How to choose your dream wedding dress

Of all the elements that go into preparing to create outstanding wedding photographs, choosing the right dress is one of the most important steps you can take. After all, if you feel great, you’ll look great, too!

In today’s featured blog post, I’m exploring the basics you need to know about choosing a dress.

Dress silhouettes and shapes? Check.

Bridal salon options? Check.

Overview of the dress shopping and alteration process? Check.

Dress silhouettes

First, let’s gather some ideas for the type of dress that will fit you best! When looking at wedding dress designs, consider something that flatters your unique shape.

how to choose your dream wedding dress

Mermaid Silhouette

If you’re a curvy gal, then the mermaid silhouette (sometimes called “trumpet,” too!), might be right for you. With a fitted bodice, waist, and hips, a pronounced flare somewhere around your knees adds plenty of drama in the skirt and train.

Ball Gown Silhouette

If you want that classic, fairy tale look, then look no further than the ballroom silhouette. Ball gown style dresses generally flatter any shape with a fitted bodice and full skirt. And you’ll feel like a princess dancing the night away!

A-Line Silhouette

If you don’t want your curves to be the main event, then consider an a-line dress. With a cinched waist and flowing skirt, it’s another universally flattering pattern.

Sheath Silhouette

A sheath wedding dress is the pinnacle of gowns for a body-confident bride, with a figuring hugging cut and typically lighter fabrics and layers.

Short Silhoutte

Also known as tea-length dresses, a short silhouette often gives a vintage aesthetic with a skirt that typically falls below the knee but above the ankle. Short gowns are made in a variety of fabrics and necklines, and they can be dressed up or down to fit your wedding style.

how to choose your dream wedding dress

All about bridal salons

Visiting the right bridal shop can have a huge impact on your shopping experience. You’re looking for the one — that dress that will make you look and feel amazing on your wedding day — and sorting through dozens or hundreds of gowns can be a daunting task! Consider these tips to find a bridal shop that’s right for you:

Ask for referrals

If you have friends and family who’ve recently gotten married, ask them where they went. Find out why they liked their boutique, and ask specific questions about their experience with the stylist, and what sorts of gowns the salon had in stock. Did they have a positive experience? Why or why not?

Check for reviews

Check online reviews to see what other brides in your area are saying about the boutique you’re considering. Many salons also post information about their hours, consultations and sales policies on the same page as their reviews for your convenience.

Research, research, research

Browse wedding blogs, Pinterest, and magazines to check out trends and get an idea of which designers you might like, and then find out which bridal salons near you carry those dresses. If a particular store doesn’t have a gown by a designer you really like, don’t write them off write away — ask a salesperson if they have gowns in a similar style. You might find a hidden gem and fall in love with a designer you never expected!

Say yes to budgeting

Before you visit any bridal shop, define your bridal wardrobe price point and commit to sticking to it. Some stores may not carry gowns in your budget, and there are few things more awful than falling in love with a dreamy gown and having to put it back on the rack because it’s out of your budget. Make sure you let your stylist know your maximum price point before you try anything on — honesty is the best practice here!

Shop around

Even if you found a dress you love at the first boutique you visited, it’s still a good idea to visit multiple stores. Every store carries different designers, so visiting multiple stores helps you identify different styles and hone in on what’s best for you.

how to choose your dream wedding dress

Consider alterations

Most brides need to have their wedding gown altered, so ask if your boutique offers in-house alterations, and consider whether this is important to you. Because most alterations require 2-3 fittings, consider a location that’s close by.

Understand the process

Finally, call ahead (or check the bridal salon’s website) to make sure you know what to expect when you visit in person. Do you need to make an appointment ahead of time, or are walk-ins accepted? How many guests can you bring along? Will you have exclusive access to the store and stylists, or will there be other brides shopping at the same time? Getting answers to these sorts of questions will help you have a smooth dress shopping experience.

Finally, don’t stress if you leave empty-handed. Dress shopping isn’t a quick process, so start at least 7-8 months ahead of your wedding to allow plenty of time to visit multiple stores, try on dresses, and narrow down options until you find the one.

Are you ready to say yes to the dress? Then head over to some of my favorite bridal salons for a great start to your shopping experience:

Honey Bridal

Ultimate Bride

And just as important as figuring out how to choose your dream wedding dress, is the perfect photographer to go with it! If you’d like to partner with me to capture your special day, I’d love to hear from you!