There seems to be an unnecessary pressure surrounding trying on wedding dresses. Will there be tears? Will you find ‘the one’? Trying wedding dresses on for the first time is supposed to be exciting, but I did feel nervous. What if they all looked terrible? After the first out of three appointments that day, I got into the swing of things and my apprehension subsided. But that initial feeling of stepping into the unknown meant that I needed a little encouragement.
If I have accomplished anything from the first appointments, it was to find out what I don’t want, rather than exactly what I do. However, I believe it is important to rule out the things you don’t like as soon as possible, to free up time to search for what you do want. After trying on a few clear no’s during the first appointment, I was able to go to the following appointments with a better view of the type of dress I was looking for.
I knew straight away that I didn’t want anything too heavy – I don’t want to have to pick my dress up everytime I move. I know I want to be able to move freely and dance willingly, so restrictive styles were out of the question. I also found that if I tried on anything that felt too ‘bridey’, I felt uncomfortable in them. As a wedding dress isn’t exactly normal attire, maybe it is something you need to get used to. Someone said to me that one of the lasting parts of a wedding day is the photos, and things like trains and veils are what will make those photos have the wow factor. They say you should amp up your makeup on your wedding day to ensure it is visible in photos – is it a similar case for the dress too? I don’t want to regret going for something too simple a few years down the line. I need to strike a balance.
Everytime I came out of the changing room in a different dress, I was suppressing a smile. I tried on a total of 18 dresses, so that was rather a lot of smiling. Not just from me, as I had my three bridesmaids and my mum there with me. People usually advise against having too many guests with you, but family and lifelong friends will not only know you, but sometimes they will know you better than you know yourself. I wouldn’t have changed having them all there – I was very lucky they excitedly joined me on a very long day where I basically starved them.
My mum and bridesmaids were quite keen for me to try on something in particular, and I wasn’t exactly sure. As my mum lovingly put it, ‘when you were little you used to dress up without moaning.’ My main concern is that I’ll overdo it by steering too far away from my own style. At first I felt silly, but I have to say that the idea grew on me. Looking back at the pictures, it is now something I would consider. Sometimes it’s worth trying something you don’t think you would like – just in case.
Don’t be worried about trying on dresses from the rails which aren’t your size. Probably the most expensive dress of your life, and you can’t even try on the right size in most shops. However, the staff are usually excellent at making it look as close to how it would if it was fitted properly. Just think, if it looks good now, it will look even better when it is altered for an exact fit.
Tips for your first wedding dress appointment
- Wear the right underwear. Nude tones are a must, along with a strapless bra and no VPL underwear. However, when trying on more structured styles, I would recommend taking your bra off for a better fit. Give yourself the best chance to be able to imagine how they will look when properly fitted.
- Do your hair and make-up. You will be staring into a mirror all day, judging how you look, so don’t scrimp on making yourself feel good. If you think you’ll be wearing your hair up on the day, then attempt a simple up-do.
- Consider the alterations within your budget. A properly fitting dress can work wonders. Take into account alterations, from the simplest at £40 to the most changes at £400, if you’re not careful it can really add up. Although it is worth noting that designers are sometimes willing to make slight adjustments to the dresses at purchase. But when the seamstress puts that measuring tape around you, losing weight or changing your mind after this point is sure to cost you.
- Try a range of styles and rule out the ones which don’t work for you and your body shape. You may even be surprised by something you thought wouldn’t work for you.
- Know yourself and hone in on your gut instinct. Don’t be swayed by things you’ll know you will regret, but I encourage trying on styles you wouldn’t normally consider, it will only help you build on your ideas by confirming what you do and don’t want for your wedding dress.
As I’m sure is the case with every engaged couple, Dan and I tell each other everything. Not letting your partner see the dress until you walk down the aisle is still a strong tradition, and it is something we want to stick to. That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard not sharing something so important with the person in which you confide in everything with. ‘You’re keeping a big secret from me and I don’t like it’. To be honest, I don’t like it either. I would normally get Dan’s opinion on everything I buy – but wouldn’t it spoil the big reveal if I happened to spill the beans on the dress? Therefore, I am keeping the evidence under lock and key, or shall we say Touch ID. I was lucky enough to get my bridesmaids to take photos so I can flick through them when I get a moment alone.
I’ll be preparing myself for Round 2 of wedding dress shopping in the new year – the research period will have to be officially over.
All images are my own