Wedding Dress Shopping - Top Tips!

Updated: Aug 22

Bride in a white wedding dress
Wedding Dress Shopping

So it's super exciting when you make that decision to make a start on your wedding dress shopping!

It can also be a bit stressful if you don't know what style, colour or size to go for.

To help you find The One! We have Sara from The Image Tree here to give you her advice on picking the perfect dress!

Sara is an award-winning image consultant and coach, she says it's time to Rock What You've Already Got!!!

Wedding Dress Shopping? Useful Tips!

By Sara Marsden-Shreeve

Brides white wedding dress
Wedding Dress Shopping

So, after lending a styling hand at a great local bridal boutique, I felt inspired to share.

It was so fulfilling to see a happy bride-to-be get all choked up over her new princess-like image surrounded by cooing friends and family. Not only that but I too got all teary-eyed and blubbered in the corner with them as I remembered my 'dress' moment.

You see my lovelies, to find THAT DRESS is a fabulous feeling and it’s all in the style, the fit, the colour and the finishing touches which gives your look that extra oomph that’ll knock your soon to be hubsters socks off.

So I’m going to donate some styling secrets and a bit of prep so that you’re armed and ready to do a streamlined dress shop and not need to try on every gown in the shire...Here goes!

The back of a brides wedding dress
Wedding Dress Shopping

Do you have a dress in mind?

I know, most of you will have had it planned in your head since you were a little girl and still have that dog eared clipping glued to the front page of your scrapbook or planner.

Well I don’t mean to pop your bubble but I feel it’s my duty to gently say -It may not suit you! Ooh, there I’ve said it…so keep an open mind and be prepared to try on a different style, it could still have similar features you like.

The Big Day. Where and When?

This is important, if you’ve booked the place or church you need to think practically, if there are a million steps, then a fishtail dress is not a good idea, sidestepping like a penguin is not a good look and your fella won’t wait all day.

Can you sit in it, walk in it? Dance in it? It’s a long day…Remember your wedding breakfast too, big frilled necklines and gravy don’t mix

If it's winter, think arms/sleeves and generally keeping warm. A heavier fabric or even a layered frock will help with the body heat and think about a lace shrug, jacket or bit of winter fluff around the shoulders.

Getting married abroad? Then don’t buy an enormous meringue ball gown it won’t travel well or cheaply and you’ll sweat in all those layers if it’s hot, there are plenty of destination dresses available and some boutiques will pack it for you, just ask!

Bride and groom picture
Wedding Dress Shopping

What’s your Style?

Be true to your personality, from steampunk to vintage or classic to ethnic if it’s what you love then reflect this is in your dress. Whatever it is that defines you, stick with it because if your dress doesn’t reflect you, you’ll feel uncomfortable and your photographer can't photoshop a smiley face on all your pictures.

What are your best features?

I’m talking honesty here! What bits of your body do you LIKE because these are the bits we want to show off and make you feel a million dollars? Use your hair, jewellery or dress details to create focal points to enhance them, it could be your neck, shoulders, boobs, waist or anything.

Don’t worry about the size of the dress nor the bits you don’t like they will be ignored or unseen in the right dress/look and remember the fabric rules; fluid fabrics show off curves, stiffer fabrics hold you in and create a more structured look.

Also, think about your overall scale, the taller you are the bigger your ball gown skirt can be and the more fuller-bodied bride can upscale on the embellishment areas and go for heavier fabrics. If you're petite think petite, you don’t want to drown in fabric or look like that toilet roll doll cover in your nan's bathroom.

If you like...

Neck & Shoulders

Then definitely try a strapless number and show off that swan neck too with a side chignon, if you’re broad-shouldered try an asymmetric or halter neckline.


If you like your boobs then go for dresses with embellishment in that area, maybe a strapless bodice or sweetheart neckline, but think support too.

Tiny straps on a big frame will get lost!

Alternatively, if you’re smaller chested give them a boost by going for pleats, overlays, ruffles or added texture to the upper body area and the ‘girls’. Bodices are very flattering and most quality dresses come with inner support or even moulded cups.


Got a small or well-defined waist, then go for waisted detailed dresses to show it off for goodness sake, seeing a wasp-like waist will enhance your curves.


Dresses don't have to be floor length so if you have a great set of pins let's see them, tastefully of course! A fishtail dress can flash a bit of a shapely limb too.