I’ve been meaning to share this post with you guys for a while. No doubt, your bridal outfit is one of the most stressful (and fun!) components of your wedding. With so many options available, how do you even start to determine what you want? It can definitely be overwhelming – so here are some tips that will hopefully help you!
This was my thought process:
- Your Look: Determining what type of look you want on each day is crucial and the starting point of your entire outfit(s). Ever since I can remember, I’ve known that I want a traditional look for most of my wedding days – I want to look back 20 years down the road and still think I look timeless. I know that I don’t want to be one of those girls that hopelessly try to justify their choice to others as much as to themselves; “hamare zamanay mai yehi fashion tha” (this was the fashion in our times) or “this isn’t what I ordered – my designer ruined my outfit.”
- Start to Think About: What are the must haves? Do you have any colour preferences? What style/cut do you envision?
- Know Your Body: You should be considering this point simultaneously to the first one. Knowing your body is crucial to your look – consider your height, body-type and complexion. Wearing a bridal outfit that highlights your assets will not only make you look your best, it will instill confidence in you
- Inspiration: Whether you decide to sketch out your dress or print a picture from the internet, getting inspired is the fun part! Don’t limit yourself to a specific designer – be open minded but keep “Your Look” in mind. For inspiration, look at the Facebook pages/websites of Pakistani designers, photographers, makeup artists and anyone else in the wedding industry that might have a picture/video of brides!
Tip: Save/sketch/print pictures and try to be conscious of your choices – are you noticing a reoccurring colour or style?
- Budget: It is so easy to get carried away when you’re planning your wedding but you know your financial situation the best… so keep it in mind! I decided how much I wanted to spend and kept a $500 “buffer” just incase I absolutely did not like anything in my range
- Try On Dresses: Not everyone gets a chance to do this (I didn’t!), but if you can try bridal dresses, do it! Don’t go crazy and try every single outfit and every single style in every single store – try on outfits that are most similar to your top choices.
- Top 3: After you have saved/sketched a billion pictures (ME!), narrow down your choices for each event. I had been saving pictures for years, so the task of narrowing down was daunting. I went through ALL my pictures (two USBs worth of pics) and paid attention to the style I wanted for each day. From there, I was easily able to narrow down my top choices.
- The One: Once you have your top 3 for each event, try to pick your favourite based on what you think will look the best on you and what goes well with the look/theme you want.
- Ordering Your Dress: Now that you know what you want, you’re ready to order your dress. When you go to order your outfit, be open minded to suggestions that the designer/store owner has for you. They deal with alot of brides and dresses, hear them out because they might see something you haven’t thought of. However, you do want to stay firm on the look you want. When I ordered my Valima outfit, I had wanted a darker shade of the colour I now have. The store owner advised me not to go any darker – I was torn between trusting his judgment and my own. I am so glad I listened to him! Same thing with my shaadi outfit – he tried to convince me to buy things that were “in style” but I was pretty adamant on what I wanted.
- Living Abroad and Trends: I know that many of us freak out about bridals going out of fashion if we order too early – I know I certainly did (I placed and received my bridals just over 6 months before our wedding). Hence, I didn’t make my shaadi outfits trendy – I’m not living in Pakistan and I can’t just run to a designer/tailor and change things according to fashion trends. When you order your bridal outfits, keep the above in mind – people who live in Pakistan have the option of tweaking their outfits until 1-2 months before the wedding, we don’t.
- Order Early: Whether or not you live in Pakistan, I would recommend that you start looking for your dresses atleast 6 months before the wedding. Most places require a 3 month time-frame to order dresses – 6 months is the safest incase there are mistakes that need to be fixed (even something as simple as alterations can take a while).
- Fake Date: I know some people may disagree but I have worked with enough people to say that this worked well for me. I did not tell a single store owner my real wedding date or the date I was leaving Pakistan. I had given a 7 day buffer to most stores, which worked our perfectly. The last outfit I received was 2 days before I was leaving; it wasn’t fitted properly and by the time it was ready, it was the night I was leaving. No matter how nice the store owner is, you should always keep a 1 week buffer – at the least.
- Swatch: Make sure you ask for swatches of all the colours on your outfit(s) – this will keep you sane (everytime I second guessed my choices, I would have a look at the swatches), help with the matching of your accessories, and incase of a mixup by the store, you have backup of the colour/fabric you wanted.
- Bargain: As always, don’t forget to bargain like a mad woman
- Have Fun: We get so caught up in making sure our vision comes to reality that sometimes we forget to enjoy the moment. When I ordered my main outfits, I had started the day with the intention of looking around – I didn’t think I would be ordering my dresses. Even though the ordering process took FOUR hours (making sure that me and the store were on the same page took a while), I still remember how I felt: disbelief that I was ordering my outfit 1 day ahead of my schedule; excitement that I loved my outfits (and it was in my price range!); nervousness from anticipating how everything would turn out; butterflies in my stomach; and sharing smiles with my mom. The entire ride home mumma and I kept smiling and saying we couldn’t believe we just ordered my dresses. So what I am trying to say, is make sure you enjoy the process – the experience is once in a lifetime