Finding The Perfect Wedding Dress
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Wedding season is about to kick into high gear, but have no fear my brides-to-be, I’ve got you covered! One of my favorite wedding sites ever, Style Me Pretty, asked me to be a contributor and I couldn’t be more honored or excited to be part of the action. Today we are talking about the star of the show, YOU … and your wedding dress. 

There are so many things to consider when it comes to your wedding dress. It can be completely overwhelming as you go through the process, but I’m here to share with my experience. Hopefully I'll share some sage advice to help you along the way. I’m not going to sugar coat it, this wedding dress business is not all champagne bubbles and unicorns. It can get rough out there ladies, and you may even question your own sanity by the end of the process.

It is very important to remember when you are losing your mind and falling apart when a bead is offset, the hem is too long or whatever the dress drama may be, to take a huge deep breath (or two) and remember the reason behind the dress.

Remember the significant other that you are going to be married to at the end of the day and all the happiness in the world that will follow. I promise you will get through this and look fabulous!! I’m going to share my top 10 rules for finding the perfect wedding dress and then give you my tips on wedding dress styles and what body types they suit best.

Rule #1:  Your goal should be to look like the best version of yourself...

...not the image in your head you’ve had since you were six, but the woman you are right now. I would venture to say this is the most important rule. Don’t get a dress that you aren’t comfortable in. (I’m talking about fit as well as how it makes you feel when you put it on.) This is your day to shine and if you don’t feel good in your dress, it will show.  You and your dress are going to be front and center.  This is not the day to be a shrinking violet in a dress you don’t love and feel your very best wearing.

Rule #2: Don’t go too trendy & keep the sparkle to a minimum.

You will live to regret a dress that is super trendy or cutting edge. Unless you are having a Dancing with Stars themed wedding there is no reason to deck yourself out with head to toe sequins and beading. Too much of anything is never a good thing. Think about looking at your wedding pictures with your grandchildren.  Did the bedazzled zebra striped ombré dress really translate over time?

Rule #3: Be aware of the 360°

I talk all about this in my book, The Everyday Supermodel.  You need to know how your dress looks from every angle. I think it is something to consider with almost any outfit, but more than incredibly important for your wedding dress. Take a million pictures so you can see exactly how your dress fits and looks on you. Bring a friend or family member to your fitting and take those pictures.

Rule #4:  Don’t fall in love with the first dress

You will never forget your first, but it doesn’t mean you have to get married in it. You can always go back to dress #1, but you need to explore your options and see what’s out there before you make any decisions. I know someone who bought that first dress. She ended up returning it and buying another one. Complete headache.

Rule #5: Budgets are NOT made to be broken (well, maybe a tiny bit)

Your wedding budget is going to be challenged, pulled and stretched to the limit already. Why bring your dress into the fray?  Don’t get financially off track by going way over budget on your dress. If a dress is way too expensive and out of reach, move along to the next.  Don’t ever feel pressure from a salesperson to purchase something you can’t afford. Are you dying for a designer dress or one that is out of your financial league? Consider purchasing a pre-owned dress.  There are companies that specialize in selling second hand dresses like oncewed.com, preownedwedingdresses.com and even ebay.com.

Rule #6:  Location, Location, Location

They always say that location is the most important facet to consider in real estate and it is equally important to consider when you are thinking about your wedding dress. Where do you plan on getting married?  Know your setting as the atmosphere definitely makes a difference. For example if you are getting married at the beach, a ball gown wouldn’t probably be an appropriate selection. Even if you haven’t booked the exact venue, don’t stress, because you probably have an idea of what type of vibe you are going for. That being said, this is your wedding and if your dream is a ball gown at the beach, then I say, go for it!!

Rule #7: Good undergarments are a MUST

Body shapers, slips and bras are the foundation for a smooth and flawless overall look.  You have spent the money on the dress.  Do not skimp on your undergarments.  It can take a dress from a 7 to a 10.  Improper undergarments can take you from a 10 to a lumpy and bumpy 6.5.

Rule #8: Try, Try Again

It is so important that you try on your dress more than once. Try it on with the exact heels you plan on wearing. Try it on with all of your undergarments. Try it on with your jewelry. The most important is to try it on about a week before your wedding with a tailor in case there are any last minute alterations. We brides are notorious for under/over eating due to all of the stress of the upcoming nuptials. Make sure you are covered.

Rule #9: Find a reputable tailor

You have invested a great deal of time and money into this garment. It is key to make sure you have your alterations handled by a professional.  Find someone who has wedding dress experience.  Ask around for a recommendation.

Rule #10: Take a chill pill

I say this with the upmost amount of love and experience.  I lost my mom’s wedding veil in a taxi coming home from a fitting.  To say I was devastated is putting it lightly.  The wedding dress horror stories are sadly true.  I know of a bride buying and returning five dresses, a bride whose dress was so long she had to hold it up as she walked down the aisle, and a bride who spent eight hours in an emergency fitting the day before her wedding and the dress still was wrong. These aren’t myths, these are real women I personally know. What I’m trying to say is that the bad dress story may happen to you.  I pray that it doesn’t, but IF it does, do your best to take it in stride and move through it with grace.  Call your bridesmaids and vent! Do what you have to do, but just remember the reason why you are putting the dress on in the first place.

Photo credit: Gia Canali

Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.