Have fun choosing a wedding dress

If you’re reading this article your partner, best friend and the love of your life has just proposed.   Congratulations!  Being married myself, I know just how important it is to find the right wedding dress.  Well, Wedding and Function is here to give you advice on how to choose a wedding dress and have fun doing so!

Four tips that will make choosing a wedding dress fun

  1. Find out as much as you can about wedding dresses.  Visit wedding fairs, window shop, use Pintrest, use Google, talk to your married friends and have fun doing so.  There is no garment in your life that will be as important as your wedding dress, so make sure you know what you want. 
  2. Determine your wedding dress budget.  There is no rule as to how much or what percentage to spend on a wedding dress, it’s your call.
  3. Look at all the options for acquiring your wedding dress.  The options are more varied than you might expect.  For buying a dress look at retail outlets, dress makers, online shops and pre-owned websites.  You should also consider hiring a dress.
  4. Ask your best friends and family who you know have your best interest at heart to assist you in finding the dress of your dreams.

Find out as much as you can about wedding dresses

When to start looking at wedding dresses

Start your research as soon as possible.  The more you know about wedding dresses the easier it is to find the perfect dress and the more fun it can be in locating the dress shop or dress maker.

Why are wedding dresses usually white?

The most common wedding dress colour is white. Originally, this was to show that the bride was virginal and pure.  Today it is more about tradition and because white is such an elegant colour.

Wedding and Function has written a number of articles on wedding dresses and their colours.  Click here to find out why white has not always been the most common colour and here to find out what wedding dress colours are trending.

Styles vs body shape

As you are no doubt aware, the shape of your body is best complimented by certain styles of dress.  There is a huge amount of advice available on the internet and particularly on Pinterest

Most wedding planners advise brides-to-be not to go all out to lose weight or to try and change their body shape.  Remember, your fiancé loves you just the way you are and didn’t propose on condition that you lose weight.

Planning a wedding can by stressful and you don’t want to place the extra burden on yourself of having to lose weight. Whatever you do, don’t fit a dress hoping that you will lose weight by your wedding day. 

Below is a simple guide to wedding dresses styles matched to body shape.

Choosing the right material

It is a good idea to know your wedding date before you choose your dress.  You don’t want to overheat or get to cold – you want to be radiant.  This means choosing a fabric and cut that will suite the climate most likely to occur on your wedding day.

Also keep in mind that fabrics made from natural fibres breathe better, but they can also be more expensive or wrinkle more easily.  Fabric blends and synthetics are a good option.

Satin is the most iconic wedding fabric.  Actually satin isn’t a fabric, it’s a finish and can be applied to almost any material.  The reason why satin is so popular is because it is versatile, durable and it has a smooth finish with a lot of body. 

Satin works with every body type and functions well in complex as well as simple dress designs. It is best suited to cooler weather weddings because of its thickness.

The most common wedding dress fabrics are satin made from 100% silk, charmeuse, chiffon, organza, tulle and lace.

Determine your wedding dress budget

How much should I spend on a wedding dress?

There is no hard and fast rule about how much to spend or what percentage of your budget should be spent on a wedding dress.

There are plenty of online wedding budget calculators and most recommend a budget of between 5% and 15% of your total wedding cost.

However I know of people who had a small wedding and spent 35% of their budget on the wedding dress.

Factors affecting the cost

So what are the factors that will determine how much you spend on a wedding dress?  There are probably a few that you have not considered.

Firstly, remember that the dress is only part of the whole.  There are shoes, jewellery and accessories, underwear and a veil.  Oh, and don’t forget the garter!

Secondly, the size, style and material are all factors that will affect the price of the dress.

The outlet or dress maker will have some influence too.  An off the shelf dress will be less than a custom made and specially designed dress.

Then you need to consider the number of fittings too.

Buying the wedding dress

Local dress makers and retail outlets

The quickest and easiest way to find your local dress maker is to use Google.  Type in ‘wedding dresses’ plus your location and Google will give you a great directory listing of shops and dress makers.

Dress makers will be the most expensive option but they will give you great advice and a perfectly fitted dress.  My advice is to do plenty of research before you visit a dress maker so that you can give them a good description of what you are looking for.

Buying a dress online

The great convenience of online stores is that you view a huge variety of styles very easily and quickly.  Many online stores are very efficient and as convenient as a local outlet. 

If you go the online route, the biggest pitfall is the sizes listed on these sites.  You will need to have some point of reference to make sure that you order the correct size.

Check all the policies of the site before making your purchase.  Note that most wedding sites have a non-return policy, unlike other online clothing stores.

After you have taken delivery of the dress you may still want to make a few alterations so make sure you have a seamstress on hand to assist.

Pre-owned wedding dresses

If you are working on a tight budget then have a look at online resale sites.  You’d be amazed at how many dresses are available.  In this case though, you must budget for having your dress cleaned.

Renting a dress

There is also the rental option.  This has become more and more popular and many of the smaller dress shops now offer this service. 

The biggest downfall of the rented dress is that the rental companies often do not allow alterations.

Spend some time on the internet looking at what is available.  You may find that the dress that you most want to wear is available for hire.

I know so many brides who, if they could do it again, would hire a dress.  Most of them still have their old wedding dresses clogging their cupboards.  They just can’t throw them away because of the sentimentally of the dress.

If you have started your research early, then you should have plenty of time to browse all these options.

There is sooo much to see and explore – have fun doing it.

Who to ask to assist with your wedding dress choice

I have seen so many bridesmaids disappoint the bride and so many brides upset their bridesmaids. The best advice is to keep your support group small and only ask those people who will genuinely be interested in helping you. 

Also many dress shops and dress makers have a limit as to how many people they can host for each fitting. Try to keep the number of assistants down to two.  Your mom and your trusted friend are best.

Just because you are getting married does not mean that you can expect your support group to drop everything for your wedding dress fitting.  Plan your fitting date well in advance and consult with your assistants before setting the dates.


If you give yourself plenty of time you can really enjoy finding your wedding dress.  Spend as much time as possible researching styles and fabrics before deciding on what you want.  Take into consideration the season, location and wedding venue too.  Work within your budget and don’t forget all the accessories.  Don’t try and lose weight because you are so beautiful already that the man of your dreams has proposed. Ask for assistance only from those people who are truly interested in helping you.  There is a huge variety to choose from – have fun!