Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Dress

You want to look perfect on your special day. The right dress is out there!

By Tracy Leigh Ritts


The ring is on your finger — the date is circled in red on your calendar — and in front of you is a staggering list of to-dos. The most pressing of these, and for many the most daunting, is selecting your dress.

Shopping for the gown of your dreams means visiting one, two, or many bridal shops. Don’t be nervous—while no one can guarantee you’ll find the absolutely “perfect dress” quickly or easily, we have some tips to help you prepare for the search.

  • Glossy bridal magazines at your local bookstore are the best place to start your hunt. Grab a cup of coffee, a handful of magazines, and kick back — this is the easy part. Flip through the pages, clip out photographs you like, take notes on what you don’t like.
  • The next step is to choose two or three bridal shops and make appointments. This is always better then walking in cold off the street. Ideally, you’ll want the first shops you visit to carry a wide variety of designers and gowns. This will give you the broadest spectrum to narrow down your choices.
  • Remember those photographs you clipped out? Bring them with you! This will give your bridal consultant something to work with. It’s also a good idea to share with her your plans for the wedding. Make sure the consultant is in the know. She will be able to show you dresses most appropriate for a formal ceremony, a country wedding, or a destination event.
  • If you’re considering a sleeveless dress, bring a strapless bra with you. Bring shoes with the approximate heel height, too. If you have a distinctive piece of jewelry you plan to wear, bring it or a picture of it.
  • Communicate clearly your desires at each bridal shop you visit. While the sales consultants know their inventory, they won’t know what you want unless you tell them. Trust in your consultant, but don’t let her overwhelm you with styles and designers you don’t like or can't afford.

Whatever your style, whatever your budget — your dream wedding gown is out there and you will look breathtaking in it. Best of luck!

Tracy Leigh Ritts is a freelance writer based in Ohio. She’s the author of the book, How to Plan Your Own Wedding and Save Thousands…Without Going Crazy.