Hey girl hey! Every girl wants to feel like a princess on their wedding day. One of the most important aspects of feeling like a princess is the dress! Since I’ve been little, I’ve always known the exact dress I wanted to wear when I walked down the aisle. I’ve known from a young age the style I wanted (ball gown!) and that I wanted my dress to walk into the church before I even did. I wanted to make a statement. And to this day, I still do! In today’s post, I’m going to be talking all about how wedding dress shopping–what to wear, what to expect, and why listening to your consultant is the best way to get what you want. If you’re interested, keep on scrollin’!
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I had the most magical dress shopping experience. And I do not say that lightly. In fact, the very first dress I tried on was the one I ended up with. There aren’t enough words to adequately tell you how much I LOVE One Fine Day Bridal in Fort Wayne, IN. From start to finish, my experience with them was incredible. Before I even stepped foot in their gorgeous boutique, I was sent emails with videos on what to expect, what to wear, and what the process of dress shopping would look like. They prepared me so well that all of my feelings of anxiety melted away as soon as I walked in. Throughout this post, I will be adding in little tidbits of how my day went with them, specifically the owner, Autumn. If you live anywhere close to Fort Wayne, I highly suggest going into their shop! By the way, this post isn’t sponsored by OFD! Just sharing my love for them and all the amazing things they do!
Before you go dress shopping, you should have at least a clue as to what you are looking for. Do you want a super dramatic dress? Something with lace or tulle? What shape do you want? These are all important questions to take into consideration. My biggest tip is to create a Pinterest board of all things wedding dresses. This will give you a good idea of what is visually appealing to you. However, keep in mind that you may go with the complete opposite of what you had in mind after trying on a few dresses.
On top of having a wedding dress board, bringing an idea of the theme of your wedding is a great idea. Again, I did this through Pinterest! Autumn was able to capture the vibe of my wedding through my Pinterest board, and thus was able to pull dresses that fit that vibe perfectly. She did an amazing job, and it made choosing a final dress SO hard. Having a clear vision of your wedding day really does come into play when finding a dress.
By the way: Follow me on Pinterest HERE!
Another good idea is to come up with some questions you may have for the boutique or consultant. My major questions focused on alterations and timing of fittings. My particular boutique is a full service bridal shop where you can get your dress as customized as you want. They also keep you super updated on the arrival of your dress. In fact, the day after my fitting, I got an email with all of the order details, an approximate date of arrival for my dress, and what the next steps were. Again, OFD is on top of it all.
What to Wear
I was so nervous about what I should wear to my first appointment. Do I wear a strapless bra? Should I go buy Spanx? What about a slip? I was honestly clueless. The ladies at One Fine Day suggested to come pretty much just like I normally would. A strapless bra really isn’t needed unless you are a fuller chested girl, as most of the dresses come with padding. Spanx can make dresses bunch up, and it’s hard to even say if you’ll need it or not until after you choose your dress. As for a slip, I honestly have no clue why I thought I would need one.
The day of my dress shopping experience, I wore a dress that was easy to slip in and out of, some strappy sandals, and comfy underwear. I chose to wear fuller coverage underwear, as I wanted to be comfortable and not worry about having to mess with them as I was trying on dresses. I even accidentally wore black underwear, not thinking that they could show through the dress, and I had no issues.
One of the most important aspects that I rarely hear people discussing is hair and makeup. I chose to do full glam with a similar hairstyle to what I will be going with the day of my wedding. I believe that this helped me to see the vision. Have you ever gone shopping for an outfit with no makeup and your hair up in a bun, but still felt like the outfit didn’t look good until you were glammed up? This is the same idea. Doing my hair and makeup gave me the full picture, and made me look and feel like a bride the second I slipped on the first dress.
Body Image + Dress Shopping
I was so unbelievably nervous about looking at myself in a wedding dress. I wondered if any insecurities I had about my body would show up throughout my appointment. Honestly, I can tell you that this was the last thing I was thinking about as soon as I put on the first dress. The main thing that I believed helped with this was that I found a consultant that looked like me. Autumn is a fellow curvy girl, and so she pulled dresses that compliment curves. Right off the bat, I was trying on dresses in my bridal size, not dresses that needed to be clamped together with extra fabric. Once I was able to pin down exactly what I wanted, Autumn had me pull dresses in smaller sizes, but still made me feel like a princess. At no point was I pointing out my imperfections, I was only focusing in on the things I liked about my body. There’s just something about putting on a wedding dress that makes you feel absolutely unstoppable.
If you didn’t already know, wedding dress sizes are NOT street sizes. If you are a size 8, you will not be getting a size 8 dress. Wedding dress sizes are bigger than your street size. This is not something to panic about.
The biggest thing to remember is that your future husband will not point out how your arms look, what size you had to go with, or that you hate how your midsection looks. He will only see the love of his life walking down the aisle. Keep that moment in mind, and I guarantee, you will feel absolutely beautiful while trying on dresses.
Stepping Outside of Your Comfort Zone
While trying on dresses, I highly recommend trying on dresses that you don’t think will be “the one.” I’ve always known that I would hate mermaid style dresses on myself, but I was still glad I tried one on. You might find that another style of dress might be your favorite style. It’s better to confirm your thoughts than to always wonder “What if?” Even though the very first dress I tried on was the one I picked, I still tried on more dresses. What other time in your life do you get to try on a ton of wedding dresses? Think of it as your very own Say Yes to the Dress episode without the negative comments from your mom or bridesmaids.
Who Should You Bring?
Speaking of comments from the peanut gallery, a very important thing to keep in mind is who you are going to bring. One of the best pieces of advice I received before dress shopping was to go on my own first, and then bring a very small group. I kind of did this! About a year before I met my fiance, I did a wedding dress photoshoot for a local bridal boutique that needed plus sized models. Thanks to this photoshoot, I was able to determine which dress styles fit me, and what I was looking for in a dress. So essentially, I was able to shop before I ever knew I was engaged!
Once I scheduled an appointment, I decided to bring my mom, my future mother-in-law and sister-in-law, and my wedding planner along for the ride. Having a whole entourage of people stressed me out, as I wanted the moment to be about me and finding the best dress. I didn’t want bridesmaid drama or crazy opinions to come out. I just wanted one moment that was completely about me. The day was absolutely perfect that way.
I loved having my wedding planner there, as she was able to give good advice on dress styles for my particular venue. She also gave me great advice on what would look best with certain floral arrangements and decor. It made my decision super easy. It also helps that I have known her for years, and she knew my own personal style as well. I highly recommend bringing your wedding planner if you chose to use one for your big day.
Once You’ve Found THE ONE
I still remember the exact moment that I put the dress on for the first time. As soon as she zipped up the dress, I told Autumn “I think this is my dress.” I tried it on in the moscato color, which is almost like a soft blush color. The color was great, but later on decided to try on the dress in another color, and chose that one instead. It really was a magical moment, and I will never forget it. However, don’t feel that you have to have that moment where the stars all aligned and everyone cried. No one cried at my appointment, but we all knew the dress was for me just at how I walked around in it.
As soon as I made the decision that my dress was the one for me, Autumn put on a veil and gave me a floral arrangement to see the full vision. I highly suggest letting your bridal consultant accessorize you! Autumn had me walk around, and I even practiced walking down “the aisle” to see what it would all look like together. It was such a dream come true.
At this point, Autumn asked me if I wanted anything added or taken away from the dress. I said no, but obviously once the dress comes in, I can still make that decision. Any good seamstress should be able to change what you need to make the dress yours. I was in between sizes, so we decided to size up so we could tailor it to my exact body.
Now, its time for you to leave it up to your bridal boutique and let them work their magic! Sit back, relax, and maybe start shopping for accessories so they’re ready for your first fitting! This is such a fun (but stressful) time of your life. Enjoy every second! Future and past brides, what are your best tips for dress shopping? Sound off in the comments below! Be sure to check out One Fine Day on Instagram @onefinedaybridal, as well as my Instagram @mallyelizabethblog!