5. Gather Visuals to Shop With In advance, gather ideas of what to try on at the shops. Before going to the shops, check wedding magazines and internet (Instagram, Pinterest Boards). You should be looking to find ideas of wedding gown style pictures that appeal to you, and also have similar cuts with your long dress (or long skirt and blouse) outfits that you look best in.
Think about the long dresses that you get the most compliments on, even from strangers. Note their shapes – the bodice cut/ style, the neckline, is it fitted or loose on the body and hips area? What is the dress’ bottom/ hemline cut like? What’s the neck and sleeve style like? Among these best dresses of yours, you should find a couple of styles that are cut in a similar way. Those already-familiar, flattering are the cuts to start from when shopping for a wedding gown.
Cut out pictures from magazines, save website pictures to your phone. Bring along pictures of wedding gowns you like, to give the bridal shop attendants an idea of styles to show you for try-on. Remember to find pictures of wedding dress styles you like by and also tell the shop attendants the styles you like for each of the wedding gown part (silhouette, neckline, bodice, sleeve style, train style, skirt style).
Seeing so many styles and designs of wedding gowns at the shops can be overwhelming. Having ideas in advance, of what to try on, will help you reduce overwhelm and ultimately find the right dress for your body shape faster, without engaging in several try-on. That’s because you will know what you want (styles and shapes to ask for) and the shop reps will also know what styles to recommend to you, based on what they know you like.
Try-ons are an essential part of the process for finding that dream wedding gown, but here in Nigeria, that can be very frustrating because most bridal stores will only allow you to try on a few dresses, for fear of having sweat stains on the white gowns that could make them difficult to sell (if you do not buy).
It’s not really their fault, as they usually do not have sample dresses, unlike bridal shops abroad (USA, UK, Canada and many other countries). With the above tips, you will be able to find “the right one” with not too many try-ons.
6. Keep An Open Mind: The purpose of trying-before-you-buy a wedding gown is to ensure you find the perfect fit. So, be sure to try different styles and shapes of a wedding dress in order to find the best shape for your body.
While I advise that you have something in mind before going for wedding gown fitting/ try-ons. Sometimes, the wedding gown you have in mind may not look that good on you, and maybe, the shops in your part of town may not have them in stock. So, don’t say no to trying-on wedding gowns suggested by the shop attendants, including styles and shapes you’d not think will work for you. Just try it – you never know…
Just be sure that no one forces you to buy an outfit you’re not comfortable with. Be the one to decide your pick because it’s your money.
FUN FACT: Many brides said they found their dream wedding gown by trying-on what’s suggested by the bridal shop person – even when they didn’t think it would look good on them. The above video illustrates the point I’m making about keeping an open mind. The perfect wedding dress for a bride may or may not be the style she had in mind, but an entirely different silhouette.
7. Know Your Dress Size: While this may sound like common-sense, not every woman knows their dress size. Before you go shopping, find out what size of dresses you wear (because bridal stores salespersons will ask). Besides, you don’t expect to try on 5 different sizes of the same dress, just to figure out your size. Read the labels on your old outfits to find your dress size in the UK, USA, at least.
HINT #1: When shopping, only try on wedding dresses that are your size or one size above. Never buy a size below, even if you believe you’ll lose weight before your big day. It’s easier for a tailor to adjust a dress to a smaller size to make it fit better. With that said, stay away from any dress that is several sizes bigger, because amending it would involve some serious re-cutting that could go wrong on such an expensive outfit.
HINT#1: If you have the upper and bottom part of your body as different sizes (for example size 14 up/ tops/ blouses AND size 16 bottom/ trousers or skirts), a good idea is to purchase a bridal gown in the size of your bigger body-part. Later find a good tailor to amend it to your size. Some bridal stores have an in-house tailor that does that. Just ask them.
8. Online Wedding Dress Shopping Tip: Ensure to know the country of the website you’re shopping at. While shopping, look for their sizing comparison/ conversion chart to determine your dress size at their store. If they do not have a sizing chart, you message them to get the facts before buying.
As a last resort, you can google ‘dress conversion chart country A vs country B’. For example: dress size 12 UK to China OR dress size 12 UK to the USA or dress size 12 UK to Italy. Hope you get the gist. Just so you know, buying wedding dresses online has been a failure for many brides, especially from China-based stores which have dresses running way smaller.
HINT #1: To score a significant bargain when buying wedding your dress online, many shops offer big discounts during American Thanksgiving day/ Black Friday/ Cyber Monday holidays and Christmas.
HINT #2: Oh, what if the dress arrives but looks totally different or doesn’t fit you? So, before you pay, call and speak to someone and ask if there’s a money-back return policy. Be sure that the duration of the return policy is long enough for the shipped item to reach them early.