Shopping for your dream dress is a crucial part of the wedding planning process, but it should be a special memory – not a stressful one.
We've all seen movies of girl-packs gracing bridal boutiques critiquing gown after gown, but as Sandy Sharrat of Wanaka-based Novia Brides explains, the process should be fun and simple.
Take on her advice below and you're bound to find 'the one'.
"Give yourself six months to find your perfect dress," says Sandy, from her boutique filled with modern Barcelona- and New Zealand-designed gowns.
"If you would like to have a dress made, this can take some time (design time, sourcing fabrics and multiple fittings)."
Daisy by Katie Yeung designs are available at relatively short notice, but sometimes they will need to make a special order to have a gown made just for you; For the Barcelona-made Yolancris gowns, they could take up to four months to make, although this can be sped up in urgent cases.
Sandy suggests if you're unsure of the style of dress you'd like to wear on your big day, to think about the shape and fit of the clothes you most like to wear.
What is it about them that you like? Are they outrageously colourful or do you like more earthy tones? Which parts of your body do you like best and least?
In terms of personality. Do you like to be centre of attention, or observe from the sidelines? What attributes make you, you?
"All those wonderful reasons that your fiancé loves you and wants to marry you will help you find a style that reflects the very essence of who you are while helping you look fabulous on your special day," says Sandy.
"Choose carefully who you want to attend your consultation with you," advises Sandy, who also stocks divine veils and shoes . "You want to be able to tune into how you feel about the dresses that you're trying on, and not to be confused by varied or unhelpful advice/opinions from others. Don't forget that it should be a fun process."
"When you try on each dress, make notes (in your head, or on paper) about what you do and don't like about each one. This way you can start narrowing down your choices of what to try next and avoid becoming overwhelmed by trying on repeat gowns that aren't working for you."
KEEPING IT SECRET
It's very exciting to have your hands on your wedding dress, particularly if it's been months in the making. Sandy suggests to hang your wedding dress in a garment bag – and if you're worried about your partner seeing it before the wedding then ask a friend or family member to take care of it.
ON THE DAY
"It's a good idea to have the gown steam cleaned on the day, to ensure it sits perfectly on your body," suggests Sandy.
"The gown is the last thing you put on after hair and makeup. (you may like a scarf to protect both makeup and dress if you need to put the gown on over your head). Have your hairdresser or a friend handy for last minute hair and makeup touch-ups. Ask your chief bridesmaid to help you with your shoes once you have your gown on. She can also help arrange your gown before you make your grand entrance.
"Above all, love, laugh and take moments to absorb the wonder of your wedding day surrounded by all your favourite people!."