How to Find the Perfect Wedding Dress - Without the Stress!

Choosing a wedding dress is perhaps the most stressful task associated with planning your wedding. Most of us have been dreaming about that perfect dress since we were running around in kindergarten, so a lot of the time it can really feel like the pressure is on to find something that suits us, fits us, and truly represents who we are on our big day. And yes, we have our moms and sisters and girlfriends to help us along the way, but at the beginning of the search it can really feel like you have a mountain to climb. So if you’re not sure where to start – and you don’t want your life consumed by trying to find this one dream gown – then check out our 5 top tips below, and we’re sure it’ll be a piece of cake!

  1. Look online before leaving the house
  2. Book an appointment with a professional
  3. Keep a flexible budget
  4. Take emotional support with you
  5. Don’t leave it until the last minute
Photo via Shutterstock

1. Look online before leaving the house

Magazines and websites are the best way to narrow down the literally millions of options for your wedding dress to the style that you think you like the most. This can feel a little overwhelming – particularly if you’ve never really had much of a bridal instinct – but it’s best to just dive in. Of course we would recommend that you stick with us: Zankyou’s online magazine has thousands of dresses to look through (from the big brands like Justin Alexander to the lesser known designers like Johanna Ortiz), with an unparalleled variety of styles and budgets. 

It’s often the case that the dresses you decide you like most during this research stage end up being the complete opposite of the dresses you like in the boutique. However, this is still a vital step for reducing stress, and for helping you decide on a budget and, often, a theme for your wedding itself. Everything revolves around the dress!

Photo via South Lake Tahoe Weddings

2. Book an appointment with a professional

We can’t recommend enough that you make at least one appointment with a professional during the search for your wedding dress. Preferably – if you have the time – we would advise you to make several, in an array of bridal boutiques, as it’s better to keep your options as open as possible. We’ve all seen Say Yes to the Dress! and so can all recognise why having a professional around is a good idea – they know exactly what style and shape of dress will suit you (even if it’s not what you imagined), and most have textbook knowledge of what is in every season.

 The most important thing to do during your appointment is to trust your stylist, but to be firm too. If you want a simple dress, and they keep bringing you gowns like the ones Maggie Sottero showcased for this season, then put your foot down. They objectively know best, but you have to feel comfortable, and you have to feel like you too – and only you can be 100% sure on this!

Photo via Shutterstock.

3. Keep a flexible budget

As much as is possible. We know that for a lot of brides, there is a strict cap on how much you have available, but remember that this is your wedding day (and, with a bit of luck, the only one you’re ever going to have!): the dress has to be special. For this reason, we recommend that you have your stipulated budget, with a little bit put to the side just in case. At your appointment, keep the little bit extra to yourself so your stylist isn’t tempted to push too far out of your budget, but it can be a really lovely safety net.

We’ve all heard the stories of brides finding their perfect dresses, and then the devastation that comes with them being stratospherically out of their price range. For this reason, alongside having a flexible budget, be smart with choosing your boutique. If you’re at the lower end of the price spectrum, then maybe avoid places like Kleinfeld where they have some more affordable options, but tend towards luxurious brands with luxurious prices.

Photo via Shutterstock

4. Take emotional support with you

We don’t need to tell you that, if you can, you should take your mom wedding dress shopping with you. Not only is this a moment that she has been waiting years for, but 9/10 times, she does know best (and it’s always good to have someone who will honestly tell you what your dress looks like from behind!). But beyond your mom, make sure you choose a good team of friends or family who will not only be honest with you about your choices, but be supportive if the process is more stressful than anticipated.

Some brides buy the first dress they try on, and some buy the hundredth. We can’t promise you that the experience will be easy – and there will undoubtedly be some moments of frustration. So to avoid the stress of all of this, have good friends around you who will give you a boost whenever needed.

Photo via Shutterstock

5. Don’t leave it until the last minute

Oh the horror stories we have heard about alterations not being finished in time! Under no circumstances should you be buying your wedding dress less than 3 months before the big day – not only does this not give you enough time to make any changes (most bridal seamstresses are in high demand, and will need a lot of notice for a job this significant), but more importantly, made-to-order dresses take at least 9 months to make! Also, with regard to keeping a cool head, once the dress is out of the way, everything else feels a million times easier!

If you do find yourself in the unlucky position of having to find a dress within a few months of your wedding, then don’t panic immediately: as long as you have done your research, and you are able to find an independent seamstress to make any changes you might need, then you should be fine. Just please – for us – don’t buy it blindly online!

Photo via Shutterstock

Buying your wedding dress can be a challenge, particularly on top of all the other things you need to sort out before the big day. However, this is an experience that a lot of the time only comes around once in your life – so take a deep breath, relax and enjoy it! We can’t put into words just how fun it is to visit different boutiques trying on gowns until you find the one – and just how joyful the moment that you unveil it is. If any experience in the world is worth a few weeks of stress, it’s definitely this one! We wish you the best of luck in the world, and hope you find that dream dress – start with Zankyou, and you’ll be on your way to success…

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