The Dress Evaluation
Now that you’ve said “YES” when he popped the question, it’s time for the most important shopping trip of your life. Take time to fantasize about the perfect wedding gown. Once you’ve returned to Earth, here are some questions to think about before you embark on your shopping expedition.
“What are three words that sum up my style?”
The avalanche of bridal gown information can be overwhelming to a first-time bride. Researching magazines, poring over websites and dissecting social media can turn into a never-ending quest for the fairytale frock. Rather, along with first taking a deep breath, brides should consider their tastes and fashion sense, say bridal experts.
For instance, are you an Audrey Hepburn type? Elegant, classic, vintage-inspired? Or do you love a polished, glamorous style à la Amal Alamuddin, who wed George Clooney in 2014?
“Take some time to think of a handful of key buzz words that capture the mood of your wedding, your personal style,” says Amy Kuschel, a San Francisco-based designer. “These words can be very inspirational and help narrow down your choices.”
“Can I hit the dance floor in my super-fitted, mermaid gown?”
“Dancing is an issue,” says RoseLynn Micari-Fiumara, co-owner of Bridal Reflections, a bridal boutique with three locations in New York. “Magazines show airbrushed models that aren’t moving.”
That’s not exactly a realistic depiction of your wedding day, which often flies by in a blur. Brides will be getting in and out of cars and limousines, they’ll be sitting and standing, hopefully eating and drinking and most definitely dancing the night away.
Micari-Fiumara suggests that when dress shopping, put your whole body into the experience. Raise your hands in the air. Shake your derrière. Reach out and hug someone. Sit in a chair. Stand up. And, see if the dress follows you or hinders you and has wiggle room in the tummy area.
“Will you be comfortable in the dress after eating your meal and cake?” says Krystel Tien, owner of San Diego-based Elle Bridal Boutique. “You want to be comfortable and not have to be thinking about sucking it in every moment.”
“Help! I don’t like my arms. Does size matter when I pick my gown?”
No question, a bride should feel absolutely beautiful, confident and comfortable on her wedding, says Brittney Magee, spokesperson for Dallas-based Watters, a bridal gown manufacturer.
Magee suggests keeping an open mind about trying on gowns that are different from what you envisioned. The variety of gown styles can help achieve sleight-of-hand slimming effects, whether gals are petite, busty, curvy or tall.
Here are some examples:
If you’re self-conscious about your arms, try delicate beaded sleeves. A defined waistband and A-line style can help create a streamlined silhouette. High-low hems and empire waists can make you look longer and taller.
“Do I really need to wear a veil?”
Just a couple years ago, veils fell out of vogue, mostly for reasons of convenience. But, the face-framing covers are popular again as brides-to-be realize the fashion accessory is a once-in-lifetime event. Veils also are quite flattering, yet aren’t a budget-buster. They typically cost less than $200.
“You will never have the opportunity to wear it again, so why not?” Micari-Fiumara says. “If brides don’t wear a veil, it’s something they regret later when they look at wedding pictures.”
You can take inspiration from Angelina Jolie, who personalized her veil with pictures of monsters, planes and motorbikes drawn by her children for her marriage to Brad Pitt in 2014. Kuschel says heirloom veils also are a special touch, but make sure to choose a gown that complements the headpiece, which can be elbow length, fingertip length or longer. You should make sure the veil is practical for your venue.
“A cathedral veil may be very pretty in the shop, but it will be blowing all over the place on the beach,” Tien says.
“Isn’t a bridal dress always white?”
Gone are the days of just white and ivory, says Charlotte Leung, brand owner of Augusta Jones, a UK-based bridal gown label.
“We now have blush, gold, rose tones and even silvers, golds and blues.”
The color bonanza can paralyze brides-to-be with yet one more decision to make. They may choose the wedding dress color first, then the color scheme of the wedding. Or some prefer to select their wedding palette and flowers, which will then help dictate the dress color.