Choosing your wedding dress can be one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding – there are so many styles and trends to consider.
When searching for your perfect wedding dress, you need to consider crucial things like whether it will suit your shape and if it’s the right style of dress for your wedding – there’s no point falling for a full skirted wedding dress with sleeves if you’re planning a beach wedding in the Caribbean. Make sure you read our list of 50 mistakes to avoid when searching for your wedding dress to ensure your search skills are at their finest!
We asked Richard Lill, Vice President of UK Sales at Alfred Angelo, for his advice on how to choose your wedding dress.
Remember to Sit Down
When you try on your wedding dress, it’s very likely you’ll be stood in front of a full-length mirror. Richard recommends brides take a seat in their dresses too: “You’ll spend a high percentage of the day sitting down, so you must make sure your dress is comfortable to sit in.
“Check that the boning of the dress allows you to breathe comfortably when you’re sitting, and if you’ll be kneeling during the wedding service, practice that too: a large hooped underskirt could cause an embarrassing situation if it lifts when you kneel and exposes your underwear!”
Think About Your Venue
Richard urges brides to go through their day in their mind before buying their dress. If you’re marrying in a small church or chapel with a narrow doorway or aisle, a wide dress won’t make an elegant entrance very easy. If your reception venue has a lot of steps, how easy will they be to tackle in a figure hugging fishtail gown?
The Length of the Dress
Make sure the length of your wedding dress is just right. It’s a common misconception that your wedding dress should scrape the floor, but Richard advises against that: “If it’s too long at the front you’ll end up kicking it, or worse, tripping over. And there’s nothing worse than a bride having to hitch her dress up all day.”
Even if your wedding dress comes with a train, make sure the front of the gown skims your shoes, not the floor.
Wedding Dress Fabrics
When you are picking your wedding dress, think about the fabrics. The fabric used can completely alter the feel and appearance of a dress, and can impact how practical it is.
“Synthetic linings can often make a bride too hot and uncomfortable,” Richard explains, “but if you do decide against natural fabrics, a small hoop can help air circulate under the dress, which will keep you cool.”
Take Accessories with You
Try on your potential wedding dress with the shoes you want to wear for your wedding – and if you don’t know which shoes you’ll be wearing, go for a style you think you’re likely to wear. Take nude, strapless underwear with you so even if it’s not right for the dress, it’s the least noticeable.
“If you plan on having a spray tan for your wedding, get one before going dress shopping,” Richard adds, “as a white dress might not look great with your natural skin tone, but with a tan you’ll be able to carry off a crystal white gown.”
Make Sure Your Dress is Authentic
“Some brides try a dress on in a shop and then try to find it much cheaper online, but often they are buying counterfeit dresses and they will have no recourse if it doesn’t fit or is damaged. If the price of a dress sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Richard warns.
Make sure you buy your wedding dress from a reputable bridalwear shop or designer to avoid being conned.
When choosing your wedding dress, the most important factor is to be flexible explains Richard: “Nothing should be set in stone. You might think you hate a certain style, but you can only make a sensible decision once you’ve tried it on.
“A good bridal consultant will look at your bust, hips and waist and help you to choose the most flattering style. And it helps if you’re honest about your figure: say which bits you don’t like, and your consultant can help you celebrate the bits you love.”
Be Careful Asking Family and Friends for Help
Richard warns against asking a family member or friend to make your wedding dress for you: “You’ll never get exactly what you want. If a professional gets it wrong, you can demand changes without any awkwardness or arguments: it’s hard to be a stroppy diva with someone you love.”
Even if your maid of honour is a pro when it comes to making catwalk-worthy outfits, think carefully before asking her to make your dress. Will you feel obliged to say you love it, even if you don’t? And could she deal with the pressure of making a wedding dress as well as fulfilling bridesmaid duties? If you do decide to ask someone close to you to make your dress, make sure you trust them completely.
Consider Who Comes With You
You might be excitedly planning a dress shopping trip with your mum and bridesmaids, but Richard urges brides to think carefully about the personalities of the people you take dress shopping with you: “Your mum might have strong or traditional opinions, and your bridesmaids will be thinking about how they’re going to look next to you. It’s better to take someone impartial who will give fashion advice you trust.”
If you’re currently searching for your dream wedding dress, make sure you check out the wedding dress section on Hitched for all the latest designs and styles.