Your wedding is coming up and you still have yet to pick out a dress. Catering, venue, photography, finalizing the guest count—equally pressing wedding errands keep getting in the way. You’re starting to feel stressed and, out of the hundreds of thousands of wedding dress choices, you don’t know where to start.
Take a deep breath; we’ve got it covered for you. Answer these 7 questions, which will help get you started in the right direction—closer to finding the right wedding dress for you!
1. Will You Wear Your Mother’s Wedding Dress?
Wearing your mother’s wedding dress on your wedding day can be a bonding and memorable moment for mother and daughter. If the dress has been passed down from generation to generation, you are continuing to carry on a prized family tradition. Still, tradition or not, it’s important to decide if you’d like to wear your mother’s dress.
Some considerations to keep in mind include the size of the dress, the style, and wear and tear of it. For instance, if the dress is much smaller or larger than your size, you may need extensive alterations.
Also, keep in mind that your mother may have gotten married in the 60s, 70s, or 80s; that said, you may need to take off the puffy sleeves and shoulder pads, and tame the billowy skirt in order to “modernize” it.
Plus, if your mother kept the dress in a standard cardboard box, it may have weathered some wear and tear; it’s not uncommon for white dresses after several years without the proper storage conditions, to fade into a yellow. In which case, you need to decide if you want to have it whitened.
If you want to keep the family tradition alive but still want your own dress, you can always opt to wear the veil that’s been worn from generations as a traditional symbol.
2. What’s Your Personal Style?
Do you like simple and chic? Or are you all about the details? If unsure, browse through your favorite clothes and see if you notice any fashion patterns. Also, look through bridal magazines, circling dresses that you find beautiful. Again, do you notice a pattern? Are you more attracted to simple bodices or beaded lace skirts? Or maybe you like vintage? If that’s you, consider bridal stores that specialize in vintage wedding dresses. That and frequently browsing through eBay and Etsy will bring you closer to finding the right one.
3. What’s Your Body Type?
Are you an apple, pear, or hourglass shape? Small chested or busty? Petite, tall, or plus-sized? While you want to find a dress that fits your personal style, it’s also important that it accentuates your beauty.
According to Real Simple, if you have a pear shape, consider a skirt that transitions into an A formation. If you’re busty, you want more of a scoop neck to emphasize your neck. Plus-sized women will look beautiful in an Empire dress, while an apple-shaped frame is all about the lace and a dress that hugs the smallest portion of the waist. Taller women can sport simple silhouettes, and women with a straighter frame will shine with a plunging, feminine neckline.
4. What’s Your Budget?
Wedding dresses range from a couple hundred to several thousand dollars so it’s important to have (and stick to!) a budget for your wedding dress. That way, you can give your budget to the bridal consultant at the store, having him/her only pick out dresses that are in that price range. This ensures you won’t fall in love with a dress that’s several thousand dollars over budget and continue comparing the dress to others. Deciding to fork over the extra couple of thousand for the out-of-budget dress could pull from other funds for the wedding, making finances tight for your big day.
5. Who Will Be Accompanying You to the Bridal Store?
Surprisingly, you don’t need to bring a large party to the bridal store—or you can. It all comes down to what you’re comfortable with…and with who. When thinking about who will accompany you, ask yourself if this individual is opinionated or not. At the end of the day, you want someone who will voice their opinion about the dresses you try on (when asked). But you don’t want someone who’s only thinking about their personal style, and not considering yours.
6. When Is Your Wedding?
Three months? Two? A couple of weeks? If you only have a few weeks before your wedding, your options may be limited, as wedding alterations do take time. And, depending on the season, your dress may be behind several other dresses. If that’s the case, start searching for the dress ASAP. If not, if may be wise to create a schedule—visit one bridal shop a week or every other. That way, you have it penned down before other wedding errands start to take precedence.
7. What Will You Be Wearing with Your Dress?
Are you wearing flats? Heels? Stilettos? Knowing what shoes you’ll have on come your big day will determine how long the dress should be. And, depending on the shoes, certain dress styles may look more flattering than others, which makes it that much more important to bring the shoes you’ll wear with you when trying on dresses. If you don’t have the shoes yet, have an idea in mind of what style you want to wear.
(For other wedding accessories and wedding gifts, encourage your friends and family to check out your Bed Bath & Beyond wedding registry.)
You may go into the first bridal shop you see and find the perfect wedding dress. Or it may take you a couple of tries. Still, trust your gut and know that you will find it. Also, know that you don’t have to wear a wedding dress—tailored pant suits and a beautiful blouse and skirt will look just as appealing—especially if you like that look more. Have more questions or concerns about wedding dresses? Leave a comment below!