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Bridal Gown and Shoe Shopping Tips for Every Bride

  |   By Staff Writer

Photo by Nathan Walker on Unsplash

When you're ready to start looking for your wedding outfit, there are so many things to consider—sometimes it can feel pretty overwhelming. These expert tips and savvy tricks will ensure you feel well prepared to shop your heart out and find exactly the wedding dress and wedding shoes you've always desired!

No.
01

How far in advance of a wedding should you order your dress?

We spoke to Danielle Gulic and Yvonne Reidy, co-owners of Toronto’s uber-cool bridal boutique LoversLand, to give you the goods on wedding dress shopping.

“This one has every bride stumped, but it is by FAR one of the most crucial details to know when shopping for your dream dress,” Reidy shares. “We recommend giving yourself eight months to order your dress. This allows enough time for the designer to make your dress, ship it, and for your seamstress to do alternations. Give yourself plenty of time; this way you can avoid rush fees (these can cost a pretty penny). Remember, you aren’t the only bride in the world getting married.”

Wedding gowns on a rack Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

No.
02

How many fittings are generally required to get the dress fitted perfectly?

“Depending on the gown and fit, one or two fittings are generally required,” Gulic explains. Here’s a pro-trip I love to share with brides: it can be difficult to imagine how a dress will look when you have your hot pink thong illuminating under it, or your black bra straps poking out. For your fittings, wear skin-tone undergarments and a strapless bra, even better if they are the ones you are going to wear on your wedding day! We can also help with that and make recommendations of what to shop for before you come for a fitting.”

dressmaker helping the bride to put her wedding dress on in clothes shop.

No.
03

Your venue will dictate your dress style

To ensure dress success and a dream shopping experience, we asked Andrea Anastasiou fashion stylist and owner of White Toronto and White Montreal what you should start thinking about before even scheduling that first atelier appointment.

“You must consider what type of venue you are getting married in and what type of dress is suitable to the setting,” Anastastiou says. “If you're tying the knot on a tropical island you are going to want to avoid wearing a full ballgown with a never-ending train. If you're having a big wedding with a black-tie theme, you will want to kick up the wow factor to another level. Venue and wedding style have a huge connection!”

Asian young woman bride trying on wedding dress at modern wedding

No.
04

Prepare to share your research and ideas

“This is the first thing you need to do when you meet with your retailer and consultant so be prepared,” Anastasiou explains. “You should have a good idea of what you like and what you don’t.  Once you begin working with your consultant, don’t be afraid to trust some of the suggestions he or she will give you. You may find these suggestions lead you to a dream dress you would never have considered."

Dress designer fitting bridal gown to woman in boutique

No.
05

Keep your budget in mind

“It’s important to have your budget in mind at all times as well as a realistic idea of what you are willing to spend on your wedding dress,” Anastasiou stresses. “You need to share this with your bridal consultant who will help keep the budget on track and prevent the shopping experience from being a frustrating one. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a gown that you can’t afford and then forever comparing every other gown you try to it. Save yourself the heartache.”

wedding gowns on a rack Photo by Filipp Romanovski on Unsplash

No.
06

Veils: a definite do

Writer Alison McGill learned a lot from her appointment with Andrea Anastasiou at White Toronto.

If you are sitting on the fence, Andrea says take the plunge. Veils are white hot (Katie Holmes, Marcia Cross and Nicole Kidman all wore dramatic full-length ones for their recent weddings) and trust me, the moment you try one on, you’ll be smitten. They make you feel and look ultra-feminine and dead romantic. Pick up the current issue of Weddingbells to see some of the prettiest veils of the season.

bride and groom kissing under a wedding veil Photo by Soulseeker - Creative Photography on Unsplash

No.
07

Shop with a buddy

Should you bring along a friend or two when you go dress shopping? Definitely, but keep it to a maximum of four. Any more and you’ll get too many opinions and nothing accomplished. Is it still taboo to bring your beau along? Andrea says she is seeing more and more couples in her store, shopping for the gown together—if he’s your best friend and sounding board, why not bring him along? Guaranteed you’re going with him when he picks his gear.

fitting wedding dress

No.
08

The shoes: Comfort with a capital C

Not exactly what you may want to hear, but the truth is, after all these months of planning, prepping, and envisioning, the last thing you want to be worried about while you’re soaking in the magical moments of your wedding day is how badly your feet are hurting.

Yes, EVEN if those shoes are perfect, who wants to be hobbling around or in pain for eight or more hours? Let’s be real, it’s going to be a long, long—albeit magical—day. Do yourself a favour and get real about your schedule, so you can enjoy every moment from head to toe.

gorgeous wedding shoes Photo by Marcus Lewis on Unsplash

No.
09

The shoes: Dress length and style 

The length of your dress is a key factor to consider when shopping for shoes. Do you want your shoes to peek out in photos, or will your dress even allow it? Will you be wearing a short number, with your shoes on full display?

If your chosen shoe has an applique or embellishment that may snag the bottom of your dress, you may want to think twice about wearing it, depending on the length of your gown.

Bride siting with groom on a porch outdoors Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

No.
10

The shoes: The venue matters here, too

Ballroom? Chapel aisle? Outdoor venue? Beach scene? Surface type matters, ladies! Pointy heels will sink into the grass, so opt for a platform or wedge if you’re outside. If you’re beach-bound, but not into having sand between your toes, opt for a closed-toed flat or sandals if you want to keep with the tropical vibe.

Bride in front of giant window Photo by photo nic on Unsplash

No.
11

The shoes: Build in a break-in period

In a clean, flat, spill-safe area, wear your selected shoes around... and around... and around again! It’s so important you take your shoes on a pre-game spin so that you don’t experience buyer’s remorse when you have blisters on hour two of eleven of your big day!

bride and groom walking on the beach with shoes in hand Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

No.
12

The shoes: Don’t choose just one pair

You may have found your one and only partner, but who says you have to settle on just your one and only shoe? For just the ceremony and photos, you could opt for something more glamorous and showy, and then when you’re ready to dance the night away, have another pair on standby.

Perhaps if you have a shorter dress, you’ll want to opt for flats or low heels, or even a platform or wedge to keep the height but boogie down without a care (or a blister). And if you love a great buy, why not buy a nude heel, or something in a neutral which you know you’ll re-wear with your favourite little black dress!

bride and groom against a brick wall Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash

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