Deciding on the right dress can be the most difficult part of planning for your big day. With so many options to choose from, it has become increasingly difficult to find the right balance of style, quality, and value in a wedding gown. This guide will take you from newbie to pro in 10 easy steps on what to look for when choosing your dream wedding gown.
- Start Early
Don’t wait until the last minute to start looking for your gown. Most gowns have to be ordered in or made for you. Start at least 8-10 months before your wedding. Doing so will ensure that you have options instead of settling because you ran out of time. At Averil Marie, we ask for at least 3-4 months to make a gown, but some places require longer. If it is 100% custom, include extra time to finalize the gown design. Usually, an additional 2-3 weeks is required. We also highly recommend including ten or more weeks for alterations on a purchased gown.
- Have a Price in Mind
Figure out your wedding budget beforehand, and it will make it easier to choose a gown in your price range. Keep in mind, wedding gowns are not your average dress off the rack, and the cost will reflect that. Consider all your dressing expenses, including alterations and accessories. Keep in mind that most dress alterations can run anywhere from $200 to over $1000! Do not let this cost catch you by surprise. I will include a link for more info on alterations below.
- Pick Your Venue
It is sometimes easier to choose a gown when you know the venue. Different dresses will work better for different locations. You would most likely not want a sheer sleeveless bodice in the middle of winter for an outdoor venue, or an expensive fur cape on the beach. Also, consider if there are dress code restrictions or obligations.
- Have Ideas About What You Like
There are tons of ideas on Pinterest and other sites. Have a sense of things you like or that look good on you. With so many options this will help narrow down which ones to take a serious look at. Also, I would do a little research on necklines, silhouettes, and body shapes. If you need help in this area, we offer a free consultation and can give you some direction on your body type and styles that will work well for you.
- Don’t Over Think It
Overthinking your look can take you down the rabbit hole, but don’t rush into it either. Explore all your options. Don’t let a salesperson push you into a gown because of a “sale” price! They always have a great price to offer to make a sale and more often than not, that bride regrets making that type of purchase.
- Trust Your Feelings
What do you like? What do you not like? Trust how you feel about a gown. If you love it, go for it! If you are unsure, keep looking.
- Take Pictures
It’s always a good idea to take pictures if you go to try on gowns. Then you can review them later and see what exactly you like or did not like about a dress. It is especially helpful if you decide to go custom. When we create your dress, you can share with us the specific components you wanted or did not love about the other gowns you saw.
- Limit Your Entourage
Too many opinions can be overwhelming and conflicting. Take one or two good friends or close family members with you to try on gowns. Getting too many opinions can make you feel unsure and insecure. Think about your friends and family members who share a similar sense of style with you or who know you and your style/personality the best. These will be the best partners to have with you as you look. Once you know the look that is right for you, we can make that look fit your body perfectly.
- Bring Proper Undergarments and Shoes to Fittings
If you plan on wearing a body-shaper, bring it with you to try on gowns. Some gowns come with body shaping components built right into the dress, but if not you’ll want to have them to try on with the gown. If you plan on wearing such items with your dress, it is especially important to bring them to any fittings along with your shoes. You should expect that your gown will most likely fit differently if you don’t.
- You Get What You Pay For
The saying is true. You get what you pay for, especially in wedding gowns. Out of all our tips, this by far is the most important. With the worldwide web, there are so many options, and too many times, girls fall for a cheap gown that ends up costing them more. Why? Because cheap dresses come with a price, usually tears and money. There is a reason cheap gowns are cheap. I would suggest reading our short article “Let’s Talk, The Cost of Wedding Gowns” for more details.