Most of us have probably been dreaming of the “dress that surpasses all dresses” since we were 4 years old…”the dress” that will make you feel like the princess you know you are…”the dress” you were imagining when walking down the make-shift aisle in your parents’ lounge, wearing your mother’s dressing gown, even though there was no sign of a husband and your sister’s teddy had to be promoted to husband-to-be-status by tying one of your dad’s ties around his neck…”the dress” that will leave your dad speechless as he walks his little girl down the aisle…”the dress” that will have your wedding guests gasp for air when those chapel doors open …and, most importantly, “the dress” that will bring tears to your hubby-to-be’s eyes when he sees you walking towards him – OH! THAT DRESS!
Those are quite high expectations to live up to, I would say – and expectations that could add unnecessary stress to your dress search journey if they are not “managed” from the start. So, in order to assist you in managing these expectations, and to ensure your dress-search journey is every bit as enjoyable as your upcoming wedding day, I’ve put together a few tips to guide along the way.
The first thing, and probably the most important to me as a bridal boutique owner, is for the B2B to be open–minded. I often see that look of disappointment on a B2B’s face when she tries on the dress she thought was the one, but then realises that in “real-life” it actually isn’t (I too was devastated when my “dream dress” made me look like a stuffed sausage!). Don’t let that break your spirit – trust your bridal consultant to assist you in finding a dress that suits your body-shape, your personality and your colouring – a dress that will compliment you, and make you look like a dream.
Stay true to your personal style – I always tell my brides that you don’t want your wedding guests (or worse even, your own husband-to-be!) wondering who the lady is that is walking down the aisle – you should still look and feel like yourself; obviously just the most gorgeous, glamorous version of yourself. If you’re not usually one for showing much skin, don’t choose a wedding dress that has a deep V-neck or a low back. Wearing something that is outside your comfort-zone will most likely make you feel uncomfortable the entire day.
Know your budget and stick to it – lucky for you, the variety of wedding dresses available to B2B’s nowadays is vast, and set to satisfy the budgetary requirements of most brides. Do not try on a dress if it falls outside your budget, unless of course you’re able to “borrow” funds from other items within your wedding budget.
Do your homework and find a great bridal boutique that has a reputation for great service, and one that carries dresses that you like, at prices you can afford. I recommend starting close to home, and then venturing further out. Purchasing your dress from a bridal boutique that is conveniently located (i.e. close to home or work) is first prize, and will save you a lot of traveling time when it’s time for your alterations appointments.
Start early! Many gowns take 4 to 5 months to arrive after order placement and once it arrives you still have to factor in sufficient time for alterations, accessorising, etc. And, even though most boutiques have the option of rushing your order, this is bound to add additional stress to your already endless list of wedding pressures – do yourself a favour and rather place your order with a month or two to spare. In my opinion the ideal lead time is 6 to 7 months.
Keep your “dress-search-crew” as small as possible – too many different opinions are sure to confuse you and create unnecessary friction. Too often the bride’s opinion is drowned out by those of her entourage. Don’t be afraid to come by yourself – I have many brides that make a “solo” follow up appointment to re-visit their favourites, and it is usually during these, quieter appointments, they’re able to make their decision.
Trust your bridal consultant when she says a dress will look better “on” than on the hanger, and try something on even though the “sagging” dress on the hanger doesn’t really appeal to you.
Take a breather and don’t feel bad for walking away if you feel pressurised by a bridal consultant to purchase a certain dress on the spot – purchasing your dress should bring with it a sense of calm, excitement and relief, not doubts and heart-palpitations.
And lastly, but most importantly trust your instincts! If you have to be convinced that a certain dress is “the one” then it probably isn’t. If you can’t picture yourself walking down the aisle in it, then rather walk away…after all, your 4 year old self is counting on you to make her dreams come true 😉