How to Choose a Wedding Dress: 7 Tips to Keep In Mind

how to choose a wedding dress

I said yes to the dress! Shopping for my wedding dress was one of the most fun and wonderful experiences. I didn’t think I would love it so much, but truthfully, I didn’t want it to end. I went to four bridal shops in total, and some I went back to multiple times, because one, I loved the process, and two, I wanted to be 100% sure of my decision. 

Your wedding dress is a huge part of your big day and with so many options out there, it’s easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed by the process. But if you go into it with a positive, excited mindset, it can truly be one of the best experiences! If you’re a bride to be, here are some tips I came up with through the dress choosing process!

1. Do Your Research, But Be Open 

There are so many places to find wedding dress inspiration, from Pinterest to Instagram to wedding dress websites themselves. Save all the styles you see and love. You’ll probably notice the dresses you save have similar qualities- take note of necklines, sleeves, styles and details that really stand out to you. It’s important to know what you like, but it’s also important to be open! If you’re stuck on a certain style and you end up not liking it, it helps to have an open mind about other possibilities. 

The dress I ended up with is very different from the dresses I saved to my Pinterest inspiration board. It took trying on A LOT of dresses for me to figure out what I really loved and looked best in. Bridal consultants are very experienced and can help you find a dress you’ll look amazing in! Let them know the details you want (and don’t want) and be open to trying on dresses they bring in for you! 

how to choose a wedding dress

2. Figure Out Your Budget 

Knowing your wedding dress budget before you go shopping for “the one” is really important. Take into account all your other wedding expenses and figure out what you’re comfortable spending on your dress (and don’t forget to factor in tailoring). 

Without knowing your budget, you could end up falling in love with a dress you can’t afford, which can lead to a big disappointment. Once you’ve figured out your budget, stick to it, and don’t try on anything outside of it. There are beautiful dresses at every price point- you can also  consider consignment stores and look out for sample sales if you don’t want to spend full price on a dress!

how to choose a wedding dress

3. Do Your Homework on Bridal Salons 

Having such great experiences at the bridal salons I went to made the process that much more amazing. My top three favourites were Oh Happy Brides (where I got my dress), The Modern Bride and Loversland. Do your research by asking friends and family members about their experiences at different bridal shops, searching Instagram and reading online reviews. 

Make sure the shop has the styles and designers you’re interested in, as well as helpful, knowledgeable and kind consultants that aren’t just in it for the sales commission! Personally I was drawn to smaller boutique bridal shops with a more personalized experience! 

I also have to give a shoutout to Park & Fifth, an amazing Canadian brand that recently launched a wedding dress line. Although I didn’t shop for a wedding dress here, I’ve bought MANY dresses from Park& Fifth and the experience and service is always incredible! My bridesmaids will also be getting their dresses from here! 

how to choose a wedding dress

4. Try on Different Styles/Designers 

It’s really important to try on different styles of dresses, even ones you may not think will look good on you. At Oh Happy Brides and The Modern Bride, I think I tried on one dress by every single designer they carried. There are SO many dresses out there and you may end up loving a style you hadn’t even thought of. 

5. Consider Your Venue and Time of Year

Although this isn’t completely necessary, you may want to consider having your venue and the time of year influence your dress. I say it’s not completely necessary because if you really want a long sleeve dress, go ahead and wear it in the summer. However, if you’re having an outdoor summer wedding, you’ll likely want something lighter and more breathable. 

Your venue should also come into play. Whether you’re getting married on a beach, at a vineyard, in a refurbished barn, at your summer lake house, or in a gorgeous restaurant, let this guide your dress choice as well!

6. Consider the Feel/Vibe of Your Wedding

Another thing to consider is the feel/vibe of your wedding. If you’re not sure the feel or vibe of your wedding, think of it this way- what three words would you use to describe your big day: romantic, whimsical, minimal, bold, classic, modern, relaxed, chic, glamorous, traditional, colourful, wild, bohemian, elegant, casual, eclectic. This can help you figure out your vibe and should also influence your dress choice!

how to choose a wedding dress

7. Does it Feel Like You?

Your wedding dress is supposed to make you feel incredibly special, but it should also feel like you. Make sure you’re completely comfortable in it and that it has features you really love. It should be like nothing you’ve ever worn before, but everyone should look at you in it and say “that dress is totally YOU!”. 

how to choose a wedding dress

8. Bring Your Whole Crew to Say Yes to The Dress

Everyone will have different experiences when they say yes to the dress. Some girls I know went to one bridal salon and chose their dress right then and there. I didn’t find a dress I could REALLY see myself walking down the aisle in until the third shop I went to, and the fourth one is where I found THE dress. Even then, I still wanted to go back to one shop as they got a dress in I had been eyeing that they didn’t have when I was first here. I just wanted to be 100% sure! 

how to choose a wedding dress

Once I knew which dress was 100% my dress, I invited my mom, future mother and sister in law, bridesmaids and some family members to come officially say yes to the dress with me! We brought champagne, had a mini celebration and went for lunch after. It’s a day I’ll cherish forever! It may not be for everyone, but bringing my whole crew to say yes to the dress made it that much more fun and special!

how to choose a wedding dress

how to choose a wedding dress

If you’re starting your wedding dress shopping soon, I hope this post helps you find the wedding dress of your dreams, and that the experience is as fun and wonderful for you as it was for me!