Updated: Apr 11, 2019
So. This article is going to be different. It's not advice on who or how many people to bring to your dress shopping appointment or give you inane advice like to wear nude underwear. This article is going to be waaaay more useful than that.
Wedding dress shopping is a whole other world and here I'm going to give you my best advice based on my experience as a Bridal Stylist.
Hot Tip 1: Keep an Open Mind
Pinterest is a wonderful resource and helpful to get an idea of what styles, textures, fit, lace, detail etc you like but trust me when I say that all of it will go out the window once you start trying on dresses. I wish I had a Benjamin for every time I heard a beautiful bride squeal "I did not expect to like this!!" while wearing a dress she never, in a million years, would have picked. It brings me joy in a way that taking a dip in the warm ocean does.
This scenario is faaaaar more common than you think. When I work in the Salon, it happens multiple times a day. And that's because bridal dresses are so different to any other dress you've ever worn. Well, unless you're an A-Lister or wedding dress model.
So while you think the mermaid gown with all-over chantilly lace and an open back you saw on Pinterest is your perfect dress, it just might not give you the feels you were expecting. And THAT IS OK!
From personal experience, I swore black and blue I would NOT wear a "white strapless dress" and by dress 15 it was pretty clear. I was going to be wearing a diamond white strapless dress. The most fabulous, stunning, beautiful, exquisite white strapless dress ever!
As I say, bridal is a different beast! You absolutely must keep an open mind because you actually just don't know what will suit you. So have fun! Try on a bunch a different shapes, styles and textures. It'll help you satisfy yourself that you've canvassed all your options and you will get a really great idea of the elements of a dress you love so you know what to look for!
Hot Tip 2: You may not have to kiss as many dress frogs as you think
Sometimes it's quite a shock when you find your dress sooner than you think. Like, immediately. Like, your first ever appointment or even the first ever dress. It seems shocking, but it happens. I've witnessed it with my own two eyes! I tell this one story about a bride who was trying on dresses for the very first time. She had tried on about a handful of dresses (we recommend trying 5 at a time so as not to overwhelm) and it was close to closing time. She casually mentioned that it was her first wedding dress shopping experience so she wasn't going to be buying anything that day, to which I replied in my native Australian "of course, no worries, darl!!"
She spun around to try one last dress, that her friends had pulled for her just a few moments before. I think you can see where this story is going. She tried it on. And loved it. She'd found her dress!! It fit her perfectly and was the perfect combination of all the things she was liking about the previous dresses.
Hot Tip 3: Bridal Sizing Sucks. For Real.
Here's the deal. Bridal sizing sucks. It's based on British sizing so it is AT LEAST, AATTT LEEEEEAST two sizes smaller than US sizing.
Most bridal salons work on the traditional model where you try on a sample and then order a made-to-order dress in your size. Often those samples sizes are a 10 or 12 bridal, which is really more like a street 4-8 (depending on the style and designer). Obviously, this can put a dampener on the whole experience because, let's face it, you're quite often on the high of being engaged and searching for a perfect dress and there's a lot of pressure to "look your best", so being told you should order a size 12 when you're a street 4-6 (like me!!) can be a little disheartening.
Purchasing off-the-rack, is a slightly different dynamic in that you're immediately confronted with the size issue. You're generally directed to the dresses in your size and told you can shop up to two sizes from there (alterations can usually take dresses in up to two sizes, or four inches of fabric). Sometimes this means you're shopping up to four sizes up from your normal street size!
But just know, it's not you, it's them! The size on the dress or the size range in which you order has NOTHING to do with how wonderful you are or how gorgeous you look and feel in your dress!
My belief is that there is a perfect fit, style, design and style for everyone. I see brides of all shapes, sizes, heights, colors and personalities. They're all beautiful and unique in their own way. And they always, always find their perfect dress - even if it's not with me!
I hope these hot little tips help in the search for your perfect wedding dress. So, keep an open mind, don't be shocked if you find your dress sooner than you think and don't give a second thought to those silly numbers.
Danie Jet + the Wild Luxe Weddings Team xoxo