How to Choose Your Dream Wedding Dress (and What Mistakes to Avoid)

Finding the perfect wedding dress can be overwhelming when you first begin—but it doesn't have to be. By keeping in mind a few dos and don'ts, you can guide your search with ease. To begin, forgo the idea of there only being "one" perfect dress. Instead, have an open mind when you're shopping, and be aware of how each dress makes you feel. Remember that it's ultimately your opinion that will seal the deal on the dress you scoop up for your big day. There are plenty of gorgeous options out there, so take your time, and start your search early. Have fun while you're at it, too, and don't be afraid to try on something you didn't consider before. As you look, you'll get a clearer idea of what style you're leaning toward. Keep reading to learn how to choose a wedding dress with a few key pieces of advice.

Focus on the Silhouette

To begin, figure out the silhouette that's most flattering for your body type. If you have this down before you start trying on dresses, you can narrow in on a single style. Your first trip to the bridal salon can feel overwhelming, but a specific silhouette can give you a solid starting point. Eschew trendy of-the-moment styles that can quickly look dated. Remember that the focus should be on you, and the dress should bring out the gorgeous qualities you already possess.

Do Your Research

Having a few choices in mind before you enter the bridal shop can go a long way in finding the right dress. Research designers and have images of dresses at the ready. Even simple choices like knowing whether you want a veil or if you prefer a strapless to a cap sleeve can set you on the path to finding your dress. When you get to the bridal salon, don't be afraid to ask questions about your favorite picks. It's also useful to know the location of your wedding beforehand in order to narrow down the type of material and length of your dress.

Take Photos

Having photos of the dresses you try on can help you make the best decision once you've left the shop, especially if you have multiple appointments. We've all done this with an item of clothing where we don't buy it in the moment because something isn't quite right, and then we pine for it later. Having a photo on hand can help you make an informed decision away from the hubbub of the bridal shop, where it's easy to get swept away in the moment and buy on an impulse. Having a photo can also help you determine which cuts are most flattering and can provide your bridal consultant with a starting point to guide the dresses you try on.

Limit Who You Bring

You know the phrase "too many cooks in the kitchen"? That absolutely applies here. Everyone is going to have an opinion on their favorites, but what matters most is your own. Limit who you bring to three or four people at the most, and make sure they're people whose opinions you trust. They can help bring you back down to earth when you're in the flurry of trying on dresses, while too many people can lead you to try on pieces that aren't your style or you may feel compelled to avoid something you like for the sake of appeasing them. Remember that this is ultimately your decision—your opinion is what takes precedence on your big day.

Have a Budget (and Stick to It)

Perhaps the most important piece of advice to keep in mind is making sure you know your budget before you shop. Try to avoid the temptation of trying on a dress that falls outside your budget, unless you want to be heartbroken. Not only will this help you narrow down your hunt, but it can also help you determine the designers and dress style to begin with. Remember, a beautiful gown can be found at any budget.

Up next, keep reading to learn how to clean wedding rings like a professional jeweler.