Gown by: d’Italia / Photographer: Clarisse Weddings
Congrats, you’re engaged! Now it’s time to find the perfect wedding dress—the one you’ve been dreaming about nonstop! So where do you start? You might think finding “the one” shouldn’t be too complicated. However, doing your homework is important. If you don’t put enough preparation behind it, the search for your dream gown can quickly turn from fun to stressful. That’s why we’ve created the ultimate wedding dress shopping guide and these wedding dress shopping tips to help make your experience smooth and exciting.
1. SET A BUDGET
Picture via: Not on the Hight Street
A budget is obviously super important to any part of planning. You want to take into account the accessories, alterations, veil, and shoes too. Ideally when you’re shopping, you want to stay under budget on the dress so you can use the remaining funds for these other things.
2. DETERMINE YOUR WEDDING THEME
Photographer: Lauren Campbell
Your chosen wedding venue sets the tone for your dress code because you don’t want your full-skirt tulle ballgown snagging on tree branches at your whimsical forest wedding. Before you begin the hunt for your dream wedding dress, gather some wedding inspiration from your favourite social media profiles and Pinterest boards. Don’t forget to look at our Instagram for trending inspiration! Consider your venue, accessories, floral arrangements, and wedding colours. These details will greatly influence your wedding dress choice. From classic to beachy to boho to rustic, there are many bridal styles to consider.
3. KNOW YOUR BODY TYPE
Certain dresses can flatter certain body types, but the wrong one can accentuate unflattering parts too. Use the diagram below to figure out what body type you are. You don’t have to go by it, but it does show what silhouette’s look best for it.
4. KEEP AN OPEN MIND
Gown by: d’Italia / Photographer: Zoe_eley
If you have your heart set on a dress before you even try it on, don’t set your expectations so high. You don’t want to get discouraged and upset if it ends up not looking good on you. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone- this is a once in a lifetime moment you’re spending with your partner, make it count!
5. WHEN TO SHOP FOR YOUR BRIDAL GOWN
Gown by: d’Italia / Photographer: Shot from the Heart
To make sure your wedding gown arrives with plenty of time to spare, start shopping 10-12 months before your wedding, and have an order placed at least 6 months ahead. Of course, the ordering process can be expedited, but 6 months should allow plenty of time for shipping, alterations, etc.
Also, if your schedule is flexible, book your appointments midweek when Wedding Dress Shops in Melbourne are not that busy. You’ll have a more relaxed experience during that time frame. Weekends are almost always super busy for bridal shops, so the atmosphere is more intense and can feel at times stressful.
6. GLOSSARY OF WEDDING DRESS FABRICS
One thing that affects the shape, texture, and sheen of your wedding dress is the fabric. Thus, it’s important to know what kind of fabric you should be looking for. Aside from the fabric, embellishments like beads and lace will determine the comfort and consequently, the price of the dress. Whether you are heading to a bridal shop Melbourne or designing your wedding gown from scratch, learning about some basic fabric types will surely help you along the way.
7. ALWAYS MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO TRY ON DRESSES
Gown by: d’Italia
Set up your bridal appointments so that you have plenty of time to do your research and know what you like beforehand. You don’t want to show up to your appointment unprepared and possibly wasting an entire day trying on dresses without any luck. This will also give you time to get your accessories and those that will accompany you together. Never walk into a bridal gown store on the spur of the moment and expect to be served by whichever bridal consultant is on the floor at the time. It’s mandatory to set an appointment with the shop. Then you can take your time finding the right dress because the consultant will focus on only one bride at one time during the allocated time.
8. THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN TRYING ON DRESSES
Gown by: d’Italia / Photographer: Alma Photography
Now that you know what kind of dress you’re looking for, it’s time to try out some wedding gowns. Here are some things that you need to pay close attention to when you go for a dress fitting.
- Bring the exact undergarments that you’ll be wearing under the dress—including your bra, shapewear, crinoline, petticoat, and hosiery.
- Bring the shoes that you’ll be wearing on the wedding day to ensure that your dress has the correct hem length.
- Bring a second pair of eyes; your mother, a bridesmaid, or your wedding planner are good candidates.
- Bring a camera so someone can take photos of you. It’s a wonderful moment to document and share with the groom later.
- Skip the foundation and lipstick. You don’t want makeup to rub off on your wedding gown. If you’re coming from work, the salon can usually provide a mesh makeup protector hood that prevents makeup from coming off on the dress.
9. DON’T GO TO YOUR BRIDAL APPOINTMENT TIRED, HUNGRY OR SICK
Gown by: d’Italia
Make sure to go to bed at a reasonable hour the night before each appointment. You need to be rested for a few reasons:
- Trying on wedding gowns really is physically and emotionally draining.
- You don’t want bags under your eyes when you’re trying to get an idea of your total look.
- You need to be able to think clearly and move at a reasonable pace during your appointment.
Never go wedding dress shopping on an empty stomach. Also, don’t think a nice big latte counts as “breakfast.” You don’t want to be cranky or lightheaded from being hungry, and no matter what you think, a little bit of breakfast or lunch in your stomach will not make you “look fat “when you’re trying on gowns!
Lastly, if you wake up with a cold or a fever or the flu, cancel the appointment and not just for yourself. Doing so is good manners. You don’t make the shop personnel ill, either.
10. TIPS FOR YOUR BRIDAL APPOINTMENT
Gown by: d’Italia / Photographer: Tone_image
Shopping for your wedding dress should be a special experience, so enjoy it! Trust your consultant. They will walk you through all the details, from price and styles to alterations, deposits, cancellation policy, etc. Don’t feel pressured to buy anything, but if you find a dress you absolutely love, go for it! Trust your gut and don’t doubt yourself.
A few things to keep in mind during your appointment:
- Forget about traditional sizes. Bridal wear is very different from the ready-to-wear world. Instead, focus on the perfect fit.
- Stick to your budget and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Be open to options. Your dream wedding dress may end up being one you never before considered.
11. WEDDING DRESS TERMS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Off-the-Rack – Gowns sold directly off a retailer’s rack or floor.
Made-to-Order – The manufacturing process following a gown order.
New Seasons – New collections of wedding gowns, usually called fall and spring collections.
Sample – Wedding dresses chosen by the retailer to be displayed in their boutiques.
Wear Date – The day your gown needs to be ready to wear by.
Sister Style – Gown variations of a particular style.
12. CHARACTERISTICS OF A HIGH-QUALITY BRIDAL GOWN
Before making a decision purely based on the look of a gown, you need to evaluate its quality. Go through the checklist below to help you determine if a particular dress is well-made or not.
13. VOICE YOUR OPINION POLITELY
Gown by: d’Italia / Photographer: Igotyoubabe
Your bridal consultant is mostly likely experienced and knows what she or he is doing. Listen to their suggestions to silhouettes that look best on you. You don’t have to fall in love with each and every wedding dress your consultant brings out. But you also don’t want to frustrate her by discarding out of hand every dress she shows you. This is why it’s crucial to show up with pictures and pins, especially of dresses you do not like. It will save both of you time and frustration because she won’t bring out dresses with details you said you absolutely do not want and you won’t have to say “no,” all the time. Don’t be afraid to ask if it’s possible to change something it can most likely be altered. At d’Italia, we offer beading, adding/removing sleeves, changing altering necklines, and more.
14. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
Gown by: d’Italia / Photographer: Hello Chloe May
If you don’t cry when you have found your dream dress, that is completely ok! Just as long as it makes you feel special and beautiful, you will know. Tears aren’t always the sign of finding the one. Don’t let others tell you that it isn’t the one. Remember, this is YOUR wedding day, YOUR dress. Trust how you feel in the dress and it will be the one you were meant to wear. This is also a reason why you should only bring bridesmaids and family that you trust. You shouldn’t have to please others by sacrificing your style and taste. Your wedding dress is something that you should feel extraordinary and stunning. And your wedding day is a day you will remember forever, it will be your favourite day. Let your wedding dress help you never forget how you felt. Let it be a reflection of the best you.
We hope this wedding dress shopping guide helps you have a successful experience at Bridal Shops in Melbourne. Remember: this is your experience, your wedding, and your dress. You’re the only one who knows exactly what you want and how you want to feel in your wedding dress. Choose what makes you feel beautiful. After all, this is the most important dress you’ll ever wear!
Do you have a wedding coming up? What are you planning to wear? If you need a little help deciding on which dresses might be best for you, request your appointment here today for your free in-store design consultation and over the phone styling advice service from one of the best Wedding Dress Stores in Melbourne who have been creating dream wedding dresses for the past 19 years! Come visit our custom-made wedding dress store at d’Italia for any formal occasion.