Wedding Dress Shopping: Finding the Perfect Gown for Your Body and Style

September 8, 2023
wedding dress shopping. sharyn hodges photography
wedding dress shopping

Wedding Dress Shopping

Finding the Perfect Gown for Your Body and Style

The moment you slip into that stunning wedding gown is a magical one. It’s the embodiment of your love story, your dreams, and your unique style. But before you find “the one” – the dress, that is – you’ll need to embark on the adventure of wedding dress shopping. 

Fear not! I am here to guide you through the journey of discovering the perfect gown that complements your body type and matches your style.


Bridal Appointment Tips


Timeline: From Yes to getting dressed

Most bridal boutiques won’t have your dress ready to take home with you on the day of your appointment. You are most likely going to get a new dress made to order. This will usually take anything between four and eight months. Also don’t forget you will have at least 2 – 3 fittings before you have your final dress.

If your timeline is shorter than the above mention period, take a deep breathe and DO NOT STRESS. Lots of boutiques will have something on “the rack” that will most likely need a few alternations. 

To ease your nerves, ensure that you dress will be in time, phone the boutiques ahead of time to see if your dress will fit in your wedding timeline before you make an appointment.


The Budget

This isn’t set a budget and then blow it. This is really set the budget and stick to it. Wedding dresses vary so drastically in prices you could spend a couple of thousands to a couple of hundred thousands. Be firm!

If you have someone who is buying the dress for you, have this conversation with them beforehand so you both on the same page and of course to avoid disappointment. There is no bigger disappointment than finding your dream dress and then seeing that its out of the budget. It is soul crushing.

Setting the budget means that the sales consultant at the bridal boutiques will only show you those dresses within your budget.

On a PS note about budget, not forget to think about accessories like veils, jewellery, shoes and hair accessories. Be mindful that some alterations could be added. Make sure when you purchase your dress that you are aware of ANY additional cost surprises.


Research: Designers and Bridal Boutiques

My goodness this could be one of those dark rabbit holes. There are thousands of designers and bridal boutiques. Doing some easy research will help narrow down the search for the dream dress.

I would suggest searching on social media, find some photographers pages, look at the dresses, the photographer usually tag all the vendors in their posts. 

Most bridal boutiques won’t have all their dresses online but they will stock the designers. Find your preferred designers and then narrow the search to those boutiques.


Create your Mood Board

The best part! Creating your wedding dress mood board! Pinterest is easiest the easies for this, upload all the dresses you are drawn too. As you go along, the more you add the more you will see a pattern emerge of the fabrics and silhouettes that keep recurring. 


The Entourage  

Just like your wedding guest list, deciding who comes with you during your bridal appointments can really make or break this should be fun and exciting experience.

I can’t stress this enough…..bring people who’s opinions you value the MOST!

The saying too many cooks in the kitchen could not be any truer for choosing your dress. The opinions of too many people could become stressful and confusing!

Think quality over quantity. Two to four people is more than enough. 


Avoid fake tans and heavy makeup

It’s only natural that you would want to feel absolutely SMASHING and GLAMOROUS when trying on wedding dresses, please bear in mind that fake tans and heavy makeup could be easily transferred onto the dress. Lets be kind to the dress and the future brides who want to try on the samples. 

If you feel better tanned, make sure you tanning day is a few days before your appointment so that it has time to settle. And with the make up, remember, a little goes a long way.

If you know more a less how you would like your hair to be done on the day, try and get your hair to resemble that style. It doesn’t need to be done by a professional but you could for example, if you know your hair is an “undo” throw your hair in ponytail. This with give you a realistic idea of how you will look on your wedding day in that dress. Also you can tick off buying hair accessories too.


Smash a burger before you bridal appointment!

If you anything like me, HANGRY is not a good look on me. Wedding dress shopping can be draining and most likely will be the entire day! And lets face it, there is nothing worse than shopping on an empty stomach!

So make sure you schedule a lovely lunch with your entourage and pack those snacks. You have an epic day to get through!


Lastly, be opened minded.

So you have done all the research, stalked wedding photographers pages, found designers, set your budget and created your mood board. You got this!

But there is that annoying but again, be opened minded! Try something that you might not think you would like. Sometimes, just sometimes you land up with something you didn’t expect. But the only way you will know is if you try.

Your body confidence is going to need a boost during this time, wedding dress shopping could be stressful. So give yourself extra extra love during this time.

Wedding Dress Shopping


1 – Know Your Body Shape

2 – Consider Your Style

3 – Shopping Tips

Finding the Perfect Gown for Your Body and Style

Know Your Body Shape

Every body is beautiful, and understanding your body shape is the first step toward finding a wedding dress that flatters your figure.

Hourglass: If you have a well-defined waist and your bust and hips are roughly the same width, you’re an hourglass. Mermaid, trumpet, and A-line gowns typically look fantastic on you.

Pear: If your hips are wider than your bust, you’re a pear shape. A-line, ball gown, or empire waist dresses can balance your proportions beautifully.

Apple: Apple-shaped bodies have broader shoulders and a fuller midsection. Dresses with V-necklines or empire waistlines can create an elongated and flattering look.

Rectangle: If your bust, waist, and hips are similar in width, you have a rectangular shape. You can rock sheath, ball gown, or mermaid dresses that add curves or showcase your natural shape.

Inverted Triangle: Inverted triangles have broader shoulders and narrower hips. A gown with a fuller skirt, like A-line or ball gown styles, can create a more balanced silhouette.

Consider Your Style

Now that you know your body shape, let’s talk about your style. Your wedding dress should reflect your personality and the vibe of your wedding day.

Classic Elegance: If you’re drawn to timeless beauty, consider dresses with clean lines, lace detailing, or a touch of vintage charm. A-line or ball gown styles often fit this aesthetic.

Bohemian Chic: For the free-spirited bride, flowy and ethereal dresses with lace, embroidery, or floral details can be perfect. Think sheath or empire waist dresses.

Glamorous and Show-Stopping: If you want to make a grand entrance, go for dresses with dramatic features like long trains, intricate beadwork, or a touch of sparkle. Mermaid or trumpet gowns can exude glamour.

Modern Minimalism: Less is more for the modern bride. Consider sleek and simple dresses with clean lines, minimal embellishments, and contemporary silhouettes like sheaths.

Romantic Whimsy: If you’re all about romance, opt for dresses with soft tulle, delicate lace, or floral appliques. Styles like A-line or ball gowns can capture that fairytale feel.


Shopping Tips

Here are some tips to make your wedding dress shopping experience a breeze:

  1. Start Early: Wedding dresses often take several months to arrive after ordering, so begin your search well in advance.

  2. Set a Budget: Determine how much you’re willing to spend on your dress, including alterations and accessories.

  3. Limit Your Entourage: Bringing too many people can lead to conflicting opinions. Choose a few trusted friends or family members to accompany you.

  4. Keep an Open Mind: Be open to trying on different styles. What looks good on the hanger may surprise you on your body.

  5. Comfort Is Key: Remember, you’ll be wearing your dress for hours. Ensure you can move comfortably and sit, walk, and dance with ease.

  6. Alterations Matter: Factor in alteration costs when budgeting. A well-fitted dress can make all the difference.

  7. Trust Your Instincts: When you find the right dress, you’ll feel it. Trust your instincts and go with your heart.

Wedding dress shopping should be a joyous adventure filled with laughter, love, and the thrill of finding the dress that makes you feel absolutely radiant. Embrace the journey, celebrate your unique beauty, and remember that the perfect gown is one that not only flatters your figure but also speaks to your heart.

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