Finding your wedding dress (suit, jumpsuit or outfit.)

I have touched on this topic previously, but find this is something that comes up again and again: How do you find your wedding dress or outfit? For some the process is of course very low-fuss and straight forward, however for others finding an outfit can become something quite dreaded and stressful. Let's face it, some (anti-) brides and grooms feel a lot of pressure to get this one right.

Let's not forget also, that many anti-brides probably have never imagined themselves as a bride, let alone dreamt about the white dress. Therefore, it can be hugely overwhelming, especially when there seems to be quite a prescriptive formula that applies to wedding attire (or in particular wedding dresses!)

Here are a few tips that will hopefully help you find your wedding outfit :

1. What do you normally like wearing/ feel great in?

If you hate the idea of wearing a strapless top, then there is a good chance you will feel uncomfortable in a strapless outfit on your wedding day. However, it is important to keep a really open mind in those early stages - especially if you are very unsure of what you like. Having said that, if you hate the idea of a floor length dress and just can't imagine yourself in one, then you should not feel obliged to wear one. (Despite what your bridesmaids/aunty/sister-in-law/neighbours may say or think). It's perfectly ok to think outside the box.

2. What are your deal breakers? If you hate the thought of lace, it's perfectly fine to leave it off your list of things to try on. (Whilst silhouettes can be a tricky one to feel very set on, usually brides will have a love or hate relationship with fabrics such as lace or sequins etc)

3. Don't take more than 2 people shopping with you - or simply go alone. While it can be helpful to have a second option it is important to remember to choose something that feels most like you. Having too many differing opinions can often be confusing or distracting. It is really important to remember that your friends and family all have their own style and may pick their favourites based on what they would be most likely to wear. This may complete the opposite to what you love and feel great in. Therefore, it's best to choose a team that reinforces the importance of you choosing something that you feel amazing in. If this isn't the care perhaps consider shopping alone.

4. If you're choosing to go with white - how on earth do you know which to choose? Is it White/Ivory/Off White/Diamond White or perhaps Non-White White? Generally having a hint of cream (such as ivory or off-white) is a bit gentler on fair skin tones (i.e. less likely to make you appear washed out). Where as crisp or more blue tone white looks incredible on darker skin tones. But of course there is always Bondi-Sands if you prefer a pure white but are fair (if you're game). Some wedding dresses do come in an ivory or off-white only, where as others are available in a variety of options. (Colours like blush, nude or even grey tones can be incredibly flattering on very fair skin - so may be worth trying too).

5. Budget. Getting a dress custom made is more expensive than buying to order - in general. If going to a bridal shop is not your thing there are plenty of online shops that have fantastic options that are suitable for brides (including both bridal and non-bridal brands). These online shops range from very affordable to high end designer brands to suit a whole range of budgets. (Just check their returns policy before purchasing).. Of course, if you are set on a bridal brand that is out of your price range, check out second hand bridal websites and shops. My advice would be however to try on that outfit first (if possible), as often second hand shops and websites tend to have a no return policy. It happens very frequently that brides believe style X is exactly what they want after seeing it online, only to put it on and not feel it suits them or not feel like themselves it it. So if you can, try before you buy it. Always make sure to leave a little extra in the budget for alterations too.

6. Body shape. Observe what necklines, silhouettes, split options, straps and fabrics are making you feel the best. At the end of the day, the 'right' choice will be what makes you feel a million bucks (even if the budget is closer to much, much less than that.) Also, if you are wanting to change/alter a variety of things on a dress/outfit it probably isn't the one for you.

7. Sleep on it. Ponder over the styles in your head. Bridal shops will generally need about 6-7 months to make your outfit to order (if you're getting your outfit custom made it may be best to start a little earlier - around the 12month mark) - although it is worth checking with individual boutiques and designers. It is always possible to order from bridal shops with less time, although designers may add a rush order fee (sometimes it's 10% of purchase price, other times a set amount depending on the designer/timeframe). Of course purchasing online can be done very last minute. True story- the outfit I wore down the aisle arrived 48 hours before we flew out - and the alterations were done with only hours to spare... (Yes, my seamstress is a saint!)

8. Once you've found that dress/gown/jumpsuit/suit/outfit STOP LOOKING. Seriously, let's not forget it is only one day and if you have already spent 5k on a dress that's perfectly beautiful, it's probably not helpful to go to another bridal shop to try on more dresses, just in case. (Trust me, this happens more than you'd think!) There is nothing wrong of course with getting a second or a third outfit, but it may be worth considering going with an option that you can definitely wear again or mixing in some pieces you already have in your wardrobe.

9. If it's all getting too overwhelming, take a break. Spend a little time trying to work out what styles you felt best in, continue coming back to, or what style feels most like you. Focus on why you are getting married and take a few weeks off the shopping and/or wedding planning process. Most importantly you will have an incredible wife/husband on your arm at the end of the day - so regardless it's all fine. (Or consider our Styling Services, if you need a hand). x

Image by Matt Godkin |

Model Jess Purchase |

MUA Tannia Tiropanis with Laura Kimber |

Styling The Anti-Bride

Jess wears Chosen by One Day Bridal.