Michael Anthony Photography | Los Angeles Wedding Photographers

Five Tips for Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress

Location, Location, Location

The location and theme of your wedding will play a huge role in the type of dress you end up wearing on your wedding day.  If you’re having a rustic barn wedding, a Cinderella ball gown may not fit the bill.  Are you getting married in a church?  Decide if you need a dress with sleeves or a shawl for the ceremony that can be removed for the reception. 

Depending where you’re getting married, weather may also play a role in what type of dress you should be looking for.  Summer calls for strapless, tea-length, and loose flowy sheaths.  Winter pairs well with long trains, layers, and shawls.     

Choosing Your Style

Whether your dream dress is a sweetheart neckline with a princess ball gown, or a tight mermaid silhouette, it’s important to find out what works on your figure.  No matter how many dresses you’ve seen online or on your friends, you won’t know what looks best on you until you try!  Do some research before your visit to find out what professionals suggest for your body type.  If you’re petite, an empire waistline will elongate you frame, while plus-size brides should opt for a slight train to help them look long and lean.  Try on every style you can get your hands on, until you find the perfect silhouette for your shape. 

While you’re looking for that perfect train, make sure to also pay special attention to the upper half of your wedding dress.  As silly as it sounds, the top half of your dress is going to be what people see first, and what will show up in the majority of your guest’s wedding photos.   

Of course, it’s easy to buy into the trends when you are planning your dream wedding on Pinterest, but be sure to find a dress with a mix of classy timelessness, as well as some of those fun trends you’re drooling over.  You’ll thank yourself later when you have to show your children your wedding photos. 

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The Dress Shop Visit

Visiting dress shops can be a daunting experience.  With so many styles to choose from, where do you start?  Well, you can start by picking your entourage.  You’ll want to bring 3 or 4 people whose opinions you trust fully, and who will make the experience fun, while still being completely honest with you.  Some favorites are your mom, sisters, and maid of honor.  While it helps to have extra pairs of eyes, too many opinions can make you feel overwhelmed and indecisive.  In the end, it’s your wedding day, and your opinion is the most important.  But, it doesn’t hurt to have some help.

When visiting shops, always remember that mirrors are great liars.  Dress shop mirrors are similar to fun-house mirrors, and will always be set up to be slimming.  Call ahead and see if your boutique will allow you to take pictures.  While some don’t allow cameras, it’s always great to see what your dress looks like in pictures before you commit to it.  Dress shop mirrors are similar to fun-house mirrors, and will always be set up to be slimming.  They are set up to show you at the most flattering angle.  You don’t want to be disappointed with your dress after you get it home and see it in your own mirror or in pictures on your wedding day.  

When you go in for your first alteration visit, consider wearing your hair in a similar style as it will be on your wedding day.  It will be easier to envision the final product when everything else is in place too.  If you feel beautiful, you’ll have a happier experience.  It will also be easier for you to try on veils and headpieces when you have your hair in place the way you want it.


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Sizing Tips

Don’t be discouraged if you need to go up a few sizes when you’re trying on wedding dresses.  These dresses aren’t sized like most ready-to-wear designs, and will run 2-3 sizes smaller than you’re used to.  The size is just a number, the most important thing is to make sure that it fits you comfortably after alterations, and isn’t too tight anywhere.  You’ll be more disappointed to see your dressing squeezing your problem areas than you will be trying the next size up.

Don’t be shy about asking for alterations.  You want your wedding dress to fit you like a glove.  The last thing you want to worry about on your special day is pulling up your strapless dress every five minutes, or tripping over your train that’s too long for you.  Ask for exactly what you want, and know that one round of alterations might not be enough. 

Choosing Your Accents

The details in your dress will be what tie it to your personality, and make it uniquely you.  Once you’ve decided on a dress, you’ll want to decide if you want to add any sparkle, broaches, beading, or belts.  Make sure these details match your theme, but also that they’re completely you!  This is your chance to customize your style. 

Your shoes and veil are two key pieces that can help tailor your look to your one of a kind personality.  When choosing your veil, decide if you want a fun cathedral length veil, or something short, structured and simple.

If you’re going with a short, tea-length, or high-low dress, you can make a statement with your shoes!  Opt for satin white with crystals for a traditional bridal look, or a fun color to match your theme!  The most important thing to remember is you’re going to be in these shoes for hours before after the ceremony while taking photos, so be sure to pick something you can stand in for long periods of time! 

Don't Forget to Have Fun!

The most important thing to remember through your dress-shopping experience is to have fun!  You’ll know when you’ve found “the dress”, so don’t stress too much.  Give yourself enough time before the wedding to hit many different stores if you need to.  You probably won’t find your dress at the first place, and that’s okay.  If you leave yourself plenty of time, and understand that dress shopping takes time and patience, you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration, and hopefully have fun in the process!  Good luck shopping!