For some brides-to-be, shopping for a wedding dress is utterly thrilling. For others, it’s an utter headache. Regardless of which category you fall into, these 7 tips will help make the process seamless—and the outcome stylish.
1. Do yourself up
While you don’t need to go full-out with hair and makeup when trying on wedding dresses, it pays to arrive at the store with a toned-down version of the beauty looks you’re planning to rock on your wedding day. It’ll give you a much better picture of how the dress will look when all the moving parts come together, and combat against white’s innate ability to wash out most skintones.
2. Shoe structure is key
Already have the shoes you’re wearing to your wedding? Great, bring ‘em along. If you don’t, it’s key to bring footwear you know will be similar, both in heel height and in silhouette. Various shoe structures can dramatically alter the way clothing falls, especially dress hems.
For example, a sleek stiletto with a low vamp and a super-skinny heel will make the hem of a gown lay quite differently than a shoe with a thick ankle strap and chunky heels, or a shoe that’s adorned with embellishments or hardware.
3. Wear—or bring—the right undergarments
Without wearing proper undergarments to try on wedding dresses, the trip can pretty much be considered a waste. After all, there’s not a woman alive who hasn’t experienced the transformative powers of the right shapewear or bra. If you’re going shopping without a clear-cut picture of what type of dress you’d like, bring a few different options, such as a strapless bra, a push-up bra, a thong, and various pieces of suck-it-in shapewear.
4. Know your price range
It’s easy to get sucked into a vortex of over-the-top expensive wedding dresses (hello, you’re wearing it once), which is why it pays to start shopping with a budget—or at least a price range—firmly in place. Don’t forget to factor in extra, such as alterations, shoes, and accessories. That said, it’s best not to even try on gowns outside of your price range when you’re shopping for fear that you’ll fall madly in love with a gazillion-dollar gown only be be let down by every other dress you try.
5. Adhere to your own dress code
We’ve been to one too many weddings where, surprisingly, it’s the bride that looks totally out of place—not any of the guests. Psyched for your exotic destination beach wedding, but dying to wear a princess-style ball gown? Not gonna work! Tying the knot in a fancy big-city hotel on a Saturday night? Skip the easy-breezy white sundress. Trust us: Wearing something that compliments the setting and the background of your venue will look stylish and timeless.
6. Skip the entourage
Indeed, we’re aware that many brides consider dress shopping the ultimate time to bond with their mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, BFFs, college roommates, neighbors, colleagues, second cousins, and mother-in-laws, but it comes down to this: Too many cooks in the kitchen will absolutely muck up the experience.
Between differing tastes, generations, opinions, and levels of knowledge about your personal style, you’ll only end up confused and in desperate need of some Advil (or a strong cocktail.) Plus, the decision is—when it comes down to it—nobody’s to make but yours. Instead, we suggest bringing one or two people who know you and your style well, and who are calm, honest, and modern.
7. Have an open mind
Yes, it’s important to know your own style—and not compromise—but you might be surprised how good you look and feel in a style, cut, or length you normally wouldn’t have expected. There’s really nothing to lose by trying on as many dresses as you can.
More Weddings on StyleCaster:
Modern Bride: 5 Ways To Look Stylish At Your Wedding
7 Untraditional Wedding Registries To Get What You (Really) Want
10 Celebrity Brides Who Didn’t Wear White
Bridesmaids Gone Chic: 5 Amazing Looks