(Closed) How did you ever narrow it down? Tell me about your dress selection process.

posted 7 years ago in Dress
Post # 3
1227 posts
Bumble bee

First thing I would say is find a reputable salon. Ask friends or read reviews online.

I had about half a dozen dresses in mind, and a list of things I wanted in a dress, and didn’t want.

My consultant let us browse and tag dresses I wanted to try on. She also selected dresses for me, based on my preferences, the information about the ceremony, and just general information about me (she basically interviewed me for about 5 minutes).

As I tried on dresses, she took my feedback, and altered her selections (i.e. taking dresses she had pulled for me back, grabbing new ones).

After 90 minutes, I had narrowed it down to 4.  I went home, looked at the pictures, and made my choice.

The dress I picked was nothing like what I imagined going in, but I love it, and everyone whose seen it adores it on me as well.  So I guess the biggest piece of advice is to have an open mind, and work with an experienced consultant.  My consultant has been doing this for years. She knows her inventory inside and out (she’s actually the buyer for the salon) and she knows what looks good on what body types.

How a dress looks on a model can be very different than what it looks like on you.  While I was admittedly disappointed that I couldn’t wear a style that I initially thought I’d want (just highlighted all of the wrong parts), by keeping an open mind I found a dress I did love–one that met pretty much none of my initial criteria.

Post # 4
122 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Try them on before you narrow it down. I thought FOR SURE I wanted a mermaid fit, but after trying one on and feeling like a snow beast, I ruled it out. I never thought I wanted a ball gown, but fell in LOVE when I tried on the Maggie Sottero Carissa…so then ball gowns were added to the list of potential choices. After figuring out what waistline I needed, I decided that was how I’d be able to narrow it down, because the A-line natural waist made me feel the skinniest. 

If you don’t try it, you’ll never know what could potentially look GREAT on you. But I would urge you to see which waistline looks the best, and go from there. 

Post # 5
2892 posts
Sugar bee

I identified the categories of styles in the pics I was saving. We then pulled the 3 or 4 dresses that resembled those categories and we narrowed it down SUPER fast based on how those looked. For instance, I LOVED big tulle bottoms with fitted lace tops in photos. On my body? Pass! That eliminated like 10 pics I had saved. Within a couple minutes we had it down to “fitted, all-over-lace” looks the best on me and found the dress a moment after that. I didn’t buy the same day but went home to sleep on it and went back a couple days later after I was sure about how I felt and bought it. Zero regrets. I loved it! 🙂

Post # 6
4655 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I think you have a glitch (triple post?)

Anyway, I knew I didn’t want something all white — or anything close either. Ivory, chapagne, etc. No thanks. Too normal. 

It had to be something with good movement, long, and with lots of DRAMA. It had to show off my tattoos. No tulle, nothing too ballgowny, because FH doesn’t like that stuff. It had to be really, really unique, something that would really turn heads and surprise people. 

My first stop was offbeat bride’s vendors, specifically weddingdressfantasy.com (which is awesome by the way) but that stuff was too expensive. 

I never searched for wedding dresses except to get shape ideas, really, because I knew I’d never find the right dress under the wedding label at a price I could afford. 

So I began looking at dramatic prom dresses and got some image ideas on gothic lolita sites. I found something I liked that was a civil war inspired gown in blue, but it wasn’t in stock and the manufacturers kept giving me the brushoff

I was incredibly upset, thinking I’d never find a top and bottom both that I liked that much again that I knew FH would like too.

Conclusion: Get the top and bottom separately. I decided to get a corset and a skirt to match. Since white and black are an easy match, I searched for corsets and found one that was white with black stripes and trim and figured I’d do black, white, or black and white for a skirt.

Finding a period-style (in this case edwardian) skirt with lots of ruffles and drama was much easier than looking for a whole dress I liked in my price range and I found an etsy seller who customized the perfect thing for a great cost.

So that was my process:

-Determine requirements (Shape, length, vibe, price, etc.)

-Search using keywords for the most important things, with or without the word wedding. (Depending on your requirements, the word wedding might impede you more than it helps.)

-Look for designers in your price range that seem to agree with your image.

-Look for invididuals (etsy especially) who might be willing to tweak a design from good to perfect

-Narrow options by how much they correspond with the dream image. (For most people this is trying it on.)

Shortened: Figure out what you want to look like, then figure out who can make that happen for you. 

Post # 8
193 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I am so little 5′ 113 lbs and I thought ball gowns would never work on me and that I would drown in them. i tried one on for fun at the end of a dress shopping session and it made me tear up. It was the one. I wet home and I had pictures of me in almost all the other dresses I had on except for this one. I was trying to trust my gut and just get it, but because I am usually SO nontraditional I needed a few days to work that out. For me it all came down to how I FELT in the dress. I felt good in a few of the other dresses, but in this dress I felt amazing and what really got me is that I looked the way my FH made me feel, like the luckiest most beautiful woman in the world. You will feel it if you can hone in on your own feelings. I didn’t bring anybody with me to my first shopping sessions either, not until I narrowed it down. Lastly, price was a big factor as well. You can see pictures of me in the dresses I tried on here: http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/need-your-opinions-on-these-5-dresses

I took pictures of ‘the dress’ on my second visit and it is #5

I wish you the best of luck, and remember, have fun!

Post # 9
5423 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 2012

@Stargaze31:  I went to a dozen stores before choosing so I can tell you for me it was not easy.  I suggest finding a salon in your area that has a decent selection.  Make an appoitment for a weekday or an upcoming bad weather day when the store will be nearly empty and you can have run of the salon.  Try on everything.  All sillhouettes/fabrics and get an idea of what you like/dont like.

A lot of brides end up choosing things they didnt think they wanted.  I thought I wanted a fit and falre organza ruffley gown.  I chose a silk charmeuse sheath, it took me a lot of stores to realize it tho.

Post # 10
3371 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I’m just starting out on my dress journey – have done one day of dress shopping, and it’s given me plenty to think. 

First of all, I spent a lot of time browsing through different designers’ collections, before shortlisting a couple who I feel resonate most strongly with my personal style and aesthetic. For example, I’ve always loved Vera Wang gowns, and also Oscar de la Renta’s evening collections, so they were immediately in my top 3. Then, because I’m a bit neurotic, I also canvassed dresses by other designers, just to make sure I didn’t miss out on a hidden gem! In terms of styles, I have stayed pretty close to what I would look for in an evening dress, albeit with a bit more drama. For example, I wouln’t usually opt for an empire line or a halter neck in a normal dress, so I certainly wouldn’t go there for a wedding gown.

I also spent some time stalking wedding recap websites, like stylemepretty and Vera Wang’s Real Weddings, to see what my ‘dream’ dresses look like on real brides who are not emaciated, sullen 16-year-old models. This was quite helpful in eliminating certain styles.

Then, I went to a two or three local bridal salons to try on dresses. None stocked the exact designs I wanted, but this being China – they had a lot of similar dresses (and in some cases, shockingly near-identical copies). I tried on dresses in each of the silhouettes/shapes I was considered (modified mermaid, trumpet and ballgown). I also, for the sake of experimentation, tried on some dresses I wouldn’t have normally considered. Some of these I actually quite liked, so I would recommend keeping an open mind when dress-shopping. The whole wedding dress shopping experience is fairly relaxed here – there’s no pressure to buy, and I actually saw some Chinese brides buy the first gown they tried on. There’s little to no emotional attachment to buying one’s wedding dress here. I actually found that quite helpful because everyone is very objective, and the bridal consultants don’t treat the dresses like precious cargo (as is the case at some upscale salons in the U.S. or Australia). 

So, I now have a pretty good idea of which styles and silhouettes suit me. Out of these, I will most likely have to forgo the ballgown option because we’re having a Bali destination wedding. So, that leaves me with a definite silhouette, and just a couple of designers on my shortlist. MUCH more manageable than my original dizzying array of numerous designers and countless styles! 

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