Before you even think about hitting up some bridal boutiques, have at least a partial idea of what you want (e.g. sleeves vs. strapless, traditional vs. modern) to make things easier. If you go in totally blind, you will likely feel overwhelmed and end up dealing with dress-based anxiety. Pick up an armload of bridal magazines, scour the web for design ideas and talk to style-savvy friends about what’s in – and what’s not. It’s also a good idea to get the basics down – do you want short or long? V-neck or sweetheart neckline? Beads or lace? The more you know upfront, the easier your search will be.
Ultimately the decision can only be yours, but bringing a friend is a great way to make the process more efficient. It’s easy to get bogged down and fatigued trying on dress after dress, but having one of your close friends with you can be like having your own personal cheerleader. She can make suggestions, veto what doesn’t work and steer you in new directions you might not have thought of yourself.
Either using your phone or a good old fashioned notebook, keep track of every dress that interests you by logging designer or brand name, cost, place of purchase and basic notes about what you liked about it. That way if you end up trying on what feels like an endless number of dresses, you have a good idea of what to go back to if need be. The more organized you are, the easier your dress hunt will be.
Having an idea of what you want is important (otherwise you could be searching forever) but it’s equally important to keep an open mind. That way you don’t risk bypassing something potentially great just because it doesn’t fit into your initial criteria. If something interesting that's outside your comfort zone comes along, we say try it. You never know what it’s going to look like unless you give it a try. You don’t want to skip something amazing just because it throws you off initially.
Your mom might have walked down the aisle wearing miles of taffeta but you don’t have to follow suit. It’s understandable that people close to you (your sister, maid of honor, grandmother) will have an opinion about what kind of dress you should get but don’t let them pressure you. This is your day – not theirs. It’s ultimately up to you to find the dress that feels right and that you can’t wait to get married in.
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