How to Confidently Find the Dress of Your Dreams

As a little girl, I would spend hours lining my stuffed animals up along my bedroom floor to witness the vows between Barbie and Ken. I dressed up as a bride for multiple Halloweens and quickly fell in love with fairy tales and all things related to “Happily Ever After”. Years before I met my now-husband, I began to plan my dream wedding as I could not wait to experience my own personal fairy tale with my very own prince charming. I would cut images out from piles and piles of bridal magazines in an attempt to piece together my future perfect day.

After the initial shock of my proposal began to wear off and I blissfully floated back down to reality, I quickly began to wonder what dress I would wear. I recalled all of the bridal fashion that had been accumulating in my mind for over a decade and I rapidly became flushed with panic. This would be the dress of all dresses and one that I wanted to remember as nothing less than perfection. All brides-to-be are faced with the decision of which dress to choose, and while this may seem like a monumental task, there are several ways to lessen any anxiety that accompanies this process. Rest assured, you will be armed with the knowledge and confidence necessary to decide on the dress of your dreams without second-guessing yourself along the way.

Calculate Your Budget.

There is no sense in falling in love with a gown that is outside of your budget. By firmly setting a budget prior to looking at dresses, you are ensuring that you will be able to fall in love with, and afford, your dream dress. It is important to keep in mind the cost of any alterations that might be necessary

in order for your dress to fit properly. I was able to find a reasonably priced gown for my wedding, but the alterations needed for it to actually fit ended up costing well over half of the initial dress price. What started as a steal quickly turned pricey. While there is absolutely no harm in shopping around for alterations, make sure that whomever you choose is reputable and guarantees his or her work. While there may be less expensive alteration options available, having your dream dress altered incorrectly could quickly turn into a nightmare.

When setting your wedding dress budget, also keep in mind what accessories or details will be necessary in order to make your dream a reality. Does your vision include shoes that will cost double the price of your dress itself? Will your gown only look complete with the inclusion of added detailing? Have you thought about how much the veil you have dreamt about since you were a little girl actually costs now that it’s time to say “I do?” By doing so, you will help define your budget, and most importantly, find a final look that fits within your allotted budget.

Decide on Your Image.

Have you always dreamed of walking down the aisle looking like a princess in a gown that would make Cinderella envious? Or are you seeking a simple yet elegant look? Are you opting out of a dress completely and on the hunt for a modern pantsuit? Deciding what look you would like to convey on your wedding day will help weed out a handful of cumbersome options and unnecessary shopping related stress. In your hands, you are currently holding a wealth of information when it comes to all things weddings; flip through these pages and see if any gowns stand out to you. Utilize social media as a tool in order to gain inspiration from other brides who have paved the way before you. Reference all of these resources prior to stepping inside a bridal boutique to avoid feeling overwhelmed. In the same way, decide what type of style, fabrics, and details you’d like to avoid. Maybe you love the long sleeve look but also know you will not be able to wear those long sleeves because your wedding is in July – these details are great to make note of as well. Once an overall image is decided upon, you can use your new-found inspiration to hit the ground running in the hunt for your dream dress.

It Takes a (Small) Village.

If one thing can be learned from years of watching wedding shows on television, it’s that less is sometimes more. This certainly rings true when it is time for you to decide who to bring with you dress shopping. While the idea of having a large group of your closest friends and family with you may sound picturesque, a large group can often make the already challenging decision that much more difficult,

as more people often means more input. Many brides opt for bringing between two and four people with them shopping (often their mother, grandmother, sister(s), and maid of honor). Depending on how many people are able to join, extending an invitation to your future mother-in-law is often well-received and appreciated. No matter who you choose to bring with you, one thing to always keep in mind is that this is the dress you will be wearing. It is your wedding and you are the one who needs to be in love with your final decision. While it is oftentimes easier said than done, try not to let the opinion of others detour you from following your heart. Looking back on your wedding photographs with regret over not picking the gown you wanted would truly be a shame.

Keep an Open Mind.

Falling in love with a dress while standing in a fitting room is one thing, but, you also need to make sure that you will be able to enjoy yourself for the entirety of your wedding celebration. I tried on one dress in particular that was stunning, I truly thought that I had found The One. However, upon trying to sit down I quickly realized that I could hardly breathe and enjoying our wedding cupcakes would have been nearly impossible. Think about your wedding and find a dress that fits accordingly. Are you planning on dancing until your venue turns the lights off? Perhaps a gown with yards upon yards of additional fabric weighing you down is a bad idea. Or are you saying “I do!” on the beach? Seek out a dress that is lightweight and airy. A great alternative is to choose two dresses. One for the ceremony and one for the reception. It’s your celebration, you can change gowns if you want to…or not! With thousands of options available, finding a dress (or dresses) that make you feel beautiful, while still enjoying your wedding day festivities is a must and absolutely possible.

Timing is Everything.

Give yourself plenty of time to find your gown. After all, it took you until this moment to find The One to marry, why settle for a dress that isn’t perfection? We suggest giving yourself at least ten months prior to your wedding to purchase a dress. By doing so, you ensure ample time for your gown to arrive and schedule any necessary alterations in order to make your dream dress a reality. Allow yourself the opportunity to appreciate each new chapter that accompanies this special time prior to your wedding. Enjoy the celebratory showers and parties that are thrown in your honor and soak up the love that will surround you during your engagement. Try not to let the anxiety of finding a gown overshadow these joyous moments. With a minimum of ten months, you ensure that you have given yourself enough time to find the perfect dress without experiencing buyer’s remorse that often goes along with rushing a purchase.

Highlight You.

For most of us, our wedding day will be our most photographed day. With that in mind, it’s of the utmost importance that you are in love with the way you look in your dress. Wedding gowns come in a variety of materials, cuts, colors, sizes, and designs for a reason; no two brides are exactly alike. What might appear off-putting on the hanger may fit like a dream once you try it on. Think of finding a dress like its very own chapter in your wedding book. Go into this chapter with an open mind and an open heart to ensure that you are giving yourself every opportunity to fall in love. It is also advised to purchase a dress that fits your current figure and not a goal that you have set for yourself. While many

couples like to use their wedding as motivation to revamp their eating and exercise habits, there is no reason to put extra pressure on yourself to squeeze into a dress that is two sizes too small. Planning a wedding can be stressful enough, why add the stress of weight loss into the mix? Never let your beauty be defined by a number. Tags are sewn into the inside of our garments for a reason, so no one else needs to know.

The glow that radiates from a bride on her wedding day has nothing to do with the price of the gown, the designer, the size and style, or even how long it took to decide on the dress. The reason brides are so beautiful on their wedding day stems from the confidence they carry as they walk down the aisle. Confidence in your dress decision brings you one step closer to your “Happily Ever After”.

Written by Lauren Beers