bodice. Maybe if I was prepared and brought a corset type bra to wear underneath, it might have been different. But even my bride tribe were not impressed, so we ruled the shop out. One thing one of my bridesmaids said which has stuck with me “you have this vision of yourself, and you’re so much better than that. You can look ordinary in your dream dress or you can look extraordinary in something different”. I was back to the dress from shop 1.
I actually visited stores number 3 and 4 by myself. After the first day of shopping, I thought maybe I could find it by myself. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? Turns out I was wrong. All I did was confuse myself even further. I found another dress that I thought was in the running. I brought my mum, mother in law to be and one of my bridesmaids to view the dress but alas, it just was not right. Yet again, I was back to the dress from shop 1.
I knew I loved this dress, but it was not the style that I had envisioned for myself. Finally, I visited shop number 5 by myself. I decided that if I did not find a dress here, I would just select the group favourite. I am honestly happy I did not settle. After trying on the final dress, I just knew. It felt perfect and like it completed me. A week later I brought my bridesmaid and Facetimed my maid of honour in London to see the dress and they were in total agreement. This was my dress.