Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Dress

With all the fevered speculation surrouding Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, which will be unveiled (pardon the pun) tomorrow, I thought to put together a little guide for other brides-to-be who are shopping for their dress of a lifetime.

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Caroline’s Top Tips:

  • Budget in advance: Bear in mind that you need to budget for shoes, underwear, jewellery, headpiece / veil etc., as well as the dress.
  • Be open-minded: Not all dresses will have “hanger appeal” but often it’s the outside contender that looks the most sensational.  On the topic, don’t get too excited about photos in magazines – what looks great in a magazine might look terrible on you.  Try everything on I say.
  • Choose comfort: Remember that you are going to have to stand, sit, walk, talk, eat, breathe and dance in your gown. Buy a dress that you will be comfortable and confident in wearing, that isn’t heavy or cumbersome to drag around and won’t wrinkle easily.
  • Suitability: Choose a dress that reflects your style and personality, as well as being suitable for the type of wedding that you’re having.  A slinky strappy number might not hold up well at a Winter wedding for example, and a long train would be very cumbersome at an outdoor barbeque wedding celebration I’m sure!
  • Test-drive your dress: Most bridal shops encourage brides to view the dress at the best possible angle i.e. standing in front of a full-length mirror with soft lighting and a little plinth to stand on (all of which makes you look taller, slimmer and more radiant).  I suggest that you stand in the harshest light you can find, ask can you go outside to see it in day light, view yourself sitting down (as when you sit down dresses can often ‘pop up’ around the straps and cleavage area – which looks terrible in photos) – as you will be doing all of these on your wedding day.  You should also ask the shop to give you a veil, shoes and bouquet to try with the dress so as you can see what it will look like in it’s full context.
  • Buy the correct size: Resist the temptation to buy a dress that is too small on the basis that you will “slim into it”. If the dress is too small on the day, you will look and feel very uncomfortable.
  • Book a good dressmaker: It’s rare that one finds a dress that fits like a glove; most dresses require a little nip and tuck.  A good dressmaker will work wonders.  A dress can be brought down 2 sizes very successfully, which is worth remembering if you are buying from a sample sale or off the peg.
  • Trusted confidante: Bring someone shopping with you whose opinion you trust and value.  Their advice may prove invaluable.
  • Enjoy the experience: Most importantly, savour the wedding dress experience and make sure that you enjoy it as much as possible.  Make a day of it, enjoy a lovely lunch, don’t rush the process and above all, have fun!

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