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  • The White Files

Top Tips for Wedding Dress Shopping

Working as a wedding stylist for so many years I’ve learnt a thing or two about finding your dream gown. Here are my top tips to make the whole process as smooth as possible…

Making the appointment itself

  1. Do your research. Know what style you like and whether the boutique or designer fits the look you’re going for. So many times I would have a bride come in, take one look around and walk straight out – wasting her time and taking the spot of another bride who potentially could have found the one.

  2. Give yourself plenty of time to shop so you don’t get stressed by last minute pressures. Depending on the designer, if your wedding is less than nine months away you can incur rush fees.

  3. Always try to book an appointment not just walk in. It lets us give you the attention you deserve and you feel more special. Book during the week if you can and you’ll get more space, more of the dresses will be available and there will be a much calmer feel.

  4. Don’t try to jam all your appointments into one day. They take about an hour each and are physically and emotionally exhausting! You’ll get overwhelmed and the dresses are bound to all blur into one.

What to bring (or not bring!) to the appointment

  1. Do NOT get a spray tan just before, it can rub off onto the dresses and be an absolute nightmare to remove – sometimes completely ruining the dress.

  2. The same goes with keeping your makeup to a bare minimum, and whatever you do – keep the red lips to a minimum!

Anna Campbell
  1. Wear nude underwear and a strapless bra or a stick on bra – or no bra at all! The gowns are usually made to be worn without a bra so you’ll get more of an idea of how it will feel on your big day! If you wear underwear like Spanx it can make trying on multiple gowns easier as they just slip right on.

The White Files

How to find the right dress

  1. Don’t hold back with giving your wedding stylist details about your wedding. We want to know when it is, where it is, the look you’re going for – absolutely everything. If you share your vision with us so we know what you want for your big day. The more pictures you bring in of your dream gown the better! We only get to know you for an hour, but by the end we want to know your insecurities about your body just as well as your best friends – and work with you to make you feel beautiful.

Anna Campbell
  1. Never hold back your true feelings about a dress. Even though you may be trying to be polite – we need you to be honest and vocal! This gives us feedback to move forward to other selections. Even if you’re meeting with the designer – often what you can say can help inspire them for their next collection.

About your body

  1. I have so many brides come in who try to make excuses about being out of shape “I’ve been injured and haven’t been able to work out” Don’t worry, we’ve all been there and we all have our insecurities! Embrace your body and love it!

  2. This is a big one! When we’re sizing you up for a gown, don’t insist on going gown a size because you’re planning to loose weight. We always hear that, it rarely happens. Sure in the lead up to the wedding stress can mean you loose a few kilos – but thats what last minute alterations are for! It is so much easier to take a gown in and nearly impossible to let it out. Tailors can often take a dress in up to three sizes without affecting the design – so unless you plan on loosing that much weight – trust the experts!

How to not get confused

  1. Don’t try on too many dresses. I get that this is the one time in your life you have this opportunity and you want to play dress up with your friends. We don’t tell you not to try on too many just so we can get you in and out fast enough, we want you to have fun and love this experience – but trying on too many can make you end up feeling overwhelmed and so confused! After a while every dress will blend into one. When this starts happening leave the appointment and get some food into you before resuming – or wait another weekend.

Ella Zampatti
  1. When you find yourself interested in more than one dress – don’t try to make a decision on the spot no matter how much the consultant pressures you! Wait a week and while you try to go to sleep at night picture your wedding, you’ll find yourself picturing yourself in one of the gowns… That’s the one for you!

  2. Keep your group limited. Too many clashing opinions has far too often left my bride in tears and left me with a headache. I always remind my bride that there will be one person at her wedding who may hate her gown – while everyone else loves it. Keep your group to around one or two, family works best but if they can’t come your closest friends who have known you the longest and knows your style.

  3. Don’t think that you need tears to tell you that you’ve found the one. While some brides shed tears, others don’t. Every bride is different and not everyone has that massive emotional moment, for some its a much more logical and methodological way.

About your budget

  1. Set a budget before you even step foot into a shop, and don’t try on dresses outside of your price range. Many brides fall into this trap just for fun, but end up falling in love and then having unreal expectations for dresses that are within their budget.

Ella Zampatti
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