How To Find Your Perfect Kickass Wedding Dress

OK, now that you’ve said ‘yes’, it’s time to find the one.

No, we don’t mean trading your fiance in for a better model; it’s time to slip some (suitable) shoes on and make the ultimate commitment prior to your marriage – finding a wedding dress that you love and sticking with it. Finding your perfect wedding dress certainly isn’t an easy task, so we’re here to help you through it.

There are three types of wedding dress: Couture, Made to Measure and Off the Peg.

Bride trying on her wedding dress
Wedding photographer Francesco Spighi, Italy

Couture

A Couture wedding dress will be made exclusively for you by a designer and to your exact measurements.

Made To Measure

Made to measure dresses are cut from the nearest pattern size to your measurements and will then be altered to fit you.

Off The Peg

Off the Peg wedding dresses are the ones you see hanging in wedding dress shops, ready to purchase immediately. Alterations are made to them post purchase to ensure that they are as close a fit as possible.

Start wedding dress shopping 9-12 months before your wedding. It’s essential that you allow a long lead-time on this as due to extreme demand they take a long time to materialise (excuse the pun).

Wedding dress fitting
Choosing the perfect wedding dress for you is one of the most important parts of your wedding prep. Wedding Photographer Vinicius Matos, Brazil

The finer details

Ring ahead and book an appointment, if necessary. Due to popularity and their need to provide patrons with highly attentive service, turning up and simply browsing with the intention to have a casual ‘try on’ is not an option at many wedding dress shops.

Spare your blushes and wear appropriate underwear. An ill-fitting bra spells complete disaster to a dress fitting experience. So does ‘barely there’ underwear that leaves nothing to the imagination. You’ll require assistance to get in and out of wedding dresses. Feeling naked apart from some pop socks is not going to enhance your confidence in any way.

You’ll appreciate it when your wedding photos don’t tell the ‘back fat’ story. Trust us.

It’s best not to start your married life by having to hide your credit card bills from your new husband. Blowing the budget on a wedding dress purchase is a common (and disastrous) theme. Girls tend to go overboard in this area of wedding planning; maybe because it’s the one area that they’re left footloose and fancy free to do all on their own.

Don’t do dress shopping solo

Always get a second opinion. This will ideally be from someone who is near and dear to you but also brutally honest. You’ll appreciate it when your wedding photos don’t tell the ‘back fat’ story. Trust us.

Hanging wedding dress
Wedding photographer Massimiliano Magliacca – Nabis Photographers, Italy

Take your time

If you’re feeling pressurized in a wedding dress shop to make a decision, then that particular boutique isn’t right for you. Return to ‘the one’ for a second viewing of your dress before committing. It’s a big choice to make and one that you’ve got to be 100% happy with in the lead up to your big day.

Do things in the right order

Don’t choose shoes and a headpiece before you’ve chosen your dress; it dictates everything, from how your hair will be styled through to the earrings/necklace combination that you’re going for.

When you’ve decided on your gown, purchase the shoes for your wedding day. Return to a fitting wearing them so that you’re able to have the length of your dress finalized entirely accurately.

Treat your final fitting like a dress rehearsal

If possible, have your hair styled how it will be on your wedding day (if you’re super organised, book your hair trial to take place just before you go to the dress appointment!) and try on your gown with all the right underwear and accessories to complete the look.

After the wedding

After your wedding, get your dress professionally cleaned before the six-week mark. Stains oxidise over time and become very difficult to remove. You never know, you could always pass it on to your daughter!

Naomi Hyman

Naomi has been the Editor of The Select Bride since 2015. She was formerly the Content Editor of Wedding Photography Select for the previous 5 years. She lives in Brighton with her partner and four energetic children. Her interests include cooking, midcentury design, minimalism, reading and enjoying quality time with her family.

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