Today’s in-depth guest post, brought to us by Felicia Lazaridou of Loves Young Dream Weddings, will answer all of your burning wedding gown questions and help you find the perfect gown for your big day! Enjoy:
Buying your wedding dress is hard because you know this is probably going to be the most memorable item of clothing you will ever choose to wear in your life, and because you know all eyes will be on you. Aside from a handful of superhero women who may have been lucky enough to have had a different experience, most married women would agree that buying your wedding is going to be stressful. Felicia Lazaridou, CEO and creative director at Loves Young Dream Weddings, a bespoke wedding planning company for dream destination weddings in Halkidiki Greece will be a buffer to your stresses as she guides you through what you should know before buying your One And Only Perfect Wedding Dress.
Read the full post after the cut!
1. Think Of Your Wedding Dress As A Present To Yourself
It’s your wedding dress. It might not be Haute Couture but nobody else would wear it like you do. You can choose to involve your friends and family as much or a little as is best for you but make sure you set aside space to create a list of your own priorities preferably before they get involved. Their love will undoubtedly be expressed in plentiful styling advice. If you have your priorities marked down prior then you can ensure that your sense style won’t be drowned out as you take on board their suggestions. Pintrest is valuable space for keeping stylish inspiration in one shareable and easily accessible place. Don’t forget to follow us at Loves Young Dream Weddings whilst you are there!
If you have a big group of lovely ladies to help you shop then be sure to phone ahead to check that the boutique can accommodate you all. You might need to carefully select your top two or three critical people to attend your appointments beside you. Keeping the number of viewers to a minimum increases the suspense on the big day so think of it that way. It is also perfectly ok to have just one best woman to help you shop, and sometimes, mama is the only suitable lady to advise on such a crucial decision making process.
2. Be Prepared
Be prepared for success, be prepared to work hard, and be prepared to be surprised! Your beauty will emanate whatever you wear on your special day and, most importantly, your husband will think you are gorgeous no matter what you wear. What you’re searching for is something that will accentuate your beauty. You will find the right dress for you if you are prepared to listen to the experienced bridal consultants whilst listening to your heart. Now is the time to make sure your wedding inspirations pins on Pintrest are shared amongst your loved one attending appointments with you and to your bridal consultants. Go into your appointments with an open mind though because you never know what you might find!
3. The Silhouette
Choosing the most flattering dress style is a combination of knowing what you adore about your body to enhance and conceal. Coined by Christian Dior in 1955, an A line silhouette is typically the safest bet since it suits practically all body types. It has a fitted bodice that holds until the waist then flows from there to the ground in a slightly flared way creating an ‘A’ shape. An Empire silhouette is very similar but the flow of this dress begins from underneath the bust.
A sheath silhouette has an effortless and classic grace.It is an ideal silhouette for women with slimmer frames as it hugs the figure exacerbating the sexy curves. A Ballgown silhouette typically conjures up images of Cinderella. Whilst it is true that Ballgowns are quite extravagant as dresses go, they can be adorned for more laid back weddings as well as for the more over-the-top event. It’s your wedding! I would say though that petite women should steer clear of this dress type since there is a great chance that you might get lost in all that fullness. It would be wise to wear a petticoat underneath a ball gown to add volume to the bridal skirt.
The Mermaid Dress hugs the body from the waist to the knees before flaring out to the ground creating a ‘mermaid’ tail. If you want to conceal your hips a little bit then this is not the style for you, and neither is the Trumpet dress. The flair of a Trumpet silhouette begins higher up the thigh.
4. The Neckline
The neckline of your dress will affect the overall look and flow of your dress on you. It is important here to think about the look that you are going for plus whether or not you want hide or accentuate your collarbone, your shoulders, your back and/or your chest and bust. There might not be one right answer. However there are even more options for you in each bridal consultation if you have a few neckline options you are open to try.
Probably the more sophisticated necklines are the High Collar and the Batau. Each end just around the collarbone whilst the High Collar can reach even beyond up to the neck. They are both extremely elegant and sophisticated. You also have the option of sexier variations of a High Collar neckline whereby a illusion material or lace creates a High Collar on top of a Strapless neckline. This is very fashionable at the moment.
Strapless is certainly a fun and sexy option since it exposes the most skin. The Sweetheart neckline is a gorgeous variation of the Strapless, the neckline arches across each breast to created an inverted ‘heart’ shape. It adds a softness to the sexy Strapless neckline. The Off-The-Shoulder is quite similar but more support is provided to the weight of the dress.
Then you have the three basic necklines: the Scoop, the Square, and the V-neck. The clean lines of the Square and V shape neckline, and even the rounded arc of the Scoop can range from subtle to plunging depending on how revealing you wish the neckline to be. Women with bigger breasts might want to opt for a higher neckline to draw the focus away from their breasts a little bit while women with smaller breasts might want to go for a lower or wider cut to draw an illusion of fuller breasts.
5. The Train
These days you don’t necessarily need to have a train. They can add a touch of majesty to formal weddings, but if you are having a more relaxed event then you might not need a train. There are essentially two types of train: a detachable train and a bustle. More often you will come across a bustle train, this train is a part of the back of dress and there is a place to store the train to allow for freedom of movement.
If a dress has a train attached but does not have a bustle then this is something you will want to your seamstress to create for you because you’ll need it on your big day! You won’t want people to step on your dress and you won’t want your white dress to touch the ground any more than absolutely necessary either! There are a few different train lengths to choose from.
- Brush or Sweep: this length will barely touch the ground so you might not need or find a bustle here.
- Court: a modest train extending up to three feet from the hem. Quite formal.
- Chapel: a more fancy train extending from 3 feet to 4 fee from the hem. Very formal.
- Cathedral and Monarch: these two trains are quite extreme. Where with the previous trains you might want to enlist a helper to appear more Goddess-like, with the Cathedral and Monarch will will certainly need at least one if not two helpers as they are difficult to manage.
- Watteau: This Grecian style is quite popular at the moment because of its ability to exude regal elegance. It attaches to the back of the dress shoulders and flows from there to sweep the ground.
6. The Veil
.If you are going to wear a veil, make sure the colour matches your dress! That is the golden rule. Other than that you can choose a length, width and number of tiers that suits your style. Birdcage veils are made of net and they cover the face or a portion of the face and hair. This veil compliments a vintage, retro or rustic look.
Blusher veils are single layer of Tulle to cover the face. This veil can become double tier by combining it as a layer to a longer length veil. The lengths are quite self explanatory: from shoulder length, elbow, fingertip. Waltz then sits between fingertip and floor length. Chapel is longer than floor length, and Cathedral is the longest.
If you are in for a minimalistic dress then you could choose a veil adorned with elegant embellishments. Some women have always prefered to wear a lace veil that provides extra coverage since Tulle is quite a fine material. Opting for lace then opens the door to a host of patterns to choose from. If your dress is already extravagant or you want your dress to be the main point of focus then a lace veil perhaps isn’t for you.
7. The Material
Season should be the determining factor when choosing your wedding dress material. If you are getting married on a beach at the peak of summer season you might want to consider a lighter wedding dress, in this case Silk could be perfect. Of course, as we know, Silk tends to be quite expensive so Chiffon, a delicate and soft material, is very popular for beach weddings.
The lion’s share of wedding dresses are made from Duchess Satin, from silk or rayon woven, simply because it holds its shape whilst draping the best and because it has a smooth, high sheen and can be decorated easily and elegantly with embellishments. It’s quite heavy though so bare this in mind when making your selection. There are dozens of materials wedding dresses can be made from, the best thing to do would be to try on dresses made from different materials to see how they feel on you. When you find your dress, you’ll feel more sure about it because you’ve seen all that there is to be seen.
8. The Bridal Bodice
By far the most popular bodice is the corset. It hugs the torso tight with metal or plastic ‘bones’ that maintain their rigidity hidden inside the corset material. It is tightly hooked, snapped, strapped or laced at the back so that they pull the torso into a feminine hourglass figure that woman feel so great about. A corset bodice can either descend into a ‘V’ or ‘U’ shape at the abdomen, known as a Basque Waist, or it can fall at the natural waistline then extend a few inches to the natural hip, known as the Dropped Waist. Corset bodice can create an Asymmetrical bodice by extending the material up one shoulder into a spaghetti strap and a sleeve whilst leaving the other shoulder bare.
9. The Bridal Skirt
The variety available in bridal skirts design (the bottom half of your wedding dress) is immense and it is this variety that will ensure your unique bridal look. Traditionally, a full length or floor length bridal skirt makes the most sense since it provide the modest coverage and effortless elegance necessary in more conventional ceremony venues. You can also go on ahead and add monarch, cathedral and chapel bridal skirts to this list.
These days many brides are getting married in more alternative venues and so are opting for more alternative bridal skirts to match. These bridal skirts are perfect if you have a shoe fetish you want to show off! Tea length bridal skirts are paused at the shins swinging delicately high enough for shoes to be admired! Midi bridal skirts reach just below the knees and fit a cocktail party wedding theme to a T. Knee length bridal skirts as the name suggests shows off the legs from the knees down while Mini bridal skirts are thigh high and suit a 1920s theme wedding well.
10. The Sleeve
The sleeves are yet another form of artistic expression that exude style and class when done correctly, for the designer and for the adorner. The Autumn 2017 season saw a major revival for sleeved wedding dresses. There are lots of options to select from that make a timeless statement for all manner of brides:
- Cap: they’re rounded and a little shorter than T-shirt sleeves. Cap Sleeves shouldn’t really be teamed with a corset bodice as they’ll look like they’re not attached to the bodice.
- 3/4 Sleeves and Long Sleeves: these are very on trend right about now and there are lots of styles to choose from.
- The Bell: is narrow at the top and flair out at the bottom edge. The Poet, end in pleats or ruffles.
- The Bishop: is full and gathered at the shoulder to just above the elbow then fitted from the elbow to the cuff.
- The Juliet: has a poofed shoulder and a fitted lower arm. The Fitted, is most in fashion these days, is just a basic sleeve without any fullness.
11. Elegant Embellishments
Embellishments are totally in fashion, and when done sparingly and with an eye for the finer detailing they add beauty. It’s important to know that crystals, freshwater pearls, sequins, and beads in an assortment of shapes, sizes and colours can be added by a trusted seamstress onto the dress material, the veil, the train, ribbons and belts. Patterns, flowers and vines can also be hand embroidered into the bridal bodice and skirt. These days women are even adding embellishments to the wedding shoes! I am particularly drawn to Swarowski crystals: https://professional.swarovski.com/b2b/pro
12. The gown back
These days designers are giving as much attention to the back of the dress as they are to the front. Your guests will be looking at from all angles so it’s best for you to bare that in mind too. Plunging V neck fronts can be matched with a V neck back. Criss cross straps can form one big X or a series of smaller Xs on the back for a more dramatic effect. Layers of sheer illusion made from net, organza or tulle can be a stylish choice for covering and revealing the shoulders, back and neckline in backless dresses. Smaller more subtle detailing like buttons and a keyhole cutout can ensure the dress is as enchanting from the back as it from the front.
Remember to leave enough time to find the correct undergarments after you have sourced the dress of your dreams. This is another process that might take you longer than expected. Don’t be put off from getting the dress you want because you might have difficulty finding suitable undergarments. There are a wealth of options in a range of sizes so you are bound to find whatever it is that you need.
You might find benefit in thinking practically for what undergarments to wear underneath your wedding dress, and get more sexier options to change into after the reception. Bustiers and corsets are fantastic for making your body look even more gorgeous in your wedding dress but they can be quite comfortable so decide what matters to you most, comfort or style. However, your wedding day is not the day to feel uncomfortable. Think of the photos! You could opt for the best of both worlds and change at some point, perhaps after the ceremony, or the photoshoot, or just before you hit the dancefloor.
Many bridal boutiques will have bridal accessories for sale alongside their wedding dresses. This is a convenient option, but remember you pay high a price for convenience in the marketplace. To save money and to increase their options, many brides choose to shop around at this point. Gloves, for example, used to be everyday sartorial splendour in previous days but they are not adorned so frequently these days. Opera length gloves extend above the elbow. Wrist length and Elbow length gloves are self explanatory. Opera and Elbow best suit strapless and sleeveless dresses. Wrist length gloves, or Shorties as they are also known, are much more versatile and can be worn with pretty much any style of dress. Or wrapping up warm might be necessary for some outdoor and evening weddings, so a fitting Shawl, Stole or Capelet can be found in range of fabrics and beautifully embellished too. Of feel like a queen with your very own tiara of bejeweled headpiece.
15. Prepare a Maximum Spend
It is difficult to know how much you should be spending on a wedding dress. A quick google search lets you know that the expenses of wedding dress shopping can be exorbitant, if you didn’t know already! By the time you are ready to go dress shopping you really want to have your overall wedding budget established. Once this is known, the two of you can begin to estimate the division of costs. All the while acknowledging that there will be unforeseen costs along the way.
The portion of funds you allocate to your wedding dress is not the maximum spend. You should be looking to spend 70 to 80% of your dress budget or even less on the actual dress because you will need to take into consideration the accessories you might need to purchase, the seamstress you might need to hire, the laundry service you might need to pay and so on. This entire segment of purchases is going to be a crucial part of staying on budget, so it’s important to get it right.
You may well find the most perfect dress but it doesn’t quite fit you properly. Don’t despair, this is quite a common scenario and there is hope! A seamstress can help to make your perfect dress fit you flawlessly. Although you should try to avoid going to a seamstress expecting miracles. You should be approaching a seamstress to make slight tweaks to your dress, this can be one small change or a series of smaller changes. If the change you require is huge then you might what to reconsider whether this is the dress for you rather than redesign the dress. That is unless the dress has a special value for you, i.e. it belonged to your mother.
In the context of wedding dresses, a trustworthy seamstress relates to their level of experience altering wedding dresses. Since they tend to have very particular design features you want to be sure that your seamstress can handle your dress. I would certainly advise you to go with one of the boutique recommended seamstresses unless you know a trustworthy seamstress. The same goes for dry cleaning, only allow a specialist laundry service dry clean and press your dress.
17. Enjoy your bridal boutique experiences
There appears to be so many choices these days in terms of buying a dress online. I would think twice before embarking down this route. The first and foremost reason is because, when done right, your bridal boutique experiences are a luxury too good to pass up. Who doesn’t want to sip champagne, garner first hand knowledge from an industry professional and try on as many exquisitely made dresses as it takes to find the perfect one.
18. Shop in bridal boutiques outside big cities for savings
The number one reason why women are looking online to find their wedding dress is price. Whilst most feel they would love to shop in fancy bridal boutiques, spending so much on a wedding dress is out of the question! Whilst the prices of online dress might appeal to you it is often the case: if it feels too good to be true then it probably isn’t true.
Many highstreet brands these days have their own range of bridalwear. Bur for fear of feeling like you’ve just stepped off of the factory line, I suggest shopping in bridal boutiques outside of big cities. Inner city boutiques have higher prices because the demand is higher, very often you have to pay just for an appointment! I think it’s good to travel the distance to smaller cities and towns and support local businesses instead of blindly accepting what we see online.
19. Trust yourself! You’ll know when you’ve found the one
You’ve come this far in your journey and you’ve trusted your heart, mind and spirit in saying yes to the love of your life; to have and to hold him forever. That was the hard part. You’ve done that and that proves you can do this. You’ll know you’ve found it because you love it and you don’t need reassurance from anyone about it. You’ll also feel that it is appropriate to the location and style of your wedding.
20. Be your own bride
There is a lot to think about before you buy your dress. You might find your dress quickly, or it might take you a little longer, it’s all ok if you plan your time wisely. You have so many choices available to you so if you are willing to put the effort in it will all be worth in the end. Remember, the most beautiful thing you’ll be wearing on your wedding day is your smile!
Felicia Lazaridou is CEO and creative director at Loves Young Dream Weddings; a bespoke wedding planning company for stress-free dream destination weddings in Halkidiki, Greece. For more information about Loves Young Dream Weddings, please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile.