Choosing your wedding dress can be a daunting task - even for those who already know what they like. Here are five things we’d recommend doing before you start shopping:
1 // Identify your wedding aesthetic
When exploring wedding wear for the first time it can feel overwhelming. Even the most confident and assured of dressers can find it tricky to translate their everyday style into bridal. This feeling can often be compounded when people book lots of appointments and try on lots in one go. Often they’ll have multiple voices in the room giving their opinion too, which can add to those feelings of confusion. Without first identifying a direction and considering their style they can quickly feel disenchanted with the process, something you obviously want to avoid at all costs!
Some simple prep before booking any appointments is the best way to avoid this trap. Start by building a visual moodboard, jump onto pinterest and instagram and find references that resonate. Our biggest tip is to look outside of any bridal references as that can be quite restrictive. Instead of searching for 'wedding dress ideas' on Pinterest, why not start with searching for celebrities or stylists that you admire for their red carpet looks? Or looking at runway collections from your favourite labels. If you build your moodboard from this base, you will be starting with your style and taste, rather than limiting yourself to what's on offer in the 'traditional' bridal market. Once you’ve amassed everything, there will be some common themes. Are you into more fitted, structured styles? Do you like things a little more oversized? Is there a particular fabric that is coming up time and time again? What necklines are you loving? Overlay all this with your own wardrobe and think about the necklines you wear. Use all of this insight to pull together a definitive moodboard, which will become your north star when going to appointments.
2 // Identify your three key style words
The other bit of prep we always recommend is identifying your three key style words (a la the Alison Bornstein Tik Tok Trend). The idea is that these three key words become your North Star and all your fashion choices should be seen through that lens, so if a bridal outfit doesn’t ladder up to your three words then it’s not for you.
3 // Planning your visit
Most brides plan on visiting a number of different designers to find 'the one'. If you're planning on doing this, we'd recommend visiting your favourite designer last. Often your first appointment can be a case of simply getting used to yourself in a wedding dress! Trying a variety of silhouettes and shapes on before you get to your favourite designer will give you a good sense of what will work best for you and your body shape. This approach means that by the time you get to your preferred designer you'll be able to really start crafting the vision.
4 // Come wearing the right underwear
"We don't wear white or ivory as an entire outfit very often, so aren't necessarily aware of the challenges it can present,” Eloise Rigby from our specialist partner The Pantry Underwear explains.
Good underwear transforms an outfit and when it comes to wearing a sleek, silky dress, it is the red carpet’s biggest trade secret - we firmly believe it is just as important as the dress itself.
For this reason we always recommend coming to your appointment with the right underwear. It might not be the underwear you end up wearing on the day but it will at least show you how the dress looks with shapewear and your stylist will be able to advise (alongside the underwear specialists The Pantry) on what will work with your chosen dress. We have some pieces available to try in the studio but we won’t be able to cater to all bust sizes/body shapes so it is always best to bring your own.
Make sure you read this blog for our insider tips and recommendations on the best underwear to wear at your appointment (and at the wedding day too)
5 // Choose your entourage wisely
Family and friends are a great help but they can throw you off kilter sometimes. Know your own mind and stay true to that. Don’t let anyone sway you and narrow the group down to two or three people whose opinions you trust. Often we find brides come alone and then bring their pals/mums to their second viewing where they’re choosing from a shortlist the bride has already put together - if you want to involve people but also set some clear boundaries this can be a really great way to do so!