Article by Caitlin Curbello
You’re 100% sure you want a mermaid-style gown with rhinestones galore and a sweetheart neckline. Your expert stylist at the shop gathers a few dress options all fitting within your checklist. A surge of excitement runs through you as you step in to the intricate layers of fabric – you’re about to see yourself in YOUR dress! You step in, zip and turn towards the mirror for your glorious reveal.
Oh, but wait. Something isn’t right here. You look NOTHING like you imagined – nothing like what the models on Instagram or Pinterest looked like. Your hips don’t quite fill out the dress like you imagined, and let’s not even talk about the way the back looks. What happened?! THIS was supposed to be THE dress!
Before you plunge into panic mode, let’s talk about how you can get yourself closer to loving a dress. Madison Miller, owner and stylist at Whittington Bridal, helped shed some light on the situation. So, put the tissues down – we’ll help get you in the right frame of mind…and dress!
Choosing a wedding dress is one of the most personal decisions for a bride. As much as a wedding is about the couple’s love and commitment to one another – it’s also about how the bride feels that day – and the factors that play a role in making her feel special. Although you may have a very specific dress in mind – have you considered stepping out of your comfort zone and discovering a different version of your dream dress?
Often, people will assume, ‘well, I have big hips so I know I need an A-line,’ so they put on the A-line and realize they aren’t feeling it,” Miller said. “Until they try on other silhouettes and realize, ‘wow, I’m showing off my hips in this fitted dress and I look incredible!’ they wonder why they discounted that style the whole time. The healthiest way to bridal shop is to try on every fit.”
So, what DO you do when that dream dress just isn’t making your heart flutter?
Research is always a good thing! Miller suggests that before setting foot in a salon, go online and find designers you like. If you find yourself liking the designer’s dresses, accessories or even the presentation of their products or website, you’ll likely love one of their dresses on. Even if style number 648299 doesn’t fit like you’d hoped – that same designer probably has another dress that WILL fit you like a dream and looks similar.
WHAT YOU DON’T LIKE
Have you ever walked out of a dressing room in a new outfit, and been complimented by a stranger? It probably felt nice for a few seconds, but the more you studied your outfit – you noticed you didn’t like the way the sleeves gapped around your arms, or that the waistline didn’t hit quite right. It’s SO easy to pick out things about our wardrobe (and let’s be honest, body) that we don’t like.
I’ll sit a bride down and ask, ‘What did you like? She’ll respond with ‘I don’t know’. I ask what they didn’t like, and the bride can normally rattle off at least ten things. If you tell your consultant you don’t want sparkles on your dress, that knocks out half of the inventory right there.”
Although knowing what you DON’T like is a good place to start, you should remain open to certain things. If you know you don’t want lace and your consultant brings something out with lace, don’t completely shut it down. Just try it. It won’t necessarily hurt you to try on another beautiful gown – it could be the wild card that pleasantly surprises you. If you’re in a high-quality salon with educated employees, you should trust your consultant has your best interest at heart.
Try to NOT get stuck in your comfort zone. Yes, you have your dream dress pictured perfectly in your head, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other visions just as lovely waiting for you on the racks!
Sometimes it’s [a consultants] job to push a bride out of their comfort zone. The bride thinks she wants a lace fit-to-flair, but hasn’t tried on a single rhinestone yet and she still isn’t loving anything. Then I put her in a solid bling dress, and they are so surprised because they actually like it.”
A consultant is there to walk you through the process, “which is really important,” Miller said. “Making your bride feel comfortable, confident and beautiful in their dress.” Let your consultant pull some wildcards for you if you aren’t finding something you love. They stare at these dresses all day, every day and at Whittington Bridal all consultants go through rigorous training with their dresses learning and talking about the fit, the prices, the materials and what type of bride may love what styles of dresses.
ACCESSORIES & ALTERATIONS
If the dress you envisioned yourself walking down the aisle in is shaping up to need tons of alterations to look how you pictured, there’s probably a better choice out there. Although, if that’s what YOU want and you can afford it – go for it! Alterations are very helpful, but can only go so far.
You can end up spending several hundred dollars on alterations. Some spend what they paid for their dress in alterations. I believe brides should find a dress they love head-to-toe without needing that much alteration.”
Accessories are a terrific way to transform a dress, are often subtle and underestimated. Add a veil, add some earrings – you’d be surprised at how much those tiny details can alter your look without a stitch involved!
I know some people have boxier figures or more athletic builds and don’t have the tiny waist look they want. Adding a belt will help bring in the waist and draw attention to it. For shorter women, try a dress that has lace or beading in linear patterns down the dress – the eyes are going to follow the beading/lace down and make the bride appear to be a little bit taller. Adding straps to a dress for a bustier bride pulls the dress closer towards her body and provides so much more support, too.”
Also remember to convey to your consultant how you want to feel in your dress. Bohemian, romantic or glamorous are a few helpful descriptions to help narrow down your choices and find the right look.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Wedding dress shopping is a unique experience for every bride. You may be someone who strolls into a salon, tries on one dress, and you’ve found THE one. You may also be someone who tosses and turns at night dreaming up an elusive franken-dress you haven’t found yet (and may not be able to).
The best thing to do is jump in head first and try on every type of silhouette. It’s really an emotional purchase, which is hard for some people who may be more analytical. They want to think about the details – but with your wedding dress, it’s all based on how you feel in it.”
Honestly the most important question while dress shopping is, do you feel confident and beautiful in what you’re wearing? If the answer is no, you need to keep looking because you deserve to feel nothing less than your absolute best for one of the best days of your life.