Ta-da! Here's my wedding dress!
....Yes - you're right. Of course it's not. But this is me - in a wedding dress. I wanted to include it in this post as an example of what could have been my wedding dress. You'll have to wait a little while longer before I reveal the actual one.
For some brides, wedding dress shopping will be the most exciting part of the wedding planning process. For others, it will be the most stressful aspect. But either way, if you have decided you want to buy and wear a wedding dress for your big day, as a bride who has been there myself (for the record, it wasn't my favourite,) I wanted to impart some advice.
1. DON'T Invite Everyone To Go With You
Yes, it's exciting having a wedding to plan. And whereas the world and his wife may want to come with you to experience the wedding-dress-picking process, this isn't the best idea. Everyone is going to have their opinion.
Imagine you have found the dress you think is the dress of your dreams. You love it. Mum may love the dress, Great Aunt Bessie might think it makes your eyes shine brighter, and your bridesmaids might unanimously hate it. And Grandma Edna might declare loudly that it makes your bottom look the size of a London bus. With all these opinions floating round your head, are you still going to want to wear that dress?
Choose to take a few select people you know will support you, give their opinion (in the right way,) and make the experience enjoyable for you. I invited MG and Saunders when I went wedding dress shopping, and I loved having them there because when I needed them to, they told me what they thought, and when I'd made a decision, they didn't try and change my mind. Don't feel like you have to invite everyone along with you because you might find your dress. Bring along a select few you really, really trust. If you find your dress, you can always take friends and family to see it. I must've gone back to try on my dress at least three times and I haven't had my first fitting yet. Some wedding shops can be really accommodating like that.
2. DO Take A Camera
Now I don't know if this is allowed in all bridal shops, but the shop I bought my dress did allow photos to be taken. Which really, really helped. Of course there are mirrors for you to look in, but bear in mind that a camera may capture the dress differently to the way you see it. That's how I ruled out the dress above. On the hanger, it looked lovely, but when I saw it in a photo, I realised the fabric and cut just didn't suit me at all. Taking pictures will let you see the dress from all angles, and will be the most unbiased way for you to look at yourself in a dress. Having a photo to hand will also be extremely handy for planning out accessories, additional attire for your partner, and coming up with a theme for the wedding too.
3. DON'T Feel You Have To Make A Decision
Tried on a dress you love but aren't 100% sure about it? That's okay.
On the Big Day all eyes are going to be on you and you want to wear something you love. Don't feel like you have to buy your dress right then and there. Sleep on it if you need to, or, like I did, try on a few dresses again and then try the dress you are considering again. Doing this made me realise I had found my dream dress, and this is when the tears started. Now every time I think about wearing my dress, I get so excited. Just thinking about it now is making me tear up. And that's how it should be.
4. DO Ask For Help
Unsure how to tie the corset? What the best underwear to have is? What accessories you should consider? It's okay to ask the sales assistants. They are the experts and will be able to advise or recommend different things to you. And unlike others who may want to drape you in all the veils, tiaras, headbands, jewellery, the sales assistants should be there to give their honest and informed opinion. I wasn't going to have a veil for the day, but Boyfriend wanted the ceremony to be really quite traditional, so together with the staff at the bridal shops, I worked out what made me feel most comfortable, and worked best with the dress. They have really been amazing, offering advice on the right bra to get, to how to wee without ending up in a pickle! And it has been so reassuring to know there is always someone who will be able to answer all my weird and wonderful questions.
5. DO What Makes You Happy
At the end of the day, buying a "traditional" wedding dress might not be for you. The choice is yours, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If you want to wear something a bit more low-key, do it. If you want to buy online or from your favourite shop, do it. It's your day, and you want to wear something that will make you feel comfortable, confident, and most importantly, be true to who you are.
Wishing you a beautiful wedding day!