Choosing the Perfect Wedding Dress

Aberdeen Wedding Planner

Written by Tracy

Published: 18 October 2021

Getting the dress right is not easy

Here are my top 3 tips to help you find it.

Okay, I’ll be honest. I spent my childhood playing army, climbing on buildings, and falling out of trees. My entire childhood was spent with scabs on my knees which were usually brought about by the fact that I ran everywhere and sometimes I’d trip myself up whilst doing so.

Even at university I preferred going out on a student night so that I could wear my Dr. Martens and jeans, and not have to totter around on stupidly high heels in a dress that I was terrified of bending over in for fear of flashing to everyone. So, it’s fair to say that I’m not the girliest of girls.

So, you can imagine how much horror I was feeling at the idea of choosing my dress, THE dress. The most important piece of clothing that I was ever going to wear in my entire life. Well, I have to say that due to a fantastic bridal consultant, two close friends, a lot of patience and the promise of Prosecco afterwards it was actually an enjoyable experience. For those of you who are a little worried about what to expect I have put my top 3 tips together to give you a head start.

Purpleweddingdress1 1025x1536 1

1. Do Your Research First

Before you go booking appointments have a sit-down and think about how you want to feel in your dress. Do you want a dress at all? Maybe you fancy a trouser-suit more? What do you like and dislike about dresses you have seen? You can even collect pictures of those that are your favourites. Do you hate the idea of having too much cleavage on show? Do you love the idea of sleeveless? Or are you like me wanting sleeves? It’s good to have an idea as it gives you somewhere to start, however you need to have an open mind. As I said, I loved the idea of sleeves as I don’t like my arms, however every dress with sleeves that I tried on just did not do anything for me. So naked arms it is.

Also, think if you prefer a certain style, however bear in mind that style may not look right on your body shape. I made the mistake of thinking that I would look exactly like the model in the picture even if my dress was a bigger size, but some dresses just do not suit every type of figure. As well as your body shape choose something that you feel comfortable in. Ballgown dresses are likely to be heavy and column dresses may be uncomfortable to sit down in. When you’re trying on dresses move about in them. Sit down, stretch, check that the dress will allow you to do exactly what you want to do. Be prepared to try on lots of gowns, however, have a maximum number in mind otherwise you’ll become overwhelmed and not even remember what bits of what dresses you liked.

Sottero and Midgley Zander Lane Fit and Flare Wedding Dress Black

2. Look into the details

Generally, us brides shop for the dress after we have booked the venue. This is because we can then tailor the dress to the venue/reception and the season that we’ll be getting married in. A full ballgown would not work for a beach wedding and likewise a skimpy, satin, mermaid dress may be freezing in winter.

Shop true to your current size. Yes, we all want to lose that bit of weight before our big day, but what if we don’t? Or even worse what if we put weight on? It’s easier to take in a dress that is too big for us than try and expand a dress that we can’t breathe in.

Have a budget for your dress, this should be the total budget. So that means including any extras like alterations, accessories, and having it cleaned afterward. If your budget is small, stay away from dresses with lots of embellishments, as these will be expensive and whatever you do NEVER try on dresses that are outside of your budget. The perfect dress that you cannot afford could lead to a broken heart.

If you have jewellery that you want to wear on your day, take it with you to the bridal shop. It is better to try it on then and see if the neckline suits the necklace, or earrings then find afterward that it doesn’t.

Think about what style, fabric, and colour you like. Again, have these as a starting point not a definite, as you may not suit them. Be prepared to try on other styles in different fabrics and colours. Also, you don’t have to go with the traditional lengths or colours. I always stress to my couples that this is their wedding, so be you in everything that you do. If you want to wear a red tea-length dress, then wear a red tea-length dress. Don’t buy something that you don’t want as you’ll regret it.

Wedding dress and veil hanging on a wardrobe

3. Team Bride

Now this includes a whole lot of support people, however for the purposes of today I mean only those that are helping you to pick THE dress.

Beforehand contact the bridal shops that you are thinking of making an appointment with and have a chat. How do they make you feel? As I tell my clients, you should be made to feel special at every point in your planning journey, especially as the bride choosing her dress. And this starts from the first point of contact.

My bridal consultant was wonderful as she listened to my anxieties, fears, and style ideas and gently guided me to my first dress option. I’d like to say that we got it spot on the first time however we didn’t, but that was okay. I never felt rushed, or like I was being pressured or persuaded and neither should you.

I found trying on dresses quite alarming as for some reason the designers design wedding dresses to be 1 or 2 sizes smaller than normal sizing, however, I am forewarning you to expect this so it’s not as much as a shock and no one will ever know what the actual size is. If you are a plus-size bride, check that they do stock your size beforehand as I’m not the biggest of brides, however, I found myself having to be shoe-horned into a few of the dresses and it was not a great feeling.

Choose a dress early as it can take up to 9 months to make a dress, dependent on the style. But not too far ahead as you may change your mind, or forget how you felt in it. You need a good balance.

Some people say that it is best to go on your own as you will not be pushed into making any decisions that you don’t want to and this could work for some, however for me I needed the support of my bridal consultant and my friends to help me see what I could not see. I’d only ask 2 or 3 people that know you well as any more and it can be difficult to get a consensus on what suits you best and that will only confuse you. These good friends will be honest with you and stop you from wasting your time. I walked out in something that I thought would suit me and I had only just come to the viewing area, and everyone was shaking their heads and no words had been spoken, So, for me that was definitely NOT my dress.

Once you have found something that you like, if it has a train ask about a bustle or some other way of putting up the train. You might not be bothered by this however I asked as I don’t want to be dragging my train around all day.

Bride viewed from the back, hand on hip, with her wedding dress train elegantly spread out.


Last thoughts…

Whatever you do don’t rush making your choice. Some designers do not allow you to take photos of the dress, however if you are allowed, and it would help you to, get someone to take photos of you in each of your dresses. Afterwards when you are feeling less emotional, you can look at yourself in them all and make a choice from there. This would not have worked for me as I hate my photograph being taken so I would have hated myself in all of them, this might work for others though.

If you don’t like the idea of the fuss, or the expense of having a dress made from scratch then you can look at buying second-hand or going to a bridal outlet. A bridal outlet will stock lots more choice than a bridal shop, however you only get to choose from what sizes are there. For buying second-hand or from a bridal outlet you would then find a seamstress to alter the dress to fit you. Altering a dress is usually limited to going up or down 1 or 2 sizes and obviously going down a size is easier than going up a size as matching material may have to be found.

Be prepared that no one may cry, or you try on a dress and not feel like ‘Oh my gosh! This is THE ONE!’  Not everyone gets that tingling when they put on the dress, I didn’t. This is why it’s good to take people who you trust for their opinion. I was never going to be like that as being a Tomboy growing up wearing a dress still feels a bit weird, however my bridal consultant and my girls kept going back to the same dress and now when I think about it, I know that I made the right choice.

My last piece of advice would be once you have found your dress, stop looking. Now my dress is busy being made I have stopped looking at dresses in bridal magazines and have banned myself from watching every ‘Say Yes to The Dress,’ even the Gok Wan one. Which was hard to do as I do love Gok.

If you want to find out more about my dress shopping experience, get in touch I’d be happy to share.

Happy shopping!



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