Wedding Dresses
Article thanks to Sue Featherstone Bride Online Columnist

What to Ask When Choosing You Wedding Dress

Long or short, satin or silk, white or ivory, train or no train – the options are endless when it comes to picking what you’ll wear on your wedding day. There is no easy formula when it comes to finding The Dress, but there are questions that you should ask yourself to make the decision easier, which will help to turn that fantasy dress into a reality. 


How Much Should I Spend?

One of the first things you have to set is your budget. Wedding dresses can be hugely expensive, so find a reasonable number and then make sure you stick to it- a great rule of thumb is to spend between 5-10% of your overall wedding budget on both the bride and groom’. What you really don’t want is the scenario where you’re trying on dresses, jubilant and carefree after your free glass of champagne, and you think it’s a good idea to quickly try on a pretty frock, even though you know it’s wa-ay out of your price range. You fall in love with it, and then fall into wedding dress debt when you buy it! Ignorance, in this case, is certainly bliss.

Which Style Suits Me Best?

It’s important to keep an open mind when you’re dress shopping, because you might find that the picture you have in your head doesn’t translate as smoothly into real life. Accept this and move on. The trick is to try on a range of different styles - the dropped waistline, mermaid, A-line and empire – to find a dress that shows off your best bits and works a treat at covering up what you’re trying to hide. It doesn’t matter what shape or size you are, it’s about how the dress fits you. If you need some help determining exactly what kind of shape you are, check out this article on choosing the right dress for your shape.

What Stylistic Statement Do I Want to Make?

All eyes will be on you, so you’ll want to look as beautiful as humanly possible. Be inspired, but don’t deviate too much from your natural style or your personality. You want to feel comfortable and still be able to recognise yourself in your own wedding photos in five years’ time.

Does the Dress Fit With My Theme and Venue?

You might have your heart set on an elaborate, full skirt with beads and lace and a long, delicate train, but then also want to get married barefoot on the beach. Put some thought into how your dress can complement the venue and theme.

What's the Temperature Going to Be?

You’ll never be able to make watertight predictions about Mother Nature, but you can be as prepared as possible for what she may throw at you. Research the weather for the time you’re getting married, and then decide on styles and materials. If it’s going to be hot and humid, you’ll want to stay away from heavy, satin materials and a dress with lots of layers. You want the flush on your cheeks to be one of love, not one of near heatstroke.

What Colour Should I Pick?

White is traditional, but not everyone can pull of this virginal shade, and that’s okay. Ivory and champagne are popular alternatives, but modern brides are shunning convention by embracing the entire colour spectrum. My friend got married in orange (yup, I said orange!) but it suited her gregarious personality and dark skin and she looked gorgeous. Pick a palate that suits your skin tone and hair colour, and don’t opt for something simply because it’s currently in fashion. You don’t want to wince when you haul out the wedding album and wearily wonder: “What on earth was I thinking wearing (insert your outrageous colour choice here) to my wedding?”

Which Underwear Should I Buy?

What you choose to don under your dress is just as important as the dress itself, because it can change how said garment hangs on you. Don’t get your knickers in a knot though: you can wear control underwear during the day, which will give you an enviable silhouette, and then slip into something far more adventurous (and less Bridget Jones) for your wedding night. Check out these articles on chosing your wedding shapewear and lingerie.

Which Shoes Should I Wear?

Shoes can be a tough decision, especially if you’re torn between a pair of on-trend heels and something you won’t have to take off after 2 hours. Whatever shoes you slip your feet into, you’ll need to take them with you when you go shopping, to find the right length dress.

Can I Dance in it?

I should add in sit, move, eat and go to the toilet! Yes, you want to look your best, but you also need to be able to breathe. Comfort is hugely important as you’ll be in this dress for several hours, and you don’t want to feel like you’re strapped into a Victorian torture device. Try on the dress that you love, and if you can still bust a move without busting a seam, then that’s the one for you.

What If I Plan to Lose Weight?

Most brides want to shed a few kilos before the big day, but that may or may not happen. It’s important to buy the dress so that it fits you now - not for the figure that you plan to have. It’s always far easier (and looks better) to take a dress in that let one out. Also, you may not lose weight in exactly the way you think. If you do end up losing weight, but your breasts aren’t affected, for example, chances are that a smaller- sized dress will still be tight/ fit awkwardly in places. Buying a dress that fits you at the weight you’re at now will allow more precise- and at the end of the day, better looking- tailoring!

Whom Do I Take With Me to the Dress Shop?

Second opinions are great, but what you don’t want is a big entourage whose ideas contradict and confuse you, ultimately leaving you feeling frustrated. Choose your company wisely, so that you get honest feedback from a person whose judgement you value and trust. 

Will My Fiance Like It?

Let’s face it – this dress is a culmination of your dreams and your future husband will love you irrespective of what you wear. In all probability, he'll want you to wear something that makes you feel confident and comfortable, and won't be scrutinising your dress to nearly the extent you will. Dress to make yourself happy and inject your personality and individual sense of style into your outfit, and without fail you’ll see his mouth drop open when you sashay down the aisle.

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