As a Chicago wedding photographer, I am constantly asking my brides lots of questions! I love to gather information and then hand it off to you all! Here are some great tips to get you started on finding your dream gown.
1- Do an analysis
Go get all the bridal magazines out there and start tearing the pages out! Create a physical mood board, and create a Pinterest board of all your favorite gowns, check out what celebrity brides are wearing. Compile a visual file of all your favs, and look for connecting features, are they all lacy or embellished? Do they all have open backs? Do they have sleeves? Look for the similarities. Is there a particular designer that excites you?
2- Be Open
I know when photographing brides and commenting on their gown, over half admit that their gown was nothing like they first thought they would want, but when they put it on the gown, they fell in love with it. Yes it great to have a starting point, but don’t be surprised if your dream wedding gown is completely different than you thought.
3- Be mentally prepared with sizing
Bridal sizing is usually 2 sizes bigger than your normal size, this was a shock to me when I went gown shopping, the more expensive the gown, the smaller they run. Do not let the size get you frustrated, no one has to know besides you and the bridal consultant.
4- Shop early
In “normal pre- COVID-19 “days, you could plan on about 4-6 months for wedding dresses to be produced, experts now say to allow an additional 2 months, and do not forget to factor in the fittings and alternations which can certainly take time. My gown came in the wrong size, talk about stressful! Fortunately, they were able to get the correct gown shipped in weeks and it only needed minimal alterations.
5- Know your budget
Although talking about budget is can be awkward and uncomfortable. This conversation needs to take place, first decide on who is paying for your gown, if it is a parent or family member, know their budget. Many brides will simply pay the difference if their dream dress is above budget. Fun fact… Kim Kardashian spent $400,000 on her Givenchy wedding dress that was designed by Riccardo Tisci !
Do you have a wedding theme? Always keep in mind your theme and venue, whether it’s an elegant garden wedding, a rustic barn wedding, or a fancy ballroom affair, make sure your gown is appropriate for your venue and theme.
7- Choose your Bride Tribe carefully
First check with the bridal salon to see how many supporters they allow (again COVID-19 may put a damper on this). But the pre Covid norm is 4-5 people. Second- Is anyone helping you pay for the dress? They should be part of your tribe. And third, choose your friends that know you and are supportive! Its your day to have fun and find your perfect gown, you do not want to worry about jealousy or sarcasm.
Many brides wonder if they should include their future Mother-in-law, that up to you. If you get a long with her and she is supportive then yes! But if you have a disagreeable relationship and you are anxious, she may not be the most supportive then include her in other things, but not dress shopping.
Hope these tips help get you started !
I would love to chat !