Happy Monday ladies, and welcome to the first Bridal Basics, a new Virginia Bride column on our blog with tips for your wedding in Virginia! Check back every Monday for new tips and advice on how to make your wedding as amazing and unique as possible!

This week, let’s talk about the dress. It’s the first thing that many brides start to think about when planning the wedding, and it’s a new experience for even the most affected shopaholic. Here’s my tips for picking out the perfect dress!


1) Do your homework.

Now’s the time to start researching designers online and picking out your favorite aspects. Watch a lot of Say Yes to the Dress and My Fair Wedding with David Tuterra. This way, when you go to the salon and meet with the bridal consultant, you can tell her you know you like sweetheart necklines or you absolutely don’t want any lace. Decide if you want to go vintage or modern and sexy or classic. While you don’t have to have your entire theme nailed down at this point, you should have a good idea of what it will turn out as, because your dress should reflect it! For example, if you want to have a super classy, Breakfast at Tiffany’s vibe at your wedding, you probably don’t want a super sexy mermaid fit dress.


2) Choose your friends wisely.

As tempting as it may be, refrain from bringing your entire entourage with you to pick out your dress. Decisions are hard enough, and too many opinions only make it worse. My advice is to bring your mom and your maid of honor, whomever that may be. You could also bring your future mother-in-law if she’s interested! You want the dress to reflect YOUR personality, not the personality of you, your five best friends and your crazy aunt on your dad’s side who wasn’t “busy at all!” You’ll know the right dress when you see it, and you don’t want people bringing you down when you walk out of the dressing room. You’ve been dressing yourself for years, so trust yourself and know your style.

3) Go for a test ride.

So many brides don’t think about this: they walk out of the dressing room smiling at how beautiful they look, they see the look on their mom’s face as she tries not to cry and you try on a veil to see the complete look. But do you plan to stand straight up for your entire wedding? Try everything out! Walk around to see how the train flows, practice your go-to dance moves and, most importantly, SIT DOWN. This is my favorite piece of advice for brides, because the nightmare of not being able to sit down in the wedding dress happened to my own sister-in-law!

Photo: Ashlee Kay Images

That’s my brother’s beautiful wife, Julia, in the dress we all helped her pick out at The Barn in West Virginia. She loved it, we loved it, so she got sized and was done! When she picked up the dress, she realized that with the mermaid fit, she couldn’t actually sit down in it, and was forced to go with the reception dress trend. Which isn’t a bad thing at all, but if it wasn’t what you planned on doing in the first place, being forced to have a separate dress for your reception isn’t ideal. And that, my friends, is a true story of why you should move around and test out your dress. P.S. They were married at The Barn at Walnut Grove in Elkton!

4) Location, location, location.

Choose a bridal salon that will give you a good experience. The two main criteria you should be looking for are a salon that has a good selection and knowledgeable, pleasant staff. You obviously want a lot of options, and having a bridal consultant who seems rushed or doesn’t seem to care much about your needs for your dress can really ruin the experience, and this is supposed to be one of the most fun parts of wedding planning! The first time my sister went to look for a dress, she had a bridal consultant who kept leaving for long periods of time (and coming back smelling like smoke) and doing the bare minimum as a consultant. Needless to say, my sister did not buy a dress that day. Don’t let that happen to you! Try Amanda’s Touch Bridal in Verona: they won Virginia Bride‘s Best of 2014 for Best Wedding Gown Salon, voted for by brides!




The author: Beth Wertz

Beth graduated from James Madison University in 2014 with a degree in journalism. Most of her spare time is spent looking at wedding dresses and watching Netflix, hoping to get more ideas for Style Inspirations.
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