A Wedding Day Stylist On The Bridal Gown Shopping Process

Of all the decisions a bride makes, choosing her dress might rank at the very top as one of the biggest. But before we go any further we'd like to remind every future bride out there that no matter what you choose, it could even be a paper bag, you will be the most stunning person at the party. There is something so uniquely beautiful about a bride on her wedding day, and this is a universally agreed upon fact. So rest assured, not matter what you decide on, you will look amazing! We are just here to help you fine tune your unique style and to guide you through the process in the most stress free (and fun!) way possible.

Dressing for the time of year and location

This can help you immediately cross certain styles and materials off of your list. Beach wedding in Bali? Heavy fabrics and long sleeves might be out. Winter wedding in Aspen? Short, strapless dresses might feel out of season and leave you uncomfortably cold. The same goes for your shoe choice (stilettos might be a challenging choice if your vows are beach side). Flip flops might not carry the necessary gravity of a formal wedding in your family's place of worship (you get the idea here, right?!). Once you have decided what will work (and what won't!) you can start to do some research to see what catches your eye!

Making Appointments/Choosing Boutiques/Knowing What To Bring

One of our fave tips for shopping for your dream dress is to treat that experience like you could potentially walk out in said dream dress. What do we mean by that? If you’re planning to wear your hair down, go shopping with an amazing blow-out and style your hair similarly to what you’d want it to look like (doing it yourself or maybe your bestie is a blow-dry queen) on your big day.

If you’re going to do a red lip or pop of color on your wedding day, try doing it for your shopping day so you can really start to see what your head-to-toe vision truly looks like (just make sure you have our makeup face shield and stain removing wipes handy!).

If you have any heirloom jewelry you are going to wear, bring it along so you can see if it fits the look you had in mind. Anything you can do to give yourself an idea of the final look will not only get you excited, but it’ll give you the opportunity to see if you like the direction you are heading!

Stores may have shoes for you to try dresses on with, but if you have a certain heel height/style you know you want to wear and can bring along, definitely do so. Also, if you want to bring your own shapewear (we love Spanx), it’s not a bad idea to prepare a bridal bag that you bring to all your appointments with everything you might need (including essentials from The Bride Kit).

Dressing by body type and silhouette

There are six traditional bridal silhouettes:

1. A-Line - Great for accentuating the waistline
2. Sheath - If you want more of a straight look, this is a great option
3. Ball Gown - You'll often see this style as a 'first gown' or ceremony dress
4. Trumpet - The skirt flares at the thigh elongating the leg
5. Mermaid - The skirt flares below the knee elongating the torso
6. Tea Length - This style shows the ankle and generally falls just below the knee

The Rescue Kit Company wedding dress silhouettes

We encourage you to try on all six, even if you feel like you know exactly what you want! 

Dressing by style

Conservative/Preppy - Think traditional, maybe with sleeves
Minimalist - Think slinky or sexy, maybe a silk slip dress
Romantic - Think whimsical and sheer
Edgy - Think high-low or even a non-traditional color
Bohemian - Think lace, crochet and floral headpieces

Alternative Dress Options

1. Something Old - This is a great opportunity to wear something that was previously worn by a family member. Wear it as is or even make subtle changes so it still has sentimental value
2. Something New - Create your own look with a designer completely from scratch, or even make changes to an existing gown to truly make it your own 
3. Something Borrowed - (we love that the founder of Spanx herself has loaned out her own personal gown to multiple brides, what a fun way to pay it forward!)
4. Something Blue - Today we see so many brides taking risks with color, why not make your something blue a gorgeous floral Carolina Herrera gown for a brunch wedding?! 

Once you have your gown, it's time to make it perfect. A well-fitting gown can make or break your final look and your wedding day comfort level. Your mission is to find the most experienced tailor you can!

When it comes to alterations...if you have to go off-site or your salon doesn’t have a recommended seamstress, make sure you get multiple positive reviews from reputable vendors/friends before using them. Don't skimp on this part and always ask: 

  • For before and after images of their work
  • How and when they take payment
  • If they've worked on similar fabrics and styles to your gown
  • To save all material and notions they remove during alterations
  • For a signed contract with guaranteed fitting schedule, scope of work, and completion date
  • If bustle alteration is included or extra at the end

Do not make the mistake of working with the wrong seamstress, or you could be left with no time to spare for corrections. We suggest bringing a bridesmaid or trusted person to accompany you to hear everything that is discussed in your consults. Also, plan for anywhere from 4-15 fittings if you're reconstructing a gown.

Those are some of our favorite tips for dress hunting...happy shopping!