5 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Dress

September 29, 2014

As you just might have noticed, I’m now headed toward full-on wedding planning! Choosing your wedding dress is probably the most important (i.e. stressful) part of the whole thing for most brides. But taking the Peaceful Dumpling approach to it can make things a bit more serene and enjoyable. Here I will break down the process into 5 easy steps to picking your dream gown.

5 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Dress

Wedding dress shopping doesn’t have to be stressful! Just follow our tips for choosing your wedding dress.

1. Start a Pinterest board (yes, it’s cliché, but if you’re that embarrassed about it, make it a secret board). Follow other wedding boards and pin anything that makes you look twice. While you’re at it, you can start separate boards for cake and flower ideas—if you’re up for that level of Pinterest intensity.

2. Determine your style. Are you a beachy boho bride? An enchanting romantic? Determine which dress elements reflect your style. For example, a dress with a sweetheart neckline and tiny capped sleeves may give off the perfect ingénue look you’re going for. Keep an eye out for your signature elements as you pursue Pinterest and bridal magazines. We’ve found  lovely, vegan-friendly dresses for any style for under $500.

5 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Dress

For the boho bride: Free People Studded Lace Party Dress, $300

3. Set a budget. Wedding dresses can range from a few hundred dollars to over 10 grand. It’s important to set a budget range, like $800-$1000 to help narrow your search and keep you from breaking the bank. Also, keep in mind that you’ll also need to budget for shoes and any accessories—like veils, clutches, and jewelry. Finally, your dress may need to be altered. Depending on the type of alteration, the fabric of your dress, and your tailor, the price can vary quite a bit.

5 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Dress

Save room in your budget for pretty shoes!

Milly Heels on BHLDN

4. Go shopping. Set down your bridal mags and step away from Pinterest for one day. Go to bridal stores and try on actual dresses! Even if you end up finding the perfect dress online, this step will give you a sense of what works best for your body (see more on that below!). This is a chance to experiment!

5. Select the right dress style for your body shape. While I think that classifying one’s body as a fruit (i.e. “pear-shaped,” “apple-shaped”) is a little reductive and irritating, do find a style that flatters your figure. Make sure your dress beautifully accommodates your curves, and avoid dresses that pinch, restrict breathing, or threaten to swallow you whole (it’s possible when you’re only 5’2”). Before committing to a dress, be sure to check yourself out in front of 3-way mirror, and have a friend snap photos of you from different angles.

Here are a few pointers about dress styles:

-A-line dresses tend to be universally flattering. They can create the illusion of an hourglass figure.
-Sweetheart necklines give the illusion of a bustier figure.
-Mermaid and sheath dresses show off an hourglass figure.
-Empire waists flatter petite figures.
-Short dresses draw attention away from your upper body and to your legs. (They’re also great for showing of a killer pair of heels!)

5 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Dress

A-line gowns are universally flattering. The Veranda by Lela Rose (most defintinely out of my price range!).

Brides and brides-to-be–what’s your tip for choosing a wedding dress?

More wedding: How to Choose Your Bridal Makeup Look

Bridal Beauty Timeline

5 Tips to Start Planning Your Wedding



Photos: Peaceful Dumpling, Free People, BHLDN, Lela Rose

Peaceful Dumpling Beauty Editor and creator of Bisou du Jour, Mary Hood Luttrell lives with her husband in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mary is a freelance writer and writing and blogging consultant. A lover of whole foods, Mary delights in learning new ways to prepare vegan dishes. Mary also enjoys reading and writing poetry, art journaling, running, and practicing yoga and ballet. Follow Mary on her blog Bisou du Jour, Instagram and Pinterest.


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