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Say Yes To The RIGHT Dress- A Guide For Wedding Dress Shopping

Recently, I had an exciting and extremely emotional day shopping for a wedding dress. Not only did I try on wedding dresses but I got to be the bride. I’m so used to creating bridal accessories and apparel that it was such a great change of pace to be on the other side.

From the moment I saw the big window displays, I knew that the experience I was about to have made getting married a reality. Even though I’ve planned our whole wedding and secured almost 80% of the details, going wedding dress shopping made it real. Like really real.

I went into Kleinfeld’s with hopes of figuring out what dress style would look best on my figure. I already knew what I wanted but needed to be sure. (I had sketched the design immediately after he proposed to me, couldn’t help myself.) Needless to say, I didn’t expect it to be as hard as it was to say “No”. Especially when they had almost exactly what I sketched up. What are the chances??

Trying to make a decision on whether to buy or to make was unbearably difficult. I had the bridal moment in the store. They took me to the main room, “jacked” me up, and even gave me a bouquet. I said “Yes” when they asked me. I was surrounded by tears from my family, myself, and from people I didn’t even know. It was totally my dress and as soon as I said “Yes” out loud, I thought “What the f@$! did I just say?”. Everything was pointing to yes, even the freaken price tag. It was a $4,000 dress marked down to $999 because it was the last dress available. The dress was in my size. I would have to take it in only slightly and repair a little bit of the illusion on the back, but no big alterations.

Everything and everyone wanted me to buy that wedding dress.

Within the twenty-some feet back to the dressing room, I realized that if I were to buy this beautiful wedding dress, it wouldn’t actually be MY dress. I wouldn’t have designed it. I wouldn’t have carefully picked out the fabric. I wouldn’t have spent hours drafting the pattern. I wouldn’t have had the late nights sewing and cursing at my machine. It would just be a dress that I bought and I would regret the fact that I didn’t make it.

So… after at least 40 minutes sitting on the dressing room floor discussing what to do with my mother, sister, and 3 phone calls to my fiancé, I decided that the dress was not for me. It was a hard choice, but the right decision… For me anyway.

Each one of us is unique and we all have our own tastes but when choosing your wedding gown, its extremely important that you pick a silhouette that properly accentuates your figure. Some silhouettes are extremely versatile, while others are less forgiving when it comes to hiding problem areas. Let’s be real, we all have those areas we want hidden on this special day.

So, before you make your appointments at Kleinfeld’s or at a cute bridal shop in town OR ask Alyson Nicole to make you a very unique bespoke wedding gown… do your research to figure out the silhouettes and styles you want to try. Keep in mind that its very possible that the dress you think you want is not the dress for you. Take a deep breath because its just not the one. Don’t force yourself into loving a wedding dress either. If you don’t have that moment or you have any hint of doubt, move on.

Below are some of the many options out there.

A-LINE DRESSES are slim on top, fitted at the natural waist, and softly flares away from the body. Flatters most body types by creating a slimming effect while accentuating your waist.

BALL GOWNS have a fitted bodice and a full skirt that can range in volume and length. These classic gowns work with most body types for average height to tall women. It is a very forgiving style due to the skirt hiding everything below your mid-section. If you are a shorter bride, this may not be the dress for you since the bottom might overwhelm your small frame.

MERMAID DRESSES are fitted from the torso down to the knees and then flares out to the floor. The mermaid silhouette is ideal for tall, slender brides and voluptuous brides who want to show off every curve.

 

FIT-AND-FLARE or TRUMPET DRESSES are fitted from chest to mid thigh and then flares out to the bottom. This silhouette is another style that will flaunt your curves in a very flattering way.

EMPIRE DRESSES are fitted at the bust and flare out to the ground. This wedding dress silhouette is an extremely versatile style for most body shapes due to the forgiving high waist line.

SHEATH, SHIFT, OR COLUMN DRESSES have a narrow shape that flows straight down from the neckline to the hem. Depending on the designer, this silhouette can be either be slightly fitted or not at all. This silhouette style is a timeless classic that looks best on brides that have lean frames and soft curves.

Below are some options of necklines, sleeves, and train lengths to consider when wedding dress shopping!

Wedding Dress Silhouette Glossary
Wedding Dress Neckline Glossary
Wedding Dress Sleeve Glossary
Wedding Dress Train Glossary

As mentioned before, the above options are extremely helpful to know when you are wedding dress shopping. There are also a few more things to keep in mind:

  1. BUDGET… Its extremely important to have a set budget that you can afford. It is also very important to let the attendant know your budget!  One of the worst things you could do is fall in love with a dress that is over your budget. Also, keep in mind that alterations (always needed) and taxes should be kept in mind. Alterations are never included.
  2. THE WEDDING DRESS YOU THINK YOU WANT, MAY NOT LOOK GOOD ON YOU and that is OK. That style wasn’t meant for you but there is a wedding dress out there that is. Even if it has to be custom made, cough cough.
  3. HEMLINES DON’T HAVE TO TOUCH THE GROUND you have more options. Tea-length hems stops below the knee but above the ankle, while the mini is usually above the knee and a bolder choice. There are also high-low hemlines that add a little bit of drama to the hemline and can go as high as you want.
  4. DON’T FORGET ABOUT ACCESSORIES they help tie together your look on the big day. Try on different options and see which one(s) you like best. Its possible that you might go for a veil instead of a flower crown but its best to try on options with the dress you are buying. If you can’t find any accessory that strikes your fancy, remember that bespoke accessories, made by yours truly, is another great option.
  5. HAVE FUN! This is the MOST important part of it! This should be an enjoyable experience and no one should stop that. Drink some champagne (if they offer it) or go out to lunch before/after and celebrate the experience. Whatever you do, just enjoy it!

 

I hope this was helpful for your future dress shopping! If you have any questions or would like to start your bespoke wedding dress OR accessories please email me at designs@alysonnicole.com.

Alyson xoxo signature