Finding the perfect wedding gown

Once you have sorted the big-ticket items of your wedding – the budget, guest lists, ceremony and reception venues, it’s time to go shopping for the more important details – and what more important detail is there than the wedding gown?

Rosa clara wedding gown

Gown by Rosa Clara

Once you have done some preliminary research in magazines and online, make an appointment with some bridal boutiques. Give some though to the time of year your wedding will take place, and where your reception will be. This will keep you from buying a dress that won’t feel right on the day (velvet for a garden wedding, or a billowing skirt for a reception in a tiny restaurant).

Don’t wait too long to start shopping. It takes four to six months to have a dress made and fitted, and sometimes longer for one with intricate beading or embroidery. If you start shopping eight to twelve months in advance, you won’t feel rushed, and you should avoid the cost of last minute alterations.

Most bridal boutiques require appointments to ensure you get the personal attention you need. Treat the appointment as the important event it is! Don’t try to squeeze it into a lunch hour, and don’t go straight from the gym.

With the price of wedding gowns starting around $500, it’s also important to establish your budget before setting foot in a store. Without a price range in mind, you risk overspending or falling in love with something you can’t afford. Remember too, that you need to add in the cost of other items such as a headpiece or veil, shoes, lingerie, and jewellery. So if you are willing to spend $2,000 overall, you should be looking at $1,500 gowns.

It’s always a good idea to take your mum or a bridesmaid shopping with you for their opinion, but don’t turn up with an entourage – too many opinions only detract from the one that counts – yours.

Finding ‘the one’

The right dress should satisfy your head and your heart – as well as your budget. You may wear this dress only once, but it will be for an important occasion, and you’ll feel more beautiful and confident if you’re comfortable. So lift your arms as you will when you’re dancing, and try sitting down and standing up as you will during your reception. Is the dress too heavy? Does the bodice feel too tight? Is a slip dress too revealing? Remember that some of these problems will disappear when the dress in the right size is fitted to you, and that seamstresses can often work wonders when altering the gown.


• Remember to wear the lingerie that you intend to wear under your wedding gown to each of your dress fittings.

• Keep an open mind when shopping, as what can look ordinary on a hanger may look stunning when tried on.

• Choose your veil or headpiece at the same time as you choose your wedding dress. This will ensure that the colours and fabrics can be easily matched.

• Don’t begin shopping with only one design in mind. Try on several dresses in various styles and shades.

• Consider how the dress looks from the back. After all, this is the view your guests will have during your ceremony.

Wedding dress

Gowns below by Essence of Australia

Gowns by Essence of Australia


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