By: Aynsley Hildebrand
Congratulations on your engagement! You have said ‘Yes’ to the beautiful ring that is now adorning your left hand and you are wondering how to begin wedding planning - One of the first orders of business, and most fun - is to find a dress that truly shows off your unique style and makes you feel like a princess on your big day.
When you go wedding dress shopping, it is initially very overwhelming and there are alot of people with a million opinions and ideas. As much as you’d love to take everyone you love with you to choose a dress, try to only take a few of your most important people in your life with you. These are the people who know you best and you value their opinion. The less people, the less stressful it will be.
When trying to choose a style, be open to trying on multiple different designs and styles because you never know what might look incredible on you but you had just never tried before. But also stay true to your own personal style.
There are alot of styles of dresses that are very ‘on trend’ right now and it may be tempting to get sucked into that- and if the styles that are on trend are truly your style- then that’s perfect! But if they aren’t, don’t let someone convince you to wear something that just isn’t ‘you’. You want to feel like yourself on your wedding day- and wearing a beautiful dress, accessories and getting your hair & makeup done, should just enhance the beauty that you already have.
So try on as many dresses and go to as many stores as you need to find the dress that will fit you and your style perfectly.
You might find a dress that seems right but its just not perfect. Don’t be dismayed- I always say that as long as I ‘see potential’ in something, there is hope. Just because it looks one way on the hanger, doesn’t mean that you can’t work some magic and make it perfect for you.
As long as the majority of the dress is what you love and there are just little things that just aren’t completely the way you envisioned them, that can be easily fixed. Seamstresses, tailors or even friends or family that are handy with a needle, can do wonders on a piece of clothing. As long as you have an idea of what you would like it to look like and you can describe it to them, it is possible! If the neckline isn’t totally where you’d like it, the straps or sleeves a bit off of what you would prefer or the dress a little ‘blah’ in one place or other, and needs a little embellishments or bling, these are all things that are completely doable and in the end it will be a dress that was completely tailored to your specifications and a ‘One of a Kind’ Dress that no one else in the world will have.
Some people think that if they want to have the perfect dress, they’re going to have to have a huge budget & pay a big price tag or they will be disappointed. That is false.
You can find the perfect dress and not have to take out a loan to afford it.
There are many beautiful boutiques that offer consignment, second hand, or sample dresses, at a much lower price than if they were bought and ordered brand new. This way you are more likely to pay less and have a more unique dress than what is found at the popular dress store down the street. Just dry clean, steam, tailor a few things- and bibbity bobbity boo- a brand new dress!
Many stores also have a section of dresses that can be bought straight off the rack that are usually at a reduced price and this gives you the allowance to take it to a seamstress to tweak it to fit you like a glove and make it your own.
This not only gives you room to tailor it to your specifications but also room in the budget to afford to pay a seamstress to do the changes.
You will have the dress of your dreams, be a one of a kind and also be better for your budget.
Some may say that having two wedding dresses sounds excessive or over the top- but if you’re smart about it- you could be able to have two dresses and still stay within your budget.
If the idea of this interests you, but doesn’t sound realistic- don’t completely write it off! If you find a dress second hand or from a consignment store and save money in that way, you then have room in your budget to buy a second dress for the reception!
This is a really fun idea to do, because you can have two completely different looks - but both that you love- and get photos in each of them.
A dear friend of mine just recently got married in Portland, Oregon and I had the pleasure of assisting her in planning her wedding- and she did just this. She had a long, elegant wedding dress for photos and the ceremony. Then once it was time for the reception, she surprised her guests by donning a fun, tea length dress in a completely different shape and style to her first gown, and threw on a pair of sneakers, and came in, ready to party the night away with her guests. It was such an exciting little surprise, and a fun way to show off her personality.
Now that you have chosen the dress of your dreams, it is time to style your ‘ladies in waiting’ for the special day. You want your girls to feel beautiful as well and also compliment the style of the wedding. You will have to decide if you want them all to match with styles and/or color and what kind of vibe you want to go for.
You can spin off the style of your dress, in either style or fabric- such as, if there is lace in your dress; do you want the bridesmaids to also have lace in their dresses or not. Or if your dress is long & flowy; do you want their dresses to have the same type of style or do want them to be more fitted so that you will stand out more.
I would always suggest to pick something that compliments you, since you are the centre of attention for the day, but also so that everything flows seamlessly in photos.
You also should remember that not everyone has the same body type and height, so they should be able to choose dresses in different styles and fabrics that suit their body best, and makes them feel beautiful- but you can also give them some guidelines of what is important to you. For instance; do you want their gowns to be long or short, do you want the colors to match or have complimenting colors? If they are going shopping on their own or together, have some requirements but also give them some leeway so that they can choose something that they feel beautiful in as well.
It makes for a much happier wedding party, if they are wearing something they feel comfortable in all day too.
In the end you want to feel beautiful and like yourself on your special day. I encourage you to search and find and potentially even design the dress of your dreams that you will be able to look back on for years to come and still smile and know that you felt like a princess, and your unique style and beauty shone through for all to see on that day.