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Your wedding dress is arguably one of the most important dresses you’ll purchase in your life. It can be overwhelming indeed to imagine that for one whole day, all eyes are on YOU. Not to mention that it will be quite a hefty investment, so “just winging it” is not an option.
It’s a feat that’s not for the fainthearted, but we are here to help you avoid some common pitfalls in your dress-hunting journey.
1. Haste Makes Waste
We totally get that rush from ticking items off your wedding checklist, with each small victory bringing you one step closer to the best day of your life. When it comes to shopping for your dress though, hasty decisions might just send you back to square one. You need serious insight about the other elements of your wedding first before buying THE dress.
Consider the season. It may seem obvious enough but some brides still forget the very important factor of season and weather when it comes to dress choice. A flowy number may be perfect for a summertime affair, while a winter or autumn celebration will call for a more covered-up ensemble. If you are doing a destination wedding, remember to check the seasons in that part of the globe too.
Consider the venue. Knowing your venue will help steer you in the right direction when it comes to picking a dress that won’t leave you feeling uncomfortable throughout the day. You can have your pick of princess-style dresses with cathedral-length trains that will remain in pristine condition during a Church nuptial followed by reception indoors. Meanwhile, you are better off picking something more lightweight if you will be spending your day outdoors.
When is a good time to buy? Most made to order dresses will require a lead-time of four to eight months, depending on the design. A good time to have your dress made is therefore about eight to ten months in, so that you have enough time to pick a design that won’t clash with everything else. If you are having a shorter engagement period though, there is always the option of purchasing an RTW or ready-to-wear dress off the rack, ideally after you have confirmed when and where your celebration will be.
2. Falling for the Daydream Diversion
Imagine, you walk into a store, slip into a dress that catches your eye, and after the shop keeper throws on a veil, hair accessories, and a bouquet to boot, you instantly want to buy everything right then and there. That’s exactly how you pictured your wedding dress since you were a little girl after all! Why look further, right? Well it’s not a coincidence that you feel this way. In fact, it is a pretty effective sales tactic.
Some brides will make an emotional decision without inspecting the quality of the dress, then realize the issues later on. To avoid this you need to ask yourself: do you love the dress itself or it’s just the bells and whistles pulling on your heartstrings? It will be useful as well if you have someone you trust to be the objective eye and help you snap out of the daydream. If you feel strongly about the dress, put it on hold then sleep on it or try it on again on its own before making the purchase. Later on, the accessories will be easier to put together once you have committed to a dress. Your taste in accessories might change anyway throughout your wedding planning process, so you must resist the urge to hoard them early on.
3. Holding Out for Your “Bride Bod”
There’s nothing wrong with setting goals for yourself, and weight loss is no exception. However, planning a wedding is stressful enough as it is, and the added pressure of having to lose weight may even cause you to gain some.
In fact, studies done by Prichard, I., & Tiggemann, M. in 2009-2014 in Australia revealed that brides are put under greater pressure to lose weight and therefore become more fixated about their looks than the average woman. They also found that 46% of sampled brides-to-be in a wedding exposition were targeting a weight that was about 20 pounds less than their current weight. In a survey that they conducted among those wanting to lose weight, only a third experienced weight loss while another third had no change, and the final third actually gained weight.
Spare yourself the headache and start off with a size that actually fits you right now. If you followed our advice and had your dress made eight to ten months prior, your first fitting will happen three to four months before your big day, leaving an adequate period for changes. It is easier and less costly to take in a dress a few inches rather than sizing up.
4. Promo FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)
It’s an all too familiar situation: discounts that leave you feeling like you’ll miss out on something you need if you don’t buy it. The FOMO can become much stronger with such a special and personal purchase as a wedding dress. Stumbling through a discount on a dress you’ve been eyeing may seem like a rare, heaven-sent opportunity, but could cost you more in time and money in the end.
We’re not saying that it’s impossible to get a good deal but you’ll need to be diligent. For instance, sample sales offer steep discounts as a come-on, but it might come with considerable wear and tear from being on display. If you’re not careful you might end up paying the same amount as a regular-priced dress from all the cleaning and alterations that need to be done.
Designers on wedding expos will usually advertise an on-the-spot promo to push you to sign a contract right away. Our advice is to play it cool and register but walk away if you’re not yet sure. They usually have quotas when joining these events and will normally extend the offer even after the expo.
5. Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
You’ve probably heard the saying “too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the broth.” Same goes with too many opinions on your wedding dress choice. We recommend having a maximum of two people with you when you come for an appointment, so that there’s no way of a tie when it comes down to tough decisions. Any more than this is too many.
It’s normal for you to want to bring your whole squad when choosing the dress and live out the classic chic flick dressing room scene. But chances are, your gals won’t have the same tastes, body types, and preferences from your own. It may only confuse you and pressure you into buying a dress THEY would pick for themselves instead of what looks best on you. Bring someone who truly knows you and is comfortable enough to voice out if something doesn’t look right.
6. Doing It for the ‘Gram
We live in an age wherein mundane things like buying a cup of coffee and going to the gym make it online and Instagram-worthy shots are more important than the actual experience. In the same study done by Prichard, I., & Tiggemann, M. among Australian brides-to-be, photos and perceived attractiveness seems to be the most important aspects of the day. Although posterity is important, your wedding is not just about the pictures and trying to meet unrealistic standards. That’s why when it comes to choosing your wedding dress, pick one that works for your body, makes you feel comfortable, and is true to your style – yes you can buy that dress with pockets if you want to! Read about our complete guide to choosing your wedding dress here.
Our final advice: Once you’ve found the dress, stop looking! You’ll thank us later 😉
Prichard, I., & Tiggemann, M. (2009). Unveiled: Pre-wedding weight concerns and health and beauty plans of Australian brides. Journal of Health Psychology, 14, 1027-1035.
Prichard, I., & Tiggemann, M. (2011). Appearance investment in Australian brides-to-be. Body image, 8(3), 282-286.
Prichard, I., & Tiggemann, M. (2014). Wedding-related weight change: The ups and downs of love. Body Image, 11, 179-182.