With so many wonderfully talented designers and boutiques, choosing a wedding dress can be challenging. From vintage to boho, formal and fancy to low-key, having so many great options is a good problem to have in a way! There really is something for everyone. In fact because of all the choices out there, many brides are going for off-the-rack wedding dresses instead of custom made designs. As you’re shopping, you may find yourself overwhelmed and wondering:

With so many great options, where do I start? 

Here are a few ways you can begin to reign in your choices and narrow things down:

Season and Weather

Depending on the season you are getting married, some dresses may be more suitable for different types of weather. Fall and Winter gowns are perfect elegant long-sleeved looks or try throwing a classic jean jacket over your shoulders.

Spring may have you going floral, and in the Summer you may find yourself drawn to the on trend mini-bridal dresses  for a more modern and chic look.

In terms of weather, it also makes sense to consider the time of day you’ll be getting married. Beach temperatures, such as in San Diego, do tend to drop at night; so you’ll want to think about that as you’re browsing off-the-rack wedding dresses


Different looks go with different types of location and terrain. For example, I’ve seen some beautiful lacy boho wedding dresses that look fabulous for a desert ceremony. Beach weddings tend to have a more low-key vibe – though I’ve seen some pretty glam looks shoreside too! Think about the entire scene you’re trying to achieve as you incorporate your dress into the atmosphere. Do some Googling and/or research on Pinterest, and let your imagination run free! Remember, this day and this look is yours!

Body and Shape

Obviously you want to look and feel your best on your wedding day – and that means choosing a dress that compliments your shape. Concentrate on embracing your natural beauty and remember:

The gown is made to fit YOU, not the other way around.

Having said that, there is a silhouette that is complementary to everybody because every BODY is beautiful! For example, if you’re blessed with full hips, you can probably rock a luxurious ball gown like no other. Or, if your body is more rectangular with less curvature, a sleek sheath shape dress is going to be a great option for you.

Having said all that, throw out the rules and just have a good time! Try on what strikes your fancy and catches your eye. What I said before is simply a guideline and a place to start if you’re feeling overwhelmed with choices. 

After considering all of the above, I would say the most important thing to remember is:

Keep an open mind.

A huge part of wedding planning is FUN! Don’t stress about choosing the right dress right away. Here are a few more quick tips to help you in the process:

Give Yourself Time

Take your time to browse and try things on. Most shops require a non-refundable deposit once you select a dress, so if you can help it, don’t make yourself rush the decision. My personal experience was a very casual one. I was not in a hurry to find a dress. I trusted in the process and knew that I would find one regardless of time.

Go When You Feel Good

Putting in a little extra effort towards your makeup and hair when you go dress shopping will make a big difference. A dress will look very different if you don’t feel your best.

Don’t Shop When Bloated

This one’s self explanatory! You’re not going to feel good, and as a result, you won’t think you look good regardless of the dress.

You Don’t Need a Posse

It’s totally OK if you don’t feel like having a huge group of friends going dress shopping with you. That’s something TV and movies cooked up, so we got it in our heads that is what the experience is supposed to be like. Sometimes, you may just want to look on your own and that is fine if it feels right for you!

Sizing is Different

It’s important to note that bridal sizes are very different from casual wear – so this is where the open mind comes into play. Depending on the bridal designer, sizes can be up to three dress sizes larger! Don’t get hung up on the numbers. Focus on what feels and looks good on YOU.

I hope this helps put your mind at ease as you head out to the boutiques. Whether you are blessed and dressed or beautiful and browsing, I’d love to talk about what’s occurring above the dress … as in makeup! Check out some of my editorial and real bride looks here and please don’t hesitate to reach out when you are ready!

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