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How To Shop For A Wedding Dress: 5 Easy Steps

You’ve been planning this day since you were a little girl, when you were exposed to the most beautiful white dress imaginable – your first glimpse of the splendour and celebration of a wedding gown. While you might not have done the cliché of sticking all your cut out magazines for wedding inspiration in a shoebox under your bed, it’s always been something you’ve had an idea of in the back of your mind. It’s now arrived and it’s threatening to overwhelm you. What are you going to do to make sure your dress is perfect? Follow these steps, of course.
 
STEP 1: GET INSPIRED ONLINE
Something you definitely didn’t have at your disposal as a 5 year old gazing at the princess brides of the latest Disney movie – this is a resource that contains the ultimate good but could also be your undoing. Click with caution. It’s great if you’re stuck for ideas and don’t even know where to start, as well as being beneficial if you know exactly what you want because you know where to find it.

Here are some great websites on wedding dress inspiration:
Pinterest: Let’s face it; you’ve probably been storing pics on your own Pinterest board for months while you’ve been suspicious of your partner-to-be getting ready to pop the question. But if you haven’t yet waded into this online collage, this is the perfect time. This social media platform was MADE for wedding inspiration, and with so much scope, you’re bound to start getting some great ideas for yourself.

Pinterest Website
Image: Pinterest

Wedding Magazines Online: whether it’s bridesmagazine.co.uk, bridetobe.com.au, hellomay.com, whitemag.com, modernwedding.com.au or simply bride.com.au, these titles have online components to start you on your journey, with no need to spend lots of money on 100s of pages of glossy ads.

Your local bridal shops website: this is great for when you start to get an idea of your favoured shape/colour/designer. 
 
STEP 2: DECIDE ON A SHAPE
A line: skirt falls away from legs in a gentle slope

 

Ball gown/princess: the bigger the skirt, the better

 

Mermaid/trumpet: flares out at the bottom, the mermaid flares out more at the back then the front

Image: Berta Bridal

 

Empire: comes in at the waist, falls naturally

Image: Melindas Weddings
 
STEP 3: PICK A COLOUR
Ivory: creamy colour most popular with wedding dresses
White: crisp colour choice
Off White: can also be ivory but may be a more silver hue
Pastels: A great alternative if you’re up for it – a nice and bright colour for spring!
Bright colours: This is really making a statement, but you can usually get the dress you want dyed in a particular colour, but it’s slightly more risky. If you’ve got your heart set on it though, go for it!

Usually guides will tell you to go with a certain style for your body shape – no need to stick to these religiously! Go with what you like the look of and what you feel good in.
 
STEP 4: CHOOSE YOUR MATERIAL
You might not yet know the difference between satin and silk, but you’ll soon be plunged into this complicated world. The major materials you’ll find on most modern wedding dresses are lace, chiffon (fine and translucent), satin (has a sheen, good for draping), tulle and silk (delicate appearance but durable in the right conditions). There are other fabrics such as Dupioni (rougher, stiffer silk material), organza (lightweight and adds fullness to gowns) and rayon (alternative to silk).


Image: Grace Loves Lace

It really depends on both your personal taste when the material is on you, and the season/location of your wedding. This is something you can have an idea on when you go to try on your dresses, but don’t get too stuck on one type.

Once you know what you want or know where to find it, actually visit your local bridal salon. Not only independent stores, there are also bridal services at David Jones and Myer. Sure, we don’t have a Kleinfeld? Or a major bridal outlet store to rival those overseas, but the options certainly aren’t limited. And the assistants will be extremely talented and experienced – something you definitely want at this stage of the process.

 

STEP 5: HEAD TO THE STORES
Decide the budget and try on as many of the ones you think fit your stipulations as possible – and try on one that doesn’t.

Once you have the budget, style and colour in your head, try on as many dresses as you can find that fit these limitations. After exhausting the supply, for the fun of it, try something completely different – whether that be a different colour or a princess dress when you’ve been looking at mermaid silhouettes. Be a little adventurous with this last pick – more often then you’d think, it may very pleasantly surprise you. 

Don’t buy the first time you go into a store – go to at least 2 more while you’re still in the shopping mood so you know you’ve found the right one.

After you’ve visited your local salon and you’re 1000% positive you’ve found the dress of your dreams (lucky you!), don’t buy it straight away. Unless there’s a chance of the dress not being there when you come back, hold off until you’ve shopped around at least two more places. If, after that, you still have that dress in your mind as the ultimate, go back and snatch that baby up!

But more often than not, dresses have a way of convincing you they are the right one out of convenience when your actual fave is right around the corner.  And when you are satisfied, bring a second, third or fourth opinion to justify your choice and be flattered like you deserve to be. But if you love the dress and they don’t love it as much as you, don’t change your mind for anyone else! It’s your day you’ve been planning for so long, and it’s unfair to that little girl in awe of the white gown on the tv if you don’t do this for yourself.
 
This is one of the best experiences of your life, and one you only hope to do once, so make it as worthwhile as possible. Happy hunting!

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