Photo Cred: Clickaway Photo
Unless you've done pageants, wedding dress shopping will be your first experience at actually trying on such an extravagant gown. We've all fantasized over Pinterest photos of our favorite dresses, picturing ourselves twirling or posing for pictures with the love of our lives, where budget is no issue, but when wedding dress shopping becomes reality, there are a few things we need to face.
The first thing is, the dress you think you're going to love, you rarely do. Now, I'm not saying this to be mean, just a little dose of reality. Models in wedding dresses, where the stock photos are highly doctored, aren't a good point of reference for how the rest of the population might look. Those photos also don't have price tags on them. So, that plunging V-neck, satin mermaid gown you've had your eye on? Ya - that is a Berta dress and about $11,000. Wowza!
Second thing to note, is it can become really, really easy to get sucked into the mindset that you need to try on every dress within a 60 mile radius until you know the one you fell in love with at the very first store is actually the one you want. The harm with this though? You get what we call Dress Paralysis. All the dresses start feeling the same, and looking the same, and you start to forget what the ones you liked look like. It also starts to get harder picturing yourself walking down the aisle, because you become obsessed with small details of the gown instead of picturing your overall look.
Dress Paralysis happens to so many women when looking for a dress, and can quickly derail your bridal moment, but there is one very important step you can take to get yourself on the right track. Narrow down your shape. Once you narrow down your shape, things get much easier. It's like trying to solve a big math problem - if you break it down into smaller problems, you'll solve it quicker. So, not to be a smarty-pants here, but treat dress shopping a little like Math 101. This is also where those Pinterest photos will help. If you see yourself pinning the same shapes over and over, it's a clue!
There are quite a few different shapes you can pick, but not an overwhelming amount. Plus, when you're trying on dresses, it should be somewhat of an easy choice to pick your shape after you've tried on a few different options. It's your body, and you know what looks good on you. So this is your first choice to make - what shape is it going to be? Once you pick the shape, you can move to neckline.
Neckline is just as important as shape, because the neckline will frame your upper body. This is the second "problem" you need to solve. Don't limit yourself with tunnel vision either - a lot of necklines can be modified. Sweetheart is a very common option, and a good seamstress can be your best solution. A sweetheart can also have an illusion top to provide some more support, or sleeves if it is an outdoor winter wedding. You get the same "frame" with the extra options that provide functionality.
Okay, so you have shape and neckline - next is material. This one I actually think is the toughest because there are thousands of different options. Literally. But don't get overwhelmed. It's easy to solve this problem if you think about the overall vision of your big day. And this is also where your bridal consultant can provide an unbiased opinion. Thinking romantic? Que lace. How about classic? Silk and satin come to mind. Modern? That is definitely crepe. So picture your vibe, and go with your gut.
After you've solved those three math problems, don't be afraid to commit to the dress. Committing to the dress should be the easiest part if you've solved for everything else. Yes - it's a big decision and a big moment, but you'll be confident in your decision and hopefully shed some tears. Knowing you've made your decision using a string of smaller decisions, will help you avoid any dress guilt after running your credit card. The women that regret their purchase and buy a second dress are the one's that get caught up and skip all the pre-work outlined above.
So get nerdy ladies - brush up on your math skills and go find your dress!