Today’s Happy Bride Project post comes from the multi-talented designer, artist and creative coach Laura George. She expressed her interest in contributing to the Happy Bride Project and I LOVED her advice so here it is. Thanks Laura!
Stress-Free Wedding Dress Shopping
Wedding dress shopping can be an utter pain or an amazing experience. If you’re hoping for the latter when you seek out that perfect dress, check out my five top tips for stress-free wedding dress shopping.
1. Who Do I Bring?
Don’t bring more than three people; ideally, only bring one. You want someone to share the experience with you and give you a second opinion. Bring your mom. You want her there and you know it. And if you don’t know it, then it’s likely you know deep down that it would ruin the experience because of what you’ve been through and how you interact now. So you shouldn’t bring her.
Who shouldn’t you bring? Anyone else you aren’t incredibly close to, your mother-in-law (unless she feels like your mom already), your fiance, your bridesmaids (except perhaps the maid of honor or your sisters… maybe), random friends or family members. And if there’s someone you keep wishing could be there, find a way to get them there even if you have to Skype the shopping!
2. How Do I Prepare?
Check out a few wedding blogs or magazines and pull out around 10 dresses you love. If there are aspects you don’t like about the dresses, write them next to the picture and stick all the photos in a folder to bring to the appointment.
Tell everyone who is coming what you expect from them. Even if you think you want their completely honest opinion, remind them that if you come out almost in tears or glowing with that grin from ear to ear, you want them to tell you they love it even if they don’t. If you think you still want their honesty, consider this a time when you don’t know what you want. There isn’t a bride out there who wants her mom to tell her she looks ugly in her dream dress.
Decide on your budget to the penny. Make the decision with the person or people paying for it. If the perfect dress is worth moving some money from other areas of the budget, be sure you know exactly how much wiggle room you have.
Start your day with a relaxing bath, some yoga, or some reading. Do something calm that will create the right mood for your day of dress shopping.
3. What Do I Tell The Consultant?
Bring in your folder of dresses you love. Show them to the consultant and talk her through the aspects you don’t like. Be very open to even details you think you hate. Let her do her job and bring you what she thinks will work. Give her at least five dresses before you start to feel worried. It can take a while for a consultant to get to know the bride enough to bring out the perfect dress.
Give your consultant the budget information. Don’t let her bring you dresses outside of your budget. Don’t even try on dresses outside your budget. You don’t want to give yourself the chance to fall in love with something you truly cannot have.
Tell your consultant what you want to look like on your wedding day. Give her a little information about your personality and your fiance’s personality. Let her into your world so she can help you find a dress that reflects your world.
4. How Do I Deal With Disagreements?
If the friends or family you brought with you are disagreeing about a dress, start by explaining to them why you feel how you feel about the dress. You might find that they didn’t notice what is so obvious to you. This could change their minds or even yours!
If that doesn’t work, remember it is your dress. You have to be the one that feels beautiful on your wedding day. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks because it’s about how you feel. Your fiance will think you look amazing as you walk toward the altar no matter what you’re wearing because he loves you. So pick something you love.
If someone is being so difficult that it’s affecting your stress level, feel free to pull them aside and ask them to stop or even ask them to leave if it gets to that point. Some people have trouble putting the focus on your happiness and you need to remind them that this dress is about you.
5. How Do You Know?
When it’s the dress, it’s the dress. It will make you feel the most beautiful you ever have.
That being said, if you don’t cry that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right dress. Not every bride will cry. Give yourself a moment to focus in on your feelings so you can really know if it’s the dress for you.
Snap a quick photo with your cell phone when you decide it’s the dress. This will be a reminder of exactly how beautiful you look in it whenever you start to question your decision.
6. What Happens During Alterations?
When you put your dress on for alterations, it won’t look right. Don’t second-guess your decision. You are working with professionals who will make that dress fit you perfectly.
Be sure to tell them anything you don’t like about the dress that they can change for you.
When you’re done fitting it, leave the dress in their hands. Trust that the professionals will turn it into the perfect fit. If you find yourself worrying about it, go back to the snapshot you took when you decided it was the dress.
When you go in for your last fitting, speak up about any last details that aren’t perfect. You don’t want to be worrying about the placement of that flower as you wait for the ceremony to start.
If you follow these tips, your shopping experience will be stress-free and full of joy. That perfect wedding dress will become a reality.