This time last year we were all in the throes of wedding planning and I had just tried on
– but I didn’t know it yet!
When it came to dress shopping, everyone urged me to go looking sooner (and I did go one day in the October midterm) but it was too early! I felt I just couldn’t decide when the wedding was still over a year away! I know that most people like to have their dress ordered a year before the big day but I am the type of person who would be wondering what did I miss when the next season of dresses came out! So go with your instinct – if you’re ready to buy 2 years in advance.. go for it! Just don’t feel pressured into it! I ordered mine in March and it was in for October – 2 months before the wedding!
The first advice I could offer is limit how many people you are taking to help you decide – too many opinions can make things difficult! I would say stick to 2 / 3 where possible and make sure these are people who’s opinion you value and trust. This was very easy for me as I had my mum and bridesmaids who were my two sisters and of course my own little girl. No opinions do I trust more than theirs.
Do not set out with a precise image in your head of what you want – try everything! I said from the very start that I didn’t want a strapless dress, and yet, that is what I went for! Okay, it had a lace bolero over, but I loved it without that aswell!! In saying that, don’t overload yourself by trying on too many! Balance is the key and try and stay open-minded!
People always say you’ll know when it’s ‘THE ONE’ .. – my advice is: don’t listen to these people! I had no idea that my dress was the one! I had 3 ‘the ones’ and they were all different! It was a nightmare! No one could decide.. only me! I felt amazing in all three.. I had no idea how I’d ever decide! It would have been a bit easier to choose if all three dresses were in the one shop.. but they weren’t! One was in Derry, one in Dungiven and one in Ballybofey! So when I was in one dress, I was trying to remember and weigh up the other two from memory! The only thing that helped me make my mind up was going to view the three dresses all on the one day, one appointment after the other.
Here are the pictures of my top 3 – there were actually 4 but we eliminated one with a high neck because it seemed too ‘on trend’.
This leads me to another point – be very careful when deciding what shops to go looking in.. think about the amount of ground you are travelling when going shopping! It might be okay for one trip, but what if u have to go back a few times to compare the dress to other top runners?! Also, think about fittings and alterations – do you really want to travel that distance numerous times in the run up to the big day?
Finally I settled on MY dress.. I got it in Tomorrow’s Wedding Emporium in Derry. Once I weighed it all up I realised – this dress had all the little things I wanted and I could add the sparkle in a little belt and shoes. This was the one dress that I tried on and fitted perfect in the sample – so I knew it definitely suited my shape ( if you do find a dress you love – it’s worth ringing around other stockists to see if they have the sample in your size – it’s very difficult trying to imagine how a dress would look on you two sizes smaller or bigger! ). I felt like a bride in it.. not just someone who was getting married! I even said I felt like I was ready to walk down the aisle ( with no tan or makeup 😂), I was so comfortable. It’s seriously important to be comfortable in your dress.. so don’t be embarrassed to walk up and down the room, sit, kneel and twirl! You don’t want to discover too late that you can’t kneel during the ceremony or that you can’t dance to your band!
Finally, when you have settled on your dress and ordered it – STOP LOOKING!
Don’t check Facebook pages , websites or magazines to confirm you have made the right choice.. all this will do is let doubt slip in! Be confident in your decision and stop looking at pictures of your own dress too – you don’t want to bore yourself of it! And try to keep it a secret from your other half and even close friends – you want to see their true reaction on the day!
Some more little mini tips for the dress hunt!
- Try and schedule appointments early in the day – you are feeling fresh, energetic and not after a heavy meal ( no one feels sexy after a tummy full of food! )
- Don’t put yourself under pressure – try and relax and enjoy it all.
- Don’t pick a dress that ‘in’ now – you want something timeless.. something you can look back at in 10 years and still think it is stunning.
- Don’t try on too many – if you only see 3 dresses you like in one shop, just try on those three! Don’t go picking up ten others that you have no intention of wearing! You are only wasting your time – so what if you are in and out in 15 minutes instead of an hour! – take your girls for a little afternoon tea and a catch up!
- Listen to your nearest and dearest’s opinions, but remember – it is your day and it is overall your opinion that matters.. if you like it – get it!
- If you can – take a few pictures! This will let you see how you look from someone else’s view and help when comparing dresses.
- And finally, I know that most people would advise leaving children at home.. but if it is your own little one – I would take them along! Lilly Rose was only 2 and involved in all the wedding dress carry on! It felt so special to have her there seeing me in my dress before anyone else!
Happy Hunting! And most importantly – enjoy every second! 💕