Wedding dress shopping was one of the most fun experiences I had during the planning process. I knew how I wanted to feel on my wedding day, which was bold, romantic, feminine, sexy with a touch of fairy tale princess all wrapped into one. Was I going to find that one gown that would evoke all these feelings? I was not sure but I would damn well try to get as close to that as possible.
I was fortunate enough to be tapped by David’s Bridal for the Spring 2021 campaign last November. It was the first time I had ever tried on a wedding gown and they were gown selected for me specifically for the shoot. I wore some beautiful dresses by Galina, Oleg Cassini, Melissa Sweet and DB Studio. I wore four different silhouettes for the campaign, two I thought I would fall in love with and two that I didn’t think were my style. In the end, I ended up falling more in love with the gowns I thought were not my style. Which leads me to tip number one when shopping for wedding gowns: HAVE AN OPEN MIND.
I have dreamed of wearing a tulle ball gown because I love my midi tulle skirts so much. When I finally got a chance to try one on, I was kind of left underwhelmed. The dress was wearing me, instead of the other way around. I needed more structure. I tried on the halter style embellished tulle gown by Galina Signature and was shocked how beautiful and flattering it looked on my figure. I have never been really drawn to halter tops so this was a big surprise. For a plus size bride, this style held my breasts in place and kept them lifted, separated and looking very tasteful.
START WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING TWELVE MONTHS IN ADVANCE
Most wedding dress boutiques, including David’s Bridal and Kleinfeld, don’t have inventory on hand. They only have samples and a limited amount of ready to wear gowns. They have to order your dress of choice so you have to start shopping as early as possible. I didn’t start dress shopping until roughly six months before my wedding, which was really cutting it close. I feel as though some of my headaches could have been alleviated if I had buffered in more time. I was in Texas for the last half of the year and didn’t want to go dress shopping without my NYC and DC crew so I put it off until we got back to NYC. The pandemic has caused a of supply chain issues in retail so it’s important to get dress shopping started as soon as you pick your wedding date to avoid delays in the creation of your dress.
I’ll share my fifteen tips for wedding dress shopping on Wednesday. It’s going to be all the advice I received as well as lessons I learned during the dress shopping and alterations process.
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT AND GIVE THEM YOUR SIZE & INSPIRATION
It’s very important to make an appointment with the bridal boutique or atelier you want to visit. Don’t just pop in expecting them to be able to help you. Wedding dress shopping is very time consuming and the sales people most likely have clients they’ve already scheduled appointments for. Have an idea of what the brands they offer and give them your size, inspiration and examples of the gowns you have in mind. They will pull styles and sizes in your range and or call other sister boutiques to pull them before your appointment. I scheduled my appointments at Kleinfeld, David’s Bridal and Pronovias weeks in advance to ensure I would be catered to upon arrival.
SHOP YOUR SIZE
Shop for dresses in your current size, even if you plan on losing weight before the wedding. Dresses can be taken in up to four sizes so you can get the dress altered if you’ve lost a sizable amount of weight before the wedding. It’s easier to take in a dress than to make more room in it. Wedding gowns are too expensive to risk not fitting because of wishful thinking.
CHOOSE YOUR BRIDE TRIBE WISELY
Who is going to be in your dress shopping entourage? Most bridal salons now are asking for a maximum of two people in store due to COVID-19 restrictions. It might return to 4-5 guests post pandemic but for now, make sure to call ahead and check with the boutique. Bring people who will not only cheer you on but will also be honest with you about your budget, the style of dress and how it looks on you. You might be clouded by the fluff so you need fun yet honest and realistic friends to help guide you through. Even though it’s ultimately your own decision.