Choosing your wedding dress

Despite working in the wedding industry in some form for almost a decade, I have to let you in on a shameful secret – I wasn’t that excited about going wedding dress shopping to begin with.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love wedding dresses and I’m always so excited when my favourite dress designers release their latest collections. I was looking forward to finding my perfect wedding dress but the thought of the journey to find that dress and trying on lots of different styles until I found ‘the one’ left me feeling impatient and slightly stressed.

Despite my reservations I booked my first appointment and took my two older sisters with me to give their advice. As soon as we walked through the doors of the bridal shop, I have to admit my inner 6 year old came out and I felt really excited to be surrounded by so many beautiful dresses and all my concerns about struggling to find the perfect gown melted away.

I always tell brides to try on shapes and styles that they wouldn’t naturally go for, just to see how they look and, so often brides tell me their chosen dress is the complete opposite to the shape they had in mind. With this thought I picked out lots of my favourite fishtail styles and then also chose a few dresses that were out of my comfort zone – including some strapless and some ballgown…even one that was both strapless and ballgown!

Rather than discovering something new that I loved, trying on ballgown and strapless dresses actually just confirmed to me that they aren’t the right shape for me. At 5 feet 2 inches tall, I felt swamped in a ballgown dress and with a 32FF chest, strapless left me feeling a bit exposed and not particularly comfortable.

Despite not finding my perfect dress during my first appointment, I learned some good lessons about which styles and fabrics suited me. Fitted shapes and lace fabrics were a big yes, ballgown styles and satin fabrics for me were a definite no.

My second dress appointment was far more successful – I had actually seen a photo of a dress that I loved and luckily this second shop had been able to get hold of this dress for me to try on. I tried on a few lace dresses in a fishtail style and then the dress I had spotted so long ago arrived and as soon as I tried it on, I knew it was perfect. I won’t give too much away just yet but I promise to share photos with you in two months’ time when I have walked down the aisle.

Caroline's wedding dress search

Top Row Left via Enzoani | Top Row Right via Essense Designs - Stella York | Second Row Left via Essence Designs - Martina Liana | Second Row Right via Mori Lee | Third Row Left via Enzoani (as before) | Third Row Right via Mori Lee (as before) | Bottom Row Left via Martina Liana (as before) | Bottom Row Right via Stella York (as before)

If you are about to embark on wedding dress shopping then here are some of my top tips:

Do Your Research

When you go to your appointment, see which designers you chosen shop stocks and get an idea of the shapes and fabrics you like.

Wear the Right Underwear

Keep your underwear neutral and if you have a strapless or multi-way bra then wear it! Dresses look so much better when you have the right underwear on you can get a better idea of how you will look.

Be Open Minded

Trying on a shape that is out of your comfort zone could mean you discover an amazing dress or it could put your mind at rest that your chosen style is perfect for you.

Try on Accessories

If you find a dress you really love, then complete the look and try the dress on with a veil or some simple jewellery so you can really envisage the look.

Don’t Buy in a Hurry

If you have found a dress you are totally in love with then go for it and place your order. But if you have a slight hint of doubt then don’t sign on the dotted line just yet and give yourself time to think.

Written by Caroline Hendry


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