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Keys to Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress

I’ve worn many hats since I first became a part of the wedding community – coordinator, designer, marketing specialist – but one of my favorites has to be bridal consultant! Working with brides to find the perfect wedding dress is incredibly rewarding, and today I wanted to share some of my key tips to finding The One!

Backless Lace Amsale Wedding Dress | Carly Statsky Photography | Keys to Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress

Backless Lace Amsale Wedding Dress

 CARLIE STATSKY PHOTOGRAPHY | A Luxe Bohemian Wedding in Jewel Tones

Do your research

One of the most important things you can do before stepping foot into a bridal salon is to make sure that it’s a fit. Call or email ahead to book a fitting – having an appointment ensures that a bridal consultant will be free to answer questions and help you try on gowns. Before stepping foot in the salon, you want to make sure you have an idea of the designers they carry, the price range of their dresses, and how long you will have to try on gowns.

Champagne Lace Matthew Christopher Wedding Dress | Katie Grant Photography | Keys to Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress

Champagne Lace Matthew Christopher Wedding Dress

KATIE GRANT PHOTOGRAPHY | Old World Architectural Wedding

 

Take risks!

By this point, you’ve probably logged hours on Pinterest or perused bridal style posts and have an idea of the dress you want. Whether you envision a low backed sheath dress with long sleeves or a sweetheart fit and flare gown, chances are good you have a style in mind when you walk into the salon. Don’t be afraid to try on something completely unexpected – a dress will look entirely different on the hanger than it will on your body.

Sheer Beaded Ines di Santo Wedding Dress | Luna de Mare Photography | Keys to Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress

Sheer Beaded Ines di Santo Wedding Dress

LUNA DE MARE PHOTOGRAPHY | A Glam Beach Bride Editorial

 

Don’t be afraid to say no

Bridal consultants are there to help you narrow down your vision to the perfect dress, but they’re not mind readers. They take your key words and budget and attempt to find gowns that will suit your style, but there is no harm in saying that it’s just not the dress for you. Discovering what you don’t like can be just as important as finding out what you do like, helping to narrow down the vast sea of choices.

Watercolor Floral Kate MacDonald Wedding Dress | Kat Harris Photography | Keys to Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress

Watercolor Floral Kate MacDonald Wedding Dress

KAT HARRIS PHOTOGRAPHY | Pink and Gold Preppy Bridal Shoot

 

Ask the right questions

Does the dress come in other color options? Can the train be lengthened? Can you add a cap sleeve or a strap? Many wedding dresses are made to order – which accounts for a significant chunk of that price tag – meaning they are made to your measurements. The designer works off an existing pattern but there’s no reason you can’t ask if they can add a custom detail to your dress, from buttons down the back to altering the neckline. Adding a fit customization, like an open bust cup or a more accurate hem measurement, before the dress is even made can save you hundred in alterations when the dress comes in.

Floral Carolina Herrera Wedding Dress | Mike Larson Photography | Keys to Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress

Floral Carolina Herrera Wedding Dress

MIKE LARSON PHOTOGRAPHY | Chic Lake Tahoe Wedding on the Beach

 

See the big picture

The gown is only one part of your wedding day – although it is the most important. Every time you put on a dress, envision it in your venue, alongside your bridesmaids, with your bouquet held against it. The bride and the dress are the focal point of a wedding (sorry, guys), so it’s important to find a dress that fits your vision for the whole day, down to the last detail. Sometimes the perfect dress is the catalyst for the rest of the wedding decor, informing the rest of your style decisions.

Blush Chiffon and Lace Emily Riggs Wedding Dress | Maria Lamb Photography | Keys to Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress

Blush Chiffon and Lace Emily Riggs Wedding Dress

MARIA LAMB PHOTOGRAPHY | A Vintage Romance Wedding

Timing is everything

Depending on the style and designer of your dress, the timeframe for orders can take anywhere from 12 weeks to 6 months. The more complicated and customized a dress, the more time it takes. Ask your consultant for a timeframe before your place your order to ensure that you will have plenty of time. An ideal time to order is 6-8 months prior to the wedding date, to allow for production time and a month and a half for alterations. If you are working in a shorter timeframe, ask your salon to see if the designer can a

Blush Lace Maya Couture Wedding Dress | Kirstyn Marie Photography | Keys to Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress

Blush Lace Maya Couture Wedding Dress

KIRSTYN MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY | Vintage Lace and Blush Sequin Wedding

Listen to your heart

It can be fun to make a day of dress shopping, bringing moms, sisters, bridesmaids, aunts, and your next door neighbor along to help you find the right dress. That many voices can complicate finding the dress that looks, and feels, most like you. As much as you value their opinion, it can be best to keep the shopping partners to a minimum. Bring people you trust to tell you the truth but who recognize that this needs to be your choice.

Vintage Gold Sequin Wedding Dress | Kristen Kilpatrick Photography | Keys to Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress

Vintage Gold Sequin Wedding Dress

KRISTEN KILPATRICK PHOTOGRAPHY | Golden Light of Summer Wedding

Sleep on it

No matter what your timeframe, there’s no reason to rush ordering the dress. Take a day or two at the least to reflect on the gowns you tried on, look at pictures, and think about which style and which dress feels the most you. When you’re confident in your choice, it’s time to move forward and keep planning!

Long Sleeve Lace Elizabeth Stuart Wedding Dress | Jessica Withey Photography | Keys to Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress

Long Sleeve Lace Elizabeth Stuart Wedding Dress

JESSICA WITHEY | Elizabeth Stuart Bridal Collection

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