How To: Choose Your Wedding Dress

He popped the question and you shouted yes! Now that the giggles and giddiness have subsided, it’s time to knuckle down and actually plan your wedding, starting with the frock. It’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed by your options, so here is a guide to help you take the stress out the dress.



The first thing you need to do is some investigative exploring (i.e. research), so open your wardrobe and take a good look at your style. If you don’t own one strapless top, now isn’t the time to begin. Get your hands on bridal magazines and visit wedding websites to get a few ideas, and to learn the terminology. You’ll need to know your kimono from your cowl, and you’ll have to realise that white is no longer white; it’s stark, silk, diamond, ivory or champagne.

To help you narrow down your decision, here are some questions to ask yourself:

How Does it Fit?

By this I don’t mean how it fits your body, but rather how it fits the season, setting, venue, theme, time and formality of your wedding. A winter wedding needs heavier fabrics, like satin, while a summer wedding dress should be lighter, with fewer layers. Morning weddings have different requirements to evening ones, and while you can get away with a shorter outfit at a beach wedding, a black tie event, at a swanky hotel, demands a floor-length ensemble. The idea is to have continuity: is the groom getting married in shorts and sandals? In that case, a ball gown isn’t the right option for you. Think about all these factors as they influence the fabric, length and style of your dress.

Does it Flatter My Shape?

As nature intended, women come in all shapes and sizes, and this means that not every dress is going to suit every bride. You want to find something that accentuates your best assets, while cleverly disguising the bits you’re not so happy about. Remember that a dress looks vastly different on the hanger to when it’s on you, so keep an open mind and test out a style you don’t normally wear. You may be happily surprised at the result.
The common dress shapes you’ll read about are empire, ball gown, A-line, sheath and mermaid, but to find out which one works best for you, you need to know your body shape.

Read on here to find out if you’re an apple, pear, inverted triangle, or hourglass, as well as how to dress your shape.

Is it Practical?

Of course you want to look glamorous on your wedding day, but you also need to be comfortable. Think about what you’ll be doing in this dress: sitting, kneeling (if it applies), going to the toilet, dancing and most importantly – breathing!

Which Colour Should I Pick?

If you’re going the traditional white route, then your skin tone will dictate the particular shade you choose. Fair skin suits yellow-toned ivory or antique white, medium-toned skin works well with diamond white, olive skins go with champagne, and dark skinned brides can pull off bright whites beautifully. Of course there is no rule at all that says you have to choose white, but if you are going for colour, don’t make a hasty decision as you’ll be looking back at your wedding photos for years to come.

What Should My Budget Be?

A budget is a bit of a drag to think about when you’re trying to find the dress of your dreams, but it’s also a reality. Don’t tempt the wedding dress gods by looking for something out of your price range, because chances are that you’ll find it, and then won’t be able to afford it. According to experts you dress should cost 10% of your overall budget, but this decision really is up to you. Set a budget that works for you, and then stick to it.

Is it Me?

Your wedding dress should be an extension of your day-to-day style and it should reflect your personality. You want your groom and the guests to recognise you when you walk down the aisle.

What Not to Do:

– Choose based on trends. Don’t get caught up in the fad of the moment, rather choose something timeless and classic.
– Your signature style. Don’t throw out all the rules of fashion just because it’s a wedding dress. Focus on your personal style and what flatters you.
– Timing. Don’t feel pressured to make a quick decision. If you’re not completely sure go home, sleep on it, and make a decision in the morning.
– Sourcing Advice. Don’t take an audience with you, as too many opinions will just confuse you. Pick 1-3 people whose opinions you value and trust.

This is the dress of all dresses. The one that will be photographed, and that picture then beautifully framed and proudly hung on your wall, so it’s important to take you time and get it right. It’s equally important to remember that it’s also only a dress, and it’s one part of your entire wedding experience. That said, get excited, be fussed over at the bridal boutique, sip your glass of champagne, try on gorgeous dresses and enjoy feeling like the princess in your own fairy tale.