Wedding Dress Shopping: Tips From a Wedding Pro

Wedding dress shopping is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. While some us have been envisioning our wedding dress since we were in grade school, some women don’t know where to start! Your wedding gown is likely the most expensive garment you will ever wear as a woman. That’s a lot of pressure. Not only that, but your dress also sets the tone for the entire wedding and reception. The tips in this article are based off interviews I’ve had with women who have gone through the process, my 11 years as a wedding photographer, and my own experience dress shopping for my wedding.

Oh by the way, I’m getting married.

How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Dress: Tips From a Wedding Pro | Christine Chang Photography | LA Wedding Photographer |

Working in the wedding industry definitely helped me get clear before the dress buying process. There were three things super important to me when it came to my wedding dress. One, I wanted to feel good in my dress. I wanted it to fit well, and I didn’t want to regret wearing it 30 years down the road. I looked online, went to 3 shops (Lovely Bride, Lovella, Shop Gossamer), and overall the experience was fun! I can see how the process is something that can easily become stressful, and if my mind started to go there, I had to check myself.

How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Dress: Tips From a Wedding Pro | Christine Chang Photography | LA Wedding Photographer |

So that this blog post isn’t one-sided, I also asked other women who have been through the wedding dress selection process – What was your experience dress shopping? Did you have an easy or hard time? About how many dresses did you try on? Do you still love what you chose or do you wish you went with something else? What is the #1 tip you would give for someone in the process?

Get Inspired Online

Looking at wedding dresses online before you go into a bridal store is helpful. With so many options, styles, and dress types it’s great to have a couple examples to show your stylist. Create a Pinterest board of all your favorites. You can also research weddings that took place at your venue to see what other brides wore in that particular setting.

Before going I already had an idea which stores I want to try. Once I tried my dress I pretty much knew it was the one. I could not get it out of my mind even after trying other dresses. I did wait a few days before handing over my credit card just to make sure it was the dress I really wanted. So I have 2 pieces of advice: 1. Do a lot of online pre-shopping / Pinterest 2. Let it go and if it keeps coming back to your heart then get it! – Charlene

Be Open Minded

Try to be open minded! Just because you have been dreaming of that wedding dress you saw on Pinterest, you never know what you will fall in love with once you try it on. There are so many different silhouettes, materials and shades of whites. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try on a couple dresses that are out of your comfort zone.

Make sure to feel your best. Rested and relaxed. Not stressed. Always try on a few you would “NEVER” pick out or think you would like/wear. It’s always surprising! If even it solidifies your love for another or could end up being the dress of your dreams. Veils can end up being a different color (sooooo many whites) so if wearing one, try it on with the dress. If the shop doesn’t have one, make sure to test it with the dress at some point. – Whitney

Trust Your Wedding Dress Stylist

I told the woman helping me that I absolutely didn’t want a satin dress. She brought one for me anyway, I tried it on first and ended up loving and buying it! I guess the lesson is to have an open mind and you’ll know it works once you’re in it! – Catherine

Bring Good Energy

There is absolutely no need to over think it. A wedding is a celebration. The wedding dress selection process should be fun and if it’s not, why are you doing it? The energy you bring to planning is more important than the planning itself (thank you Jason Goldberg for this!).

Know Your Body Type

Know your body type. My body is pencil (no curves), so I knew A-line or ball gown skirt would be most flattering. This pancake ass doesn’t need a tight dress around it! There are tons of guides floating around Pinterest that help you determine the right silhouette for your particular shape. That said, don’t feel like you HAVE to choose a certain type of dress because someone said so. Again, it’s all about what makes you FEEL good (but, if you are anything like me, you feel good when you look good).

Know what works for your body type! Once I knew what shape/style dress I wanted it made it so much easier to sift through the dresses and narrow down. Having a down-to-earth, non-pushy sales girl helped immensely as well. – Tamara

Don’t Bring a Crowd

Go alone the first time or if you want to bring someone, bring one person who knows you well. Too many opinions will make you second guess. Out of everyone, YOU know what works best for you. My bestie came with me my first time and she said, “They’re all pretty, but this one is very you.” Choose someone who understands you (and who has good taste).

How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Dress: Tips From a Wedding Pro | Christine Chang Photography | LA Wedding Photographer |


Choose Something Timeless

Choose a style that has longevity. Timeless may feel “boring,” but keep in mind you will be looking at these photos for a long, long time. Will you be glad you went with a particular wedding dress because you saw it on a trendy wedding blog?

My #1 tip for anyone is to know your body type and know what you’re most comfortable in…. don’t try to make things complicated. Go with a timeless piece of dress rather than what’s trendy. – Sanaz

How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Dress: Tips From a Wedding Pro | Christine Chang Photography | LA Wedding Photographer |
Image: Afternoon special

Choose a Dress that Feels Good

If your wedding dress fits well and you feel good in it, you will not regret it. The wedding day is not about the wedding dress, it’s about you and the way you feel (ok fine, your partner too). I have NEVER heard someone say, “Thank god I wore THIS dress for my wedding. THIS made my wedding what it was!.” After all is said and done, no one remembers the technical details. They just remember how they feel.

Once You Find Your Dress Stop Looking

Once you have found one, STOP looking. There are a MILLION versions of a white dress, and you are asking to go down an endless hole. Stop visiting online bridal boutiques and browsing through dresses on Pinterest. You picked your wedding dress for a reason, so stay confident in your choice! When you slip it on for your first fitting, all those feelings will come rushing back assuring you that you made the right choice. So wait it out!

Bottom line?

Choosing your wedding dress is a lot like choosing your life partner. Stay open, feel good, and when you know, you know. When do you know? When you feel comfortable and at ease.

How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Dress: Tips From a Wedding Pro | Christine Chang Photography | LA Wedding Photographer |




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