Beloved brides and bridegrooms,
the second most thrilling “yes” you will say will be to your wedding dress! Right about now, your mind is replaying excerpts from Kleinfeld’s reality tv show “Say Yes to the Dress” and you have an overwhelming sensation of excitement and nervousness. As most of you already know, I am a seasoned bridal consultant and I speak to you from personal experience as both a professional in the field and a bride to be. While the tv show is definitely enticing and entertaining, it magnifies the drama of the bride’s relationships and does not offer as much insight into the actual experience of bridal gown searching.
I want to share with you some tips and advice to help you along your journey as you look for “the one”. I believe that the wedding dress is a material symbol of your spouse-to-be. The dress embodies not only its material components like the fabrics and ornate detailing that comprise it, but also the spirit of you, your fiance, and the experience that led to this union. At first it might sound a little odd, but think about it for a minute… From the plethora of potential soul-mates you chose that particular “one” for very specific reasons. Somehow, only this mate’s touch can send a wave of ecstatic sensations across your body, only this mate’s gaze unlocks the intimate secrets beneath the surface, and only this mate’s personality synchronized harmoniously with yours as if performing a dance. Likewise, your wedding gown will have to do the same for you before you will commit to it.
I always tell my brides, pay attention not to what you “think you will love” and how you “think you should look”, but to the feeling you get when you are in it. Be completely open to the possibility that you might walk away with a wedding dress you never thought or imagined you will wear. Wedding dress shopping is very different from regular clothing, trust me! Almost 90% of brides will be absolutely surprised by their choice and will usually purchase the gown that is the complete opposite of the description they provided to the consultant at the beginning of the consultation. If you are fortunate to get a good bridal consultant s/he will offer you gowns outside of your comfort zone. Trust the consultant, they know what they are doing.
That being said, during your first visit you should try a variety of gowns, I usually suggest 6-8 at most not to overwhelm yourself. Try on at least 1 of each shape/silhouette available on the market (A-line, fitted A-line, fit-to-flare/mermaid, ball gown, sheath, and trumpet). TIP: If you are pear-shaped (meaning you have an hour glass figure but carry more weight in thighs and lower body) the most flattering shape for you is a fitted A-line. If you are apple-shaped (wider set torso, broad shoulders and undefined waistline) the most suitable shape is an A-line flaring from the natural waist & some ball gowns). Hourglass figures should take advantage of their curves and show off the waist-to-hip ratio which will emphasize your tiny waist and give you an alluring sexy look. Try trumpets, mermaid, and fit-to-flare shaped gowns.
Also try on gowns made of various materials such as satin, tulle, chiffon, lace, organza, or a blend of these to get an idea of the fabric you are drawn to. Keep in mind little details can always be added later to tweak the look to your specifications with glamorous ornate belts, colored sashes, and beaded appliques.
If the bridal salon allows, take many photos of your favourite gowns, I emphasize favourite because you will be overwhelmed. Try to eliminate gowns as you go along by comparing them to your favourites. You should have 2-3 favourites by the end of your consultation. The photographs will serve you greatly because you will be able to step outside of yourself and be more of a spectator. This will enable you to separate yourself and have a more objective view of the gown when it is down time and you are in solitude with yourself. When a bride stands on the pedestal she is overcome with feelings and emotions from her family and friends, which can sometimes sway you away from your objective to find a gown that reflects you, not your bridal party. The bride will usually describe this moment as surreal because let’s face it, how often do we get to wear a large white dress in our lifetimes? Also the completely new shopping experience can be daunting and confusing. The novelty of this quest for the dress and the emotions entangling it prove to be a challenge. So a word of advice, keep it about you, concentrate on you, and centre yourself. Remember when I said this is like choosing your mate all over again?..It is, so only you can decide what elements in the dress are right for you. Not your friends, not your mom, and not your sister-in-law. Listen to your intuition and you won’t be wrong. I have noticed that often, the ladies accompanying the bride can be biased and can project their own wedding dreams and gown requirements onto the bride. So select 2-4 close friends and family whose opinions you trust, who sincerely know you, respect you, and who will honour you. They will keep you true to yourself.
Do not be haste by making an impulsively rash decision on a wedding gown unless you are absolutely 100% certain it is the one. Love at first sight can be mere infatuation and rarely lives up to its expectations. It is wiser to go home, digest all the information and the experience of the day, take a look at the photographs and perhaps visit a few more stores. There are so many gowns out there it will make your head spin! Think of it like a dating process, as you date, you learn more about what you want. I am not saying to go on a frenzy and try on every dress available, but do try on 10-20 dresses to ensure you are making an educated and prudent decision. Please keep in mind these are just guidelines, use your own discretion. What is right for many may not apply to all.
Don’t forget to enjoy the moment and definitely do not forget to try on a ball gown. No bridal experience is truly complete without this ritual. As little girls brides dream of wearing a big princess gown on their wedding day. That image is a hallmark and trying on a ball gown is a right of bridal passage. You never know, it actually may be the one!
Have fun my dears! If you are lucky, it is a once… or maybe twice-in-a-life-time experience!